In 2008, former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown filed a lawsuit alleging that EA used his likeness in their successful Madden franchise without his permission. That lawsuit is finally wrapping up, and Jim Brown is going to see a big payday as a result.
EA and Hagens Berman, the firm representing Brown, have finally reached a settlement. As part of the settlement, Jim Brown will take home $600,000, which ESPN says is a significant amount. As it turns out, your average Madden cover athlete allegedly only gets paid $500,000 for that gig.
The lawsuit came after EA asked to use Brown in Madden as part of a feature which would allow users to play with historical teams, including Brown’s team which won the title all the way back in 1964.
Brown alleged that EA created a character in the game that was similar to Brown in every aspect in order to get around the likeness issue. The goal for Brown seems to be to set a precedent rather than to seek compensation, as he said in a statement.
“I took a stand for all athletes and laid a framework for future plaintiffs with my great legal team,” Brown said in the statement. “Hopefully, this is a step forward in getting companies like Electronic Arts to recognize the value that athletes have in selling their products.”
Interestingly, Hagens Berman was also part of the team of lawyers that represented NCAA players in another likeness lawsuit that wrapped up earlier this year. It seems that 2016 has been a big year for likeness lawsuits in video games.