A recent decision¹ rendered by the State Court of São Paulo affirmed that the unauthorized use of image (likeness) of a professional soccer player in a video game results in civil damages.
In this case, a soccer player filed a lawsuit against the developer of the game “Pro Evolution Soccer” due to the unauthorized use of his name and likeness in the cover and different versions of the game. In its defense, the company argued that damages should not be granted, since it had executed a contract with the player’s team and FIFPro (International Federation of Professional Footballers), the worldwide entity which controls the licensing of professional sport teams.
The Court rejected the developer’s arguments based on the understanding that the authorization to use a player’s image (likeness) for the purposes under discussion could only be granted by the athlete himself or by a person/legal entity to which he had assigned such rights. Therefore, the game developer was ordered to pay damages to the soccer player in the amount of approximately USD 11,000.
¹ Lawsuit no. 1126481-26.2016.8.26.0100