Those of us in poker media know about 180Vita, founded by Jamie Nevin, all too well. The company is the previous owner of Pokerupdate.com, a site that once had a reputation for copying content word-for-word from other sources without permission or attribution while under 180Vita’s umbrella. The PokerUpdate site was sold last year and is no longer associated with 180Vita.
Companies that produce poker videos have voiced displeasure towards Pokertube, owned by 180Vita, for hosting its content without permission. Its “unrivalled” live coverage of poker events drew some ire last summer.
On Sunday, I published an article about a Las Vegas poker room closing. Two days later, Pokertube did the same. They attributed a rumor to me and then went on to copy my article almost word-for-word without using quotes or further attribution. A Copyscape search confirms this.
Pokertube also copy/pasted a chart listing the last 12 poker rooms in Las Vegas to close, again presenting my work as its own.
I have included screenshots of the Pokertube article at the bottom of this post with a link to my article that was used.
My past criticism not welcomed by 180Vita
180Vita did not take my criticism well in the past. In 2013, I got sick of its content theft and wrote an article about it. Instead of deleting the content and apologizing, 180Vita sent a lawyer after me, claiming that I had some personal vendetta against the company. 180Vita only deleted the copied content after I posted at 2+2 that it was still live five days after the date on the cease-and-desist letter.
They continued to threaten legal action when I refused to cooperate. They even demanded that I sign an apology and publicly recant the articles, as well as agreeing not to write about them anymore. I refused.
I did not have time for their behavior. I agreed that if they changed their ways I would remove the content. I regret that decision, and apologize to the poker community for it, but if 180Vita filed its promised lawsuit, it would have been a massive waste of my time to defend. I had better things to do.
I felt like the behavior of copying content would cease and something good could come out of it if I gave them a chance. They seemed very sincere about fixing the problem and I believed them. I don’t feel like my goal was accomplished since here I am again writing about the same topic 18 months later.
Nevada Anti-SLAPP law enacted
Nevada’s powerful Anti-SLAPP law went into effect in October 2013, about 10 weeks after the date on 180Vita’s cease-and-desist letter. This article I wrote at the time should explain why that matters. The cliffs are that people that file frivolous defamation lawsuits against Nevadans after October 1, 2013 are severely punished before the case is ever heard.
Any legal threats pertaining to this post will be ignored, but I will happily post it here for the industry to critique, should I receive one.
Even after all this, I still tried to handle situation privately
Since 180Vita threatened me, I have gone to them twice privately about issues surrounding that company’s unauthorized use of work involving me to avoid having to write an article like this. I simply wanted to keep the peace.
The company removed the offending work both times. I suppose it is good that they were quick to remove the content, but all that does is give them a freeroll. I have grown tired of it.
Their actions lead me to believe that their previous legal threat was nothing more than a way to continue using work like mine, while at the same time discouraging people from exposing them.
The fact the behavior has not stopped certainly backs up my theory. To the best of my knowledge, 180Vita has never shown any remorse over threatening me or using my work without permission, more evidence that backs up my opinion.
Check out this Twitter exchange
This Twitter exchange is an example of how Pokertube/180Vita handles a public demand of content removal:
In my opinion, the responses to the content removal demand accurately reflect the values and attitude of 180Vita, parent company of Pokertube.com and Pokervip.com.
I always try to work out issues privately first
Sometimes writers publish something while tired and don’t do enough to differentiate their work. Other times, a bad article from a rogue freelancer may get past an editor.
I feel like everyone deserves a free pass on this at some point. We all make mistakes. The friendly email I send when I discover my work being used without permission is almost always met with some level of remorse and an apology.
180Vita is well past this being a one-time mistake and I have let this go on for too long.
What is the big deal?
Some people that are not writers may not understand why this is such a big deal. Writers make money by providing content to sites. This can be news, editorials, poker room reviews, or anything else that gets published. If another site steals it, the original work’s value is diminished.
This is why copyright laws exist. Without the ability to protect one’s work from unauthorized use, there would be little incentive to create, which would substantially lower the quality of published work out there. If my work loses half of its value because I allow it to be used by other sites, I will be forced to find other work.
Comparing the articles
Here is the link to the original article. Compare it to these screenshots of the body of the Pokertube article below. Note that the differences between the two articles mostly pertain to grammatical errors inserted into the Pokertube version.