Appeals Court Says Ex-College Stars Can Sue Videogame Maker Electronic Arts

A federal appeals court on Wednesday cleared the way for a group of college athletes to sue Electronic Arts Inc. for allegedly stealing their likenesses for its videogames.

The ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco advanced a claim by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and other ex-athletes, who allege EA used their attributes in its NCAA football and basketball games.

EA’s videogames are coveted for their attention to detail. “NCAA Football” represents college players with look-alike avatars with the same jersey number, height, weight, build, skin tone, hair color and home state. In the 2005 edition of the game, the virtual starting quarterback for Arizona State shared the real Mr. Keller’s physical traits, play style and facial features.

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