Davis v. Electronic Arts, No. 12-15737 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit against EA, alleging that Madden NFL, a series of video games, includes accurate likenesses of plaintiffs without authorization, as well as roughly 6,000 other former NFL players who appear on more than 100 historic teams in various editions of Madden NFL. EA moved to strike the complaint as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16. The court affirmed the district court's denial of the motion where EA has not shown a probability of prevailing on its incidental use defense and its other defenses are effectively precluded by the court's decision in Keller v. Elec. Arts. In this case, EA has not shown that the transformative use defense applies to plaintiffs' claims; EA has not established a probability of prevailing on either the common law public interest defense or the "public affairs" exemption of California Civil Code 3344(d); the Rogers v. Grimaldi test does not apply to plaintiffs' right-of-publicity claims; and EA has not established a probability of prevailing on its incidental use defense.