A Motion for Summary Judgment was filed today in Los Angeles by attorneys for the 7 professional poker players (Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Andy Bloch, Phil Gordon, and past World Series of Poker champions Chris Ferguson, Greg Raymer, and Joe Hachem),who are suing World Poker Tour Enterprises, Inc. (WPTE). Antitrust litigation is always an interesting area of law, and this lawsuit is no exception.
If you are not familiar with this lawsuit, the 7 top rated poker players contend that the WPTE agreements are illegal and are violations of Federal Antitrust laws.
Troublesome to the 7 (and their lawyers) is the release in the agreement. The release contains the following:
Player…hereby irrevocably grants to WPT the right to film, record, edit, reproduce and otherwise use Player’s name, photograph, likeness, signature, biographical information, appearance, actions (including without limitation, revealing Player’s hole cards), conversations … and/or voice … in, and in connection with, the Programs and/or the “World Poker Tour” … and any and all derivative, allied, subsidiary and/or ancillary uses related thereto (including, without limitation, merchandising, commercial tie-ins, publications, home entertainment, video games, commodities, etc.), in whole or in part, by any and all means, media, devices, processes and technology now or hereafter known or devised in perpetuity throughout the universe.
Since each player must buy in to the tour (pay to play), the release signs over the players’ rights to the WPTE for FREE!
No one can argue that the above release is “heavily restrictive”. The question for the court is whether it violates antitrust laws. Only time will tell how this ends, which is very much like every hand of poker ever played in history, and those to be played in perpetuity ….throughout the universe!
If you question whether you have been forced to sign a contract with a customer or vendor that violated your rights or the law, feel free to call Sylvester Oppenheim & Linde. Our trial lawyers will provide perspective and outline options. There is never a charge for an initial consultation at SO&L, and our attorneys are easy to reach at 818-461-8500 or you may fill in our brief contact form and we will call you.