September 24, 2022 Poker Gossip, Poker News Lars Liedtke

PokerStars Threatens to Sue PokerPaint over Image Copyright Infringements

Brett Butz, the poker player behind the PokerPaint account on Twitter, has been served a Cease and Desist notice from PokerStars for his incessant use of unattributed and copyrighted photos in his artwork…

Butz has been passing off filtered versions of major poker photographers’ works for a while now, apparently unwilling to pay for using the copyrighted pics.

Several photographers have already sent Butz C&D notices for breaching their copyright, but an unrepentant Butz has continued to steal their work and pass it off as his own after adding some coloured filter techniques.

This week, PokerStars joined the growing body of those exasperated with Butz’s refusal to stop doing what is essentially an illegal activity, with a threat to sue him if he doesn’t comply.

Butz was soon on Twitter apologizing, but not to the photographers, but rather the big-name pros he seems desperate to impress, describing PokerStars as “petty” for enforcing their copyright.

The “Bill Perkins” tweet in our intro was followed by a similar one for Fedor Holz, although Butz claims that Holz  has already hidden the copyright-theft NFT version he made from a Jamie Thomson photograph…

Butz’s copyright theft was outed last year when photographer Hayley Hochstetter tore him a new one, aided and abetted by Daniel Negreanu publicising the infringements…

Butz eventually issued an apology of sorts, to which Hochstetter –head of the PokerNews’ photo team for last year’s WSOP – responded: “Appreciate the apology, but claiming ignorance still isn’t the way to go.”

She added: “Now that you’re more aware of the copyright laws, the best path to take is to remove ALL images before major companies get their lawyers involved. (WSOP, WPT, PokerStars, PokerNews, PokerGO).”

Butz, however, soon reverted to his old ways, this time turning copyright work into NFTs. Well-known poker photographer Danny Maxwell was among those fed up with Butz’s continued thefts…

Butz’s “artwork” has been listed for sale at prices as high as $20k, with one of 10 Dwan vs Ivey prints up for sale, based on an iconic snapshot of the legends in battle on Poker After Dark.

Despite the hefty price tags, Butz responded to PokerStars’ legal threats by denying he made any profit from his versions of the original pics…

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The main thrust of PokerStars’ C&D notice reads: “PokerStars treats copyright infringement as a very serious matter and fullly enforces its rights against infringers. We therefore demand that you and PokerPaint:

1. Immediately cease and desist from all reproduction, publsihing, distribution, transmission, display, performance, advertising, licensing and sale of materials that infringe PokerStars’ intellectual property rights, includding on your websites pokerpaint and opensea.

2. Destroy all such materials in your inventory or otherwise in your possession or control, inclluding all copies in printed or electronic form;

3. Provide PokerStars with a full accounting of all Infringing Image(s) sold, licensed or otherwise distributed and all proceeds therefrom.

However, once again Butz appears to believe the onus is on the photographers and other copyright owners to reach out to him to strike a deal, rather than for him to obtain permission and offer payment.

Whether the legal threats will finally be enough to stop Butz and his PokerPaint company from breaching copyright is yet to be seen, but given his previous the smart money id probably against it.

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