Dispatches from the Creation Wars

There is now a webpage devoted specifically to the lawsuit filed against the World Poker Tour by 7 of the top poker players in the world. You can find the text of the complaint here. I haven’t had much of a chance to go over it yet, and I know next to nothing about antitrust law, but perhaps some of the legal eagles here can shed some light on the issue. At issue, essentially, is whether the WPT can require the players to sign away all rights to their own likeness in order to play in a WPT event, even if the WPT uses that likeness to promote something other than the tournament or the TV show. For instance, under the standard contract they require players to sign, they can use the player’s image to promote their video game or their poker website. But many of those players, including all of the ones in the lawsuit, have endorsement deals with other online poker sites or other poker video games, which effectively locks them out from playing WPT events. If the WPT is smart – and it appears they’re not – they would capitulate on this one fast. They’re preventing a whole bunch of the biggest names in poker from playing in their tournaments, which inevitably drives down ratings for the show. Whatever small benefit they get from the ability to use the players’ likenesses to promote the video game or online site is surely offset by the decreased viewership that comes from not having those players around.

Comments

  1. #1 jkline
    July 21, 2006

    What I find interesting is that these players are playing the Professional Poker Tour which is done by WPTE.

    I guess the contract for that must be different.

    Also, the PPT suffers from the same problem as the WPT and WSOP, horrendous commentators. I can stand Mike Sexton and Lon McEachern but hate Vince VanPatten, Matt Corroy and Mark Seif. Seif I like as a player but man does he suck on as a PPT host.

    I like being able to watch the early stages of a tournament to see that play. I’ll wait and see how the rest of the year goes before I decide if I really like the idea of the PPT or not

  2. #2 Coises
    July 22, 2006

    http://www.allwhois.com shows the domain name of that webpage, wptlawsuit.com (which was obviously created just to publicize this story) as registered to: “Domains by Proxy, Inc.” So, as this develops, we might want to remember that whoever went to the trouble and expense to create this website to tell us about the suit apparently doesn’t want us to know who he, she or they are.

  3. #3 Ed Brayton
    July 22, 2006

    It’s not exactly a mystery. The website was put up by the same people who filed the suit. That’s why you see them answering comments there.

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