On March 14, 2007, 7 of the best poker players all over the world filed for a summary judgment against the World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE), before a federal district court in Los Angeles. The plaintiffs in the case are Chris Ferguson, Andrew Bloch, Annie Duke, Phil Gordon, Joseph Hachem, Howard Lederer and Greg Raymer. They have presented undisputed evidence which clearly proves that the WPTE, the main owner of the World Poker Tour (WPT), has committed triple violations of the federal anti-trust laws.
The plaintiffs in the case are seeking a summary declaration issued by the court, saying that the WPTE and the casinos which usually host the WPT tournaments have illegally collaborated with one another to force the poker professionals to sign non-negotiable releases, that will require the players to give the WPTE the rights to use their names, likenesses, voices and even pictures with no just compensation at all so that the company can take advantage of these rights to advertise their own products and services.
The plaintiffs also said that the evidence also clearly establishes that both the WPTE and the casinos have agreed to kick out any players who will not agree to sign those "release papers". The 2 parties are also accused of restricting the number of poker tournaments in the WPT by saying that the casinos cannot back any televised non-WPT event of the game of poker.
The plaintiffs said that the agreement is clearly a violation of the federal anti-trust law. If the motion is granted by the court, the WPTE will be permanently banned from asking the casinos to ask the plaintiffs and the other poker professionals from signing such releases which will give the WPTE the privilege to use the poker professionals' intellectual property rights from past and present tournament releases and from not allowing the casinos to sponsor any poker tournaments that are not sanctioned by the WPT.
The main counsel for the plaintiffs, Jeffrey Kessler, said that if the players win the motion, it will immediately put an end to the WPTE's unfair rules. Players will now be able to compete on the WPT tournaments without having to give up any intellectual property rights with no just compensation at all.
06/19/2007 21:53 PM