Riot Games, the studio behind League of Legends, has lost a lawsuit in Dutch courts against former pro soccer player Edgar Davids. Davids sued Riot Games in his home country of the Netherlands for using his likeness in one of the MOBA’s premium skins. The Striker Lucian skin was part of a group of five soccer-themed skins Riot released in June 2014 to celebrate the year’s World Cup.
According to the lawsuit, Riot claimed that the similarities between Davids and the Striker Lucian skin were not significant. In the USA, where Riot Games is based, such an argument may have proven successful, as it’s much more difficult to prove the use of a person’s likeness. For example, Lindsey Lohan’s lawsuit against Rockstar regarding a Grand Theft Auto 5 character ended in Rockstar’s favor. Dutch courts were less sympathetic, siding with Davids and asking Riot to provide revenue reports for the skin in order to decide on appropriate compensation.
Davids started his professional career in 1991, when he made his debut for the Amsterdam Ajax first team. He’s especially well known for his stint with the Juventus club from 1997 through 2004, as well as his tenure with the Netherlands national team where he totaled 74 appearances. Davids is considered one of the best Dutch players of his time, and also one of the most recognizable due to his trademark dreadlocks and protective glasses.
It’s these distinctly visual attributes that helped Dutch courts make their decision. The Striker Lucian skin features both Davids’ dreadlocks and the visually identical protective glasses. While the dreadlocks may not be indicative, the gun-wielding Lucian League of Legends character has dreadlocks outside of this skin as well, the glasses are not so easily dismissed. Davids’ glasses have a unique shape and look to them that virtually any soccer fan would be able to recognize at first glance.
And the final nail in the coffin for Riot’s defense was a tweet from an intern that specifically said Striker Lucian was inspired by Edgar Davids. On its own, the tweet isn’t damning, but combined with the near-identical visuals to Davids himself it’s understandable why the courts sided with him. It probably didn’t hurt that Davids is a national hero.
League of Legends is available now on PC and is free-to-play.
Source: PC Gamer