SBD/June 28, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Former NCAA Athletes Send Cease-And-Desist Letters To TV Nets Over IP Rights

Lead counsel for O'Bannon penned letter to TV nets about player likeness

Attorneys for a group of former NCAA athletes yesterday sent cease-and-desist letters to ESPN, CBS and other nets saying “each of the networks ‘appears to have no right’ to feature the names, images and likeness of former football and basketball players without their permission,” according to Steve Wieberg of USA TODAY. Attorney Michael Hausfeld, lead counsel for former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, in the letter cited “the NCAA’s acknowledgment during a recent court hearing tied to the likenesses lawsuit that ‘there are no licenses from the NCAA to anybody that purport to, on their face or implicitly, constitute a license of any student-athlete rights.’” The letter asks that “any licensing fees paid to the NCAA or partner Collegiate Licensing Co. be placed in escrow and that contracts be rewritten to clarify what rights are held by the NCAA.” Additionally, the letter calls for “separate licensing contracts with individual former players” (USA TODAY, 6/28).

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