EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit Document Says

September 30, 2008 -

Although Electronic Arts isn't a defendant in Parrish, Adderley et al vs NFL Players, Inc., the megabucks generated by its Madden NFL series are at the center of the legal dispute.

The case, which will go to trial next month in San Francisco, alleges that the National Football League Players Association and its marketing wing, Players, Inc., prevented retired players from earning their fair share of licensing revenue. Money generated by EA's enormously popular Madden NFL series is the primary bone of contention.

According to former Buffalo Bills safety Jeff Nixon, newly-uncovered documents in the suit reveal that EA Sports obscured identifying information of retired players to skirt licensing payments. Nixon writes:

The documents... make it is crystal clear that the NFLPA conspired with EA to “scramble” the images of retired players in their Madden NFL Video Games...

 

The Class Action lawyers have more than a smoking gun to prove this; they have the person shooting the gun in the form of a letter fired off by former Players Inc. Vice President of Multimedia LaShun Lawson, to Madden NFL Game producer Jeremy Strauser that was cc’d to Doug Allen, then President of Players Inc. In the letter LaShun says:

 

“For all retired players that are not listed... their identity must be altered so that it cannot be recognized. Regarding paragraph 2 of the License Agreement between Electronic Arts and Players Inc, a player’s identity is defined as his name, likeness (including without limitation, number), picture, photograph, voice, facsimile signature and/or biographical information. Hence, any and all players not listed... cannot be represented in Madden 2002 with the number that player actually wore, and must be scrambled."

 

In the 2007 version of Madden NFL alone, more than 600 retired players... had their images scrambled. They are not identified in the game by their names and numbers, but the game lists their exact weight, height, years in the league, and position they played...

 

When a substantial competitor to EA [Take-Two] began to emerge for use of retired players, EA and Defendants rushed to enter into a contract locking up the most valuable retired players’ rights in exchange for payments that were admittedly below market. PI’s Senior Vice-President, Clay Walker, admitted as much in the following email:

 

“Take Two [the EA competitor] went after retired players to create an “NFL” style video game after we gave the exclusive to EA. I was able to forge this deal with [the Pro Football Hall of Fame] that provides them with $400K per year (which is significantly below market rate) in exchange for the HOF player rights. EA owes me a huge favor because that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football videogame manufacturer out there.”


Comments

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit ...

I'm surprised that there aren't more comments supporting this case. It's lack of respect. It's lame! Maybe the players today make a lot of money, but that wasn't always the case. If you are the name or star, you deserve credit and cash. I've been through something similar and when you don't get credit, it's a bad feeling. Throw money into the equation and it stings a lot worse.

My sites Vancover Vancouver Apartments Cheap Tel Domain

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

You know, with all the crap EA's pulled and gotten flack for, I have to wonder: How are they still turning a profit?

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Funny thing is, Take-Two's NFL 2K5 did much the same thing, back in the day. It included a number of classic scenarios like "The Drive" and "The Catch"- in these, any player who was still active (and thus included on the then-current rosters anyway) was named properly, while those players who had since retired were called "Broncos QB" or "Giants RB" or whatever their team and position were. I'm not even sure they scrambled their numbers. This led to to rather amusing situation of having a 49ers squad consisting entirely of generic names except for one receiver - Jerry Rice.

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

This is a tough one for EA. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. In this case everything seems to be the NFL demanding EA do as it asks, and since the NFL controls the license they control the way the deal is handled. I can't imagine EA is happy about these players not getting their fair share. Yes they get more money if they don't have to pay these players, but right now EA needs good PR more than they need money. (Though give the economy another week and that might not be true anymore.)

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Ouch...

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

I'm not seeing the scandal here.

EA only has to pay if they use a player's likeness.  EA didn't want to pay for certain players' likenesses, so they didn't use them.  Was EA under an obligation to include all the players?  Was EA's efforts at obscuring them insufficient?  If the answer to both questions is no, this seems like a non-issue.

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Considering that likeness here is defined as including "...and/or biographical information." and according to the suit Madden uses "their exact weight, height, years in the league, and position they played..."

I'd say that yes EA's efforts at "obscuring" them was insufficent as it used their biographical information.

-Gray17

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Maybe this will finalyl get EA to wake the hell up.

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

I think these players are rich enough.

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Actually a lot of the older players AREN'T rich. They weren't given the kind of money guys are given today. They deserve a cut of the pie.

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Agreed Wholeheartedly. These player's played for pittance compared to what the new player's make today. Give them their due.

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Not to mention that not all players are paid all that much, even today. A rookie free agent who makes the team for a season or two before someone better comes along isn't exactly set for life, even if he's paid well enough (by ordinary-people standards) for the time he plays.

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

So tell me, how much money is too much money?

-Gray17

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

I think EA and NFLPA are rich enough to give the players their dues. This is freeloading from corporate entities that are profiting from it. I don't know if it's illegal, but it most certainly is completely unethical. A typical EA move.

-- http://pixelantes.blogspot.com/

Re: EA Hid Identities of Retired Players in Madden, Lawsuit

Maybe we should start calling this 'Maddengate'?


-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Will Target Australia sell the next GTA game upon its release?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
ZippyDSMleePixels is something to shut your brain off with and just try and enjoy. The rest of films not so much. LOL07/30/2015 - 8:49am
MechaTama31Child of Light looks interesting, but not "I'm willing to put Uplay on my PC" interesting.07/30/2015 - 7:51am
MattsworknameOn the subject of movies and video games, if you haven't seen it and your a street fighter fan, run down a copy fo Street fighter assassins fist. Its the best video game movie made, and its by a small studio07/30/2015 - 5:37am
Goth_SkunkSee, i didn't enjoy the Transformers films, but I don't really know why. I watched them for the sake of watching them, but I doubt I'd ever have a craving to watch them again. With Pixels, I would.07/30/2015 - 5:12am
Sora-ChanOn topics of movies in general: I usually find the argument of "shut down your brain and enjoy the movie" argument to be annoying. It was something that I was told to do when it came to the transformer movies from Bay, and it irked me when people said it.07/30/2015 - 5:03am
Goth_SkunkI did. And I didn't care much for it, but it was the reason I went and saw the film. The entire thing can be summed up in one sentence: "I didn't like it! If you pay to watch this movie, you're a big smelly poopy-head!"07/30/2015 - 4:56am
MattsworknameI think everyone here has Crono, we just don't agree with him or how he handles himself or his reviews, but thats us07/30/2015 - 4:55am
CronosonicThere are far worse problems Moviebob pointed out about Pixels than it not being 'serious'. Did you even /watch/ his review?07/30/2015 - 4:35am
MattsworknameAlso, newbusters verison. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tom-blumer/2015/07/29/venezuela-orders-food-producers-divert-output-empty-state-stores07/30/2015 - 4:25am
MattsworknameNot game related, but wow, Were are all those people who sand the praises of venezula now http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_VENEZUELA_FOOD_SHORTAGES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT07/30/2015 - 4:25am
Goth_Skunk... is one you can acknowledge, then you'll enjoy it.If you CAN'T acknowledge such a mindset, then you must be MovieBob. Welcome to GP. :^)07/30/2015 - 4:13am
Goth_SkunkIf you watch Pixels expecting it to be Film Of The Year, or if you expect a Best Actor performance from Adam Sandler, then yes, you will be disappointed. If the idea that a film can simply be fun and entertaining without needing to be serious...07/30/2015 - 4:12am
MattsworknameIm kinda torn goth, on one hand , the effects look cool, but im not sold on sandler as the star07/30/2015 - 3:54am
Goth_SkunkBut did the film specfically take elements of Space Invaders and dedicate scenes and acts to it? No, they didn't.07/30/2015 - 3:49am
Goth_SkunkThe whole film is kinda centered around a Space Invaders theory.07/30/2015 - 3:49am
MattsworknameInfo: What dictionary says and what people today use that word for are not the same07/30/2015 - 3:30am
Sora-ChanPixels was a movie I was interested in for a week. A week after it got announced it was announced Sandler was in it and i went "... naw"07/30/2015 - 3:13am
Infophile@Goth: Apparently you're in the minority, from what reviews I've seen. Haven't seen it myself though, so I can't say how valid the reviews are. One question: Did they do Space Invaders at any point?07/30/2015 - 3:05am
Goth_SkunkJust came back from Pixels. Loved it. I knew I would.07/30/2015 - 2:33am
InfophileFor reference, see https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/accountable - It just means you have to answer for it. It has nothing to do with being punished for it.07/30/2015 - 1:47am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician