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Report: EA, Dog-Faced Cleveland Fan To Resolve Madden Suit

A recognizable super-fan of the NFL's Cleveland Browns will soon resolve a suit against Electronic Arts, which allegedly used the fan's dog mask-donning likeness in Madden NFL games without permission.
A recognizable super-fan of the NFL's Cleveland Browns will soon resolve a suit against Electronic Arts, which allegedly used the fan's dog mask-donning likeness in Madden NFL games without permission, according to a metro reporter for Cleveland.com. A lawyer for Browns fan John "Big Dawg" Thompson reportedly said earlier this month that the case is about to be dismissed. The lawyer did not reveal the terms of the dismissal, but expected the case to resolve in the coming weeks. Thompson sued EA earlier this year when he found out that last year's Madden NFL 09 featured an in-game fan whose dog-faced get-up was distinctly similar to that of Thompson's game day costume. He's been wearing the dog mask to Browns games for 25 years, the report said. Thompson was seeking a minimum of $25,000 and demanded that EA cease using his purported likeness in Madden NFL games. Thompson's suit said his dog-faced persona was used in Madden NFL as far back as 2005. The suit also said that "Big Dawg" Thompson ("Big Dawg" is part of his legal name) was part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural Hall of Fans class of 1999. His costume consists of the rubber bug-eyed dog mask, a jersey with the number "98," and an orange hardhat. In a separate suit this year, retired NFL player Jim Brown sued EA, accusing the game publisher of using his likeness in Madden NFL. But a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the suit, saying "The Madden NFL video games are expressive works, akin to an expressive painting that depicts celebrity athletes of past and present in a realistic sporting environment."

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