|Judge: Facenda's son can seek damages from NFL over Madden game|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 03 May 2007 13:25|
Facenda, in a written agreement signed before his 1984 death, gave the NFL full use of his announcing work except when it came to any product endorsement, according to the order of a federal judge Thursday.
John Facenda Jr. has been vigilant about protecting the use of his father's thundering baritone, which some have dubbed ``the voice of God.'' The ruling allows him to seek damages from a jury on the question of liability, although U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacob P. Hart threw out his invasion-of-privacy claim.
The NFL plans to appeal, and no trial date has been set.
``We disagree with the decision,'' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Facenda Jr. filed the suit after hearing snippets of his father's work on an NFL Network program about the making of the 2006 John Madden video game. The 22-minute program includes three lines from Facenda that last a combined 13 seconds.
``Xs and Os on the blackboard are translated into imagination on the field,'' Facenda says at one point.
Facenda Jr. contends the network program is a promotion for the video, citing the NFL's licensing agreement with the game's maker to support sales with promotional material. The program aired on the cable channel in August 2006, before the game's release.
The NFL calls the program a ``documentary.''
Facenda did most of his narration work for NFL Films under an oral agreement ``that he would be paid a certain amount for each program,'' the judge said in the order. However, Facenda signed a written agreement with NFL Films a few months before he died.
Facenda Jr. previously settled a lawsuit against the Campbell Soup Co. for using a Facenda-soundalike in radio and television ads.
``He does not want to wake up one day hearing his father's voice advertising condoms,'' said his lawyer, Paul Lauricella.
The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia against NFL Films Inc. and NFL Properties LLC.
``The Madden game's a great game,'' Lauricella said. ``We just think if it's going to be advertised (with his voice), it deserves to be compensated.''