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Boston Celtics star sues EA

William "Bill" Russell files lawsuit over likeness in NCAA game

Basketball player William "Bill" Russell has filed a lawsuit against both EA and the National Collegiate Athletic Association for using his likeness in the NCAA videogame.

According to a report by BusinessWeek Russell has alleged that the Tournament of Legends feature of the game features his as a college player, without his permission.

ES and the NCAA are already facing a similar lawsuit from fellow player Ed O'Bannon.

"Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O'Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men's basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses," the player's attorney, Jon King, told BusinessWeek.

Russell wants to see sales of the videogame halted, and is also seeking unspecified damages.

EA and the NCAA denying any wrong doing.

"Mr. Russell, like the thousands of other student-athletes who played the game, can capitalize on his likeness, reputation, athletic and academic successes as a student-athlete after college," argued NCAA general counsel Donald Remy.

Such lawsuits "would cause the NCAA to lock up its archive of championship contests, and they would be held hostage unless every student-athlete, coach, band member, cheerleader and fan in a photo or camera shot received compensation. That is not how the law works nor should it be."

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.