Between February 15-19, Vishal Gondal, founder of nCore Games, received six legal notices from persons based in six different cities in India, threatening him with criminal and civil action for his tweets about online rummy. The defamation notices were sent by individuals hailing from Indore and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), Nainital (Uttarakhand), New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Solan (Himachal Pradesh), all of whom claiming to be players of online rummy. The copycat notices state that Gondal’s tweets that equate online rummy with gambling, or otherwise term such games as addictive and harmful, hurt the individuals’ reputations since people around them began calling them “gamblers”, in what is clearly a far-fetched reading of defamation law. The notices use similar language and follow the same logical conclusions to justify the defamation notices. Some key points to note. Each of the six notices states that the individual plays online rummy; two of them specify that they play it for “fun and enjoyment” and “for recreation”. In addition, none of the six people specify which rummy app or website that they were using. One individual claims that he uses online platforms for rummy, poker, and other fantasy leagues and has been playing skill-games for 10 years. Each notice targets the game of online rummy specifically, even though Gondal has been critical of the broader real-money gaming industry. The notices claim that Gondal is incorrectly “labelling” people who play online rummy as gambling, and “belittling” the game of rummy itself, thus causing harm to the individuals’ reputation. …
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