Tom Brady: Yahoo! in illegal procedure

New England Patriots star quarterback contends online service didn't have permission to use his photo in ad for its fantasy football offering.

NEW YORK ( -- New England Patriots star Tom Brady is suing Yahoo over the use of his photo in an advertisement for fantasy football.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, charges that Yahoo (Charts) used an image of the quarterback, who has won three Super Bowls, without his permission.

The suit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for the ad, which ran in this year's football preview issue of Sports Illustrated as well as on the Internet.

The ad also shows five other players: Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jeremy Shockey of the New York Giants, LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers and Randy Moss of the Oakland Raiders.

Tha lawsuit cites estimates that fantasy football is a $4 billion industry, and that the offering from Yahoo is reported to be the largest, with more than 4.4 million users.

The suit was filed Nov. 20. It was first reported on the Web site The Smoking

A Yahoo spokesman said the company would not comment on pending litigation.

Yahoo's competitors in the fantasy sports business include ESPN, a unit of Walt Disney Co. (Charts), and AOL, which like is a unit of Time Warner (Charts).

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