U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson has dismissed an antitrust lawsuit brought by former NFL players Gene Washington, Diron Talbert, and Sean Lumpkin. The ex-players had alleged that the NFL monopolized the market for their images and likenesses.
The court distinguished American Needle from the case at hand by noting that the intellectual property involved here was historical game footage properly collectively owned by the NFL and the teams, not property owned only by the team, such as logos or colors. In addition, the court found that the NFL's copyright ownership for the footage cannot be considered a restraint of trade.
In sum, the court characterized the plaintiffs' claims as "[those] for royalties, not claims for antitrust."
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