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 aja1-6

I don't think he stands a chance....but you never know

Avatar image for netzenopt

Jim Brown is dumb, and his lawsuit is gonna get thrown out. These are the kinds of lawsuits that make the republican case for their curtialing of "frivolous lawsuits."

Avatar image for Spongebob4Prez

There are lots of dumb lawsuits out there, and this is one of them. I love football and know Jim Brown, and the number 32 is not really associated with him. And I really hope this doesn't sound racist, since I'm not, but there are plenty of African-American, muscular running backs out there.

Avatar image for chrisbrookscool

this game better not get delayed because of this. I mean isn't like many people play with the history teams plus and even if I did use a history team it would be the lions so I could use Barry Sanders (better then Jim Brown)

Avatar image for zlyrikal10

To those saying he's broke i dont think thats the case. He may not be wealthy but he probally is worth more then all of us. His movie risiduals alone probally handle that, not to mention the geekfest were they charge 30-100 and autograph.

Avatar image for nick2569

how stupid can this guy be. i mean come on who cares if the game doesnt have ur name and only the number . i mean for real get over it , it isnt a big deal. alot of people are gonna be pretty pissed off if the game gets delayed c/s of this stupid reason. and i'm one of those people. just suck it up and go on with ur life bro it aint the end of the world if it just has ur number on the jersey.

Avatar image for Blitz_Nemesis

i just realized this is the same Jim Brown they are making a movie about. im still gonna watch the movie but not in theater anymore. cause of this ill catch it on bootleg just cause.

Avatar image for MaFiOsO_DeLuXe

good luck oldie.

Avatar image for clawboy

If EA pays $500,000 to Jim Brown this whole thing would go away in a puff of smoke. Jim Brown is the greatest running back of all time but he has always come across as a bitter old jealous fool. He will never have the wealth or celebrity of today's athletes and that eats away at his soul. Mo money Mo problems. Oh well, he can always brag about tapping Rachel Welch.

Avatar image for Timstuff

He probably is only suing Sony because he's a shemming.

Avatar image for Chief_Kuuni

what the heck, wonder whats up with him? it's just a video game

Avatar image for mfortune

Jim Brown is buggin, like Trojan said...Who in the hell is buying the game to use the old ass Brown's...most gamers play in tournaments, with friends, or online, and the use of older teams is just not necessary, and plus I'd rather play with the Psycho we call O.J. on the Bills...Jim Brown just made a case for being a Psycho though...Madden '09' is here.

Avatar image for bleedgreen2-1-5

o my god! how does that bother him, i can tell who's broke, i agree with ahallen, thats so petty, the game dosent look like him so why the hell does he care. it took him 7-or 8 yeras to rralize this? someone wanst money go Eagles!

Avatar image for GreyHairedGamer

Obviously he cares less about the sport and legacy then he does about grabbing some cash. Football's Barry Bonds of video games. Take him out. I for one won't miss him in the game.

Avatar image for ahallen

Desperate for cash. A proven racist. Murderer. Wife beater. Enough said.

Avatar image for inomyabcs

This is suit is related to the ongoing battle that old retired players are having with the NFL. The players feel they need more royalities or an increase in health care insurance because of the time they dedicated to making the NFL the game it is today. Can't feel like I blame them. The difference in pay and benefits is drastically different today. However, the pay and benefits weren't part of their original contracts and should not have have a bearing on this case.

Avatar image for Fitzycent

WAAAAAA! I didn't make enough money making stupid 70s movies. Now I'm gonna sue

Avatar image for Jazzism

Even though I feel EA and Sony are money grabbing greedy conglomerates, when it comes to issues like this, they're the ones I want in my corner. Jim, you aint got Scotty or Bones to protect you on this trip. Enjoy going down in flames.

Avatar image for jahoousa

Somebody sounds a little broke and hard up for cash

Avatar image for mandujano87

Wow, Arrowsun. If I didn't know any better I'd think you WERE Jim Brown. How exactly would you make a game in Madden's likeness? "Smadden 09"? lol

Avatar image for xbox360progamer

oh wow... umm thats crazy he isnt even going to let them publish it .. wow thats crazy....

Avatar image for christopherneal

In a word: STUPID! This is baseless. If he had a real problem then he should've filed suit in '01. The last superstar athlete to pull something like this and get away with it was MJ. JB is NO MJ. Case dismissed! :)

Avatar image for Arrowsun

Sue them for making millions. If we sold a game bearing the likeness of Madden they would sue us. Plus getting profits for nothing is how big companies rob other deserving people. Sue EA and make them pay for the use of some of football's greatest forefathers.

Avatar image for sullyliam

What bull sounds like someone is tryin to get back in the spotlight any way they can its a game get over it..

Avatar image for mandujano87

I honestly wouldn't care about this incredibly stupid lawsuit from Brown if it weren't for the fact that it says he wants "an injunction against EA selling the game." If this game's release gets delayed because of some ancient football player whining about his royalties I'm sending hate-mail to Jim Brown. Hopefully the judge laughs his ass off and throws it out or EA acts in the interest of us gamers and reaches a quick settlement. And I'm with you pudgeman, I don't get these players crying bloody murder about being featured in Madden. I would be crapping bricks if I found out there was a player in the game made in my likeness. Brown is shameless.

Avatar image for pudgeman007

This is a money grab, If sony put me in a game, id wouldnt sue, Id be like, DUDE im #32 **** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kyles money !!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for TrojanLB48

I'm sure EVERYBODY bought the game because they heard there was a 32 on the Browns team... Isn't this guy rich enough already anyways?

Avatar image for CRIMZNQUASAR

[Quote=DESTROZZ;]im brown number is retired, so if you see #32 that plays for the browns, it only obvious who it is. Im for him suing, because old school nfl players have been getting done for years.[/Quote] If that is the case the I say SUE

Avatar image for tait007

I love the post that mentioned that the description of "a muscular African American player" describes about 95% of the players in the NFL. It is also worth noting that back in 2001, the graphics of the game made all the players faces look about the same no matter who they were. Also, if Jim Brown can sue because his number was included on a player that kind of looked like him and was the same race as the RB on the "All Brown" team, does that mean that the family of the late Walter Payton (better then Jim Brown) can sue because there was a player on the "All Bears" team that was the same build and race as him, the All-Time Great Chicago Bears Running Back. Does it mean that Joe Montana can sue because there is some Caucasian American as the QB of the "All 49ers" team. This is a grabbing-at-straws suit, and I don't see how EA, or especially Sony, will have to give Mr. Brown anything for it.

Avatar image for mrhuntin

wow that a shocker

Avatar image for eggmcmuff

Can Jim Brown take himself a little MORE seriously, please? I'm sick of his sour puss showing up every ten or so years to poo poo who ever's trying to honor (or make a deal with) him... Ummm, please don't tell him I said that. He was great in Running Man, though. Really.

Avatar image for ez054098

"All Brown's Team, according to the suit, which featured "a muscular African American player " Yeah, that describes 95% of the NFL.

Avatar image for lamprey263

ugh, they should just start making fictitious sports leagues so this'll never happen again

Avatar image for zlyrikal10

great player but a real life dooshe bag!!! you cant trademark a number. What happens in franchise mode if a player goes to the borwns with that number?

Avatar image for smackdaddy05

if he sues anyone it should be only EA they put it in or sue sony,microsoft, and nintendo cuz they would all have it in them

Avatar image for destrozz

jim brown number is retired, so if you see #32 that plays for the browns, it only obvious who it is. Im for him suing, because old school nfl players have been getting done for years.

Avatar image for StryfeBringer

Wait, retired athletes retain their numbers when they are gone from the team? Won't we be up to the hundreds/thousands by now?

Avatar image for residentzombie2

Anyone can sue anybody over anything the way the current legal system is set up. Now wether the case holds any water is up to the judge and most cases like these get thrown out of court. It is a waste of tax payer dollars since judges and courts are funded by taxpayers

Avatar image for Kenji_Masamune

I very much doubt that anyone bought madden 01 specifically to play a character that very well could be considered to be jim brown. But hey, if he wants money for his likeness then go ahead and give him that dollar in royalties (for that ONE person who did buy Madden 01 because of brown)

Avatar image for 360player_eq12

LOL well I hope every NCAA player does not go and sue now seeing as EA just takes the names off of their jersey.

Avatar image for bassmaniac20005

Wow. Leave it to someone to sue Sony instead of Microsoft or Nintendo. Why not sue them all? And it's in Wii news! Come on!

Avatar image for RunningRoti

ofcourse theres no other muscular african american in the NFL. i sued GTA earlier this year because one of the pedestrians was clearly a copy of me.

Avatar image for DryvBy4Ever

Looks like Brown is out of money. Quick fix? Lotto? Nope. Lawsuit!!

Avatar image for SonyIsh6Fotta

He's probably just suing Sony and not Microsoft and Nintendo, because Sony obviously profitted more from this game, PS2 was owning them at the time of this games release, I don't know, he might have a case, why not? I mean seriously like you can't tell it's supposed to be him.

Avatar image for johnnyv2003

lol Brown is a Nintendo and MIcrosoft fanboy

Avatar image for -Squirrel-

First off, I've never played a Madden game and don't really watch football. If the game doesn't use his name, or his physical likeness, how are they profiting off him? They used a team, and since they couldn't use him they substituted him for another black player with the same number, because that's accurate. Sounds to me like they took the exactly right approach. Players don't own copyrights on specific numbers do they?

Avatar image for crew2005

Joser 15 is the most retarted person ever........1 jim brown is number 32......2. i see u own a ps3 by the looks of the metal gear solid icon so ur just trying to defend sony.

Avatar image for endocrine

They should give him profits from games played with him in it. I am guessing it would be >>>>>>0.001%. As such he should be awarded about $1, and $0.35 of that should goto his lawyer.

Avatar image for eagles_band

what a nut, jim brown is overrated anyways, barry sanders = # 1

Avatar image for rbop

Haha. Reading the posts for this article is serious entertainment. You can't even sue a company these days w/o the dumb fanboys putting in their 2 cents. Do I think the lawsuit holds water?... not really, but then again, I'm not a judge so what I think doesn't matter. At the end of the day maybe the guy has a point/case. We'll see. LOL! Fanboys are complete wastes of batter.