I am choosing to “opt out” of the proposed settlement in the Fred Dryer v. NFL Films lawsuit. By opting out I will preserve my rights against the NFL and their NFL Film division. If you choose to opt out of the proposed settlement your letter must be postmarked by August 30, 2013.
Here’s why I am opting out: The proposed settlement does not do what it purports to do.
The proponents of the settlement suggest that the settlement is fair for all players, and that it provides a mechanism to obtain access and use of your likeness, plus provides benefits for players in need. It does neither.
The settlement does not guarantee the player his rights or access to his likeness when he played in the league. The lawsuit is based on abuse and access to our likeness; however, the settlement does not indicate how that access to our likeness will happen. Nor does the settlement guarantee any tangible monetary benefit to the player for the past, present or future use of his likeness. Instead, there are unnamed organizations that may get funding to help players in need. Again, nothing tangible.
The most glaring omission, in my opinion, is the fact that no one has determined the value of NFL Films library or the potential value of that asset. Without the value of that asset being determined, the players will never know what a fair settlement would be. Many believe the value of NFL Films to be in the billions of dollars.
Moreover, with the advent of advancing technology, there will be endless possibilities to repurpose all of the archived NFL content (including practice tape and video) along with distribution channels to anyone who wishes to view this content – so long as the consumer pays the NFL to view the content. This settlement would leave the player on the sidelines without access or any future revenue streams.
For example, right now at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the Cirque du Soleil has produced Michael Jackson in Hologram dancing with live actors on stage. So real is the appearance and movement, that when I first saw it, I thought of the Likeness Lawsuit and thought someday NFL films could re-create a Superbowl having the 1967 Packers play the 1985 Bears in Hologram, or have the consumer choose the teams to play against one another in Hologram. Again, the possibilities are endless and mindboggling.
On August 20, 2013, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goddell, met with the CEO of Google to discuss access and content deals ( http://allthingsd.com/20130820/is-google-ready-to-buy-its-way-into-tv-with-an-nfl-deal/). This is all one needs to know to realize what the NFL intentions are.
A player’s right to his likeness is his legacy for his family and heirs, just like it is for the person who has created something of significance which has lasting value. The same should hold true to any settlement that involves the player’s likeness.
I am opting out to preserve my future and my rights.