An ongoing lawsuit by former NFL players threatens to disclose a secret procedure used in common Madden NFL games to select avatar identities, in accordance with court filings by Electronic Arts workers in Central Florida.

The firm and attorneys for a few of the former players argued that data about the game needs to be filed below seal - meaning it wouldn't be publicly out there.

The case was filed in 2010, on behalf of plaintiffs for instance former Rams player Vince Ferragamo, and is getting closer to certifying a class and to a trial. The lawsuit alleges that EA wrongly made use of player likenesses with out their permission.

Determining who all the plaintiffs are requires that the company disclose a number of its procedures. As of Tuesday, spreadsheets and data concerning the game - together with a motion to certify the class - weren't visible around the court docket soon after a debate about sealing them.

Orlando game designer Ryan Ferwerda said in a written affidavit to the court that "EA does not publicly discuss the precise attributes of Madden NFL avatars, its system of designing Madden NFL avatars, or the Madden NFL avatar database. EA takes affirmative methods to limit employee access ... EA believes that public disclosure of [the information] could have negative effects on EA's organization by, among other issues, top to competitive injury to EA."

The plaintiffs within the case not too long ago alleged in court filings that every retired pro player is identified, in EA's internal databases, by his actual name, team, number, along with other identifying qualities such as age or height.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs within the case criticized a survey that EA took of its buyers, saying it failed to prove that people can't recognize the video-game avatars, because EA failed to find out initially no matter if the people taking the survey had any familiarity with the former pro players to start with.

EA has argued that working with specific player likenesses was "incidental" inside the success on the game. But an appeals court rejected that argument. According to the appellate court opinion, EA's use of NFL player likeness is "central to EA's key commercial objective - to make a realistic virtual simulation of football games involving present and former NFL teams."