- Getty Images
FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports site worth over $1 billion, was just hit with a proposed class action lawsuit by Pierre Garcon, a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, who’s seeking to represent all NFL players.
Garcon basically accuses FanDuel of running a business and making money while using player names and likenesses without proper authorization.
From the complaint:
“… Mr. Garcon alleges that in the operation and sale of its online fantasy football gaming product, FanDuel knowingly and improperly exploits the popularity and performance of Garcon, along with all the other National Football League (“NFL”) players at offensive skilled positions without their authority or a valid license.”
“FanDuel routinely uses the names and likenesses of some of these NFL players without authorization to promote FanDuel’s commercial enterprise, collecting huge revenues from entry fees. Neither Mr. Garcon nor the NFL players he seeks to act on behalf of have given their consent to FanDuel’s blatant misappropriation of their publicity rights.”
Garcon also released the following statement separately:
“I am bringing this lawsuit against FanDuel for using my name, image, and likeness in both daily fantasy contests and through advertising on TV ads and infomercials. FanDuel has taken the liberty to engaged in these actions without my consent and without proper licensing rights. As a result of these activities, FanDuel daily fantasy contests have shown increasing revenues leading to large profits. Therefore, on behalf of myself as well as any other players who are being treated unjustly, I chose to file a complaint.
“I have been advised by my attorneys not to speak any further on the topic while the case is pending. Any other questions regarding this matter can be addressed to my agent, Brad Cicala.”
It’s likely FanDuel has an agreement with the NFL and other sports leagues to use its content, but this lawsuit alleges the daily fantasy sports site hasn’t signed any deals with the NFL players association for using player likenesses. Its rival site, DraftKings, on the other hand, has a licensing deal with the NFL Players Association.
It’s also worth noting that, in 2006, the federal court ruled it’s OK for fantasy baseball leagues to use player stats and images without a licensing agreement. It said player images and records were not part of MLB’s intellectual property, therefore, players had no rights to prevent fantasy leagues from using it.
This isn’t the first time FanDuel has faced a proposed class action lawsuit. Earlier this month, a player of the site accused FanDuel and DraftKings of negligence, fraud, and false advertising, alleging the employees of the two companies shared insider information to gain unfair advantage in the game.
Daily fantasy sports sites have enjoyed explosive popularity in recent years, with both FanDuel and DraftKings raising money at valuations north of $1 billion. But there have been deepening concerns over the sites’ lack of proper regulation and its vague classification as a “game of skill,” which prompted the state of Nevada to shut down all daily fantasy sports sites unless they got proper licenses.
Here’s the statement FanDuel sent us in response to this article:
“We believe this suit is without merit. There is established law that fantasy operators may use player names and statistics for fantasy contests. FanDuel looks forward to continuing to operate our contests which sports fans everywhere have come to love.”