A Californian court has ruled EA Sports must respond to claims it used National Collegiate Athletic Association members’ likenesses and personal information without compensation.
Bloomberg reports EA has 14 days to respond to a lawsuit against the publisher.
Although current NCAA members are not permitted to receive compensation for the use of their likenesses, the lawsuit alleges EA agreed not to pay compensation to former members, either.
District Judge Claudia Wilken called the allegations “significant”, and said they suggest EA “was actively participating to ensure that former student-athletes would not receive any compensation for the use of their images, likenesses and names”.
A group of ex-NCAA athletes filed the suit against EA, claiming that the ability for players to create characters based on and named after real world competitors is an instance of unauthorised use of identity. Players can draw on real world statistics such as height and weight, in addition to using actual athlete’s names and recreating their appearances.
In addition to player creations, EA’s college basketball and football games apparently contain characters eerily similar to actual athletes in all but name.