Nevada Authorizes Interstate Online Gambling Arrangements

While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed an online gambling bill earlier this month, the Governor of Nevada has signed legislation (Nevada 2013-AB114) [PDF] that enables and authorizes Nevada to make arrangements and enter into agreements with other States that legalize interstate online poker conducted across those state lines. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) still holds that sports betting is illegal under the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 and there has been no move to repeal or amend the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 or, for example, the corresponding compliance obligations applicable to financial institutions imposed by the FDIC [PDF]. However, at the end of 2011, the DOJ released a memorandum indicating it no longer believes that non-sports related online betting and wagering (e.g., online poker) is prohibited by the Wire Act, essentially paving the way for States to act in the arena of intra-State online gambling – including sports wagering solely within the State.

Technically, the Nevada statute eliminates a provision in the existing law that would require either approval from the U.S. DOJ or some Federal enabling legislation and the effect is that the Gaming Commission in Nevada may now adopt regulations that authorize the State (ostensibly through the Governor’s office), to enter into agreements with other States. Obviously, each other State would require similar enabling legislation and New Jersey is poised to again send another bill to the Governor’s office in the hopes they can craft legislation Governor Christie is willing to sign.
Nevada has traditionally had a strong regulatory environment and the bill includes the following language expressing the intent and basis for the new legislation. The bill notes that “The state of Nevada leads the nation in gaming regulation and enforcement…” and “ … is uniquely positioned to develop an effective and comprehensive regulatory structure related to interactive gaming.” .

If you need more information about the complex legal and regulatory issues that relate to online or interactive gaming or gambling and the payment and e-Commerce implications and requirements, not only in the United States, but internationally, feel free to contact me, Joseph I. Rosenbaum or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work. 

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Multiple Choice Question: What do the following have in common:

“Privacy & Data Protection: Distinctions Between Surveillance and Secrecy”

“Ethics, Process, Privilege, Discovery and Work Product in the Digital Age”

“When Worlds Collide: Old Ethics and New Media”

“Outsourcing: The Law & Technology”

“The Changing Legal Landscape: Evolution or Revolution”

“Growing Your Business Internationally – What to Know Before You Go”

“Social Media, Mobile Marketing, Clouds and Crowds: (modules)

  • Advertising & Marketing in a Digital World
  • Media & Entertainment: Digital Rights and Wrongs
  • Financial Services, Payments & E-Commerce
  • Online Gaming, Gambling & Virtual Worlds
  • Apps & M-Commerce
  • Context & Geo-Marketing: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SMS, RFID, QR Codes & Augmented Reality
  • Operations & Performance, Security, Compliance and Interoperability
  • Wired & Wireless: Sweepstakes, Contests, Product Placement & Branded Entertainment
  • Anti-Social? Communication & Public Relations for Companies, Employees & Investors
  • Behavioral Advertising, Endorsements, Blogs, Buzz, Viral, Street Teams & Word of Mouth
  • Labor & Employment Policies in a Networked Age: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
  • Crowd Sourcing, Crowd Funding, Crowd Investing: Today & Tomorrow

“Privacy, Data Protection & Globalizing Technology: Digital Commerce Brings Legal Challenges”

“Comparative Advertising Issues: Multinational Brands; Global Challenges”

“Direct to Consumer: Legal Challenges in the Digital Marketplace”

“Out of Control? Challenges to Privacy & Security in a Big Data World.”


Answers: (a) Seminars & Presentations Given; (b) Seminars & Presentations Available; (c) Targeted at Lawyers; (d) Targeted at Commercial and Business Management; (e) Relevant to Small-to-Medium Size Business; (f) Relevant to Multinational, International & Global Companies; (g) None of the Above; or (Y) All of the Above.

If you guessed (Y), you are correct. Let us know if any of these, a combination of these or a customized version of these or any other presentations might be right for you. Hey, you never know, but what you don’t know, can hurt you. For more information, contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work.

Useless But Compelling Facts – February 2013

Continuing with our date related trivia themes, February 18th (yesterday) is an interesting day for Arts & Sciences in history.

On the 18th of February in 1564, Michelangelo Buonarotti, the famed Italian painter, sculptor and architect, died. On this same date in 1885, Samuel L. Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, published Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, coming on the heels of his successful book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Now those are the art factoids.

In science, however, February 18th has a discovery – that also has a somewhat unique fact – with which it is associated. The discovery, made in 1930, was subsequently overturned and determined to be incorrect in 2006.

What was the discovery, who discovered it and what happened to it?

Useless But Compelling Facts – August 2012 Answer

OK. OK. So it’s been a while. . . But trivia, like rock ‘n roll, never dies. So back in August, we asked a number of trivia questions about Augustus Caesar. As you will see below, only one person got the answers all correct and so here is what he told us – embellished a bit by yours truly.

First (and easiest) the name of the month in the Roman calendar before it was called August was Sextilis. Next, Augustus Caesar was actually born Gaius Octavius Thurinus on September 23, 63 BCE. He was referred to as Octavius, but after being adopted by Julius Caesar, he was called Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius. Octavius’ mother was Atia Balba Caesonia, a niece of Julius Caesar and thus Octavius was the grandson of Julius Caesar’s sister. When Octavius’ father died, Julius Caesar adopted Octavius and changed his name. You never learned this in Shakespearean English classes did you?

Subsequently, when the Roman Senate conferred the title of ‘Augustus’ upon him, he was known as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. Although Augustus was never crowned as Emperor, the Roman Senate did bestow a permanent title of ‘Imperatur’ or Commander-in-Chief upon him. Although ruthless to his enemies (and suspected enemies), Augustus is widely regarded as the leader who gave Rome its Golden Age, but heralded the onset of a long period of internal peace in the Roman Empire – sometimes called Pax Romana or Pax Augusta – lasting more than 200 years and ending with the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 CE.

The winner of our August contents is our very own GALA member, colleague and friend from Australia, Peter Le Guay, partner at Thomsons Lawyers, who got every single part of the answer correct – ok, I had to prod a little, but he did. Congratulations Peter!

A New Twist to Chubby Checker – Oh No, Not an App for That!

Chubby Checker, whose real name is Ernest Evans, is suing Hewlett Packard for trademark infringement. Chubby Checker, an iconic music entertainer, rose to fame when his song “The Twist” first reached No. 1 on the charts in 1960 and his appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and “American Bandstand” helped spawn a national, if not international, dance frenzy. His 2008 song “Knock Down the Walls” reached the top of the dance charts and sparked a brief comeback for the music legend.

Ernest Evans Corporation, one of Mr. Checker’s companies, was originally granted trademark rights for the use of his name in connection with musical performances. Later, The Last Twist Inc., another of his companies, was granted trademark rights for “Chubby Checker’s” in connection with food products, based on the release of a line of snack foods.

The mobile “app” named “The Chubby Checker” – no, we couldn’t possibly make this up – ostensibly enabled users who downloaded it to calculate the size of a male penis based on the individual’s shoe size. The development shop named Magic Apps, now non-existent, had touted the international appeal of the app, noting “The Chubby Checker” allows calculations based on U.S., UK and European shoe sizes.

Lawyers for Mr. Checker had sent HP a cease-and-desist letter last September and apparently the app was removed from all HP or Palm-hosted websites later that month. In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, lawyers for Mr. Checker, now 71 years old, claim that “irreparable damage and harm” has been done to the entertainer’s name and reputation, are seeking an injunction, and are asserting claims of millions of dollars in damages arising from “The Chubby Checker” app that Hewlett Packard Co. made available on Palm mobile devices starting in 2006. You may recall that HP acquired Palm in 2010, and a year later opted to shutter the production of Palm hardware, although it continued to provide technical support to existing Palm users.

The suit alleges that purchasers of the app, as well as anyone simply browsing the webpage, had been misled into believing that Chubby Checker had endorsed the app, and that the use of his name would confuse users who might reasonably conclude the singer had some association with the app bearing his name.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants made millions of dollars exploiting the name of one of the greatest musical entertainers of our time, and claims the “Defendants’ use of the name ‘Chubby Checker’ in its app is likely to associate the plaintiffs’ marks with the obscene, sexual connotation and images evoked by defendants’ app ‘The Chubby Checker.’” You can read the filing in its entirety right here at Evans, et al. v. Hewlett Packard Company, et al., Case 2:13-cv-14066-JEM.

The Advertising, Technology & Media Law Group at Rimon has lawyers with decades of experience in working with advertisers and agencies, marketing and promotional companies, online, mobile, and traditional, handling matters involving celebrity endorsements – good, bad and sometimes ugly. Let us know if you need us. Call me, Joe Rosenbaum, or any of the Rimon lawyers with whom you regularly work. We are happy to help.

Service of Process by Facebook? Not Just Yet!

Back in 2009 (yes, 2009), Legal Bytes reported that the British High Court agreed to allow the service of a court order to an individual through Twitter (see, British High Court is for the Birds? Actually, for Twitter!). In that same article, we noted an Australian Supreme Court Judge allowed service of legal papers through Facebook. Increasingly, U.S. courts are confronting similar questions.

New York law, for example, has an enumerated set of mechanisms by which one can effect service of process. But the law also notes that if the enumerated methods are impracticable, service can be made “in such manner as the court, upon motion without notice, directs." In other words, if you are trying to sue someone in New York and none of the traditional methods works, you can petition the court and request some other method, and, assuming the court agrees, that will be effective to constitute service of process. But the standards remain high for the use of social media and other technology-enabled mechanisms. Witness the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in Fortunato v. Chase Bank USA (11 Civ. 6608), which in June of last year, denied the bank’s petition to allow service of process using Facebook.

The case started when Lorri J. Fortunato (Lorri) sued Chase, alleging that another person fraudulently opened a Chase credit card account in her name and incurred debts without her knowledge or authorization. When the debt went unpaid, Chase initiated collection proceedings against Lorri. In 2009, Chase obtained a default judgment and in 2010 began proceedings to garnish her wages – a process by which Chase eventually collected the full amount of the default judgment. But Lorri claimed she never lived at the address at which Chase attempted to serve her notice of the action and, during the course of the lawsuit, Chase discovered that Nicole Fortunato (Nicole), the plaintiff’s estranged daughter, had opened the account in her mother’s name, listed her address in the account application, and made the charges – the amount Chase ultimately received from garnishing Lorri’s wages.

Chase requested, and was granted permission, to bring Nicole into the case as a third-party defendant, but despite hiring an investigator to locate her, Chase was unable to determine exactly where Nicole lived. The investigator did, however, find a Facebook profile that was believed to be hers, and so Chase petitioned the court to allow it to effect service of process on Nicole in a number of ways, among which were service through Facebook and a message to the email address listed on the profile page.

Although the court did conclude that Nicole’s pattern of "providing fictional or out of date addresses” made service of process upon Nicole using traditional methods impracticable, the court went on to reason that Chase had not been able to assert "any facts" that could substantiate, among other things, that the Facebook profile was actually that of the Nicole Fortunato in this particular case. The court noted anyone can create "a Facebook profile using real, fake, or incomplete information," so how could they be sure it was the person they intended to serve! Feel free to read the Court’s Memorandum Opinion & Order (PDF) yourself.

The lesson from this and other cases so far: Whatever method of service of process is requested, one must be able to substantiate, with some degree of certainty, that the person intended to be served is likely to receive the summons and complaint and, thus, be apprised of the pendency of legal proceedings involving that person. Social media and technology, wired and wireless, is turning the legal world upside down. If you want to remain upright or need to know more, feel free to contact me, Joseph I. Rosenbaum, or any of the attorneys at Rimon with whom you regularly work.