PokerPaint Accused of Stealing Copyrighted Work

3 weeks ago
PokerPaint Accused of Stealing Copyrighted Work
07 Oct

PokerPaint founder Brett Butz is under fire after being accused of using other people’s work without authorisation. The 25-year-old poker player and artist is facing possible legal action from several notable companies as well as a few well-known photographers from the industry.

NFT Craze

The scandal erupted quickly after Butz announced on his Twitter account that he would be jumping on the NFT craze with a selection of poker images.

The problem was that he’d jumped on Google and copied somebody else’s image before removing the credit and then changing the style.

It didn’t take long before the image owners realised what was happening, and while no doubt flattered that their work was considered worthy of use, they were unimpressed that Butz was trying to make a profit from it without permission.


Hayley Hochstetler is a prominent poker photographer whose extensive work can be found on Google Images. She tweeted how Butz had not only contacted her for permission to use her work but she refused and he carried on regardless.

“You can’t “see a photo on social media,” save it, put a filter on it, & sell it. You’re not imitating, you’re stealing. We as the creators aren’t obligated to a percentage when it’s ours to begin with. The fact that you cut out the COPYRIGHTED WATERMARK. You know what youre doing”
Eric Harkins also reached out to Butz on Twitter to try and get him to understand that these images are copyrighted and it is unethical to be profiting from the images unless the owner agrees.

Labour of Love

Brett Butz clearly loves what he is doing here, and the work is impressive. It’s a shame that it came to this. In response he wrote:

“I understand a lot of you may be upset that I saw a photo on social media and loved it enough to imitate it in a very different style. No, I'm not opposed to giving photographers a %, it's hard work. I also challenge you to at least try to draw a similar style before criticizing the project I've worked tirelessly on for the past 3 years. You can find my contact information on my site if you believe your content was stolen and will be happy to figure out a much more positive approach.”
It’s not cheap either. Each piece sells for between $250 to $1500; easy to see why the image owners are upset because this is a lucrative business.

Even Daniel Negreanu popped up to support the photographers, saying how hard they work.

In an effort to calm the situation, Butz posted a prepared statement on his Twitter account, apologising and promising to confirm with legal counsel what the best way forward will be. He has also removed any images that have received complaints.

Todd Witteles encouraged him to go further and take it all down until he knows where he stands.

Hayley Hochstetler was happy to receive an apology and echoed what Witteles had to say, before the big guns start legal action and this gets messy.

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Mark from Stamford in the UK is a professional cash game player, and part time journalist. A massive chess fan and perpetual traveller.He also produces strategy content for our sister wesbite more


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