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Madden NFL Monopoly lawsuit enters court February
Posted on January 13, 2013 by Drew Bergmark

The case between Precovor & Electronic Arts will enter court with a session due to occur in less than a month on February 7th in Oakland, California. For those who purchased a new game from the NFL, AFL or NCAA franchises between 2005 and the end of 2012, you can file a claim to become a part of the class action lawsuit. Being a class action lawsuit, this case, while being dealt with in a state court, is considered a private case meaning that the amount the game publishing corporation is being sued will triple in penalties & repercussion fees which as listed on the Class Action Rebates page reads out to a nice and even $27 million if the judge adheres to the plaintiff's statements.

The amount of money that will be reimbursed is the following: $6.79 per game on Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation 2, PC, or Nintendo Gamecube (Sixth Generation Purchasers) up to a maximum of $54.32 (8 games). $1.95 per game on Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3, PC, or Nintendo Wii (Seventh Generation Purchasers) up to a maximum of $15.60 (8 games). If you are interested in filing a claim, you should file them before March as anything received after March 5th will not be accepted as part of the case. For more information on the case and history on the franchise, check out a detailed breakdown below.

For those of you who just started following the video game industry, Electronic Arts has built their corporation off of sports games but football games in particular. In 1982, Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, said his real reason for creating the company was to create a virtual football game. After years of arbitrary legal discussions about a football property using the name "John Madden," then popular football commentator, as the key figure for the game, the Madden video game franchise came into EA’s control in the 90’s.

In 2004, Electronic Arts signed an exclusive license through 2009 with the NFL & NFL Player Association earning virtual entertainment rights to the entire league. According to contracts between the National Football League & EA, the exclusivity deal is still in place and it is unknown to when it’ll expire. The reason why I bring this all up is because there is currently a lawsuit that has gone under-reported between Pecover, which is a group of three Indiana lawyers, and Electronic Arts to break up a monopoly on virtual development rights for the NFL.

Derived from the Greek word meaning alone, this lawsuit seeks to break up the monopoly to open companies like Take-Two to be able to create a competitive market instead of allowing one developer to create what some may call a bland and unpolished product annually uncontested. Releasing before the exclusivity deal between the NFL & EA, 2K Sports released NFL 2k5 on July 20th, 2004. Potentially, this lawsuit could give attention to the government of the unlawful nature of the contract according to anti-trust laws within the USA.

The NFL isn’t the only league that EA has exclusive contracts with. The Arena Football League (AFL) & National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have agreed as well to allow Electronic Arts to release games exclusively. However, EA argues the point of the plaintiff’s lawsuit saying that trademarks and other intellectual properties are being shared between the two organizations in reward of previous success and that previously mentioned trademarks are open for use to other publishers and developers. Why would there be an exclusive deal between the two if other companies could use the same properties though? Before anyone mentions the 2012 release of NFL Blitz: with the closing of Midway Games in 2009, EA acquired the property in their continuing deal with the NFL.

Source:  Class Action Rebates

Drew Bergmark - Staff Writer viggo (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

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