Posted: November 19th, 2014
The final round of the 43rd Stanley Moot Court Competition will be held this coming Friday, November 21 in Worrell 1312 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The final round will showcase the top two law students in the moot court competition. The distinguished panel of judges includes: Judge Richard Dietz from the NC Court of Appeals, Judge Sally Adkins from the Maryland Court of Appeals and WFU Law Professor Simone Rose.
The competition will be followed by a reception outside of 1312.
The intramural moot court competition is held each fall semester and open to all second- and third-year law students. This competition is held in honor of Judge Edwin M. Stanley, a distinguished Wake Forest alumnus and supporter, who served as a United States District Court Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina from 1958 to 1968.
The summary of the case at issue is as follows:
Plaintiff-Appellant Finnick Everdeen is a retired professional baseball player. In February 2007, he became a shortstop for the Pan Am Tracker-Jackers, a major league baseball team. In October 2013, a fastball struck him in the face, severely injuring him and forcing him to retire. Defendant-Appellee Electronika is a multi-million dollar interactive entertainment software company that produced Spaceball. Spaceball involves an alien race from Elysia inviting Earth’s most talented baseball players to participate in the Galaxy Games, a series of nine games pitting Elysians and Earthlings against one another at Elysian Fields. If the Elysian’s win the Games, their leader President Glow intends to invade Earth. Elysia’s baseball-like game, spaceball, has two rules that differ from baseball. In spaceball, only two strikes constitute a strikeout, and if strike two is a foul ball, the batter is still out.
The Earthlings are “Earth’s best baseball players.” In the default mode, the Earthling avatar shortstop closely matches Everdeen’s physical attributes, as referenced in the 2012 Pan Am Tracker-Jackers Fan Media Guide. In the default mode, the shortstop avatar is listed as 6’2’’ and 175 pounds with blond hair and “blue-green” eyes. The avatar throws right-handed and bats left-handed and has a batting average of .366. The avatar’s jersey is blue and green, its logo is a trident, and its number is two just like Everdeen’s jersey. These attributes and details match Everdeen’s attributes during his 2012 season with the Tracker-Jackers, except that Everdeen weighed 185 pounds and has blue eyes. However, at one point in his career he weighed 175 pounds and wore green contact lenses. In the default mode, the other Earthling avatars also closely resemble other Tracker-Jacker players from the 2012 season. Users can directly influence the game’s outcome through the user’s own play-calling and avatar control. Game users may edit certain physical characteristics, jersey number, jersey colors, batting average, and other attributes. For example, heights can be altered from 5’5” to 8’0” and weights can be altered from 120 pounds to 400 pounds. Each avatar is unnamed in the default mode, but users can name them.
After discovering Spaceball at a party with his friends, Everdeen brought suit against Electronika for violating his right of publicity in the United States District Court for the District of Pan Am. Electronika filed an answer, and subsequently a Motion for Summary Judgment, where it conceded that Spaceball violates Mr. Everdeen’s right of publicity, but argued that it has a First Amendment affirmative defense described in a Third Circuit case, Hart v. Electronic Arts. The District Court granted Electronika’s motion, and Everdeen appealed to the Fourteenth Circuit Court of Appeals. On appeal, the parties were to use the transformative use framework established in Hart, which requires an assessment of: (1) the differences and similarities between the avatar and the plaintiff; (2) the context within which the digital avatar exists, and (3) the ability of users to change the avatar’s appearance.