There has been an ongoing legal battle over the past few years about how and when game makers can use the likenesses of football players without their permission. Former college football player Samuel Keller filed a class action suit in May against Electronic Arts for the publisher's use of NCAA players' information — including things like jersey number, height, weight, skin tone and hair style, but not names — to recreate actual teams within sports games. An earlier suit filed by NFL Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown brought up the fact that video games weren't even a consideration when contracts and licensing rights were negotiated in the '50s and '60s, yet many football players from that era (including Brown) are represented in the occasional sports game whether they like it or not. A ruling came down from a district court judge last Wednesday stating 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 are thus protected under the First Amendment. Brown and fellow Hall-of-Famer Herb Adderley are now seeking to throw their support behind Keller's lawsuit.
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