Football legend Brown sues EA, Sony over Madden

All-time-great NFL running back takes exception to games having historical Cleveland Browns teams with number 32 as running back.


Among other new features, this year's Madden NFL 09 features the licensed names and likenesses of some retired gridiron greats. Previously, Electronic Arts included historical teams in its games by omitting names and faces, and merely including numbers. For instance, Cleveland Browns great Jim Brown would appear on a team simply as a running back with amazing stats and the jersey number 32.

This could get ugly...
This could get ugly...

However, even having a faceless, nameless player bear his number was too much for Brown. Today, Bloomberg reported that the NFL hall-of-famer and 1970s action-film star has filed suit against Electronic Arts and Sony, alleging that they profited from his likeness and identity without his permission. According to a copy of the suit obtained by GameSpot, Brown found out earlier this year about the use of his number in Madden games, specifically Madden 2001.

Sony is named in the suit for its role in the manufacturing and distribution of the games. No mention is made of Microsoft or Nintendo, who would have played similar roles for versions of the games on their platforms.

The game included an "All Brown's Team," according to the suit, which featured "a muscular African American player wearing the number 32." Brown believes that the game infringes on his rights and acts to dilute "his inherently distinctive, and arbitrary trademark as the All-Time Great Cleveland Brown Running Back."

The suit notes that modern players sign away their likeness rights when joining the NFL player's union, but when he played, there were no video games and no union to get the rights from.

Brown asks for an injunction against EA selling the game, the forfeiture of all materials bearing his likeness, and the disgorgement of all profits earned from the sale of infringing Madden games.

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Avatar image for assassinX01

being the 'all time great cleveland brown running back' is less of an honor and more of a disgrace. Congrats, you were the savior of a perennially mediocre football team. I'm considering suing EA for putting an 'All Brown's Team' in the game on the grounds that it's detrimental to my health. Jesus, what a prick

Avatar image for itwiz90

Jim Brown is probably not doing well financially and this may be an opportunity for him to get a settlement. He is one of the greatest running backs to play the game, band he ought to be flattered that his likeness is even bought up in conversation now a days. "Whatcha gonna do Jim". 8)

Avatar image for assassinX01

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for mikewalsh69

good god. i would be so bloody happy if i was put into a game. why can't these guys just say ok. it doesn't affect me in the slightest. i'll let it go ahead. but no. they've got to be greedy.

Avatar image for condemned100

nobody cares what brown has to say. He just wants some attention and publicity.

Avatar image for DAGR8EST

Unless ea can claim that there is another all-time great running back for the Cleveland Browns who where's #32, then yeah he has a point. I don't recall another one.

Avatar image for Itachi11432

hes a **** i didnt even know he used be number 32, i bet no one here can name the number 32 player or probably most of us dont even know this ****

Avatar image for lime_93

i dont like jim brown anymore

Avatar image for Nintendo_Man

Great choice of pic for the article.

Avatar image for Scianix-Black

What an idiot... What the hell did Sony do that Nintendo or Microsoft didn't? It's not like Madden '09 is a PS3 exclusive. That's major BS.

Avatar image for Maersyndel

Ha, don't like his chances...

Avatar image for Bigbudd0045

Jim Brown you are a douche.

Avatar image for Cwallaceyankees

99% of the people buying Madden or any other pro football game nowadays doesn't know anything about Jim Brown. Should the linemen from the ALL-Browns team be making money too? Can anyone name one of them?

Avatar image for Dbwee

What a cry baby nobody cares about jim brown and the number 32 sux!

Avatar image for drknockboot2

This is Funny, he is grasping!

Avatar image for whackedjob213

So if i create a Muscular African American running back that wear 32 on the Browns he can sue me. That's freaking ridiculous, I really hope he loses his because this is one of the stupidest cases I've seen in a while

Avatar image for Dangerboy22

A muscular African American in the NFL.....Its gotta be him.......its not everyday you see an NFL player fit that description.....Good luck Jim......Nobody cares about you .....

Avatar image for SSgt_Mapp

Isn't that some trash! Can't get any movie roles so he has to bring up a lawsuit to put some money in those empty pockets to make a living now.

Avatar image for marvingamebeast

How does he know that is him it is nameless and faceless duhhh

Avatar image for Neo_Sarevok

What a joke. The guy is suing EA because they used the #32 and the guy was African American? First, there are a TON of African American's playing football. Second, the #32 isn't copyrighted! It's a number for crying out loud! Finally, EA is not profiting off him. People aren't buying Madden 09 because of Jim Brown. They're buying it because it's Madden 09, period.

Avatar image for umbrae

He should sue EA and the NFL. They would have been the ones that misused his likeness.

Avatar image for ivanfred

Good luck with this law suit, Jim.

Avatar image for C_BozkurT_C

James Brown is just..... Old news

Avatar image for godzillavskong

R U serious?? He owns the #32 now? Gimme a break.