"Iconic running back and Hollywood actor Jim Brown has agreed to accept a voluntary judgment offered by Electronic Arts (EA) stemming from the use of his likeness in Madden NFL video games, according to Hagens Berman. EA will pay $600,000 in exchange for a dismissal and release of Brown’s claims.
Brown’s attorney Robert Carey praised the outcome, saying, “This recovery marks an important victory for plaintiffs in publicity-rights cases, and athletes in particular. Big business should think twice before it turns players’ hard-won identities and achievements into merchandise without permission or compensation.”
Brown concurred, “I took a stand for all athletes and laid a framework for future plaintiffs with my great legal team. Hopefully, this is a step forward in getting companies like Electronic Arts to recognize the value that athletes have in selling their products.”
EA’s best-selling Madden NFL football game allowed users to play as Brown’s team (the 1965 Cleveland Browns) and other historic franchises. Brown’s suit alleged that EA asked to use his likeness and that he expressly refused. EA nonetheless created an avatar in the game that mimicked Brown’s height, weight, skin color, experience, team, position and ability level.
The payment will exceed amounts EA has reportedly paid other athletes to appear not only in the game, but on the Madden NFL cover."