In the midst of a right to publicity lawsuit (which is part of a larger antitrust lawsuit) currently underway against video game publisher Electronic Arts, another athlete has lawyers filing a proposed class-action suit claiming that EA’s use of college athletes’ names and likenesses in its games is “blatant and unlawful.”
The attorneys represent former West Virginia player Shawne Alston in this new suit, which is similar to but separate from another case against EA that’s going ahead in federal court on behalf of former Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart, reports USA Today. These lawyers also represent yet another athlete, former Arizona State and Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller.
All three lawsuits have EA and NCAA as their targets. This newest issue came up because the lawyers say they’re a bit worried about how the Hart’s case has defined a prospective class of plaintiffs.
“We think the class definition is too narrow and complicated,” one of the attorneys said. “We want to make sure (all players with potential claims) are protected.”
In his suit, Alston alleges that an avatar that appears to be a lot like him is not only showing up in different versions of the games, but that his image is on the back cover of the 2013 NCAA Football game for Xbox.
And while former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III was paid for his back cover appearance after he went pro for the Washington Redskins, Alston “and the other students on the back cover were not paid for use of their likenesses, nor did they consent to the use.”