In 2008, NFL legend Jim Brown filed suit against videogame manufacturer Electronic Arts (“EA”) for the use of his likeness in their Madden NFL title without consent. EA claims they are shielded by the 1st Amendment to profit by including Brown’s likeness in its games. Brown’s game-based jersey number and name are fictitious, but his team (Cleveland Browns), physical description and accomplishment described therein leave little doubt he is the subject.
Late U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper sided with the defendants in September 2009, and Brown appealed to the 9th Circuit. Lady Justice has spotted the ball on the 20 yard line – could Brown add another proverbial rushing touchdown to his impressive collection?