"This announcement makes plain that the NCAA is attempting to mitigate the damage by ducking its responsibilities," Berman said. The lawsuit in question is one of two from Hagens Berman against EA, the other having been settled in July 2012 by EA for $27 million with the requirement that EA not renew its exclusive license with NCAA for five years.
NCAA's announcement this week that NCAA Football 14 would be the last game in the series to use the NCAA branding included a note that "given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA," pointing to the ongoing legal battle as reasoning for its departure from the partnership.
"Our suit illustrates how the cabal between the NCAA and EA has exploited student athletes for years, using their images in video games without compensation," Berman said. "While we are heartened they've stopped the practice, we believe they owe those student athletes a great deal more than their implied promise to stop stealing their images."
EA announced that it will continue development on next-gen college football games without the use of NCAA branding. It will do so under a non-exclusive, three-year agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company beginning on July 1, 2014.
July 18, 2013
Steve Berman, managing partner of law firm Hagens Berman and co-lead counsel in a class-action lawsuit filed by former college athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) alleging the gaming giant's games used their likenesses without permission issued the below statement regarding the NCAA's decision not to continue its license for EA-published NCAA Football games after the current agreement expires in 2014.
"It's apparent to us that the NCAA's decision to end its long and hugely profitable relationship with EA is tied directly to the pressure our litigation is bringing the bear.
"Our suit illustrates how the cabal between the NCAA and EA has exploited student athletes for years, using their images in video games without compensation. While we are heartened they've stopped the practice, we believe they owe those student athletes a great deal more than their implied promise to stop stealing their images.
"This announcement makes plain that the NCAA is attempting to mitigate the damage by ducking its responsibilities. We look forward to taking this case to trial and winning compensation for student-athletes whose likenesses were used without their permission, in violation of both the NCAA's rules and the law."
More information about this case is available at: http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/ncaavideogames
About Hagens Berman
Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP represents consumers, whistleblowers, investors, workers and others in complex and class-action litigation. The firm has offices in nine cities and has been named to the National Law Journal's Plaintiffs' Hot List five times. Founded in 1993, HBSS continues to successfully fight for consumer rights in large, complex litigation against large corporations. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Visit the firm's class-action law blog at www.classactionlawtoday.com.