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NBA Legend Bill Russell Suing EA Sports & NCAA

NBA legend Bill Russell is suing the NCAA and EA Sports over what Russell claims is an uncompensated use of his likeness in EA Sports' NCAA Basketball 09.

According to Bloomberg Businesweek, Russell is taking issue with Electronic Arts for including him in NCAA Basketball 09's Tournament of Legends feature without compensation, which allowed players to pit college teams across time against each other.

Russell also has a beef with the NCAA for using historical footage of him when he played for the University of San Francisco.

Bloomberg says that Russell's complain will be joined into an existing lawsuit by former UCLA player Ed O'Bannon against EA and NCAA for the same reasons. EA has already commented on the O'Bannon case, saying that the company's usage of players' likeness is protected by the First Amendment because the games contain enough original creative content from EA itself that, as a whole, the games are more than just a depiction of a single athlete.

Last month, similar reasoning was enough to sway a judge to strike down a lawsuit brought by former Rutgers QB Ryan Hart against the company.

 

[via GameSpot]

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