What Intellectual Property Rights to Collegiate Athletes Have?

Our NYC and Miami Entertainment Law Firm advises and represents clients in all legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters, and intellectual property.

Whether a famous athlete or a popular entertainment star, a person’s likeness – and one’s ability to control its use – is one of the most important and lucrative rights a person has. A person’s name alone can have incredible value depending on the situation. Of course, these intellectual property rights are usually used for licensing and endorsements, but in some instances it is necessary to protect these rights against unauthorized use.

Such may be the case for one famous Florida athlete whose name may have been unwittingly included in a popular video game. According to reports, Tim Tebow – then a star quarterback for the University of Florida – may have appeared in the popular video game NCAA Football 10 without compensation and possibly in violation of amateurism rules. A person playing the game noticed that a play included in game was titled “Shotgun Twin QA Tebow – Motion Stay,” which refers to the former Florida quarterback’s position and role in the play. The particular formation that appeared in the game was a staple in Tebow’s arsenal during his time with the Gators.

This particular game was produced through a licensing agreement with the NCAA. The wrinkle involving Tebow, however, could be another piece of evidence in a current lawsuit pitting former collegiate athletes against the NCAA. In that particular litigation, the former athlete-plaintiffs are arguing that the games’ producers, EA Sports and the College Licensing Company, collaborated on branded products and services in violation of antitrust laws by exploiting the players’ likenesses in the games and on other items for profit. The student-athletes currently do not receive any money from the licensing agreements, which would violate NCAA rules on amateurism.

While the result of the current lawsuit is unknown, it could potentially change the landscape of collegiate sports and redefine the rights of collegiate athletes to what many would consider their intellectual property. However, the bigger picture here – the importance of protecting one’s rights to their “rights of personality” – is not just limited to sports; it is just as vital to those in the entertainment industry. With the vast potential of using these rights to secure licensing and endorsements, it is important for those seeking such opportunities to understand that they may also need to go on the offensive to protect against unwanted or uncompensated use. And this is where it is a good idea for an entertainment lawyer to come in.

Source: SI.com, “Report: EA Sports used Tim Tebow’s name in NCAA Football 10,” Zac Ellis, May 23, 2013

The entertainment industry can be a complicated field to navigate. As a trusted leader in Miami entertainment law, ChaseLawyers can help. With over 40 years of experience, Our Miami based lawyers have helped individuals in nearly every area of entertainment law in Miami, including sports, music, film, television, modeling, literature, and more. We understand the unique challenges you face as a creative, and we’re prepared to protect your interests.

As an artist in Miami, you must navigate the intricacies of copyright law, trademarks, contractual agreements, and much more. It is critical you choose a qualified Miami entertainment lawyer with expertise in the nuances of the entertainment world. ChaseLawyers has built a stellar reputation among our clientele for honest, professional representation that produces effective results. We have extensive experience in the unique legal elements you must navigate as an artist, and our attorneys can provide you with indispensable career advice and expertise over the course of your entertainment career.

When you work with ChaseLawyers, you are more than just a client. We care about your well-being and can provide essential advice on the issues you face in the Miami market, such as intellectual property issues, negotiating service agreements, publicity rights, and much more. We also have an extensive network of resources available for our clients to connect with, and those connections can enrich your career in countless ways. Our team understands the complex world of entertainment law and will take care of your legal needs so you can focus on doing what you do best—sharing your talent with the world!

When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, our Miami entertainment lawyers are ready to help you. We are passionate about helping creatives with all of their legal needs, and you won’t find a team more dedicated to your success in all of Miami. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!