Columnist Accuses EA Of 'Identity Theft' For Using Player Likenesses
from the doesn't-pass-the-laugh-test dept
Reader LCD points us to a piece in the New York Daily News that is so utterly stupid I don't want to spend much time on it—but it deserves (nay, requires) a brief pause for ridicule. According to the column by Andrea Tantaros, who almost exclusively covers politics and should probably stick to that, EA's use of football players' likenesses in video games (a topic we've covered before) is akin to identity theft:
Identity theft is a huge problem that affects millions of Americans each year. If a crook stole your most personal information and used it to make a buck, you'd be furious.
And, of course, that's illegal. But if you are a corporation, you can steal all the identities you want for profit.
That's what video game company Electronic Arts is doing when it deliberately exploits the likeness of the players it uses in popular video games. And it doesn't pay them a cent.
Uh-huh. Identify theft is about serious criminal fraud, not the violation of publicity rights that may or may not actually exist. To accuse EA of identity theft is hyperbole in the extreme, and makes it hard to take the remainder of the column seriously.
As for that remainder, it makes a little bit of effort to address the real issue, but Tantaros simply takes it for granted that everyone has some sort of innate human right to control any and all usages of their likeness. That's not at all the case, and while there is room for some reasonable debate on the merits of publicity rights, it isn't going to stem from frivolous accusations of identity theft.