NFL Argues Retirees' Image Rights Claims Should Only Apply Since '03
The NFL contended in a court filing yesterday that retirees suing the league for their use in NFL Films footage should only be able to make claims for their allegedly improper use in broadcasts since August 25, 2003, and in most cases even more recently. The NFL contends federal rights of publicity laws time bars the claims to six years before the case was filed, in this case August 25, 2009. Most of the players in the case, like Fred Dryer and Dan Pastorini, played in the '60s and '70s, and are suing for use of their image from that time forward.
“All of the plaintiffs’ claims that arose on or before August 25, 2003 – six years before the earliest of the consolidated actions was commenced on August 25, 2009 – should therefore be dismissed,” the NFL argued. And the league contends that many of the state laws regarding rights of publicity are even more time restrictive, so the court needs to figure out precisely how far back each player can go. The players contend their images are being unlawfully used in NFL Films, while the league counters they signed away those rights in their contracts. The Minnesota federal court set a July 11 hearing on the league’s motion to partially dismiss.