Scales

TwoPlusTwo Cybersquatting Judgment Against Dutch Boyd Affirmed by Appellate Court

The mercurial Russell “Dutch” Boyd, winner of two WSOP bracelets last decade and one-time leading member of the high-profile, ESPN-featured “The Crew,” has had a 2012 cybersquatting judgment against him reaffirmed by a California appellate court.

In the decision, handed down late last week and available online only in the the past two days, poker-book publisher Two Plus Two Publishing LLC and its owner, Mason Malmuth, saw a lower-court decision from March of 2012 and judgment of nearly$60,000 affirmed.

scales-justiceThe total verdict of $58,985 includes a statutory judgment of $25,000 and an additional $33,985 in attorney’s fees.  Boyd may also be liable for accrued interest, in the event Malmuth or TwoPlusTwo lawyers find sufficient assets to attach; the appellate decision stated that “Boyd,” who represented himself, “did not oppose the imposition or calculation of prejudgment interest before the district court. He has therefore waived this issue on appeal.”

The lawsuit stemmed from the registration in the name of a company owned by Boyd, JackNames.com, of a web domain called twoplustwopoker.com.  The original lawsuit was one of two filed by 2+2 in December of 2009, with the other one also alleging cybersquatting against Pennsylvanian Anthony Scocozza for similar domain and brand infringement.

Boyd subsequently acknowledged owning the site, which operated from 2006 to 2008 and featured a number of affiliate links to other online gambling sites.  Boyd also claimed that he made only a pittance from the site’s operation, perhaps not even covering the registration and hosting fees, though that was irrelevant in the decision and recent appellate affirmation.

In affirming the early decision, the California appellate court found that, “The district court did not err in calculating statutory damages rather than holding a jury trial on that issue because the ACPA allows for statutory damages
between $1,000 and $100,000, ‘as the court considers just.'”

The affirming decision also stated, “There are nine non-exhaustive factors a court may consider to determine whether a
defendant has acted in bad faith.  The district court found that seven of these factors weighed heavily in favor of finding bad faith, and Boyd offered no evidence to show that any of the nine factors weighed in his favor.”

The decision continues the downturn in recent years for Boyd, who admitted via social-network outlets that he was virtually unhireable in the nine-to-five world.  Dutch’s ups and downs are remarkable even by poker-world standards, from his enrollment at the University of Missouri at age 12 — he graduated with a law degree at age 18 — to his first public crash three years later, when his PokerSpot website became one of the online-poker world’s first notably failures.  Much of the public blame landed on Boyd, who failed to make good on promises to pay back the nearly $400,000 in player balances lost when PokerSpot folded.

After that came the up years of “The Crew” and Boyd’s own bracelet wins in 2006 and 2010, a run of years that saw the majority of Boyd’s overall $2.1 million in tourney cashes, none of which ever went to PokerSpot victims.  The 2010 bracelet came after the lawsuit filed by Malmuth and Two Plus Two, and Boyd’s poker winnings have dwindled ever since, though he’s managed to secure backing up through last year’s WSOP.

Boyd has also announced completing his book about his poker experiences, Poker Tilt, co-authored with a relative poker unknown, Laurence Samuels.  Boyd was able to raise several thousand dollars in living-expense financing by running a KickStarter campaign, but it’s unknown if the book, scheduled for publication later this year, will turn out to be a moneymaker.

For Boyd, who was also briefly involved with the programming for the Bitcoin-poker site SealsWithClubs, the next challenge remains to be seen.  Nonetheless, it’s likely to be newsworthy in the finest Dutch Boyd tradition.

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