POSTED 9:00 p.m. EST, December 7, 2006
BRADY TAKES ON YAHOO!
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has sued Internet giant Yahoo! for using his likeness in print and web ads for its fantasy football service.
The complaint is available at thesmokinggun.com.
The print ad in question appeared in the NFL preview issue of Sports Illustrated.
If features images of Brady, Jeremy Shockey, Randy Moss, LaDanian Tomlinson, Steve Smith, and Larry Johnson.
[img width=400 height=290]http://www.profootballtalk.com/SIad.gif[/img]
The photos appear to omit helmet logos and shirt logos, which would have gotten Yahoo! in hot Yoo-hoo with the NFL.
(The resulting picture reminds us of the old Topps football cards, which had the NFLPA license but not the NFL license.)
The problem is that the identity of the players is obvious.
And that's a major no-no.
So now that Brady is blazing the trail, we wouldn't be surprised at all if one or more of the other guys in the ad join in.
Brady also hit General Motors (an NFL sponsor) with a similar claim in 2005
And we don't blame him one bit.
These companies are using his image to help make money, without paying him any of the money that his image is generating.
The real issue, as we see it, is whether the Yahoo! attorneys got their law degrees from the bottom of a box of outdated Post Toasties.
Are they just stupid?
They recognized that they couldn't use the NFL logos, but apparently gave no thought to the misappropriation of player likenesses.