Internet Gambling Payment Processor Cops A Plea

When the U.S. Department of Justice decides to go after someone, your Internet lawyer can explain why it’s a tough battle to fight. In this case, Bradley Franzen is pleading guilty to criminal charges because he helped hide and process payment for Internet gambling.

As noted by Bloomberg in Franzen Pleads Guilty to Internet Gambling Charges, Cooperates With U.S., “[a]fter an Internet poker operator contacted him in 2009 to help handle checks from U.S. customers, [Franzen] lied to banks and created fake companies and websites to hide the payments.”

With Franzen’s cooperation, you can expect the rest of those indicted for illegal gambling in the U.S. to either race to get plea deals of their own, or in the alternative, get nailed to the wall with Franzen’s cooperation if the U.S. government wants to send a message against the crime of online gambling.

It’s unlikely that any of owners or payment processors for Internet gambling sites Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, or Poker Stars will sleep easy tonight.

A final note…anyone who thinks that online payments aren’t being tracked by the federal government post-9/11 is deluding himself. It’s more than a “War on Terror.” Domestic and international electronic funds transfers are scrutinized for the “wars” against drugs, against tax evasion, and in this case, against illegal Internet gambling.

Should prisoners and sex offenders be allowed to troll the Internet?

The State of Louisiana’s legislature is trying to curtail repeat crime by making it illegal for inmates and some released sex offenders to hang out on social media sites, go to chat rooms, or use peer-to-peer (P2P) networking.

According to a Shreveport Times article on this Internet law issue, House Bill 55 “bans certain sex offenders, especially those whose crimes involved minors, from accessing social media like Facebook or MySpace, or going into chat rooms or peer-to-peer networks,” and Senate Bill 182 “targets inmates who are behind bars and using the Internet to create social networking sites to make connections with people, further scams…or send or receive pornography.”

Internet lawyers, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, and free speech advocates will be debating the merits and legality of these bills should they become law.

As a parent, I don’t want my kid being preyed upon by these types of predators online or offline. But that’s my responsibility as a parent to ensure it doesn’t happen. Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it’s going to suddenly stop a predator. And there are already plenty of laws on the books to nail these guys to the wall for child molestation and other crimes. One more law isn’t going to make a difference.

And as an Internet lawyer, I have to wonder how many of these predators are still dumb enough to go online given the number of law enforcement personnel trolling the Internet looking for pedophiles to catch.

In short, the Louisiana legislative bills have a good intent but I doubt they’ll make much of a difference in either crime deterrence or punishment. Enforcing existing laws should be enough.

Righthaven May Go Down For The Count

The tide is turning against copyright troll Righthaven’s infringement shakedown business model. Already slammed in Nevada, here’s the latest from Colorado — the judge “has now put all of Righthaven’s lawsuits in that state on hold, saying that he wants to make sure Righthaven actually has standing to bring the suit.”

If Righthaven has simply been buying the right to sue and no other rights, there’s a good chance based on judicial precedent that the company lacks standing to file any of these cases. Should this simply be an arrangement where Righthaven and the copyright owners split revenues 50/50, then Righthaven is really nothing more than a de facto law firm grabbing a 50% contingency fee…something that state bars will be dealing with in addition the courts.

As if news couldn’t get any worse for the copyright troll, it appears that a class action law suit has been filed by bloggers against Righthaven alleging the company has engaged in unfair practices. There’s blood in the water and one shouldn’t be surprised to see this as the beginning of the end for Righthaven. Frankly, it’s a wonder the copyright owners haven’t been running for the hills on these deals. Whatever profit was to be made is exceeded by the damage being caused to their reputations.

As for Righthaven, the copyright troll will need more than a good Internet attorney to bail it out of this mess.

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