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While it’s lost steam, you likely recall what is commonly referred to as the “poker boom” of the 2000s. Due in large part to the sudden interest in the game resulting from ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker, it seemed like everyone was playing. This took the form not only of a massive uptake in friendly neighborhood games, but also in the emergence of online poker as a serious force in the internet world. That is, of course, until the United States government, conversely beholden to a largely religious lobbying effort coupled with an inability to collect taxes on the gaming, decided to shut down most of the popular poker sites. The result of the efforts by these anti-freedom groups was the crafting of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which then led to the takedowns of all kinds of poker sites. Predictably, this simply caused those sites to relocate domains and move their money processing facilities offshore, further depriving the government of both oversight and any chance at revenue. Recently, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, has sought to expand legalizing online gambling in his state, and is currently working through the legislative/vetoing process to do so as he sees fit.

Which brings us to today, where a company called the Rational Group, owners of the previously popular PokerStars and Full Tilt sites, is looking into buying a distressed Atlantic City casino, giving them a legitimate home-base of operations within America, allowing them to reopen their online poker doors, and providing a massive revenue opportunity to the state of New Jersey. Read more »

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of Techdirt. We’ll be sharing business-related posts from Techdirt from time to time on Dealbreaker.

If you need some handy numbers to argue that violent video games are more dangerous than guns, Public Policy Polling has just delivered a gift-wrapped poll result especially for you. In the middle of a long poll attempting to suss out potential front runners for the 2016 elections, PPP decided to toss in a question comparing violent video games and guns.


There you have it. Violent video games are a “bigger safety threat” than guns, according to two out of three respondents. Seems pretty open and shut. Everyone cross out the word “gun” on your pet piece of legislation and replace it with “video game!” The nation is saved!

Many of you may be reaching for your guns/lower jaw/commenting implement. Before we start firing off mouths/angry wall o' text screeds/bullets, let's have a look at the methodology. Read more »

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of Techdirt. We’ll be sharing business-related posts from Techdirt from time to time on Dealbreaker.

There are some absolutely ridiculous situations created by the fact that all creative works are automatically granted a copyright on being put into a fixed form. Mostly, we just ignore these situations, because the vast majority of them never matter. But, as copyright has become more and more ridiculous, some people are beginning to start to make use of the stupid fact that all kinds of things can be “owned” that probably shouldn’t be “ownable.” Take, for example, school work. If a student creates something, it is covered by copyright, though most people never really consider or care about that. However, the board of education for Prince George County in Maryland is apparently considering a new “copyright policy” in which all students and staff would have to assign all of those copyrights over to the school system itself. Read more »

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of Techdirt. We’ll be sharing business-related posts from Techdirt from time to time on Dealbreaker.

We’ve talked in the past about how unfortunate it is that the US Copyright Office seems almost entirely beholden to the legacy copyright players, rather than to the stated purpose of copyright law. That is, instead of looking at how copyright can lead to the maximum benefit for the public (“promoting the progress of science”) it seems to focus on what will make the big legacy players — the RIAA and MPAA — happy. Part of this, of course, is the somewhat continuous revolving door between industry and the Copyright Office. Just a few months ago we wrote about how the Copyright Office’s General Counsel, David Carson, had jumped ship to go join the IFPI (the international version of the RIAA).

Last night the news came out that the US Copyright Office had now named Karyn Temple Claggett as the Associate Register of Copyright and Director of Policy & International Affairs. While Temple Claggett has actually been at the Copyright Office for a little while as Senior Counsel for Policy and International Affairs, not too long ago she was a hotshot litigator for… the RIAA. In fact, an old bio of hers, from when she was at the RIAA (as VP, Litigation and Legal Affairs), notes that she was instrumental in their ever-present legal campaign against pretty much any innovative technology that comes along: Read more »

Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of Techdirt. We’ll be sharing business-related posts from Techdirt from time to time on Dealbreaker.

It’s long been clear to us that, rather than acting as incentives to innovators, or serving an important function by disclosing details about innovation, patents are little more than weapons to be used against innovators. We’ve highlighted numerous examples over the years, but recently-revealed emails between Steve Jobs and Ed Colligan (who was the CEO of Palm) highlight how Steve Jobs almost certainly illegally used patents as a weapon to threaten Palm away from hiring Apple employees. This all goes back to a DOJ investigation we wrote about years ago, concerning big Silicon Valley tech companies stupidly agreeing not to poach employees from each other. Not only is that an unfair restraint of trade, but as we’ve noted repeatedly, the free flow of employees between tech companies has been shown fairly conclusively to be a big part of why Silicon Valley companies tend to be so innovative.

While the DOJ settled with the tech companies, workers at those companies filed a civil lawsuit against their employers. Those companies have been trying to keep certain communications sealed and unavailable to the public, but Judge Lucy Koh rejected that request, leading to the public filing of an amazing declaration from Colligan that includes an email exchange between Colligan and Jobs, highlighting how Jobs sought to use patents as a weapon. Jobs told Colligan that if Palm hired more Apple employes, Apple would sue Palm for patent infringement. In the declaration, Colligan first explains how Jobs relayed the threat during a phone call: Read more »