May 21, 2018

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News:

Senate Democrats Win Vote on Net Neutrality, a Centerpiece of 2018 Strategy

Setting the stage for the 2018 midterm elections, Senate Democrats have voted in favor of net neutrality, overturning a decision in December of the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle rules that "prevented providers like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or speeding up streams and downloads of web content in exchange for extra fees." It is virtually assured that the measure will not pass the House, but the symbolic value of the vote may carry the weight that Democrats crave when it comes to the midterm elections in six months.

Gina Haspel Confirmed as New CIA Director

Six Democratic senators joined Republicans to confirm Gina Haspel as the new director of the CIA. Haspel came under fire for her involvement in the harsh interrogation practices post-9/11, including her supervision of a black site in Thailand where detainees were waterboarded. She vowed not to restart a program that used so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" (others have labeled it "government-sanctioned torture"), giving her sufficient Democratic votes for confirmation but making her 54-45 vote split the closest margin of any CIA nominee in history.

White House Eliminates Cybersecurity Coordinator Role

The Trump administration eliminated the cybersecurity coordinator role from the National Security Council after the new national security adviser, John Bolton, deemed the position no longer necessary. The role previously was viewed by many as being "central to developing policy to defend against increasingly sophisticated digital attacks and the use of offensive cyber weapons," and its elimination received criticism from those in the intelligence community. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a statement expressing his befuddlement at how eliminating the role would do anything to protect the country from cyber threats.

North Korea Threatens to Call Off Summit Meeting with Trump

President Trump has touted his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as being a landmark moment of his presidency. The North Koreans, however, have threatened to call off the summit meeting if the United States insists on "unilateral nuclear abandonment," which many in the United States have expected to be one of the main accomplishments of the talks between the two nations. Adding to the tension, South Korean and American air forces drilled in recent weeks, which North Korea interpreted as a "deliberate military provocation." Whether the North Koreans are being hyperbolic and melodramatic only as posturing remains to be seen.

Pompeo Lifts Hiring Freeze in Effort to Return 'Swagger' to State Department

With Mike Pompeo at the helm of the State Department, a change of policy has come: the hiring freeze has ended. Those in the diplomatic community sighed with relief as Pompeo announced to his staff that the department would pursue filling vacant positions that lingered under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Pompeo's announcement does not come as a surprise to those in Congress, as Congress passed funding legislation in March that prescribed the State Department to maintain staffing levels and explain earlier cutbacks.

Michael Cohen Circus Has a Ringmaster: Porn Actress's Lawyer

Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing pornographic film star Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, has shown his ability for orchestrating drama inside and outside the courtroom, even in relation to President Trump's attorney Michael Cohen. Two examples: Avenatti had Clifford appear in court in a bright pink blazer to unnerve Cohen and released a report showing that Cohen had taken over $1 million from a firm linked to a Russian oligarch and other companies, including AT&T. Some attorneys have called into question whether his representation of Clifford is purely legal and not somewhat political, given these theatrics. Nonetheless, Trump has disclosed that he in fact reimbursed Cohen for the payment made to Clifford, raising questions about whether a violation of financial disclosure laws may have occurred in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

Candidates Line Up to Fill Attorney General Role

New York State lawmakers have started their second round of interviews for replacing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, following his resignation from the office over allegations of pervasive and violent sexual abuse. The favorite to replace him is the acting attorney general, Barbara Underwood, who if appointed would serve the remainder of Schneiderman's term. However, Underwood has announced she would not seek re-election in November if she was appointed.

Stir Caused by Trump's 'Animals' Remark

President Trump came under fire for calling illegal immigrants "animals". When discussing the issue after the firestorm began, he told reporters that he was referring to members of the MS-13 gang and would continue to use the term to describe them. He has used the term in relation to violent street gangs before at rallies, speeches, and events, but it would be a new use of the term to apply it to illegal immigrants rather than violent gang members.

In the Arctic, the Old Ice is Disappearing

Scientists have predicted that by midcentury, there would be no ice in the Arctic Ocean in summer. Last winter marked a record low for ice older than five years in a region that typically has ice frozen year-round.

China and U.S. Talk Trade Deal

With President Trump preparing to potentially meet with North Korea's leader in the next month comes discussions between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding a trade deal between them. Chinese company ZTE, a telecommunications company, has been the subject of scrutiny because of illegal exports to North Korea and Iran, but Trump took to Twitter to express his support for getting a deal done that would help ZTE "because many jobs in China are at stake."

10 Killed in Texas High School Shooting

At 17 years old, Dimitrios Pagourtzis forced his way into Santa Fe High School in Texas with his father's guns on Friday morning and killed 10 people, wounding 10 more. He surrendered to police custody and confessed to committing the crime, according to police. In interviews with students, one student's interview became a sensation in social media as she was not surprised but felt that "eventually it was going to happen here, too."

Trump Administration to Tie Health Facilities' Funding to Abortion Restrictions

The Trump administration announced that clinics that provide abortions or refer patients to facilities that provide abortions will lose their federal funding. The rule is designed to principally target Planned Parenthood, much to the pleasure of the social conservatives that seek to curb abortions in the United States by withholding funding. President Reagan implemented a similar program in the 1980s, which prompted lawsuits to be brought challenging it, and President Clinton rescinded the policy before the policies could take root and be fully implemented.

House Farm Bill Collapses with Republican Disarray

Republicans' intraparty rift was put on full display last week when they voted on a measure that would impose work requirements on food aid recipients, as the result was a failure: 213 to 198, as the measure failed to pass. The more conservative faction of Republicans, the Freedom Caucus, voted against the measure as a rebuke to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan, in his last year of being a member of Congress, has not achieved a substantial legislative victory since the end of 2017.

Refugee Agencies Fall Into Limbo

Throughout the country, refugee agencies have stockpiled materials and goods to supply to asylees and others who take refuge in the United States. The problem: the Trump administration has cut staff that conducts clearance interviews and raised the standards for admitting refugees into the country. If the current trend continues, this year will be the lowest figure since 1980, when Congress passed the Refugee Act.

MTA Says Sex Toy Ads are OK

The MTA has agreed to allow a sex toy company to advertise in the subways after it witnessed an outcry and accusations that it enforced a "gendered double standard" in what advertisements it approved. The advertisements approved include "colorful, stylized paintings" of sex toys, which some took to be too obscene for public display. This is not the first controversy that the MTA has had with advertisements: THINX, a company that makes underwear for use during menstruation, ultimately got approval but after a lengthy review and evaluation process for its ads featuring "dripping egg yolks and split fruit."

Chance of North American Free Trade Agreement Deal in 2018 Diminishes

Negotiations remain ongoing among Canada, Mexico, and the United States for revising the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is a sprawling 24-year-old trade agreement that the Trump administration has been focused on revising to favor Americans. Although House Speaker Paul Ryan sought to have the negotiations finished by May 17th, the White House gave no indication that the deal was anywhere close to being finished, and the American negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, indicated that the countries were "nowhere near close to a deal."

Trump Says He Will Nominate Acting Secretary to Lead VA

President Trump announced that the acting secretary of veterans affairs, Robert Wilkie, will be his nominee to take over the agency. Wilkie would be taking over an agency that has had turmoil at the top for several months. The former secretary, David Shulkin, was fired by a tweet in March and Trump's chosen successor, Dr. Ronny Jackson, withdrew his name from consideration when reports emerged that he had been distributing pills and potentially drinking on the job.

Trump Jr. and Aides Met with Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe is expanding. One area of focus is a meeting in Trump Tower three months before the 2016 election, where Donald Trump Jr. met with an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation as well as an Saudi emissary and Republican donor. The meeting may indicate that countries other than Russia were involved in manipulating social media and attempting to influence the election results in 2016. Investigators have interviewed witnesses in Washington, New York, Atlanta, and Tel Aviv to determine the nature and extent of the involvement in influencing the election. These interviews and further investigation comes as Trump and his attorneys have called for an end to Mueller's probe.

Black Culture is Central Part of Royal Wedding

The wedding of Meghan and Harry has been in the headlines for weeks, but the wedding itself is now being recognized for something more than the expansion of the royal family of England. African-American culture was on display at the wedding: The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, a bishop of the American Episcopal Church, gave a stirring speech to the attendees, and a gospel performance of "Stand by Me" echoed throughout the church. Then, a black Briton, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, performed a cello solo in a chapel where few individuals of African heritage had set foot let alone performed on such a grand stage.

Soros Foundation to Quit Hungary

The Open Society Foundations is a philanthropic organization headed by billionaire George Soros, and it announced this week that it is moving its headquarters from Budapest, Hungary to Berlin, Germany, given the political climate of Hungary. Soros, a native Hungarian, has been the target of venomous attacks by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for Soros' sympathy for refugees and asylum-seekers. Some analysts suppose that Orban's attacks are thinly-veiled anti-Semitic jabs rather than legitimate disputes of policy. The Open Society Foundations, citing the "increasingly repressive" environment in Hungary, has vowed to continue its work in Hungary and other countries despite the attacks.

Researchers Uncover Two Hidden Pages in Anne Frank's Diary

Two pages of Anne Frank's diary have been revealed for the first time. Digital technology allowed researchers to view the text through overlaid brown paper that Frank put on the two pages, and the hidden pages revealed her writings regarding more sexual matters that perhaps she did not wish for her family or others to read when confined to close quarters hiding from the Nazis.

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Cosby's Sentencing Set for September

Judge Steven T. O'Neill ordered that Bill Cosby's sentencing take place on September 24th and 25th of this year in Norristown, Pennsylvania for his conviction of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, in 2004. Until then, he has a GPS monitor and may only travel to surrounding counties "for medical reasons or to see his lawyers."

Cannes, Where Weinstein Reigned, Reckons with #MeToo Movement

In Cannes, France, women in the entertainment industry have been making their voices heard this year. Eight-two women took over the red carpet for a rally to show that even though women make up a majority of people in the world, the industry treats them like a marginalized population. For years, the area was a playground for producer Harvey Weinstein, who remains fighting dozens of episodes of sexual misconduct and has continued to deny any allegations of nonconsensual sex.


In New York High Schools, the Sound of Music Is Muted

Between 2002 and 2013, New York City shuttered 69 high schools, many of which were large schools that had specialized programs for arts or music. In their stead, the city opened smaller schools that academically are superior but lack the arts and music classes that provided a more robust education for the larger student bodies of years past. Given that studies have shown that those involved in the arts are more likely to achieve higher test scores and far more likely to graduate and attend college, the new schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, has said that he "plans to focus on the arts."

Pablo Picasso Painting Damaged Before Sale

The auction house Christie's announced that a 1943 Pablo Picasso painting, "Le Marin," valued at $70 million, was damaged and is being withdrawn from sale to be repaired. The owner of the painting, Steve Wynn, resigned as chairman of Wynn Resorts amidst sexual misconduct allegations surfacing in February of this year.

More Fabric, More Money? British Retailer Accused of 'Fat Tax'

In the fashion industry, clothes size is a touchy subject, and now Britain's biggest retailers are facing accusations of putting a "fat tax" on women. One store, New Look, has said that if more fabric is used for a piece of clothing, then that justifies a higher price. Women have spoken out: one says that she should be the subject of discrimination in prices because of her slightly bigger than average size. Social media has also picked up the issue and debated whether petite people should be charged less for having a smaller size.

Fashion's Woman Problem

With graduation season comes a class of graduates from schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt, and Parsons School of Design. Even though the vast majority of graduates are women, the small share of men will rise through the industry faster than their female counterparts. This is true even in women's wear, and the phenomenon is one featured in a new study that will be released called "The Glass Runway."

Rethinking 'Blue Chip' Amidst Black Artist Soaring at Auction

Chicago-based painter Kerry James Marshall sold a work titled "Past Times" for $21.1 million, four times the previous auction high for Marshall. An art adviser in New York has hypothesized that African-American art is seeing a re-evaluation and prices are adjusting based on this re-evaluation. Marshall is certainly not the only one seeing higher prices come his way as auction houses like Sotheby's are seeing higher prices.

Met Opera Accuses James Levine of Decades of Sexual Misconduct

When the Metropolitan Opera fired James Levine, a conductor, he sued the company for breach of contract and defamation. The Met has counter-sued this week alleging that Levine harmed the company with the accusations of sexual harassment and abuse that he allegedly committed. It has been alleged that he was involved in multiple instances of sexual misconduct from the 1970s through at least 1999, and nine men have come forward with accusations of Levine's harassment or abuse. Levine, through his lawyers, has denied any wrongdoing.

Berlin Museum Returns Artifacts to Indigenous People of Alaska

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation has returned objects to indigenous communities in Alaska, after it was found that the artifacts were taken in the 1880s from a burial site. The Foundation agreed that because they were taken without permission, the museum should not display them any longer, and the return comes at a time when European museums are attempting to put more work into thoughtful acquisitions of works and returning those that were acquired in unlawful or unethical manners.


Supreme Court Ruling Favors Sports Betting

The Supreme Court ruled that a 26-year-old federal law that prohibited sports betting in the United States was unlawful. The ruling is expected to boost the value of the sports industry and television coverage of sporting events. Historically, fans have increasingly watched games when betting is permitted, and Nielsen Sports estimates that sports bettors comprise 47% of all minutes viewed of the National Football League's television audience. No one yet knows the size the industry may reach, but by comparison, Britain's 65 million people wagered $20 billion in the fiscal year ending in March 2017.

Michigan State's $500 Million for Nassar Victims Dwarfs Other Settlements

Michigan State University settled a $500 million settlement with 332 women and girls who suffered abuse from Dr. Lawrence Nassar. For 20 years, he preyed on his "patients" under the guise of medical care at the university. While Michigan State may have supposed that the $500 million settlement would end its problems, there are ongoing investigations by the Michigan Attorney General and the federal Department of Education that could result in criminal charges for the administrators, or other federal penalties. Further, the public is not likely to sympathize with the university, as the $500 million may end up being charged to taxpayers or to students.

Witness in Rio Olympics Bribery Case Has His Day in Court

A member of Brazil's Olympic Committee, Eric Maleson, came to meet with a man who claimed that money changed hands to secure Brazil's hosting of the 2016 Summer Olympics. There are concerns that a scheme of kickbacks and corruption led to the hosting of both the Rio and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Maleson testified this week in a Brazilian court about his experience during a trial of Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the former head of Brazil's national Olympic committee, and president of the 2016 Olympic organizing committee. Other officials are expected to testify, including from the International Olympic Committee.


CBS Escalates Its Fight With Redstones

CBS sued its parent company, Redstones' National Amusements, in Delaware to prevent Shari Redstone from merging CBS with Viacom, its "corporate sibling." Although discussions have gone on for years that the merger may occur, there has been a consistent impasse when it comes to who would lead the merged company: Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, and Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom, both vie for the coveted position. The lawsuit was filed, according to CBS, so that Redstone would not be able to block a meeting of the special committee, which would have resulted in a neutralization of her special voting powers. On Wednesday, Chancellor Andre Bouchard granted CBS a temporary restraining order prohibiting National Amusements Inc. from taking any action to thwart the scheduled board meeting.

Silicon Valley Faces Regulatory Fight on Its Home Turf

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 is a ballot initiative that would provide "consumers with increased privacy rights, including the ability to demand that companies do not sell their personal data." Consumers would have the right to ask a company to disclose the data collected about them, demand that companies do not sell data or share with third parties, and to sue companies that violate the law. While Google, Facebook, and other large companies have come out against the initiative, it has significant backing from former members of the industry and financiers.

Fox Settles Discrimination Lawsuits for Roughly $10 Million

Fox News settled a group of racial and gender discrimination lawsuits involving 18 current and former employees for approximately $10 million. The settlements come after allegations of hostile racial discrimination taking place after reports to network executives. Those individuals who filed the lawsuits have agreed to drop their claims and to not seek future employment with Fox or other 21st Century Fox companies. This result is the latest indication that Fox News and 21st Century Fox are attempting to move past the negative attention drawn to them by scandals, including sexual harassment and discrimination.

Judge Rejects Lawsuit Against Fox by Ex-Host

United States District Judge George Daniels dismissed a lawsuit that former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros brought against the network, citing her allegations as being "vague, speculative and conclusory" and thus not serving as a sufficient basis for her complaints of sexual harassment. The network offered to settle the matter for more than $1 million so long as she remained silent, but her lawsuit sought unspecified damages. The channel claimed that the lawsuit was ultimately a "paranoid fantasy or a deliberate hoax." Although she filed claims for a wiretap and malware, she was not able to articulate how those claims were fleshed out in terms of factual allegations, prompting Judge Daniels to dismiss the complaint.

Suzanne Scott Named First Female Chief Executive of Fox News

The Murdoch family has named a longtime Fox News employee, Suzanne Scott, as the new chief executive of Fox News this week. She is one that has been seen as part of the old guard of Fox News as she rose up the ranks from the inception of Fox News in 1996 to the present through programming, production, and creative positions. In her position, she will report to Rupert Murdoch and his son, Lachlan Murdoch, the latter of whom called her "instrumental in the success of Fox News."

Facebook Says That It Deleted 865 Million Posts, Mostly Spam

Facebook announced in an 86-page report that it deleted 865.8 million posts in the first quarter of 2018. Those posts consisted of spam, "nudity, graphic violence, hate speech, and terrorism." Facebook also announced that it removed 583 million fake accounts during the first quarter of 2018. Given the divisive messages and false news that have pervaded the social media platform, these moves are seen as a step toward more transparency.

Trump Meets Uzbek President, Does not Mention Human Rights

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited the White House this week as part of an effort to bring the two countries together at a time when Uzbekistan has moved away from authoritarianism and more toward democracy. Senior Trump administration officials expected President Trump to raise the issues of human rights and freedom of the press when they met, but their public remarks this week did not reflect any discussion. If the topics were not raised, it would fit President Trump's pattern of being silent on human rights concerns with foreign leaders who have a history of those issues in their countries.

Germany Acts to Tame Facebook, Learning from History of Hate

In Berlin, hundreds of men and women sit at computers and comb through Facebook to delete posts that may contain hate speech or other material that violates the law or the company's community standards. The center is known as a deletion center and contains over 1,200 content moderators. Germany's background makes this deletion more complicated, as it was the home of the Nazi ideology and battles with that reputation, only publishing Hitler's "Mein Kampf" with annotations, banning swastikas, and pushing inciting hatred with up to five years in jail. Nonetheless, the deletion also comes at a time when Europe is grappling more seriously and openly with regulating big technology companies like Facebook and Google, particularly as compared to the United States.

Hong Kong Journalist Roughed Up by Police in Beijing

The cameraman for a Hong Kong news station was detained by police in Beijing after he tried to cover a human rights lawyer's disciplinary hearing. He was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, and forced into a police car with his forehead bleeding. While detained, he said that he signed a "note of remorse" as a result of his fear that his identification had been confiscated and because the officers had been so aggressive toward him.

The Los Angeles Times Suspends Beijing Chief Amid Sexual Misconduct Probe

The Los Angeles Times suspended the head of its Beijing bureau after he was accused of sexual misconduct for a second time. Jonathan Kaiman, a former Wall Street Journal editor, was accused of "problematic behavior" after he spent time with a woman and "escalated things in a way that crossed the line." While on an electric scooter, he lifted her dress and sexually touched her without consent, only stopping when she pushed him away and told him to stop. He denied the allegations and claimed to be "a proponent of women's rights and believe that every woman has a right to be heard and to tell her truth."

May 17, 2018

Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

The following case selection first appeared in this week's Center for Art Law newsletter:

Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 583 U.S. ___ (2018). On February 21st, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that victims of an Iran-sponsored terrorist bombing cannot seize Iran's "Persepolis Collection" at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute to fulfill payment of the damages they were previously awarded ( The Court held that a 2008 amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act did not remove the requirement of commercial activity from the Act's bar on seizure of a sovereign nation's assets unless the assets are used in commercial activities within the United States. The full opinion is available at

Tananbaum v. Gagosian Gallery, Inc. et al, No. 651889/2018 (NY Sup. Ct., filed on April 19, 2018). In September 2013, a private collector signed a contract with Jeff Koons and the Gagosian Gallery, whereby they would deliver to him three sculptures worth more than $13 million. Five years later, he filed a complaint (available at against the two kings of the New York art scene, condemning a Ponzi-like fraudulent scheme (

Silver v. Gagosian Gallery, Inc., No. 652090/2018 (Sup. Ct. NY, filed on April, 27, 2018) This is the second lawsuit filed in eight days against defendant Gagosian Gallery ( in connection with its prospective sale of multi-million dollar sculptures by artist Jeff Koons. According to the complaint, plaintiff Silver, a film producer, paid $8 million for a sculpture "Balloon Venus" in 2014 and he is yet to see the yellow goddess emerge from Koons' studio. "Frustrated by the delay and skeptical when, if ever," the sculpture he wanted would be done, Silver asked for his money back and learned that he would be forfeiting $3.2 million if he were to stop making payments on the revised payment plan. The plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment and alleges breach of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs law. The complaint is available upon request.

Madonna Ciccone v. Gotta Have It Collectibles, No. 156454/2017 (Sup. Ct. NY, April 23, 2018) In July 2017, Gotta Have Rock and Roll held an auction of Madonna's personal items, orchestrated by her former assistant, including a breakup letter she wrote to American rapper Tupac Shakur (a/k/a 2Pac). Madonna filed an emergency court order, alleging that the items should not have been in the possession of her assistant and that she never agreed to the sale ( The court ruled in favor of the auction house, saying that Madonna had not made any demand for the return of her possessions and that she forfeited her rights. The decision is available at

Neumann v. Sotheby's, Inc., No. 652170/2018 (Sup. Ct. NY, filed May 3, 2018) This dispute, now pending appeal, involves the 86 year-old paterfamilias of the Neumann family, who seeks injunction against Sotheby's from offering the painting "Flesh and Spirit" by Jean-Michel Basquiat for sale ( Neumann alleged that per a 2015 agreement, which was confirmed a year later, Sotheby's promised Neumann that they would seek his "approval on all matters relating to cataloging, placement, and exhibiting each and every work consigned". Although pieces in the collection are "owned by a variety of persons and entities", they are all considered part of the Neumann Family Collection, of which Hubert Neumann is the steward. However, in April 2018 Neumann learned that his daughter Belinda had consigned Basquiat's "Flesh and Spirit" - part of the collection - to Sotheby's for a sale in May, breaching the terms of his previous agreement with the auction house. The complaint is available at

US v. Kyriacou, Canaye, et al., CR-18-0102 (E.D. N.Y., Filed Feb. 28, 2018; Superseding Indictment Submitted March 20, 2018) In March 2018, a press release by the Department of Justice revealed that six individuals and four corporate entities were indicted on charges of "conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy" ( British art dealer Matthew Green is among the defendants. He is charged with conspiring to launder money using art. Green and others agreed to help an undercover agent clean "over $9 million dollars, which [he] represented to be the proceeds of securities fraud", by selling him the Picasso painting "Personnages" and thus providing him with paperwork for the purchase. The operation was halted before the painting's ownership was transferred. The original indictment is available at

The Center for Art Law strives to create a coherent community for all those interested in law and the arts. Positioned as a centralized resource for art and cultural heritage law, it serves as a portal to connect artists and students, academics and legal practitioners, collectors and dealers, government officials and others in the field. In addition to the weekly newsletter (, the Center for Art Law subscribers receive updates about art and law-related topics through its popular art law blog ( calendar of events ( The Center for Art Law welcomes inquiries and announcements from firms, universities and student organizations about recent publications, pending cases, upcoming events, current research and job and externship opportunities. To contact the Center for Art Law, visit our website at: or write to

May 14, 2018

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


President Trump Withdraws From Iran Nuclear Deal

Trump declared an end to participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in a speech filled with harsh rhetoric against Iran. While the United States will now reimpose sanctions on oil and impose new sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, European companies will have 90-180 days to wind down operations in Iran, or they will run afoul of the American banking system.

The European Union foreign policy chief said that member states were fully committed to preserving the deal. Iran will remain as well, but President Rouhani warned that Iran's atomic energy agency is prepared to restart "industrial scale" uranium enrichment if a deal with European countries as well as Russia and China fails to secure its interests.

North Korea Releases Three American Prisoners; Nuclear Summit Meeting Set for June

North Korea freed three prisoners, all Americans of Korean descent, as the two countries finalize details for a June meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

Confirmation Hearings Underway for Central Intelligence Agency Nominee Gina Haspel

Gina Haspel, nominee for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director, vowed that she would not start another detention and interrogation program like the one developed under President Bush after 9/11. Haspel oversaw a secret detention facility in Thailand in 2012 where an al Qaeda suspect was waterboarded.

Haspel pushed back against suggestions that she declassify more information about her background, saying the director should be subject to agency guidelines on keeping its secrets. Haspel also defended the destruction of tapes documenting interrogations, citing concerns about the security risks the tapes posed if they were to become public.

Eric Schneiderman Resigns as New York Attorney General Amid Assault Claims

Four women accused New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of physically assaulting them. The New Yorker reported that Schneiderman slapped, choked or spat on at least four women with whom he had been romantically involved.

Under New York's Constitution, Schneiderman's replacement will be selected by the State Assembly and Senate by joint ballot. Possible replacements include Letitia James, who is New York City's public advocate. New York's Solicitor General, Barbara D. Underwood, will lead the attorney general's office until a replacement is found. Schneiderman's successor will inherit the 100-plus legal or administrative actions that Schneiderman filed against the Trump administration, as well as a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company over potential civil rights violations.

Trump Administration Ends Protected Status for Hondurans

The Trump administration is ending temporary protected status for an estimated 86,000 registered Hondurans who have been allowed to live and work in the United States since 1999, after a hurricane ravaged the country. The Department of Homeland Security has determined that conditions have improved sufficiently in Honduras to warrant suspension of protected status for its citizens.

Hondurans represent the second largest group of foreigners to benefit from the humanitarian Temporary Protected Status program, launched in 1990 for people seeking refuge from unstable homelands due to natural disasters, war and other adversities. The administration's position is that the only criteria it should consider in continuing the program is whether the original reason for the country's designation persists. Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world and the biggest gap between rich and poor, with 61% of its population living in poverty.

Patagonia Sues Trump in Bid to Protect National Monument

Patagonia is a privately-held "Activist Company" with a record of publicly advocating for environmental protection, fair trade and stricter labor standards. It has now launched a lawsuit in response to President Trump's plans to sharply reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, including Bears Ears.

In its lawsuit Patagonia argues that the Antiquities Act of 1906 gave presidents the power to create national monuments, but it did not grant the power to revoke or modify them. Congress is the sole authority than can undertake such changes. Critics of Trump's proclamation point to internal documents at the Department of Interior, which showed that oil and gas interests were central to the decision to shrink Bears Ears. The area is now available for commercial use, including drilling and mining.

Environmental Protection Agency Staff Shield Pruitt from Public Scrutiny

More than 10,000 documents were made public as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the Sierra Club. Emails show that the Environmental Protection Agency's close control of information about Scott Pruitt's public events was driven by a desire to avoid tough questions from the public rather than by concerns about his security.

National Security Agency Triples Data Collection

In 2017 the National Security Agency (NSA) collected three times the phone and text message records it did the year before from American telecommunications providers. The NSA has expanded its collection of "call detail records" - telecom metadata showing who contacted whom and when, but not the contents of the call or text. The information comes from the annual set of surveillance-related statistics issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The 2015 USA Freedom Act overhauled how the NSA can gain access to domestic telecom data, ending a once-secret program that had systematically collected domestic phone logs in bulk. While the NSA has retained its function - the ability to analyze links between people in search of associates of terrorism suspects, the bulk records stay with the phone companies but can be turned over to government on an order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Deals with AT&T and Healthcare Firm Novartis Paid Michael Cohen $1.2 Million in Exchange for White House Access

New details are unfolding about Michael Cohen's business dealings and financial entanglements in the run-up to the election, as the investigation into possible bank fraud and election-law violation progresses. Documents show that a shell company that Cohen used to pay adult film actress Stormy Daniels was also receiving payments from several corporations. Funds started flowing through Essential Consultants LLC shortly before Trump was elected president. They included payments from Columbus Nova, a New York investment firm, whose biggest client is a company owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

Among the transactions were also payments from Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical giant that frequently seeks approvals from federal drug regulators. Closer to home, AT&T paid Cohen $600,000 to advise on its $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner, which is now pending before the Justice Department. In totality, the dealings show Cohen positioning himself as a strategic adviser and gatekeeper to the president.

Former Speaker Sheldon Silver Convicted in Corruption Retrial

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been found guilty on all seven counts of federal corruption. The charges related to $4 million obtained in illicit payments in return for using his office to take actions that benefited private individuals and entities.

His first conviction was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2016 in a ruling that narrowed the activity that could constitute corruption. Silver's retrial was based on this narrower definition, where the activity in question must involve concrete and formal government decisions or actions to constitute corruption, and not mere political courtesies, like setting up a meeting.

Agreements Show Ties Between University and Conservative Donors

Donor agreements released under a FOIA request show that George Mason University granted the Koch Foundation a say in the hiring and firing of professors. The Koch Foundation endows a fund to pay the salary of one or more professors at the university's Mercatus Center, a free-marker think tank. In return, the donors have the right to name two out of the five members that comprise a selection committee that chooses professors. The Koch Foundation had similar appointment rights to advisory boards that recommended firings. The university's president has ordered a review to "ensure that [donor agreements] do not grant donors undue influence in academic matters."

Pakistan and United States Restrict Diplomats' Travel, Straining Relations

The State Department threatened and then imposed travel restrictions on Pakistan's diplomatic corps in Washington for what it considers harassment of American diplomats in Pakistan. The United States has complained that Pakistani police and security officials frequently harass American staff with time-consuming traffic stops and citations. In retaliation, Pakistan placed broader travel restrictions that apply to all American diplomats stationed anywhere in Pakistan.

Over 1,700 Evacuated After Hawaii Volcano Erupts

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is spewing lava and steam into residential neighborhoods, prompting a local state of emergency and the mandatory evacuation of 1,700 local residents.

Afghan Airstrike Targeting Taliban Killed Mostly Children

United Nations officials have concluded that an Afghan government airstrike last month aimed at a Taliban planning session hit mostly children at a religious gathering. The airstrike raised "questions as to the government's respect of the rules of precaution and proportionality under international humanitarian law." Human Rights Watch has called the rise in civilian casualties from Afghan government air operations "deeply troubling."

Philippine Supreme Court Removes Chief Justice

The Philippine's Supreme Court voted to remove its top judge and first female chief justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno. By a vote of 8-6, the court granted the government's petition to cancel Sereno's appointment on the grounds of alleged violations in the appointment process. President Duterte has called Sereno an "enemy" for voting against several of his government proposals, including extending martial law on a restive land.

Scholars Have Data on Millions of Facebook Users

Facebook data sets compiled by academics continue to fuel concerns about data privacy. Experts point out that information collected by the academic community is sometimes left unsecured and can be easily copied or sold to marketers or political consulting firms that target users with advertising or political campaign messaging.

These risks came to light after a University of Cambridge professor had obtained data of up to 87 million Facebook users and later sold it to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to the Trump campaign, to build profiles of American voters. In response to these concerns, Facebook recently narrowed the number of academics with which it would work, inviting only those with election-related projects to participate through an "independent election research commission."

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media


Female Stars Walk Cannes Red Carpet in Protest for Equal Rights

Eighty-two women working in the film industry walked the Cannes Film Festival red carpet together to denounce gender inequality in their field. Participants commented on the shortage of films by women at the festival and the fact that selection committees were not gender-balanced. They also brought attention to problems in the film industry at large - not many women are making films because they are not being financed, green-lit, or distributed.

On the Heels of the #MuteRKelly Campaign, Spotify Removes Music from Playlists and Announces New "Hate Content Policy"

R. Kelly's management team released a statement denying the growing list of accusations against the R&B singer. Women continue to allege mental and physical abuse in what they call R. Kelly's abusive cult of women in Chicago and Atlanta. Following years of allegations, the Time's Up organization recently threw its support behind a grassroots #MuteRKelly campaign to have his concerts and recording contracts cancelled.

Music-streaming service Spotify removed R. Kelly's music from its algorithmic and curated playlists under its new "Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy". His music will still be available, but Spotify "will not actively promote it" in its editorial selections.

Chinese Channel Banned from Airing Eurovision Final after Censoring Performance with Gay Theme

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes Eurovision and licenses broadcasts, terminated its contract with Chinese channel Mango TV after Ireland's performance was cut and other sections were blurred. The performance features two male performers dancing and holding hands. The Chinese broadcaster also blurred images of a rainbow flag waived in the audience during Switzerland's performance. The EBU stated that the broadcaster's actions were not in line with its values of universality and inclusivity and its tradition of celebrating diversity through music.

Adidas is Standing by Collaborator Kanye West Following West's Controversial Comments on Slavery

Kanye West recently came under fire for comments he made during an interview on TMZ in which he said that he thought 400 years of slavery "sounds like a choice." Adidas' chief executive said he did not support West's comments and that Adidas's position on human rights was public, firm, and not in alignment with West's comments. The company also did not respond to calls to drop Kanye as a collaborator, despite pressure from a 30,000-signature online petition. Others are noting that Adidas knew exactly what it signed up for, and that controversy is part of Kanye's brand.


Art Dealer Pleads Guilty in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Case

Ezra Chowaiki has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one of the three charges laid against the Manhattan art gallery owner in December 2017. Prosecutors say that he fraudulently transferred more than $16 million of artwork between 2015 and 2017, in some instances selling artwork without the owners' authorization, or taking money from clients purportedly to purchase artwork, but keeping the money instead. Sentencing is scheduled for September.

Contested Auction of Basquiat Painting to Proceed

Collector Hubert Neumann sued Sotheby's claiming that the auction giant had violated an agreement with him by not seeking his approval about the marketing of the painting, which had been part of his wife's estate. He also claimed that the $30 million estimate put on the painting was far too low. Justice Sherwood of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled that Neumann has no authority over the work and that the sale of "Flesh and Spirit" can proceed as planned.

Nobel Literature Prize Will Not Be Awarded in 2018

Citing a "crisis of confidence," the Swedish Academy will postpone awarding the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. At the center of the controversy is a member of the academy whose husband is accused of harassing and assaulting at least 18 women over three decades. The couple runs a cultural organization with financial ties to the academy, and some of the offenses took place at academy-owned properties. Complaints to the academy went ignored over the years.

Facing Accusations of Inappropriate Behavior, Author Junot Díaz Steps Down as Pulitzer Chairman

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz was publicly confronted with misconduct allegations during a Q&A session at a writers' festival in Australia. Writer and professor Zinzi Clemmons claims that Díaz forcibly kissed her when she was a graduate student at Columbia University. Clemmons believes that Díaz tried to preempt accusations of inappropriate behavior through his recent essay in The New Yorker detailing his own sexual abuse as a child. Other women have since come forward to accuse him of misogyny and inappropriate behavior.

The Pulitzer Prize Board will be conducting an independent review of the claims. Díaz has since stepped down as chairman, but will remain a part of the body.

American Ballet Theater Announces Female Choreographer Initiative

American Ballet Theater (ABT) announced a multi-year initiative that will support the creation and staging of new works by female choreographers. The ABT Women's Movement will support three choreographers each season. The company's artistic director sees this initiative as a major step in both levelling the playing field and looking for that "next voice."

Bloomberg Philanthropies Expands Funding to Art Groups in Seven Cities

The funding is an expansion of the Arts Innovation and Management program launched by former New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2011. It will invest $43 million in more than 200 small and midsize cultural organizations across theater, visual arts, music, film, literature, and dance. Selected organizations will be offered financial support - about 10% of their annual operating budgets, in addition to arts-management training.

Rockefeller Artworks Set World Record for Single-Owner Auction

Peggy and David Rockefeller's artworks and treasures broke a world record at a Christie's auction, topping $800 million, twice the amount brought in by the sale of Yves Saint Laurent's estate in 2009.

Manhattan's School of Visual Arts Terminates Instructors for Violating School's Sexual Misconduct Policy

Two teachers at the School of Visual Arts had their contracts terminated after students complained of improper conduct. Inspired by the #MeToo movement, students turned to social media to call attention to inappropriate male behavior and formally filed complaints with their Title IX office.

Japanese Photographer's Muse Puts Spotlight on Power Dynamics in the Industry

Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is being accused of exploiting and bullying his muse, the model Kaori, for 16 years. Kaori alleges that during their working relationship, Araki never signed her to a professional contract; ignored her requests for privacy during photo shoots; neglected to inform her when pictures of her were published or displayed; and often did not pay her.

Araki is known for his sexually explicit images of women. His work is being shown at the Museum of Sex in Manhattan, where the co-curator of the exhibition will now incorporate Kaori's comments into programming materials to encourage a conversation about models' rights and "issues of consent and potential abuses of power that can be at the foundation of artistic practice and artistic production."


United States Supreme Court Rules that Federal Ban on Sports Betting is Unconstitutional

The United States Supreme Court voted to overturn the federal ban on single-game sports wagering. It found that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sport Protection Act (PASPA) violated the Constitution's 10th Amendment by "commandeering" the states' regulatory power. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito noted that the PASPA provision "unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do."

New Jersey instigated the legal fight by repealing its gambling prohibitions with a 2012 law that explicitly authorized wagering. The law was struck down in federal court. A subsequent measure exempting race tracks and Atlantic City casinos from its gambling prohibition was also struck down in federal appeals court.

Following the ruling, the National Football League (NFL) called on Congress to "enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting." In January 2018, the National Basketball Association (NBA) told New York lawmakers that it would not oppose state regulation of sports wagering that included the requisite safeguards.

NFL Players Association Files Grievance on Behalf of Free Agent Eric Reid

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) filed two claims against the NFL on behalf of Eric Reid, an unsigned free agent, who believes that teams are refusing to sign him because he protested during pregame national anthems. The move follows Eric Reid's own collusion grievance filed against the NFL last week.

The union believes that individual club anthem policies violate the collective bargaining agreement, which doesn't specifically grant teams the right to create their own policies. The filing also alleges that any team that asks prospective players pre-employment questions about that player's intent to demonstrate is engaging in bad faith negotiations.

Oregon State Silent as Convicted Sex Offender Luke Heimlich Returns to Baseball Team

Many are questioning why Oregon State University allowed top pitcher Luke Heimlich to return to the baseball team he left last year when his past criminal convictions surfaced. Heimlich withdrew from the team after it became public that he was convicted for sexually molesting his 6-year-old niece and was a registered sex offender.

Heimlich's return and Oregon State's silence on the matter have sparked a debate of whether athletes with violent histories should be allowed to play college sports. Presently, the NCAA does not have a national policy for how schools should treat athletes who have committed felonies as juveniles. Citing confidentiality laws, university officials have refused to say what they knew about Heimlich's background when they recruited him. Oregon State does not bar student-athletes with prior convictions from competition, and its athletic department does not ask athletes to disclose criminal convictions during the admissions process.

Lions Coach Matt Patricia Faces NFL Over 1996 Sex Assault Allegations

The NFL announced that it will review the sexual assault allegations made in the 1990s against Matt Patricia, the Detroit Lions' new head coach. Patricia and a friend were indicted by a grand jury on a charge of aggravated sexual assault. The case never went to trial after the complainant refused to testify. Lions executives denied having had knowledge of the allegations and are standing by Patricia.

In recent years, the NFL has applied its personal conduct policy to punish players for incidents that occur off the field. The policy applies to athletes, coaches, and employees whose conduct is deemed "detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in" the NFL. It is unclear what, if any, discipline Patricia could face given that the allegations are unproven and the charges were laid both before Patricia entered the NFL and before the conduct policy came into effect.

Lawsuit Accuses Taekwondo Olympian and Coach of Sexual Abuse

Olympian gold medalist Steven Lopez, and his brother and longtime coach Jean Lopez, are among the defendants named in a lawsuit filed in federal court. They have been accused of sexually assaulting female athletes, some of them minors, over a period of two decades. The lawsuit also accuses the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the national sports organization USA. Taekwondo of ignoring reports of abuse. USA Taekwondo launched an investigation into the claims in 2015, but no charges were filed.

Nike Executive Vows Changes after Claims of Workplace Harassment, Bias

Nike's Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker informed employees at a company-wide meeting that departures related to workplace behavior will be completed in the coming days. A "workplace behavior" investigation was launched following allegations that female employees at the company were subjected to "widespread... harassment and discrimination." It has led to the departure or planned departure of 11 top-level executives.

Parker also announced that the company will make changes to its compensation and training programs, and is continuing to review its human resources processes.

Police Escort for Minor League Hockey Player after Racial Slurs, Threats

Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Commissioner David Branch determined that Givani Smith needed a police escort to his recent playoff game after receiving online death threats and racist taunts. Smith is one of only about a dozen black players among the 500 playing in the OHL. Reports of racial harassment began after Smith made an obscene gesture toward an opposing team's bench, but Smith had been subject to racist and derogatory comments in earlier games too. Black hockey players at all levels, including those in the National Hockey League, have experienced incidents of racial abuse for decades. Critics are calling for change in the hockey community, including longer player suspensions for racial abuse and lifetime bans for fans uttering threats.

Major League Baseball Places Blue Jays' Osuna on Administrative Leave Following Assault Charge

Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna was placed on administrative leave after being charged with assault in Toronto. Although Toronto police have not confirmed that the assault charge was related to a domestic incident, the move seems to be in accordance with the 2015 Domestic Violence Policy that allows the league to discipline a player accused in a domestic violence incident, regardless of whether it results in a trial.


Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Rules that Foreign Broadcaster Infringed U.S. Copyright through Online Streaming

A party that owns rights in one country was found liable for failing to block users in another country, where someone else holds exclusive rights. The case underscores the importance of effective geoblocking by streaming services.

A Polish television broadcaster, owner, and creator of the content in question, entered into a license granting Spanski Enterprises the exclusive right to perform TV episodes in North and South America, including via the internet. The broadcaster used geoblocking technology to ensure that internet users in North and South America could not access the content through its video-on-demand website. However, some of the content was not effectively geoblocked and Spanski sued for copyright infringement, alleging violation of its exclusive public performance rights.

The broadcaster argued unsuccessfully that a) it would be the viewers that were liable for any infringement; and b) the Copyright Act does not apply extraterritorially to conduct that occurred in Poland.

The DC Circuit ruled that both the broadcaster and the viewer "publicly perform" the copyrighted work and can both be liable for copyright infringement. Secondly, the Act applied because the conduct relevant to the statute's focus occurred in the U.S. - the performances occurred on U.S. screens, even though the content was uploaded in Poland.

NBC Investigation Finds No Wrongdoing in How Management Handled Lauer Complaints

The internal investigation found no evidence that network leaders at NBC News or the "Today" show were aware of complaints about Matt Lauer's workplace conduct before his firing in November 2017. Some had criticized NBC for relying on its in-house counsel to oversee the investigation. The network reported that two outside law firms had been consulted on the methodology, findings, and recommendations. Among its findings were that network staff members were fearful of retaliation but that, ultimately, NBC news did not have a hostile work environment.

Qatar-Saudi Arabia Conflict Spills Over into the Sports Broadcasting Arena

Executives at Qatari network beIN Sports are at a loss as to how to stop a bootlegging operation that steals their feed and broadcasts to much of the Middle East. The network owns some of the most valuable sports rights, including the upcoming World Cup.

The roots of the issue lie in the bitter political dispute between Qatar and a coalition of Arab countries that accuse it of supporting terrorism. In 2017 Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates enacted an embargo, cut off diplomatic ties, and set up a blockade to close Qatar's access to many of the region's ports. Since the dispute, a pirated version of the Qatari sports channel has been streaming illegally in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia also banned the sale of beIN broadcast boxes and prohibited existing customers from paying their subscriptions to the channel. Subpoenas issued in the U.S. to website hosting companies also show a Saudi-based executive paying for hosting fees. FIFA and other governing bodies that have sold exclusive broadcast rights to beIN have supported the company's antipiracy efforts, but have generally not criticized Saudi Arabia publicly. BeIN is currently awaiting the outcome of complaints filed with the World Trade Organization and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Cambodians Fear End of Press Freedom after Newspaper's Sale

The English-language newspaper, The Phnom Penh Post, was recently sold to a Malaysian investor with ties to Cambodia's prime minister. Several senior editors resigned or were fired after new management intervened in editorial decisions. Recent shut downs of dissenting news outlets and arrests of dozens of government critics have also raised concerns about press freedom in the country.

Introduction to Entertainment Law

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Live CLE Program & Webcast

American Management Association Executive Conference Center
1601 Broadway at West 48th Street
New York, NY 10019

Program Co-Chairs
Diane Krausz, Esq.| Diane Krausz & Associates
Stephen B. Rodner, Esq. | Pryor Cashman LLP
Rosemarie Tully, Esq. | Rosemarie Tully, P.C.

EASL Section Chair
Barry Skidelsky, Esq. | Barry Skidelsky Law Office

Sponsored by the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section and the Committee on Continuing Legal Education of the New York State Bar Association.

6.0 MCLE Credits: 4.0 Areas of Professional Practice, 2.0 Skills

NYSBA Member: $195 | Non-Member: $295
Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section Member: $145
Lunch Included in Registration Fee.

Agenda Topics

· Immigration Issues for Foreign Talent
Kimberly N. Grant, Esq. | Pryor Cashman LLP

· Overview of Music Law Basics
Joyce Syndee Dollinger, Esq. | Alter, Kendrick & Baron
Rosemarie Tully, Esq. | Rosemarie Tully, P.C.

· Practical Skills to Succeed in Entertainment Law
Cheryl Davis, Esq., | The Authors Guild, Inc.
Oliver Herzfeld, Esq. | Beanstalk Group
Louise Firestone, Esq. | LVMH

· Life Story Rights - How the Deals are Made in Film, Television, Theater and Beyond
Stephen B. Rodner, Esq. | Pryor Cashman LLP

· Anatomy of a Film Production Deal
Robert Seigel, Esq. | The Law Office of Robert L. Seigel

· Trending Issues in Sports Law
Emma Barnett, Esq. | Madison Square Garden Company
Eric Fisher, Esq. | Madison Square Garden Company

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is Unconstitutional

By Barry Skidelsky

In Murphy v. NCAA, a hot-off-the-presses decision of the United States Supreme Court dated May 14, 2018 (, SCOTUS declared that a federal statutory ban relating to sports gambling known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional.

Effectively ending prohibitions on a $100 billion industry, this decision reverses that of the Third Circuit below, which previously upheld the restrictions on wagering outside of Nevada. Several states and others have been eagerly awaiting this decision, which in part is also relevant to the limits of the federal government over states' regulatory powers.

The decision will be an extremely relevant topic of discussion among our sports law panelists during EASL's Spring Meeting afternoon program on May 15th. The cost for EASL members to attend is only $50, and includes 5 hours of CLE credit and a post-program networking reception.

I look forward to seeing you then. For more information and to register, visit

Barry Skidelsky
Chair NYS Bar Association, Entertainment Arts and Sports Law section (EASL)

May 10, 2018

New Jersey Employers Must Provide Paid Sick Leave Beginning October 29th

By Kristine A. Sova

A new state law in New Jersey requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The new law goes into effect on October 29, 2018.

Under the new law, employers must provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each benefit year. Employees will be able to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave time during the benefit year. Further, employees will be able to use their leave time for their own physical or mental condition, to care for a family member's physical or mental condition, to attend a school-related conference or meeting for the employee's child, to obtain services if the employee or a family member is a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, or for official workplace, school or childcare closures caused by a public health concern.

All employers must comply with the new law. There is no exception for small employers, regardless of the number of workers employed. However, the new law exempts the following specific categories of workers: per diem health care workers, construction workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and public employees who are already provided with sick leave with full pay.

The new law preempts all existing municipal and county sick leave laws. Employers with paid sick leave policies with terms more favorable to employees than those set forth in the new law will be in compliance with the new law.

The new law also addresses carry over of unused paid sick leave, notice requirements for an employee's use of leave, payout of unused paid sick leave on termination of employment, and recordkeeping requirements, among other requirements.


5.0 MCLE Credits in Professional Practice
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Time: 1:30 PM - 6:00 PM EDT
Reception To Follow

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Cutting-Edge Case Developments in Entertainment Law

This discussion of recent court cases will cover such topics, among others, as trademark cancellation claims against celebrity brand managers, entertainment industry litigation-funding disputes, timeliness of fraud claims by TV show producers, limits on former members' ability to use band names, objection clauses in reality-show release agreements, Lanham Act claims over TV series titles, trademark claims over phrases from songs, interplay between discovery requests and statute of limitations in copyright infringement litigation, personal jurisdiction over attorneys in entertainment malpractice litigation, and attempts to depose general counsel in entertainment brand-licensing battles.

Speaker: Stan Soocher, Esq., Editor-in-Chief, Entertainment Law & Finance

2:55 p.m. - 4:35 p.m. Recent Developments in The Right of Publicity

This panel will provide an overview of the right of publicity, first statutorily recognized by the State of New York in 1903 and its continuing evolution, including discussion of current high-profile litigation involving Lindsay Lohan and Lifetime Television, and currently proposed New York State legislative action that would make substantial modification in existing law. The moderator will be Sandra Baron, former Executive Director of the Media Law Resource Center and current Senior Fellow, Information Society Project at Yale School of Law.

Moderator: Sandra Baron, Esq., Senior Fellow, Information Society Project and Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School
Jeremy Feigelson, Esq., Litigation Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton and Co-Chair Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
Sarah A. Howes, Esq., Director and Counsel, Government Affairs and Public Policy, SAG-AFTRA
Edward Rosenthal, Esq., Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz and Chair, Intellectual Property and Litigation
Elizabeth Seidlin-Bernstein, Of Counsel, Ballard Spahr LLP

4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Sports Gambling in the United States -- PASPA and Beyond

A moderated panel discussion will focus on developments in US sports gambling, including one of the most anticipated decisions of the current Supreme Court term in Murphy v. NCAA, which remains to be issued. This decision may ultimately decide the fate of sports gambling in the US and has the potential to create major changes for governments, regulators and gaming advocates alike. The case involves New Jersey's challenge to the nationwide ban on federal sports gambling known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act -- PASPA. There are several possible outcomes for the case, which may be decided in advance of the spring meeting, each of which presents its own unique subset of questions that will need to be answered depending upon how the Justices rule.

Moderator: Eben Novy-Williams, Bloomberg News Sports Business Reporter
Anthony J. Dryer, Esq., Partner, Intellectual Property Litigation and Sports Group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Daniel Etna, Esq., Partner, Corporate Department and Co-Chair Sports Law Group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP
Bennett M. Liebman, Esq., Government Lawyer-in-Residence at Albany Law School; formerly Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Deputy Secretary for Gaming and Racing
Audrey Sheetz, Esq., Associate, Litigation Department, at Herrick, Feinstein LLP

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Reception

May 7, 2018

Week in Review

By Jana Slavina Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

President Trump Hired Lawyer With Impeachment Experience

President Trump retained Emmet T. Flood, who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment. Flood will replace attorney Ty Cobb, who previously advised Trump on cooperation with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III during the first year of the investigation. Back in March 2018, Trump denied via Twitter the intent to retain another lawyer after the New York Times reported that Flood interviewed for the job.

Iowa's Governor Signs The Nation's Strictest Abortion Statute Into Law

Iowa's governor, Kim Reynolds, signed into law the nation's strictest law on abortion. Abortion is now outlawed in the state at the point at which doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat, which typically occurs at six weeks. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland vowed to challenge the new law in court.

Stormy Daniels Sues President Trump For Defamation

Stormy Daniels filed suit in New York federal court last Monday. She alleged defamation against President Trump over his tweet in which he dismissed and disparaged a composite sketch that Daniels claims depicted a man who threatened her in 2011 to stay quiet about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

U.S. May Limit Access For Chinese Researchers

The White House, concerned with the rise of China's technological prowess, is considering strict measures to block Chinese citizens from performing sensitive research at American universities so as to prevent China from acquiring America's intellectual secrets. American officials fear that China's alleged recent tests of cloaking technology for fighter jets are tied to the work of a Chinese researcher at a
Duke University laboratory in 2008.

U.S. Delays Tariffs On European Union, Canada and Mexico

The Trump administration announced that it would delay for another 30 days the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico. The extension is said to reflect the Trump administration's concern of possible retaliation by the European nations and its need for more time to resolve the trade disagreements with China.

Hungary's Judicial Chief Accused Of Interfering With The Judiciary

Following the recent re-election in Hungary of Viktor Orban, a far-right prime minister, multiple judges resigned in quick succession. Last Wednesday, a panel of senior judges accused the President of the National Judiciary Office, Tunde Hando, of interference with the hiring and promotion of judges. Hando is also one of Prime Minister Orban's oldest friends and allies.

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media


Ex-Employee Sues Weinstein; Allegations May Be Of Interest To The Manhattan District Attorney

Alexandra Canosa, a producer on the Netflix show "Marco Polo" and former employee of Harvey Weinstein, filed a lawsuit against him alleging repeated sexual assault and rape spanning years. Three of the claimed incidents are alleged to have taken place in Manhattan in 2010 and 2012. While many complaints previously asserted against Weinstein occurred too long ago to be prosecuted, some speculate that Canosa's claims might qualify as more serious sex crimes that have no statutes of limitation.

Epic Games, Inc. Is Suing A Teenager For Cheating

Epic Games, Inc., the maker of the popular "Fortnite" video game, is suing a teenager for copyright infringement. Epic Games claims that popularizing and publishing cheat codes violates the user agreement. The teenager and his mother are defending the claim by arguing that the end-user license agreement and terms of service were not valid, as the player was a minor and the company did not seek parental consent. Epic Games argues that the agreements are valid, pointing out that the teenager agreed to be bound by its user agreements 14 times, i.e. each time he created a new game account after prior accounts were taken down for alleged cheating.

Roman Polanski And Bill Cosby Expelled From The Movie Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to expel Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership. Harvey Weinstein was expelled last fall.

Art and Cultural Heritage

National Endowment For The Arts Chairwoman To Step Down In June

The current chairwoman for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Jane Chu, announced that she would step down from her post in June. President Trump, who tried to eliminate the NEA twice, will now appoint the new chairperson.

U.S. Returns Smuggled Artifacts To Bagdad

The U.S. returned to Iraq 3,800 ancient artifacts that had been smuggled into the United States and shipped to Hobby Lobby, a nationwide arts and crafts retailer. Cuneiform tablets, seals, and a bull were falsely labeled as tile samples for Hobby Lobby and were intercepted by customs agents. Last year, Hobby Lobby settled a civil lawsuit with the U.S. government, agreeing to forfeit thousands of Iraqi artifacts, among other concessions.

Atlanta Experiencing Film-Making Boom Following Favorable Tax Law

Back in 2008, Georgia's governor signed a new tax law, which allowed for up to 30% of film production spending to be transferred into tax credits as long as a Georgia vendor is used. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia has become one of the top filming locations in the world. About 40 major movies and network television shows are being filmed in the state.

Collector Banned From Exhibiting Art In An Industrial District of Berlin

Berlin authorities banned art collector Axel Haubrok from hosting art exhibitions in a complex occupied by tradespeople and artists in the district of Lichtenberg, an industrial area of eastern Berlin, citing zoning violations.

The British Museum In The Spotlight Over Benin Artifacts Looted From Nigeria

After the Victoria and Albert Museum offered to return Ethiopia's looted Maqdala treasures to the country on long-term loan, the British Museum is coming into the spotlight as it houses a large collection of Benin bronzes, looted from Nigeria under similar circumstances as the Maqdala artifacts. The Benin punitive expedition took place in 1897 to avenge the massacre of several British citizens. The royal palace was plundered as a result. The British Museum previously resisted repatriation efforts, stating that "there is great value in presenting the Benin collection in a global context, alongside the stories of other cultures". The museum's stance may change, however, as an initiative by a group of European museums and Nigerian parties, the Benin Dialogue Group, is encouraging the museum to return of some Benin objects to Nigeria on long-term loan.

Russia Warns That Its Presence At The Architecture Biennale In Venice May Bring About Protests

Vladimir Aristarkhov, the deputy culture minister of Russia, issued a warning that the country's exhibition at the Russian Pavilion of the Architecture Biennale in Venice, which opens this month, may be a target for protests or "provocations."

Scotland Yard Joins Efforts To Repatriate Looted Pharaonic Artifacts

Scotland Yard is collaborating with the British Museum and the governments of Egypt and Sudan in creating a public database of 80,000 pharaonic artifacts that have passed through the trade or have been in private collections since 1970. While inclusion in the database does not mean that an artifact was looted, the database is meant to assist law enforcement officials in tracking down provenance.

As Americans Argue Over The Prom Dress, Chinese Wonder Why

Keziah Daum, who posted photographs of herself wearing a Chinese-style dress to her high school prom, was subjected to a volley of social media outrage by Asian-Americans for cultural appropriation and disrespect to the Chinese culture. On the other hand, many residents of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan view Daum's choice of dress as a victory for Chinese culture.


49ers Safety Who Knelt During National Anthem Files Grievance Against the National Football League For Retaliation

Eric Reid, the San Francisco 49ers safety, was one of the players who knelt during the national anthem for the past two seasons of the National Football League (NFL) games, protesting against social injustice and police brutality against African-Americans. He has now filed a grievance against the NFL, alleging that he was "blackballed" because of his actions.

A Sweeping Overhaul Is Taking Place At Nike

Following multiple complaints by women alleging harassment and a toxic work environment and a string of recent departures of top male executives, Nike has begun a comprehensive review of its human resources operations, making management training mandatory and revising many of its internal reporting procedures.

Russian Doping Whistle-Blower Sues Three Olympic Athletes and The Nets Owner

Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistle-blower who publicly detailed Russia's alleged Olympic doping schemes, responded to a defamation lawsuit against him by counterclaiming against three former Olympic athletes and taking aim at Mikhail D. Prokhorov, the controlling owner of the National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets, who reportedly is partly financing their legal fight.


Three Women Sue Charlie Rose For Sexual Harassment

Three women sued Charlie Rose and CBS, claiming that the former anchorman sexually harassed them and that the network failed to stop the behavior. The lawsuit follows a recent exposé published by the Washington Post, detailing the newspaper's investigation into Rose's behavior.

Time Warner And AT&T Merger Is Awaiting Judicial Approval

Arguments closed on Monday in the courtroom battle over the proposed Time Warner and AT&T merger. The Justice Department argued that the merger will harm the consumers by lessening competition. The proponents of the merger claimed that it would benefit consumers, as it would allow Time Warner and AT&T to compete more effectively against companies like Google and Netflix. Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court for the District of Columbia is expected to rule on the case on June 12th.

Cambridge Analytica To File For Bankruptcy

Cambridge Analytica announced its intent to cease operations and to file for bankruptcy protection after facing a data-harvesting scandal involving the private data of approximately 87 million Facebook users. The harvested data may be sold to the highest bidder in bankruptcy.;

Montgomery's Top Newspaper Confesses Careless And Dehumanizing Prior Coverage Of Lynchings

Following the recent opening of a memorial honoring lynching victims in Montgomery, Alabama, the city's largest newspaper, The Montgomery Advertiser, admitted in an editorial and a news article that its own prior coverage of the black victims was dismissive and dehumanizing, and blamed the victims for the alleged crimes without any evidence of guilt.

Thousands Protest Internet Censorship In Russia

The Russian government's recent effort to block Telegram, a messaging app, was met with protests that morphed into anti-Putin rallies. As the effort to shut down Telegram also resulted in blocking several top websites, including the Russian equivalents of Google and Facebook, the business sector vocally opposed the government's efforts as well.

April 30, 2018

Week in Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Kim Prepared to Cede Nuclear Weapons if U.S. Pledges Not to Invade

The South Korean government said that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country's only known underground nuclear test site.®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Trump Signals Openness to a 'New Deal' to Constrain Iran

President Trump signaled that he was open to a new arrangement with European allies that would preserve the Iran nuclear agreement by expanding and extending its terms to constrain Tehran's development of missiles and other destabilizing activities in the Middle East. Hosting President Emmanuel Macron of France at the White House, Trump again assailed the agreement made by the Obama administration as insane and ridiculous, but said he could agree to a new deal negotiated by American and European officials if it was strong enough.

Lawyer Who Was Said to Have Dirt on Clinton Had Closer Ties to Kremlin Than She Let On

The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, and not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election. However, newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia's chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well connected Russian firm. She also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties, now acknowledging that she was not merely a private lawyer, but also a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.

Michael D. Cohen to Take Fifth Amendment in Stormy Daniels Lawsuit

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, will invoke his Fifth Amendment right in a lawsuit filed against the president by Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star better known as Stormy Daniels. Cohen's decision, disclosed last week in a court filing in California where the suit was filed, came a day before a federal judge in Manhattan was set to hold a hearing regarding materials seized from
Cohen during an F.B.I. raid earlier this month.

Stormy Daniels Lawsuit Delayed as Judge Cites 'Likely' Indictment of Michael Cohen

A federal judge in California ordered a three-month delay in the lawsuit brought by Stephanie Clifford against President Trump, citing what he called the likelihood that Michael D. Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer, will be indicted. In granting a defense request for the postponement, Judge S. James Otero of United States District Court in Los Angeles sided with the president's legal team that the unusual circumstances of the case warranted the stay of action. Judge Otero acknowledged in his order that complications might arise from an overlap with a criminal investigation into Cohen.

Supreme Court Upholds Procedure That Is Said to Combat 'Patent Trolls'

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a procedure that makes it easier to challenge questionable patents. The procedure, created by Congress in 2011, resembles a trial in federal court, but is conducted by an executive branch agency. Supporters say that it helps combat "patent trolls," or companies that obtain patents not to use them, but to demand royalties and sue for damages. Opponents say that the procedure violates the Constitution by usurping the role of the federal courts, violating the separation of powers, and denying patent holders the right to a jury trial. By a 7-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the procedure was a permissible way for the agency that administers patents to fix its mistakes.

Supreme Court Bars Human Rights Suits Against Foreign Corporations

Foreign corporations may not be sued in American courts for complicity in human rights abuses abroad, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The vote was 5 to 4, with the Court's more conservative justices in the majority. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for a plurality of the justices, said such suits should not be allowed without explicit Congressional authorization. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the Supreme Court created a double standard for corporations.

Rod Rosenstein Makes a Timely Supreme Court Appearance

The Supreme Court heard an argument that touched on the president's power to fire subordinates. That same afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has been the subject of reports that President Trump wants to fire him, argued before the Court. The morning argument examined how to balance independence against accountability within the executive branch. The specific question for the Court was whether in-house judges at the Securities and Exchange Commission had decided cases without constitutional authorization. Several justices acknowledged that their ruling in the case could have broad implications.

After Late Vote Switch, Senate Panel Approves Pompeo for Secretary of State

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be the next Secretary of State, after Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, bowed to pressure from President Trump and dropped his opposition.

With No Nomination From Trump, Judges Choose U.S. Attorney for Manhattan

Exercising a seldom-used power, the judges of the Federal District Court in Manhattan voted unanimously to appoint Geoffrey S. Berman as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman was appointed interim United States attorney in January, and his 120-day term was due to expire. With no one yet nominated by Trump for the Southern District position, the judges acted to fill it. Under federal law, he will now serve until the Senate confirms a nominee by President Trump, whose administration has been slow to fill many posts in the executive and judicial branches.

For Politicians Scraping Bottom, a Scarce Resource: Impeachment Lawyers

Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri finds himself the newest member of a small, unenviable club: governors so embattled that they risk being expelled from office. So it was hardly surprising when Greitens's office brought in Ross H. Garber, a professed "Watergate nerd" who, after representing besieged governors in Alabama, Connecticut, and South Carolina, has arguably become the nation's leading practitioner of a subspecialty whose relevance can be a barometer of political rancor. Despite the high stakes and bright lights, the nation's statehouse impeachment bar is made of up just a few battle-tested lawyers who have improvised legal strategies largely on history and hunches.

Scott Pruitt Before the E.P.A.: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money

At the E.P.A., Scott Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with lobbyists. An examination of Pruitt's political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.

F.D.A. Cracks Down on 'Juuling' Among Teenagers

The Food and Drug Administration announced a major crackdown on the vaping industry, particularly on the trendy Juul devices, aimed at curbing sales to young people.


Music Modernization Act Unanimously Passes House of Representatives

The Music Modernization Act, HR 5477, has passed the House of Representatives by unanimous vote. It combines the legislation introduced in December under the same name, as well as the Allocation for Music Producers Act, which provides royalties for music producers, and the CLASSICS Act, which provides royalties for songs created before 1972 from digital streaming services. The bill paves the way for improved royalty payments to songwriters, artists, and creatives in the digital era. The bill is overwhelmingly supported by the music industry, and has bipartisan support in the House, where it was introduced by co-sponsors Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Corresponding bills have been introduced in the Senate championed by Senator. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault in Retrial

At his second sexual assault trial, actor and comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of three counts of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home near Norristown, Pennsylvania 14 years ago. Constand was a Temple University employee at the time. Cosby's conviction offered a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.

Gender Letter: The Culture Is Changing. Cosby is Proof.

The New York Times Gender Editor reflects on changes since the advent of the #MeToo movement, and its possible effects on the second Cosby trial, in which multiple victims were allowed to testify and a conviction was obtained.

Madonna Loses Legal Battle Over Tupac Shakur Breakup Letter

Madonna lost a legal battle to prevent the auction of her intimate memorabilia, including satin underwear and a letter from her former boyfriend, the rapper Tupac Shakur. In July 2017, New York Supreme Court Judge Gerald Lebovits granted Madonna a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of 22 items that she described as "extremely private and personally sensitive." Yet in a decision made public last week, Justice Lebovits dismissed the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations to recover the items had passed. The belongings, which also included intimate photographs, a hairbrush, and cassette tapes of unreleased recordings, were set to be sold by the online auction site last year.

Kenya Bans Film About 2 Girls in Love Because It Is "Too Hopeful"

The first Kenyan entry ever nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival will debut in France in two weeks -- but it is now illegal for Kenyans back home to watch it. The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the film, "Rafiki," a drama about two Kenyan girls who fall in love. Ezekiel Mutua, the board's chief executive officer, said the film "legitimizes homosexuality against the dominant values, cultures and beliefs of the people of Kenya." Mutua said that the film board's ruling did not represent a ban on homosexual content. "Homosexuality is a reality," he said. "What we are against is the endeavor to show that as a way of life in Kenya."


Decision Reached in "Monkey Selfie Case"

In a 41-page decision published on April 23rd, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit dismissed Naruto (the Crested Macaque)'s claims, and held that although the monkey had constitutional standing, it lacked statutory standing to sue for infringement of its copyright in its selfie photographs, because the Copyright Act does not expressly authorize animals to file copyright infringement lawsuits.

Naruto v. Slater, No. 16-15469 (9th Cir. 2018) is available at:

French Museum Discovers That More Than Half of Its Paintings Are Fake

More than half the paintings owned by a southern French museum are worthless fakes, and authorities fear that more forgeries may be on display at other public galleries. The small museum in Elne, dedicated to local artist Etienne Terrus, a contemporary of Henri Matisse, learned that 82 of its 140 works were fakes after art historian Eric Forcadea raised the alarm. Forcadea noticed while helping to prepare an exhibit that some of the paintings attributed to Terrus featured buildings built after his 1922 death.

Paris Opera Ballet Dancers Complain of Harassment and Bad Management

"The current director seems to have no managerial competence, and no desire to acquire any," and "We are no longer children!" were among the blistering remarks submitted in response to an anonymous internal questionnaire compiled by the Paris Opera Ballet company's Committee for Artistic Expression. Other complaints and charges by the respondents included sexual and verbal harassment, lack of support and care, and incompetence. These are just some of the accusations leveled at the Paris Opera Ballet management and at the company's artistic director, Aurélie Dupont. The responses were leaked to journalists last week, setting off a furor in the French media.

Why Won't We Learn from the Survivors of the Rana Plaza Disaster?

Bangladesh is among the cheapest places to produce clothes, along with Vietnam and India. More than 4.4 million people -- mostly women -- work in its 3,000 factories, where the minimum wage is currently 32 cents an hour, or $68 a month. Brands flock here to source $30 billion worth of "ready-made garments," or RMG, making Bangladesh the world's second largest apparel manufacturing center, after China. However, the Bangladesh apparel industry has also been rife with sweatshops and industrial accidents. Between 2006 and 2012, more than 500 Bangladeshi garment workers died in factory fires usually caused by faulty electrical wiring. After more than 1,100 people were killed in the horrific building collapse of Rana Plaza, hundreds of factories in Bangladesh were shuttered. Five years later, the garment industry looks set to return to business as usual.


Former National Football League Cheerleaders Offer to Settle for $1 and a Meeting With Goodell

The lawyer representing two former National Football League (NFL) cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims against the NFL has made a settlement proposal: If her clients can have a four-hour, "good faith" meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell and league lawyers, they will settle all claims for $1 each. The settlement proposal, sent to an NFL attorney, asks that league representatives meet with at least four cheerleaders to prepare a set of binding rules and regulations which apply to all NFL teams.

FIFA's Infantino Calls for Rare Emergency Meeting Amid $25 Billion Offer

FIFA's president, Gianni Infantino, called for an emergency meeting of the leading officials in international soccer to address a $25 billion rights offer from an investment group that could radically change some of the biggest competitions in the sport. Infantino called for a special meeting with leaders of soccer's six regional bodies to discuss details of the offer for control of a new quadrennial 24-team club tournament along the lines of the World Cup, FIFAs's $5 billion cash cow, and a proposed league for national teams.

N.C.A.A. Panel Proposes Reforms, Including End to 'One and Done'

N.C.A.A. leaders endorsed a series of broad recommendations they received from a commission chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the latest attempt to clean up men's college basketball and fix a system mired with corruption. The proposed changes would alter the texture of the sport, but stopped well short of challenging the longtime requirement that the college athletes remain amateurs, uncompensated beyond a scholarship and a stipend for their talents and efforts.

Review Finds 'Tsunami' of Fixed Matches in Lower Levels of Tennis

Professional tennis has created an environment ripe for corruption at the sport's lowest levels, and needs reform to combat the problem, an independent task force reported after a two-year investigation. The review panel of three prominent lawyers found that there was a "tsunami" of fixed matches at the lower levels of the game, but also that there was no conspiracy or collusion among the sport's governing bodies to cover it up.

Track's New Gender Rules Could Exclude Some Female Athletes

In an effort to address questions about fair play, track and field's world governing body will publish regulations that could force some elite female athletes with naturally elevated testosterone levels to lower the hormone with medication, compete against men in certain Olympic events, or effectively give up their international careers. Female track athletes with elevated levels of testosterone, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, will be required to lower the amount of the hormone circulating in their blood for six months before being allowed to compete from the quarter-mile to the mile in major international events like the Olympics and the world championships. The rules, scheduled to take effect in November, will initially be enforced in middle distance races of 400 meters to one mile. These distances, which synthesize the need for speed, power and endurance, are events in which raised testosterone levels can have the most profound influence on performances.

Baseball Document, Thought Worth Millions, Spurs Court Fight

One of the most valuable pieces of baseball memorabilia -- a copy of the 1876 National League Constitution, which established business practices that remain the norm today -- is at the center of a legal dispute between the family of a late baseball executive and an auction house the family claims is holding it hostage. The two sides were working together last May to sell the papers that had been among Fred Fleig's belongings when he died in 1979, a year after he retired as the National League's secretary and treasurer. After ads and an Associated Press story appeared about the auction, Major League Baseball claimed it was the rightful owner, and the sale was stopped.


Prosecutor of Patz's Killer Takes Over Weinstein Inquiry

A senior prosecutor known for winning a murder conviction in the killing of Etan Patz in now running the Manhattan district attorney's investigation into rape allegations against the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi, took over the case in early April, replacing a veteran sex crimes prosecutor who had been leading the inquiry since December, allegedly due to escalating tension between prosecutors and police investigating Weinstein's conduct.

Tom Brokaw, in Email, Angrily Denies Harassment Claim

Tom Brokaw, the longtime NBC News anchor, issued a pointed rebuke to a former colleague who accused him of groping and harassing her during the 1990s, describing himself as "angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career." In a lengthy email message, Brokaw angrily rejected the claims of the woman, Linda Vester, a former correspondent at NBC News and Fox News. "I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety," Brokaw wrote, referring to the news organizations that on Thursday night published Vester's account.

Professor Apologizes for Helping Cambridge Analytica Harvest Facebook Data

Aleksandr Kogan, the academic who was hired by Cambridge Analytica to harvest information from tens of millions of Facebook profiles, defended his role in the data collection, saying that he was upfront about how the information would be used, and that he never heard a word of objection from Facebook. Kogan, a psychology professor who has found himself cast as the villain by both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, expressed regret for his role in the data mining, which took place in 2014.

YouTube Says Computers Are Catching Problem Videos

The vast majority of videos removed from YouTube toward the end of last year for violating the site's content guidelines had first been detected by machines instead of humans. YouTube said that it took down 8.28 million videos during the fourth quarter of 2017, and about 80%
of those videos had initially been flagged by artificially intelligent computer systems.

Facebook Replaces Lobbying Executive Amid Regulatory Scrutiny

Facebook replaced its head of policy in the United States, Erin Egan, as the social network scrambles to respond to intense scrutiny from federal regulators and lawmakers. Egan, who is also Facebook's chief privacy officer, was responsible for lobbying and government relations as head of policy for the last two years. She will be replaced by Kevin Martin on an interim basis. Martin has been Facebook's vice president of mobile and global access policy, and is a former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Egan will remain chief privacy officer and focus on privacy policies across the globe.

Peter Madsen, Danish Inventor, Is Convicted of Killing Kim Wall

A Danish inventor who admitted to dismembering a journalist and discarding her body from the submarine he built was convicted of killing her, in one of the most gruesome and closely watched cases in Scandinavian history. A court in Copenhagen found the submarine inventor Peter Madsen, 47, guilty of premeditated killing -- equivalent to murder -- in the death of Kim Wall, 30, whom prosecutors said he bound, tortured, sexually assaulted and stabbed repeatedly after she went on his submarine, the UC3 Nautilus, to interview him.

In Berlin, a Show of Solidarity Does Little to Dampen Jewish Fears

After an attack on a young man wearing a kipa (yarmulke, skullcap) in a trendy Berlin neighborhood, the leader of Germany's largest Jewish organization urged Jews to wear baseball caps instead. It was just too dangerous, he said, to walk around openly with a kipa, a sign of devotion. In response, Berliners, including the mayor and other Jewish groups, participated in demonstrations on Wednesday in which people of all faiths donned skullcaps in solidarity. Despite the demonstrations, however, many among the more than 100,000 Jews who now call Berlin home worry that the outward display of solidarity will remain largely symbolic. They do not expect it to change the threats they face daily, in a political climate in which the far-right has been resurgent and incidents of antisemitism and racism have increased, even in a city that celebrates diversity as key to its modern identity.

Apple's Deal for Shazam Is Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns

At what point does a company have so much data that it becomes unfair? Antitrust cases, particularly in the United States, are typically argued over the impact a deal will have on consumers, such as the price of a product or service. Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's top antitrust official, has argued data should become more of a factor. She argues that with free services, customers pay with their data, and are not always getting a fair deal. This broader interpretation of antitrust law would have important consequences for future acquisitions made by companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

April 23, 2018

Week in Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

U.S. and Britain Issue Russian Cyberattack Warning

The U.S. and British government issued a joint warning about Russian cyberattacks against government and private organizations and individual homes and offices. The warning said that the Russians were seeking to exploit internet connected devices around homes and businesses to support espionage, extract intellectual property, and lay the foundation for future offensive operations.

CIA Director Pompeo Secretly Met With Kim Jong-un In North Korea

President Trump sent CIA Director Mike Pompeo to North Korea to lay the groundwork for upcoming meetings with the reclusive countries leader Kim Jong-un. Pompeo has been dealing with North Korea through back-channels ever since Trump agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un last month.

Independent-Minded New York Prosecutors Pose Risk For President Trump

Career prosecutors in the Southern District of New York's public corruption unit pose a risk for President Trump in the investigation of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen. The Southern District, which has a reputation for being independent, poses a greater threat to Trump than others. The unit, which has a track record of convicting politicians on both sides of the aisle, is even more unrestrained in its investigation as the Attorney General for the Southern District, Geoffrey Berman, recused himself from it.

Cohen Judge Yet to Decide Who Can View Raided Documents

The judge overseeing the battle over what to do with the documents seized from attorney Michael Cohen's office has not decided on who will get access to the documents and when. Judge Kimba Wood did not grant President's Trump attorney's request to review the documents, but has also not given access to the prosecutors.

Lawyer Apologizes for Leaving the World Early Then Set Himself on Fire

Nationally known civil rights lawyer David Buckel, who killed himself in Prospect Park, sent text messages and emails to friends and family apologizing for leaving the world early and leaving big challenges to tackle for those who remained. Buckel said in his suicide letter that he set himself on fire to make a statement about people protecting the environment.

Trump Declines Further Russian Sanctions

President Trump rejected any further sanctions on Russia for its involved with the chemical weapons program in Syria. The decision came after United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. would place sanctions on Russian companies helping with Syria's weapons program.

Sean Hannity Named as Michael Cohen's Client

Michael Cohen, President Trump's lawyer, named Fox News host Sean Hannity as one of his clients in a court hearing regarding an FBI raid on Cohen's office. Hannity was put on the defensive after this revelation because of his ardent support for Trump. Some critics of Hannity and media watchdogs believe that he should have been open with his viewers and disclosed his relationship with Cohen.

Chemical Weapons Inspectors Block from Syrian Site

Chemical weapons inspectors sent to the site of Syria's alleged chemical weapons attack were blocked from entering the site by the Syrian government, raising suspicions that the Syrians and Russians were cleaning the area of any evidence of an attack.

Tech Companies Set Principles For Cyberattacks

Major technology companies, including Microsoft and Facebook, announced a set of principles that the companies would follow in the event of a cyberattack on a country or its individuals. The principles include not helping any government mount a cyberattack against innocent civilians and enterprises and a commitment to come to the aid of any nation being attacked, whether the motive is criminal or geopolitical. Google, Apple, and Amazon have not signed the principles, and none of the signatories come from countries most responsible for cyberattacks, like Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China.

New York A.G. Seeks Power to Punish Those Pardoned By President

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders to close a loophole in New York's double jeopardy law that shields recipients of a presidential pardon from state prosecution. Schneiderman claims that New York's current law allows defendants pardoned for serious federal crimes to be free from all accountability under state criminal law.

Supreme Court Divided on Online Sales Taxes

It is unclear whether the Supreme Court will reach the five votes necessary to overturn a 1992 decision Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which barred states from collecting sales taxes from companies that do not have a substantial connection to the state. The Court is considering a case that challenges the ban on sales tax collection.

U.S. Limit Chinese Tech Firms

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously on a rule that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security. The decision takes direct aim at Chinese tech companies and intensifies the already testy relationship between China and the U.S.

Guiliani Joins Trump Legal Team

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani will join President Trump's personal legal team. Trump has had problems recruiting and keeping top legal talent to help defend him in the Mueller investigation.

Men Arrested at Starbucks Hope to Ignite Race Discussion

The two black men arrested for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks hope to ensure that the situation doesn't happen again. Donte Robison and Rashon Nelson told ABC's Good Morning America that they hope that the incident would spur dialogue about race.

AT&T Chief Attacks Justice Department's Lawsuit Blocking Time Warner Merger

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson attacked the Justice Department's lawsuit seeking to block the company's merger with Time Warner, saying that the
merger was a "vision deal" that the company needed to compete against tech companies.

Baby Makes History on Senate Floor

10-day old Maile Pearl Bowlsbey become the first infant to ever be brought onto the Senate floor, when her mother, Senator Tammy Duckworth, brought her to work. The Senate voted unanimously to change its rules to allow both male and female senators to bring babies up to one year old onto the Senate floor.

Audit Firm Approved Facebook's Policy

Auditing firm PWC, which was put in charge of monitoring Facebook's privacy protections for federal regulators, told the FCC that the company had sufficient privacy protections in place, ever after the firm lost control of a huge amount of user data to firm Cambridge Analytica. The report effectively gave Facebook approval for its policies.

Justice Department Refers Former FBI Director to Federal Prosecutors

The Justice Department's inspector general asked federal prosecutors to review finding that former FBI deputy directors Andrew McCabe misled investigators about his role in providing information to the media before the 2016 election.

Hundreds of Children Taken From Parents at U.S. Border

A New York Times report claims that more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents at the U.S. border. Homeland security officials said that they separate the children from the adults to "protect the best interests of minor children...if we cannot ascertain the parental relationship."

Wells Fargo Settles with Feds for $1 Billion

Wells Fargo will pay federal regulators $1 billion to settle investigations into its mortgage and auto-lending practices. The bank was accused of forcing customers into buying products and paying fees that were either unnecessary or caused by the banks own failures.

Justice Department Investigating Wireless Collusion Claim

The Justice Department is investigating AT&T and Verizon to determine whether they colluded to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers.

Russia and China Are Threats Says U.S. State Department

The State Department labeled Russia and China threats to global stability for their poor human rights records. The label comes in a mandated report cataloging human rights problems around the world.

The Democratic National Party Sues Russia, Trump, and Wikileaks

The Democratic National Party sued the Russian government, Trump campaign, and Wikileaks alleging far-reaching conspiracy theories to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign. The complaint alleges that top Trump officials conspired with Russia to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign.

North Korea to Stop Nuclear Tests and Scrap Test Sites

The North Korean government said that it would immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site and pursue economic growth and peace ahead of summits with South Korea and the United States.

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer

Rapper Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his album "Damn". Lamar is the first rapper to win the Pulitzer, and "Damn" is the first non-jazz or classical work to win the award. The Pulitzer committee called the album "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life."

Judge Allows Quaalude Testimony in Cosby Trial

The judge in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial will allow jurors to hear Cosby's previous statements about obtaining Quaaludes as part of his efforts to have sex with women. Cosby is accused of molesting Andrea Constand in 2004, and made the statement in a deposition related to the 2005 civil suit filed by Constand. Cosby's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that his statement that he used Quaaludes in the 1970's doesn't have any relevance to an incident that occurred in 2004.

Cosby Witness Testifies That Accuser Discussed Plans to Frame a Celebrity

A star witness for Bill Cosby testified that Cosby accuser Constand once remarked about how easy it would be to fabricate charges against a celebrity to get money. Marguerite Jackson, who was once the director of operations for Temple University's women's basketball team, said Constand made the comments while they were watching television in a hotel room on a road trip. Two toxicologists also offered competing testimony as to whether Constand was given Benadryl by Cosby, as is claimed. The defense also showed the jury documents claiming that Cosby was traveling at the time of the alleged assault.

Meek Mill Gets Prosecutors Support

The Philadelphia district attorney's office supported Imprisoned rapper Meek Mill's request for a new trial. The DA's office said that Mill's 2008 conviction on drug and weapons charges should be vacated because the arresting officer's credibility was in question. Mill is serving two to four years in prison for violating his parole, which included an arrest for reckless driving in New York City.

No Charges in Prince's Death

Prosecutors declined to file any criminal charges in Prince's overdose death cause by the drug fentanyl, saying that there was no evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit pills found in his system.

"Smallville" Actress Charged with Sex Trafficking

Actress Allison Mack was arrested and charged with recruiting women into a secret society in which they were forced to have sex with self-help guru Keith Raniere. Mack allegedly recruited the women by saying they were joining a female mentorship group, which turned out to be a secret society run by Raniere, where the women were required to provide information about family and friends, nude photos, and rights to their assets as collateral in case they left the group.

Germany Rap Due with Anti-Jewish Lyrics Causes Fury After Winning Award

Popular German rap due Farid Bang and Kollegah's receipt of Germany's Echo Music Award has caused an uproar in Germany because of the duo's anti-Jewish lyrics. The rapper's lyrics include boasting about how their bodies are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners" and vowing to "make another Holocaust, show up with a Molotov."

Video Music Awards Returning to New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration reached an agreement with MTV to bring its Video Music Awards (VMAs) back to New York City this summer. The last time the VMA's were staged in New York was 2016, after being held in Los Angeles.


Contested Mockingbird Producer Offers to Stage Performance for the Judge

Scott Rudin, the producer of Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird", offered to stage a single performance for the judge hearing the case that pits novelist Harper Lee's estate against Sorkin. Lee's estate claims that Sorkin's version of the play deviates too much from the original novel. Rudin filed a $10 million counter suit claiming that Lee's estate has damaged his ability to produce the show and questions the conduct, qualifications, and motivations of the executor of the estate, Tonja B. Carter.

rudinplay memo.pdf

Top Art Collector Sues Over Failed Delivery of Sculptors

Steven Tananbaum sued art star Jeff Koons and his dealer Gagosian Gallery for improper business practice in New York for their failure to deliver three sculptures, even after Tananbaum paid millions of dollars. Koons's work takes years to create, so he takes money up front from collectors. The suit claims that this practice is unethical and littered with corruption.

"Fearless Girl" Statue Being Moved to Stock Exchange

The popular statue of a little girl staring down the iconic "Charging Bull" statue in downtown Manhattan will be moved to the front of the New York Stock Exchange. The "Fearless Girl" statue by sculptor Kristen Visbal and commissioned by State Street Global Advisors was installed in front of the Bull in 2017 on the eve of International Women's Day, and was accompanied by calls for companies to increase the number of women on corporate boards. The artist behind the "Charging Bull" statue complained that it infringed on his work.

Noble Panel Found Unacceptable Behavior By Panelist But No Illegal Conduct

The panel for the Noble Prize found "unacceptable behavior" by one of its panelists, but nothing illegal. Photographer and married member of the academy Jean-Claude Arnault was accused of sexual assault and harassment.

Sims Statue Removed From Central Park

The statue of Dr. James Sims, a pioneer in the practice of gynecology, has been removed from Central Park. The decision to remove the statue came from the city's Public Design Commission, which was created to review all public monuments in the city following protests across the country over Confederate statues. Sims was a 19th century surgeon who conducted experiments on women, usually enslaved women of color.

New Washington D.C. Police Training Requires Tours of African American Museum

The Washington D.C. Police Department is requiring all officers to spend a day at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, hoping to educate police officers about black history, and teach them about historical interactions between law enforcement and communities of color.

Chinese Antiquities Stolen From Bath Museum

Four masked men broke into the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, England, and stole precious jade and gold artifacts, as well as many other items. The men smashed a first-floor window and broke into display cases and removed the objects. The break in comes six years after three men tried to steal items while visiting the museum.

Landmarks Chairwoman Steps Down

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan announced that she would resign after nearly four years at the post. Srinivasan had faced opposition to her proposed rule changes, including removing some landmark decisions from public view, that critics said would weaken protections for historic buildings.

German and French Culture Ministers Meet to Discuss Common Projects, Concerns

The German and French culture ministers met to discuss common projects and concerns, including the collection of African art from the colonial era. Germany has been under increased pressure to display and recognize African art, after French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to put African art in French museums on display in African cities.

German Theater Offers Free Tickets for Swastika Wearing Audience Members

A German theater doing a satirical production of Hitler's Mein Kampf is giving away free tickets to audience members if they show up and wear clothing bearing a swastika for the entire productions. Paying members are encouraged to wear a Star of David. Author-director Serdar Somuncu said he wanted the performance to begin the moment tickets were purchased. About a dozen audience members have worn swastikas.


Fallout from Acquittal in Irish Rugby Rape Case Continues

The fallout from the March rape acquittal of two professional rugby players in Ireland continues. The players, Paddy Jackson and Ulster Olding had their rugby contracts canceled, thus ending their professional careers in Ireland. Supports of the players are adamant that the players should be allowed to continue to play since they were clear of the assault. Critics say the acquittal, and the evidence produced at trial, raised questions about the attitude of sex and consent among Irish men.

FIFA Charges Russia With Fan Racism

FIFA charged World Cup host Russia with fan racism, less than two months before the tournament starts, after monkey chants were aimed at black French players during a match last month in St. Petersburg. FIFA said disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Russian Football Union.

Armstrong Agrees to Settle Government Lawsuit

Lance Armstrong agree to pay $5 million to settle the government's civil fraud lawsuit against him. The government sought $100 million for his use of a banned substance when the United States Postal Service sponsored him.

Pair Pulls Off Upset In Boston Marathon

Desiree Linden became the first American female runner to win the Boston marathon in 33 years, and Yuki Kawauchi became the first Japanese man since 1987 to win the race. Both runners faced headwinds of about 10 miles per hour, cold temperatures, and rain to pull off the upset.

Famed Gymnastic Coaches Deny Knowing of Nassar Assaults

Bela and Martha Karolyi, who ran the Karolyi Ranch gymnastic training center where Larry Nassar abused young female gymnasts, both denied ever knowing what Nassar was doing. The Karolyis said on the "Today" show that if the parents of the girls, who were in the room at the time of the alleged assaults, didn't know what was going on, how could they.


Comey Launches All-Out War With Trump

In an interview with ABC News publicizing his new book, former F.B.I. director James Comey called President Trump a serial liar who treated women like meat and that he was "morally unfit to be president." Trump responded to Comey, tweeting that the latter was a "slimeball" and "the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"

Former Playboy Model Allowed to Discuss Alleged Trump Affair

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with President Trump, was freed to discuss her story after she was released from a contract she signed prohibiting her from talking about the affair. The National Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for her story in 2016, but never ran it. McDougal filed a lawsuit to invalidate the contract.

Chinese Residents Protest Gay-Themed Social Media Censoring

Chinese citizens protested Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, after it announced that it would "clean up" gay, pornographic, and violent content from the site. With hashtags like "I am gay, not a pervert," protesters were able to force Sina Weibo to change its decision to include gay content in its clean up.