Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Don't drink the water

EDSBS passes on word that an unlicensed football video game due out this fall features a quarterback with suspiciously similar stats to those of Michael Vick wearing “Mexico” on his #7 jersey.

No word yet on whether the game, which is supposedly going to include “off-the-field” situations à la ESPN‘s canned-at-NFL-behest testosterone-soap Playmakers, will be feature product placement of the Original Whizzinator.


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This is hardly unusual. I’ve got several baseball sims that are similar; basically the game designers didn’t license player id’s from the MLBPA, so they can’t use player likenesses or names. Player stats, however, are out there in the public domain, so it’s not at all difficult to create players with the stats of the actual players.

The weirdest situation, as I understand it, is that of Barry Bonds. Bonds has refused to sign the MLBPA licensing agreement, which means that Barry retains control over the licensing of his name and likeness in connection with baseball memorabilia. So there are a couple baseball sims there which executed license agreements with MLBPA and can use player likenesses and names except for a certain player who is simply known (in the games) as “The San Francisco Outfielder”, and who has stats suspiciously similar to Barry Bonds’s.


True enough, although this is the first time I’ve heard of a player in an unlicensed game being known by one of his aliases.


Aha…. Since beisbol is the only professional sport I follow (“Michael Vick” is a name I recall only from a few commercials that run in the fall), it took a bit of research (i.e., chasing a few hyperlinks) after reading your reply to get the connection.

That raises an interesting academic legal question of whether Vick, the NFLPA (assuming they have, like the MLBPA re: baseball, the authority to license player likenesses/names for football memorabilia) or whoever has control over Vick’s likeness/name rights could conceivably sue for the unlicensed use of Vick’s well known (except to me) alias. But considering how the alias became known, that’s probably a can of worms no rational lawyer or her/his client would want to open….

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