Diego Maradona, the former footballing legend from Argentina, has won a legal case against two Chinese gaming companies. The9 Information Technology Co and The9 Computer Technology Consulting (Shanghai) were penalised for using Maradona’s image rights without obtaining his consent.
A Chinese court made the ruling this week following claims by the 52 year old Argentine’s legal team that the game ‘Hot-Blooded Soccer’ featured a cartoon of Maradona and his signature without his consent. The game was originally developed by computer specialists The9 Ltd.
The Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing ordered the Chinese gaming companies to pay Maradona 3 million yuan in compensation, this equates to approximately Â£310,000. Maradona’s legal team had originally demanded 20 million yuan, however the judge awarded substantially less damages, reasoning that the popularity of the game and the amount of time Maradona’s image had been exposed to the public did not warrant such a high figure. Maradona’s lawyer Ge Youshan has stated that his client is currently deciding whether to appeal the decision.
The game, which according to China Daily has now been removed from the internet, featured on one of China’s most popular online gaming platforms, Beijing Sina Internet Information Company. The9 Ltd, a company co-founded by the owner of football club Shaghai Shenua, has also been ordered to post a formal apology to Diego Maradona on its website for a duration of 3 months.
Here at Farleys we have a number of specialist solicitors dealing with the infringement of image rights in both the sport and media sectors. If you have been affected by any of the above issues then do not hesitate to contact us today to speak to one of media lawyers who will be more than happy to advise you on the grounds for making a successful claim.