by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 30th 2009 5:17pm
Earlier court rulings have found that sports leagues cannot stop videos games from using player stats, since that's factual information. But, what about player likenesses? Many had assumed that was still forbidden without a license, but a new court ruling has found otherwise. Former football player Jim Brown had sued EA, claiming the use of his likeness violated his rights, but a district court judge has dismissed the case, saying that video games are "expressive works, akin to an expressive painting that depicts celebrity athletes of past and present in a realistic sporting environment," and thus are protected by the First Amendment. The case will almost certainly be appealed, but for now, it's a big win for video game makers and their ability to use player likenesses in their games without licensing them first.
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