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Associated Press , Published September 26 2013

EA will not release 'NCAA Football' next year amid suits

NEW YORK — Electronic Arts says it will not publish a college football video game next year.

The video game publisher had initially vowed to maintain the franchise after the NCAA decided in July to ends its contract to lend its logo to the game. But since then, several college conferences have followed the NCAA's lead, and a federal appeals court ruled that Electronic Arts Inc. must face legal claims by players that it unfairly used their images without compensation.

Cam Weber, the company's vice president for football, said in a statement on the EA Sports website Thursday that "the ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position."

Weber adds that the Redwood City, Calif., company is "evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise."

EA Sports began making an NCAA Football game in 1998. The company's Madden football franchise, however, is more popular.

Weber likened EA's use of athletes' images in its games to "companies that broadcast college games and those that provide equipment and apparel."

July's appeals court ruling said that EA can't invoke the 1st Amendment to shield itself from the players' lawsuit. EA had claimed that its games were works of art that deserve freedom-of-expression protection. But the court disagreed, ruling that the characters used in the games were exact replicas of individual players.


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