High court won’t hear appeal in NFL video game lawsuit

The Supreme Court of the United States is staying out of a dispute between game maker Electronic Arts Inc. and former National Football League players who accuse the company of using their likenesses in the popular Madden NFL video game series without approval.

The justices on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said the company’s use of the players’ likenesses was not protected as “incidental use” under the First Amendment.

The former players sued Electronic Arts in 2010 over the company’s use of “historic teams” and players in Madden NFL games from 2001 to 2009. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2012 that the player lawsuit could proceed.

Electronic Arts previously settled a similar case brought by college football and basketball players for $40 million.

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