EA Sports: It’s in the … doghouse

Reno composer Gerald Willis is suing video game publisher Electronic Arts for using the UNLV fight song in 10 of its games without his permission and paying him a rights fee.

Willis has a 1990 copyright on "Win With the Rebels" and is suing EA for $150,000 on each alleged violation.

Willis, a high school music teacher and conductor for the Truckee Meadows Community College orchestra, field suit a month ago in U.S. District Court. UNLV, which is not named in the lawsuit, has a limited license to use the song, according to Willis’ attorney, Ellen Winograd.

"The UNLV band sounds great when they play it, and that’s what it was written for," she said. "It was not written for commercial use."

Willis, however, should have two bigger concerns.

First, those who live near him in Reno might discover he wrote the song for the rival Rebels. And a class action suit might be filed against Willis for misrepresentation by using "Win" and "Rebels" in the song title if played during football season.

• HELIO PREVIEW — IndyCar champion Helio Castroneves was permitted by a court to travel with his Penske Racing team to compete in this weekend’s nonpoints IndyCar race in Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Castroneves was charged last month with conspiracy and tax evasion for allegedly dodging U.S. taxes on about $5.5 million in income by using offshore accounts. He has pleaded not guilty and was freed on $10 million bail.

If convicted, Castroneves could be facing prison time.

Before he left for Australia, someone should have told him the continent originally was settled as a British penal colony.

• BUCKEYE NUTS — Having a tradition of winning college football games has its drawbacks.

Ohio State fans are focusing on today’s biggest game of the Big Ten season when the Buckeyes host unbeaten Penn State in the first night game at Ohio Stadium since 2005.

Columbus and university police, however, are focusing on the likelihood of a rowdy celebration if the Buckeyes upset the Nittany Lions.

Students at Ohio State and Central Ohioans who wish they were OSU students are noted for turning High Street — the eastern border of the campus — into a riot zone whenever the Buckeyes beat Michigan, which has happened a lot lately.

• WOLF PACK ‘D’ — This year’s edition of the UNR men’s basketball team should be awesome on defense. The Wolf Pack already is leading the league in steals.

Starting guard Brandon Fields has pleaded not guilty to a shoplifting charge stemming from an incident this month, and freshman point guard London Giles pleaded guilty Wednesday to petty larceny. Another player, Ahyaro Phillips, is to be arraigned Monday.

"It certainly is an isolated event, and I don’t believe this is going to be the measuring stick of this man’s character," Thomas Viloria, the attorney for Giles, said of his client.

Viloria said the criminal complaint does not specify what the three players are accused of taking.

Coach Mark Fox suspended each player indefinitely.


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