April 29, 2017

Week in Review

By Michael Smith

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

Entertainment

Evidence That Cosby Used Quaaludes to Pursue Women Can Come in at Trial

On Friday, the Pennsylvania judge presiding over Bill Cosby's criminal sexual assault trial ruled that evidence showing that Cosby obtained Quaaludes to help him pursue women is admissible. The judge denied the prosecution's request to admit Mr. Cosby's statements about using "Spanish fly," which defense attorneys argued were part of a comedy routine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/arts/drug-evidence-will-be-permitted-at-cosby-trial.html

Cosby's Lawyers Look to Change 'Optics' Ahead of Trial

In an interview released on Wednesday, one of Bill Cosby's defense lawyers said, "[t]he challenge for us is to change the optics" surrounding Cosby, who she said has been found guilty by the court of public opinion. Other representatives of Cosby deny that his daughter's public statement defending him, his decision to grant an interview after months of silence, and the acknowledged plan of Cosby and his family members to make further public statements and interviews in the lead-up to the trial is a coordinated public relations strategy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/arts/television/bill-cosby-evin-cosby-sexual-assault-trial.html

"The Bachelor" Star Arrested

Reality TV star Chris Soules, famous for his turn on "The Bachelor", was arrested at his home on Monday after he reportedly fled the scene of a fatal car accident. Soules called 911 after rear-ending a man on a tractor, but then ended the call before authorities arrived.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/arts/chris-soules-bachelor.html

Fyre Festival Fails

Fyre Festival, promoted as a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, with weekend packages ranging from $1,200 to six-figures, was canceled on Thursday after guests desperately tried to flee the island. Guests expecting luxury accommodations were told to "grab a tent"; meals that were supposed to have been catered by celebrity chef Stephen Starr turned out to be slices of bread and cheese in Styrofoam; and essentials like beds and blankets were in short supply. Festival organizers -- rapper Ja Rule and 25-year-old tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland --- took responsibility for "underestimating" the challenges involved.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/arts/music/fyre-festival-ja-rule-bahamas.html

Arts

"Rebecca"' Trial Begins

On Monday, counsel delivered opening statements in a trial arising out of the failed would-be Broadway musical adaptation of the 1938 novel Rebecca. The producers of the show contended that the show's former publicist, Marc Thibodeau, sabotaged the troubled production by persuading a last-minute investor not to give the producers his money. Thibodeau said that he was just trying to save the investor from losing his money to dishonest and incompetent producers. The trial will determine Thibodeau's liability for defamation and tortious interference, as well as damages for breach of contract (for which Thibodeau already has been found liable).

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/theater/trial-for-broadways-rebecca-scandal-begins.html

Fake-Play Scammer Pleads Guilty

Roland Scahill, a former theater agent who stole $189,000 from investors in a nonexistent Broadway play, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and fraud. Scahill was sentenced to six months in jail and five years' probation, and ordered to make restitution and receive psychiatric treatment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/arts/ex-theater-agent-admits-to-tricking-friends-into-investing-in-fake-play.html

Nazi-Looted Portrait Pulled from Austrian Auction

The current possessor of a van der Helst painting seized by Nazis in 1943 from the collection of Adolphe Schloss put the painting up for auction after an Austrian proceeding determined that he was the "fair and legal owner." However, he withdrew the work just hours before the auction, after receiving threats. The Austrian system, which prevents the heirs from legally intervening to block the sale at auction of looted works, has come under international criticism.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/arts/design/owner-withdraws-nazi-looted-painting-from-auction-in-austria.html

U.S. Tax Court Finds That Sotheby's Lowball Estimates Were a Conflict of Interest

A judge on the U.S. Tax Court has upheld the IRS's challenge to a Sotheby's appraisal of a painting by Bruegel the Younger. That estimate, $500,000, was less than a quarter of what Sotheby's later sold the painting for at auction. The judge found that the Sotheby's official who gave the appraisal was simultaneously soliciting the owner (an heir) for the right to auction the paintings, and provided "lowball" estimates that would lessen the estate tax burden in an attempt to curry favor.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/arts/design/dont-blame-the-russians-tax-judge-tells-sothebys-expert.html

Sports

Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football Sues Former FIFA Officials

The Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) sued former FIFA officials Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer in Brooklyn federal court for $20 million, accusing them of negotiating bribes and kickbacks in connection with tournament broadcasting rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/04/21/us/ap-us-fifa-investigation-lawsuit.html

Cities, Stadiums Cracking Down on Big League Chew

New YOrk City ordinances ban the use of smokeless tobacco at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, as well as at a dozen Major League stadiums outside New York. Major League Baseball says that it supports these bans and has a policy to enforce them. A first violation incurs a written warning and a referral to a doctor who helps players stop using smokeless tobacco. Recidivists must pay the fine prescribed in the local ordinance.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/sports/baseball/smokeless-tobacco-new-york-yankees-mets.html

Judge Orders Hernandez Suicide Notes Released to Family

On Monday, a Massachusetts judge ordered that the three notes found in the cell of former National Football League player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez after he hanged himself last week be released to his family.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/sports/football/aaron-hernandez-suicide-notes.html

Golf Won't Go to the Videotape

The United States Golf Association and the R&A, the two bodies in charge of golf's rules, issued a decision on Tuesday limiting the use of video technology to influence rulings in televised matches. The rule favors players' "reasonable judgment" and evidence seen by the "naked eye" over evidence revealed by high-definition or super-slow-motion cameras. The rule is intended to prevent players in televised competition from being held to a higher standard.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/sports/golf/lexi-thompson-video-review-usga-ra-rules.html

Surfer's Death Renews Australian Shark Debate

The death of a 17-year-old surfer in a shark attack has renewed debate in Australia over whether more should be done to protect people against sharks, which kill two to three people per year in that country. There is little evidence that culling sharks works, but many Australian states use hooks or nets to trap and kill sharks who come close to shore. A spokesperson for Western Australia announced that it will subsidize electromagnetic shark repellents, which have been shown to prevent "investigative" attacks but not deter sharks in "hunting mode."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/world/australia/shark-attack-esperance-surfer-laeticia-brouwer.html

Media

Facebook Temporarily Suspends Account Critical of Chinese Government

Last week, Facebook temporarily suspended the account of Guo Wengui, an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, after the Chinese government asked Interpol to issue a request for his arrest. Wengui, a Chinese-born billionaire who lives in the U.S., has been posting accusations of corruption against family members of party officials. He also has been accused of giving millions of dollars in bribes to a former top intelligence official. A spokesperson for Facebook said that the suspension was erroneously triggered by the company's automated systems.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/technology/guo-wengui-china-facebook-account-suspended.html

Groups Sue Berkeley Over Canceled Coulter Appearance

Two conservative organizations --- the Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America's Foundation --- filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco against the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), after UC Berkeley canceled an appearance by author Ann Coulter, citing specific security threats. Earlier this month, the College Republicans had canceled an appearance by another conservative writer, David Horowitz, after UC Berkeley required that the speech take place in the afternoon and far from the center of campus. The suit accuses UC Berkeley of unreasonably restricting the time and place of events featuring conservative viewpoints.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/us/ann-coulter-university-of-california-berkeley.html

AT&T's Actions Invite Antitrust Scrutiny of Time Warner Merger

Even as AT&T works to convince the Justice Department that it needs to merge with Time Warner in order to compete with "big cable", it has been taking actions to prevent competitors, including Google Fiber, from expanding into markets it already dominates, by suing to prevent or delay use of its utility poles. AT&T says that its local efforts are to protect its consumers, but others see hypocrisy. If these actions raise concerns with Justice Department officials, the AT&T-Time Warner merger could still be approved--but with strings attached.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/technology/att-time-warner-merger-cable-regulation.html

Former Fox News Anchor Says That Ailes Also Harassed Her

Alisyn Camerota, a former Fox News anchor, claimed that Roger Ailes sexually harassed her, including by inviting her to a hotel room when she asked for new opportunities at work. Ailes' lawyer denied Camerota's claims.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/business/alisyn-camerota-accuses-roger-ailes-of-harassment-at-fox-news.html

Fox News Faces Class Action Alleging Racial Discrimination

On Tuesday, eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action lawsuit in the Bronx accusing the network of "abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/business/media/fox-news-racial-discrimination-lawsuit.html

Chobani Sues Alex Jones

Yogurt company Chobani sued radio personality and conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones for publishing false and defamatory reports connecting the company to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis cases. Chobani and its founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, have drawn criticism and threats from right-wing groups for their support of refugees.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/business/chobani-alex-jones.html

Maldivian Blogger Killed

Yameen Rasheed, a 29-year-old blogger and outspoken critic of radical Islam was stabbed to death last Sunday in his home in the Maldives. Rasheed was devoted to a campaign to find his friend Ahmed Abdulla, a journalist abducted in 2014. Rasheed frequently received death threats from extremists, and complained that the police often failed to respond.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/world/asia/yameen-rasheed-dead-maldives-blogger-dead.html


April 24, 2017

Week in Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

Expanded, Amended Complaint Filed In Trump Emoluments Lawsuit

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an amended complaint expanding its lawsuit against President Trump. The lawsuit, filed in the SDNY, accuses Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The amended complaint is meant to address weaknesses in the initial lawsuit, which did not have a clear victim. It alleges that restaurants and their employees are harmed by Trump because they have to compete directly with restaurants owned by Trump or those in which he has a financial interest. Additionally, the amended complaint alleges that hoteliers are harmed by the presence of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is set to receive a $32 million tax credit to offset some of the costs of renovation. The Justice Department will likely counter that the emolument clause is only meant to cover gifts and compensation for services, and does not prohibit ordinary, arms-length transactions for services.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/us/politics/trump-crew-lawsuit-constitution.html

Ivanka's Continued Brand Extension on the Global Stage Is Raising Eyebrows

Ivanka Trump remains one of the most highly visible of President Trump's children, and historically has accepted the role of representing her father and the Trump brand in business dealings around the globe. As she entered into a new role as White House Advisor, she stepped down from her company and the Trump Organization and put her brand in a trust. She is subject to increasing scrutiny, due to her many overseas business dealings, especially now that she literally has a seat at the table with leaders of foreign countries where she has extensive business ventures. Trump is covered by the emoluments clause, barring her from accepting any benefit from a foreign leader or foreign state. She also must also recuse herself from any government decisions that may have an impact on her financial holdings. Trump maintains that she is abiding by her ethical obligations. However, even if she follows all of the rules, the mere sight of her at the table raises many eyebrows.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/business/ivanka-trump-trademark-brand.html

New Trademarks for Ivanka Trump's Brand Approved Same Day as State Dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese officials maintain that they properly handled trademark applications filed by Ivanka Trump's brand. Earlier this month, Trump received approval of three of her trademark registrations on the same day her father hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at a state dinner at Mar-a-Lago. A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump stated that the filings were defensive, and a normal activity for a brand striving to protect itself. The approved trademarks covered jewelry, bags, and spa services.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/04/19/business/19reuters-china-usa-trump-trademark.html?_r=0

Female Partner Who Sued for Gender Discrimination Expelled From Chadbourne & Parke

In a partnership vote at Chadbourne & Parke this week, Kerrie L. Campbell was expelled from the partnership. Campbell had sued the firm for gender discrimination, arguing that it paid female partners less and offered fewer opportunities for advancement than their male counterparts. Earlier in the week, a federal district court judge blocked her efforts to stop the vote. The firm maintained that her expulsion was unrelated to the lawsuit, and were instead related to her performance. Chadbourne joined the firm in 2014, and said she made multiple complaints about unequal pay that were ignored. By 2016, she was told that her practice no longer fit with the firm's direction, and that she should leave. She refused to depart, and ultimately brought suit against the firm. Two other female partners joined in the lawsuit.

While such "public ousters" are uncommon, the usual practice is for a partner to leave voluntarily if he or she brings a lawsuit. Chadbourne was recently acquired by Norton Rose Fulbright, and the new, merged firm will be left with the cleanup from the ouster and ongoing lawsuit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/business/dealbook/chadbourne-parke-discrimination.html

Ivanka Trump To Donate Book Proceeds

In a statement on Thursday, Ivanka Trump said that she would donate unpaid proceeds from her book, "Women Who Work," to charity, including the National Urban League and the Boys & Girls Club of America. Her goal, through these donations, is to continue to empower women. Trump created the Ivanka M. Trump Charitable Fund, which will hold and distribute the unpaid proceeds and future royalties from the book. The Urban League will launch a new women's initiative, and the Boys and Girls Club will allocate the money for its existing STEM program.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/politics/ivanka-trump-charity-women-who-work.html

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

ENTERTAINMENT

Hollywood Writers Strike

Voting began on Wednesday on whether members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) will authorize a walkout. The vote will end today, and has the potential to have a lasting impact on the industry. The sides would have to reach a deal by May 1st to avoid a work stoppage. The traditional wage issues are at play, but the area where the two sides are struggling to meet is health care. The WGA wants studios to financially support their its health care coverage, which is running deficits. The studios do not want to set a precedent for bailing out the health care plan, and have asked for fundamental changes in how the plan functions. The impact of a work stoppage would be felt immediately - many shows would switch to re-runs, others would be delayed. The larger potential consequence is a significant rise in Netflix and Amazon viewers, which studios and networks are fighting to retain. The streaming services have shows that are ready to go, in addition to a large catalogue of on-demand programming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/business/media/with-a-hollywood-writers-strike-looming-heres-what-to-know.html

Minnesota Northern District Court Judge Blocks the Release of New Prince Album "Deliverance"

A Minnesota District Court Judge blocked the release of "Deliverance", an album of previously unreleased music by Prince. The album was packaged and finished by a long time Prince collaborator, George Ian Boxill, who planned to release the album digitally. The judge issued a TRO blocking the release and ordered Boxill to return to the estate "all recordings acquired through his work with Paisley Park Enterprises, including original recordings, analog and digital copies." Prince's estate recently made an agreement with Universal Music Group for the bulk of Prince's recording catalogue, including unreleased material. The deal with Universal is not without its bumps, as the company claims that some of the rights it acquired under the deal conflict with rights previously secured by Warner Music. The TRO does not cover the release of the single, "Deliverance", which was released prior to the hearing and has since again been made available online.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/arts/music/prince-deliverance-lawsuit.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/arts/music/prince-deliverance-ep-lawsuit.html?action=click&contentCollection=Music&module=RelatedCoverage®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article

Prince's Opiate Addiction - Hidden in Plain Sight

Investigators found narcotic painkillers throughout Prince's Paisley Park home following the accidental overdose that lead to his death. Fans and friends alike were surprised by his addiction, as he embodied a healthy, clean lifestyle. Many of the drugs found in his home were those for which he did not have a prescription, and were placed in over-the-counter vitamin and aspirin containers. Investigators are looking to Prince's longtime friend and employee, Kirk Johnson, to determine whether he knew the extent of Prince's addiction, and whether Johnson potentially helped Prince acquire the drugs. It is unclear where Prince got the opiates that ended up killing him. Some of the drugs found at his home contained fentanyl, which can be fatal, especially if taken by someone unaware of its strength.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/arts/music/prince-opioid-death.html

The Fight for 007 - Five Studios Compete for Distribution Rights

The competition for the distribution rights of the James Bond brand is hot and heavy, considering the value of the rights at play is relatively small. MGM and Eon Productions control the Bond franchise. Sony Pictures Entertainment has held the rights to James Bond since 2006, with a contract to market and distribute four films. The recently expired contract was not very lucrative for Sony - it required the studio to pay 50% of the production costs, but Sony only received 25% of the profits after costs were recouped. Sony had to pay marketing and promotional fees, and also gave MGM a percentage of the profits in another project. However, James Bond films are almost certain to be global blockbusters, and as the industry becomes less certain, studios are clamoring to have a Bond movie in the works. The current contract over which the studios are fighting is for one film, perhaps so the franchise owners can consider selling the franchise or seeking a public offering.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/business/media/james-bond-sony-mgm-eon-productions.html?_r=0

Session Musicians and Backup Singers Cheer for the AFM & SAG-AFTRA IP Rights Distribution Fund

$60 million in royalties was distributed in 2016 to non-feature performers, including session musicians and backup singers. The AFM & SAG-AFTRA IP Rights Distribution Fund is a joint union fund, which collects royalties from digital platforms. It distributes royalties to performers, regardless of their union membership or affiliation. There are several arms of the fund, including the sound recording division, symphonic royalties division, and audiovisual division. The fund distributes far less than the larger SAG-AFTRA residual distribution fund, or the AFM's audiovisual disbursements, but the individual distributions can be quite large, and these sometimes-overlooked performers are grateful.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/afm-sag-aftra-fund-spotlight-at-ascap-expo-995393

Disbarment and Up to Three Years In Prison for Lawyer Who Stole From a Judge's Estate

Queens Attorney Frank Racano received a one to three year prison sentence and automatic disbarment for stealing from the estate of the late Supreme Court Judge John L. Phillips. Racano had been entrusted with the proceeds from the sale of Judge Phillips' estate, which included the Slave Theater in Brooklyn. Over the course of two years, Racano wrote himself checks from the trust account, stealing close to the entire proceeds. In addition to his sentence, Racano was ordered to reimburse the estate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/nyregion/queens-lawyer-gets-up-to-3-years-for-theft-from-judges-estate.html

ART

Claim for Nazi-Looted Art Set to Proceed

The pending lawsuit in the New York State Court system is one of a series of suits attempting to reclaim pieces from the collection of Fritz Grunbaum, an Austrian Jew who died at Dachau. Grunbaum had a sizeable collection that was confiscated by Nazis in the late 1938s. His heirs are attempting to reclaim pieces from the collection bit by bit. The Appellate Division, First Department, ruled that the pending lawsuit may move forward, despite the existence of a separate lawsuit over a related artwork. The pieces that are the subject of the lawsuit are two drawings by Egon Schiele.

http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/this-weeks-news/id=1202784114427/Panel-Allows-Stolen-Artwork-Claims-to-Move-Forward?mcode=1202615036097&curindex=22

SPORTS

80 Game Suspension For Pittsburgh Pirate's Rising Star

Starling Marte, a player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was handed an 80-game suspension after testing positive for nandrolone. Under the baseball's rules, first time offenders receive an 80 game suspension, without pay, and players become ineligible for postseason if they served their suspension during the season for using a performance-enhancing drug. Marte issued an apology to his fans and teammates.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/sports/baseball/starling-marte-pittsburgh-pirates-suspended-steroids.html

Moral Conflict at the National Football League As It Establishes a Presence in Las Vegas

As the Raiders move to Las Vegas, the National Football League (NFL) must come to terms with its moral stance on gambling, with a franchise making its home in a city that has made gambling a way of life. The NFL has strongly opposed gambling, and actively fought efforts to let states introduce sports gambling. It also penalizes players or personnel who appear at casinos - while team owners collect sponsorship money from casinos, state lotteries, and fantasy football providers. The NFL has time to come to terms with these contradictions, as the Raiders' move to Las Vegas won't occur for another two years.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/sports/football/as-it-embraces-las-vegas-nfl-is-awash-in-gambling-contradictions.html

Phil Jackson Chastised by Union for Public Comments

The National Basketball Player's Association (NBPA) chastised Phil Jackson for his public comments about Carmello Anthony's employment with the Knicks. The NBPA has a gag rule for players, which forbids them from discussing a desire to be employed elsewhere. It argues that management should be held to the same standards. Jackson has come under criticism for his behavior in the past, including a $25,000 fine in 2014 for tampering.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/sports/basketball/nba-knicks-phil-jackson-carmelo-anthony.html

Roll Call of Inauguration Donors Includes NFL and Major League Baseball Owners

Recently released documents show the sources for the $107 million raised for Donald Trump's inauguration. Among the list of donors, which filled 510 pages, were notable names in the NFL. Six, and possibly seven, team owners contributed $1 million each: Daniel Snyder (Washington Redskins), Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams), Shahid R. Kahn (Jacksonville Jaguars), Bob McNair (Houston Texans), Robert K. Kraft (New England Patriots), and Wood Johnson (New York Jets). Additionally, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys does not appear on the list by name, but he is listed as president of Glenstone Limited Partnership, the corporation that controls the Cowboys. Edward Glazer, whose family co-owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, contributed $250,000. Additionally, if the love of Trump by the NFL wasn't already apparent, NFL Ventures LP contributed $100,000. Finally, feeling the pressure from the NFL, the office of the commissioner of Major League Baseball donated a sizeable amount, as did Marlene Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs. Other donors to the inauguration included friends from the resorts and casino industries, the energy industry, visa supporters, a company associated with the Venezuelan oil industry, a prominent catering company, and a slew of anonymous donors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/politics/trump-inauguration-donors.html

Aaron Hernandez - Suicide Behind Bars

Former New England Patriot's tight end, Aaron Hernandez, recently committed suicide in prison. He had been convicted in 2015 of first-degree murder, and less than a week ago was found not guilty in another murder case, a shooting that took place in 2012. Prison officials attempted lifesaving techniques, but were unsuccessful. Hernandez was later pronounced dead at the hospital. He is survived by his four-year old daughter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/sports/aaron-hernandez-dead.html

MEDIA

Federal Communications Commission Set to Roll Back Telecom Rules

Two votes to roll back Obama-era rules were set for last Thursday, paving the way for Ajit Pai's mission to deregulate the telecommunications and broadcast industries. Republicans and large industry firms strongly support these rollbacks, while consumer groups argue that consumers will be on the hook for higher prices and fewer options for services. One of the items up for vote was a plan to allow broadband providers to charge businesses higher prices to connect to their networks. The other item was a measure easing limits on the number of stations a broadcast company can own. Pai has argued that media ownership rules are out of date, given the rise of Internet companies, such as Facebook and Netflix.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/technology/ajit-pai-fcc-telecom-deregulation.html

Federal Communications Commission Taps Tech Companies for Views on Net Neutrality

The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met with various tech companies this week to get their feedback on the agency's proposed net neutrality rollbacks. Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC, said his goal was to find "common ground" with the tech industry. As mentioned above, Pai is on a mission to deregulate the industry, and aims to ease restrictions placed on large telecom and broadcast TV companies. His primary targets are net neutrality and the classification of broadband as a utility service. Consumer groups are wary of the direction Pai is taking the FCC, and argue that the actions are an example of how money influences politics. Critics fear that media consolidation gives a voice only to a few the largest companies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/technology/fcc-net-neutrality-ajit-pai.html

Mounting Sexual Harassment Claims Leads Fox to Oust O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly was fired by Fox News, after a New York Times investigation revealed multiple settlements with women who complained about O'Reilly engaging in inappropriate behavior. In the aftermath of the investigation, 50 advertisers pulled from his show, and women inside and outside the company called for him to be pushed out. O'Reilly was the network's biggest asset, having served as an anchor at Fox since 1996. His departure marks the third significant loss for the network - including the departure of Roger Alies, also amidst a sexual harassment scandal, and Megyn Kelly, who departed on her own terms in January. Fox had recently extended O'Reilly's contract for an additional four years, but was aware of previous sexual harassment allegations and built in protections for the company. The network filled his spot with Tucker Carlson, and shifted its programming schedule. The women who came forward with their claims are encouraged by Fox's action, and many others are hopeful that this will, once and for all, signal a culture shift within the company.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/business/media/bill-oreilly-fox-news-allegations.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Advertisers Drop From "The O'Reilly Factor" Like Flies

At its height, "The O'Reilly Factor" boasted 30 nationally broadcast spots each night, and had a roster of sponsors that included Mercedes-Benz and Aleve. In the wake of the New York Times investigation that revealed an ongoing sexual harassment scandal, two-thirds of the show's advertisers pulled out. The Times called it "a strikingly swift fall ushered in by an advertising exodus." Brands are well aware of the impact consumers can have, and know they can be hurt if they don't separate themselves from controversial issues that could strike a chord with their customers. While many companies merely shifted their revenue to other Fox News programs, the message that almost 50 major brands pulled their support from O'Reilly was clear. Social media played an increasing role as well, bytracking where brands place their ads. Consumers are starting to realize the power of where they place their dollars. The quick reaction of Fox in this case was surprising to all.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/business/media/fears-of-revolt-by-consumers-felled-bill-oreilly.html

The Ouster of O'Rielly Comes With a Price Tag of $25 Million

Many were shocked when rumors circulated about Bill O'Reilly's exit package from Fox News. He will receive a payout of $25 million, the amount of his annual salary. This now brings the amount Fox has spent surrounding sexual harassment allegations to more than $85 million.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/business/media/bill-oreilly-payout.html

Debate at the Justice Department Over Whether to Prosecute Julian Assange

The Justice Department is again deciding whether to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with espionage, or alternately theft of government documents. Mr. Assange was involved in disclosing classified documents that revealed C.I.A. software and techniques for hacking into electronics. An anonymous law enforcement official told the New York Times that the Attorney General was pressuring the Eastern District of Virginia to bring charges, but that prosecutors are skeptical that the charges will stick. The ACLU spoke out against the prosecution. Assange maintains that he is a journalist, who seeks to publish truthful information. Prosecution of him would "set a dangerous precedent," potentially leading to the Trump administration targeting other news organizations for obtaining and publishing information.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/politics/justice-department-weighs-charges-against-julian-assange.html

Former Inmate Sues Crime Magazine For Falsely Labeling Him As An Informant

Popular among prison inmates, and known as "the original street bible," the crime magazine Don Diva was sued by an inmate who claims that the magazine falsely labeled him a "rat," causing him to suffer a horrible 10 years in prison as a result. Russell Allen pleaded guilty to participating in a drug conspiracy run by Kenneth (Supreme) McGriff, a notorious Queens drug lord. Don Diva interviewed McGriff, who stated that Allen had testified against him. The statement was inaccurate, and although the magazine retracted the statement in a subsequent issue, the damage was done. In Allen's lawsuit, he claimed that he suffered death threats, time in solitary confinement, and was disowned by his family, which withdrew its financial and emotional support. The retraction never made it into the prison system. The magazine was banned from the prison system by federal officials - before the retraction was published - because of its reputation for revealing informants. Don Diva, without claiming fault, offered Mr. Allen a feature-length article about his experience if he drops the suit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/nyregion/inmate-sues-crime-magazine-for-labeling-him-a-rat.html

A Mix of Relief and Frustration Over Trump's "Buy American and Hire American" Visa Reform Order

Large Silicon Valley tech companies heaved a sigh of relief over President Trump's recent Executive Order that promised an overhaul of the H1-B foreign technical worker visa process. However, smaller tech startups feel the overhaul will discriminate against them, as they already struggle to attract talent due to the lower salaries they are able to offer. The Order, rather than outline significant overhauls, instead asks for a series of reports on the visa program. Critics of the Order say that it doesn't actually address the issue of foreign workers. One reform for which the Administration continues to advocate is changing the visa lottery system to give preference to the highest-paying jobs, which it says will help insure that only the "most skilled and highest-paid applicants" receive visas, and that talented American employees aren't replaced by foreign workers. This works in favor of the tech giants, but may negatively impact small startups, which are part of the heart of Silicon Valley.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/us/politics/executive-order-hire-buy-american-h1b-visa-trump.html

Facebook's Secret to Success Is Its Network

Mark Zuckerberg's strategy for dominating the social media world is to focus on building and maintaining a presence as the biggest network. He is less concerned with developing new technologies than buying, implementing, and improving them. Facebook does this time and time again - starting with the purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp. The company then incorporates elements of these platforms that have made them so popular into the Facebook network, basically "heisting" them. Zuckerberg recently offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. When his offer was refused, he simply developed his own brand of "augmented reality," which debuted in recent weeks, that many believe will undercut Snapchat. People are critical of this method - taking ideas and improving them - while others say it is in the spirit of the tech industry, and a company like Facebook is in a better position to develop some of these technologies due to networks and supports they already have in place.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/technology/facebook-snapchat-instagram-innovation.html

New YouTube Ad Placement Algorithms Negatively Impacting Small, Independent Media

Small, YouTube-based media outlets rely on ad revenue to fund their operations. YouTube's recent shifting ad placement algorithms have had a significant and negative impact on these smaller producers, and some argue have had the effect of chilling speech. Algorithms are used by YouTube to determine ad placement, and have to process 400 hours of content that is uploaded to the site every minute. The programs often cannot determine context, or distinguish commentary from hate speech. The system blocks ads from being placed next to content that it considers "not advertiser-friendly," and while it will exclude sexual humor and depictions of violence or drug use, it also excludes news reporting about those subjects. Content creators feel that the ad placement system needs to be further developed to "decipher context," and they fear speaking their minds or providing "honest" commentary for fear of losing revenue and being branded as not "brand-friendly."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/arts/youtube-broadcasters-algorithm-ads.html

Apple's App Store Content Subject to Chinese Scrutiny

Chinese efforts to regulate Internet content in the country have met challenges as the mobile phone industry continues to grow. Most recently, Chinese authorities indicated that they would summon Apple to discuss video streaming apps available in the company's App store, which authorities believe may be facilitating the streaming of forbidden live content. Other large tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, have long been banned from China, and Apple remains a rarity among foreign-owned companies that are allowed to offer content and apps through their own platforms. Apple withdrew its iBooks and iTunes Movies apps recently at the request of the Chinese government, and also pulled some news apps, such as the New York Times app, from its Chinese app store. Three agencies reportedly approached Apple regarding the summons.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/business/media/china-apple-app-store.html

Ann Coulter Determined to Keep Her Original Contract Date at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley has attempted to reschedule a speech by Ann Coulter that it originally cancelled after receiving "specific intelligence" of threats that could cause danger to Coulter and others if she appeared on the college campus. Coulter has stated that she will show up on campus on the date outlined in her contract, regardless of the threats, and has sharply criticized the University for failing to provide adequate protections. She is not alone in her criticism, as people from across political spectrums are disappointed by the move and believe that it is a "letdown for free speech." A lawyer for the Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America's Foundation, who are sponsoring Coulter's appearance, has threatened to sue the University if it doesn't allow her speech to proceed. The University maintains that its primary goal is to keep both Coulter and the greater student body of 36,000 safe, and is struggling to understand why she continues to demand the event to proceed regardless of credible threats that would place the safety of so many at risk.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/berkeley-reversing-decision-says-ann-coulter-can-speak-after-all.html

April 17, 2017

The National Hockey League Pulls Its Players from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

By Tyler A. Sims, Associate
Littler Mendelson, P.C.
One Newark Center
1085 Raymond Blvd., 8th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
Direct: 973.848.4747
Email: tsims@littler.com
*The views expressed herein are those solely of the author.

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced on April 3rd that its players will not play in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. This ended a five-year run of NHL participation in the Olympics. (https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-will-not-participate-in-2018-winter-olympics/c-288385598)

It is no secret that the overwhelming majority of NHL owners have been strongly opposed to interrupting the NHL season again to allow its players to represent their respective countries in the Olympics. Surprisingly, a majority of fans in the USA and Canada disapprove of interrupting the NHL season to allow NHL players to play in the Olympics (73% and 53%, respectively). The bottom line is that the NHL owners do not see the benefit to hockey or the NHL. (https://www.nhl.com/news/history-shows-olympics-dont-help-nhl/c-288389004)

While the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) harshly criticized the NHL for this decision, the NHLPA rejected the NHL's offer to continue Olympic participation in exchange for an extension of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for three years to 2025, plus the elimination of the opt-out clause in the fall of 2019 (for more on the NHLPA's reason for declining the NHL's offer in December of 2016, see http://www.nhlpa.com/news/nhlpa-rejects-nhls-offer-of-olympics-for-cba-extension, and see its statement here: http://www.nhlpa.com/news/nhlpa-statement-on-nhls-2018-olympic-winter-games-decision.).

NHL players are overwhelmingly disappointed in the NHL's decision. As a result, some forecast future labor strife. One high-profile NHL player, Alex Ovechkin (Russia), stands behind his commitment to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, regardless of the NHL's position. NHL coaches and executives are also voicing their disappointment. (http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2017/4/4/15176386/players-reactions-nhl-skip-2018-winter-olympics-south-korea-nhlpa-gary-bettman-lundqvist-ioc)

Many interesting questions are raised if NHL players leave their teams mid-season to join their respective countries in the Olympics:

-What are the consequences if the players leave their NHL teams to compete for their countries in the Olympics?
Can they be suspended?

-Can NHL teams void their contracts?

-Will the NHL teams take them back?

In another blog post I will look at the options that NHL owners and teams have in addressing these questions under the CBA.

This author believes that the NHLPA did not protect the players' interest in the CBA when addressing Olympic participation. Therefore, the NHL was well within its right to cancel its Olympic participation. However, as a former player and fan of the game, I enjoy watching the best players in the world compete in the Olympics. This issue should be revisited during the next round of CBA negotiations.

I first wrote about this topic in a post entitled "Does the return of the World Cup of Hockey signal the end of NHL players competing in the Olympics?" posted on September 9, 2016. (http://community.njsba.com/entertainmentartsandsportslawsection/blogs/tyler-sims/2016/09/09/does-the-return-of-the-world-cup-of-hockey-signal-the-end-of-nhl-players-competing-in-the-olympics?ssopc=1)

April 16, 2017

Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

Eleven House Republicans Sign Letter Supporting Arts Endowment

With Republicans controlling Congress, the possibility of President Trump's proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is real. Yet the list of Republicans who have joined the rallying cry to save the NEA has increased in number. Eleven House Republicans have now signed a letter requesting an increase in NEA funding, which is a welcome sign of support. The letter sent to Representative Ken Calvert, Republican of California and Chairman of the House Subcommittee that funds the cultural endowments, calls for increasing the approximately $148 million endowment to $155 million.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/arts/eleven-house-republicans-sign-letter-supporting-arts-endowment.html

Trump's Trademark Continues Its March Across the Globe, Raising Eyebrows

Prior to Donald Trump being elected President, his trademark registration applications were stalled in countries like Peru and China. Since his election, those applications moved forward successfully and seemingly expeditiously. There is no global registry of trademarks, so only estimates can be made. "A review of 10 trademark databases shows that Mr. Trump's enterprise has 157 trademark applications pending in 36 countries." Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, discovered a 2015 deposition stating that Mr. Trump personally owned his trademarks. Chief Legal Officer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, estimated that overseas sales made up as much as $140 million of $400 million in annual revenue generated by the sale of Trump-branded products and services. In May 2016, Mr. Trump reported to the Office of Government Ethics that "in the previous 17 months, he earned between $14 million and $65 million in royalties and licensing fees, up to two-thirds of it from overseas."

Soon after inauguration, China granted preliminary approval of 38 Trump trademarks. A liberal nonprofit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a lawsuit against the President over the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. Norman Eisen, co-founder of the nonprofit, asks: "How can we be confident that he is making decisions in the interest of the United States when he has these enormous potential inducements?" The emoluments clause specifically "prohibits federal officials from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any king, prince, or foreign state." U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.

Whether new foreign trademark registrations or other transactions between Mr. Trump's businesses and foreign governments violate the emoluments clause is a complex question with serious ramifications. Firstly, in its 230-year existence, the clause has never been interpreted by a court. Secondly, President Trump is the only president to put the clause to this extensive a test. Ever since President Jimmy Carter put his personal assets in a blind trust so as to avoid emolument "entanglements," each president has followed in his footsteps, until now. Unlike President Carter, President Trump put his businesses in a trust managed by his eldest sons, one of which will keep his father abreast of his vast enterprise. Finally, Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter, is considered a federal official, now that she has become an "unpaid assistant to the president." Her company has 37 trademark applications pending in 10 countries.

Proponents of the lawsuit argue that "the emoluments clause prohibits Mr. Trump from accepting any economic benefit from a foreign power... because foreign governments could seek the president's favor through actions like trademark registration or pressure him by withholding approvals." The Justice Department makes two arguments: 1) that the Constitutional framers "would have had to confront the potential effect of the emoluments ban on the early presidents like George Washington, who supplemented his salary by "exporting flour and cornmeal" (considered an arm's length transaction), and 2) that under the separation of powers doctrine, it is Congress who has the power over such matters, not the courts, and thereby the lawsuit will be dismissed for lack of standing. President Trump pledged to donate profits from foreign government guests at Trump establishments to the federal Treasury, and his sons assert that they have turned down new foreign deals valued in the billions of dollars.

The value of a U.S. trademark registration, according to a federal appeals court, is significant and financially beneficial. In some foreign countries, a trademark approval is an economic asset because it can be used defensively to stake future ground. The countries in and expediency with which President Trump's trademark applications have received approval since his election raises eyebrows. He seems to be making a push in Central and South America; one approval request in Peru took only days, whereas prior to his election, his requests sat for six months. The Peruvian government insists that "Peru's president, who met President Trump in the Oval Office in late February, has no influence over their decisions."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/us/politics/trump-trademark-ethics.html

Family Past Heightens Enigma of Judge's Death

The death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first black woman to serve on the Court of Appeals, continues to be a mystery. In one of Judge Abdus-Salaam's recent important decisions, she overturned a 25-year-old rule that the "nonbiological parent in a same-sex couple had no standing to seek custody or visitation rights after a breakup" by granting the nonbiological parent standing if he or she showed "clear and convincing evidence that all parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together" in the Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.

Judge Abdus-Salaam was found in the Hudson River. With no apparent signs of trauma, the cause of death is still undetermined, but is being investigated as a suicide. Unfortunately, such tragedy plagued her family previously, with the suicide of her mother in 2012, and brother in 2014. Before Judge Abdus-Salaam joined the highest court, she served on the First Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court and prior to that served as a justice for 15 years on the State Supreme Court. Although she recently told her physician that she was stressed with work demands and not having enough family quality time, many of her friends and colleagues find it hard to believe that she killed herself, since she is a cancer survivor.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/nyregion/sheila-adbus-salaam-new-york-judge-hudson-river-committed-suicide.html

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

Entertainment

What in the Name of Pop Is Going on With Eurovision?

Eurovision, an American Idol-like song contest based in Europe, continues to be riddled with controversy. After Ukraine, this year's host country, barred Russian contestant Yulia Samoylova from entering the country because she performed in Crimea (Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014), Russia refused broadcast the show or to send a replacement contestant. Furthermore, Channel One, the Russian broadcaster of Eurovision, refuses to let her perform by satellite. In response, Eurovision announced that Russia is not allowed to participate in this year's event, the first time a host country has directly prevented another country from competing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/arts/music/eurovision-2017-russia-ukraine.html

Arts

Wounded by "Fearless Girl," Creator of "Charging Bull" Wants Her to Move

Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor who created "Charging Bull," the 3.5-ton sculpture of a bull situated near Wall Street, has asked for the removal of the sculpture facing it: "Fearless Girl," a statue of a girl posed with her fists on her hips commissioned by State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Di Modica created "Charging Bull" after the stock market crash of the 1980s. To him, it is a symbol of "freedom in the world, peace, strength, power, and love." He has copyrighted and trademarked the statue. Through his lawyer, Norman Siegel, he has demanded that "Fearless Girl" be moved to another site, because it subverts "Charging Bull's" meaning, and State Street Global Advisors commissioned the statue as a "site-specific work that was conceived with 'Charging Bull' in mind," thereby infringing on Di Modica's copyright. They also asserted that the City of New York had violated his legal rights issuing the permit for "Fearless Girl." The initial permit was only for one week; however, due to the overwhelmingly positive public response, Mayor de Blasio announced that the permit would be extended until next year's International Women's Day. State Street Global Advisors are reviewing Di Modica's demands, hoping that the matter can be resolved amicably.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/nyregion/charging-bull-sculpture-wall-street-fearless-girl.html

Trinity Church Is Sued for Moving Tree Sculpture

The sculptor of the bronze re-creation of a sycamore tree mounted at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan sued the church for removing his sculpture. Steve Tobin, through his lawyer, Steven Honigman, claims that the church violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, which "prohibits the removal of sculptures created to be installed permanently at a particular site." Tobin installed the work in the church's courtyard in 2005 after a real sycamore tree was destroyed by debris from 9/11. The church moved the sculpture to another site in Connecticut in 2015. It is alleged that the statue was damaged in transport. The church has not offered any comment on the litigation but asserts that the public will enjoy the statue at its new home.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/arts/design/trinity-church-sued-over-sculpture-9-11-loss-of-tree.html

How Much is Too Much Enthusiasm?

A $25,000 preservation prize from the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been called into question. The prize was awarded to the Preservation Society of Newport County in 2011 to repair the Breakers, a 70-room Vanderbilt cottage. Another preservation group, called the Friends of Newport Preservation, charge that the awarded group used unethical means to secure the necessary votes to win the prize by strong-arming its staff to vote multiple times and pushing tourists to vote. The National Trusts says that multiple votes are allowed; however, it prevents the use of automated bots. The issue of the votes seems to be related to a larger conflict between the two Newport preservation groups; particularly the development of a new visitor center planned for the grounds of the Vanderbilt cottage. Third place winner, Over-the-Rhine Foundation of Cincinnati, and second place winner, the Ritz Theater in Wellington, Texas, are not complaining, and are happy to have received much-needed funds.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/arts/in-newport-a-contest-in-which-one-man-one-vote-was-for-losers.html

Sports

Commissioner Says That Charlotte is Eligible to Host 2019 NBA All-Star Game

Now that North Carolina repealed its "bathroom bill," the National Basketball Association (NBA) reinstated the state's eligibility to host games. Charlotte was slated to hold the All-Star Game this year; however, the NBA moved the game to New Orleans in response to North Carolina passing House Bill 2. The law "removed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people... and required transgender people to use public bathroom facilities that aligned with their sex at birth." The new bill doesn't fully reinstate the anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community, but it's an incremental change. According to Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, the NBA is part of the movement pushing for complete change. Before Charlotte is granted the 2019 All-Star Game, it must provide assurances that anti-discrimination policies will be enforced for the All-Star weekend. The NCAA is also "reluctantly" reinstating eligibility to North Carolina to host championship events.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/sports/basketball/charlotte-eligible-to-host-19-nba-all-star-game-commissioner-says.html

Commissioner Starts to Press Cleveland Indians About Logo

Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred, by beginning talks with the Cleveland Indians owners, appears to have come to a clear position on the team's logo, Chief Wahoo. In his spokesperson's statement, Manfred communicated "his desire to transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo" and identified a specific process to remove it. Although many American baseball fans would like the logo removed, not everyone agrees. Some Indian fans see Chief Wahoo as just a caricature. However, the American Indian Movement of Ohio disagrees. An indigenous Canadian also tried to prevent the logo's use in court during the Indians-Blue Jays playoff series held last fall in Toronto. MLB joined in defending the injunction; however, that case signaled the need for greater dialogue on the issue. Commissioner Manfred and the Indians CEO, Paul Dolan, continue their discussions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/sports/commissioner-starts-to-press-cleveland-indians-about-logo.html

Aaron Hernandez is Found Not Guilty of 2012 Double Murder

Aaron Hernandez, an ex-National Football League (NFL) New England Patriots tight end, was found not guilty in his double-homicide trial. The jury had been in deliberations since April 7th. He was also acquitted of trying to intimidate a witness. Hernandez continues to serve a life-without-parole sentence for the killing of Odin Lloyd in 2015.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/sports/football/aaron-hernandez-not-guilty.html?_r=0

Oakley Arraigned on Misdemeanor Charges

Retired Knicks player Charles Oakley was arraigned in criminal court in Manhattan on charges stemming from when he was ejected from Madison Square Garden and arrested. The misdemeanor assault charges were for striking a security guard and minor injuries received by two other people. At the arraignment, Oakley was released without bail.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/04/11/us/ap-us-knicks-oakley-arrested.html

William T. Walters, Famed Sports Bettor, Is Guilty in Insider Trading Case

William T. Walters, an infamous professional sports gambler, was convicted in one of the largest insider trading trials of recent history of 10 charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. After four unsuccessful attempts, the U.S. Attorney's office was successful in proving that Mr. Walters used nonpublic information from Thomas C. Davis, a board member of Dean Foods of Dallas, thereby profiting over $40 million in a six-year period. The trial lasted 14 days, yet the federal jury took only half a day to deliberate. Before trial, the investigation, led by Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, focused on high-profile figures, such as Carl C. Icahn, a billionaire investor, and professional golfer, Phil Mickelson. Mickelson, who profited approximately $1 million from trading Dean Foods stocks, was never called to testify, but he forfeited those profits in a separate but related Securities and Exchange Commission case. Icahn, who is also an unpaid advisor to President Trump, was reported to be friends with Walters, and whose stock advice Walters would follow. Icahn was not charged with wrongdoing. The prosecutors argued that Davis of Dean Foods "provided Mr. Walters with secret Dean Foods information about future earnings statements, the planned purchase of another company, and a pending initial public offering." Walter's defense attorneys countered that he was a skilled trader who did not need insider information. That defense did not hold sway over the jury, who considered Davis' credibility, along with corresponding phone and trading records, and testimony of a "Bat Phone" and coded language. Walters faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years. According to his attorney, Barry H. Berke, he will appeal the verdict.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/business/dealbook/william-t-walters-famed-sports-bettor-is-guilty-in-insider-trading-case.html

Media

Tomi Lahren Sues Glenn Beck, Saying She Was Fired for Her Stance on Abortion

Tomi Lahren, a television host on the conservative website, TV station, and subscription service called The Blaze, claims that she was fired due to her opinion on abortion. She is suing Glenn Beck, who is her employer and founder of the right-wing media company. The lawsuit, filed in Dallas County Civil Court, alleges that she was fired directly following her March 17th comments on The View, an ABC syndicated daytime talk show, saying: "I'm for limited government... so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well." The Sunday after the Friday airing of The View's segment, Lahren was informed that her nightly show, Tomi, was suspended. Although The Blaze stated that Lahren was still employed because it continued to pay her, Brian Lauten, the Dallas lawyer representing her, alleges in the lawsuit that she was wrongfully terminated. Lahren was told by the company's human resources director after the suspension that she was not terminated, yet her company email was turned off and a yellow caution tape was stretched over her office. In addition, Lahren was urged to "go dark" on social media. In a statement, The Blaze said that Lahren did not lose her job, and that it continues to comply with the employment agreement that expires in September. Lauten responded that Lahren was told in March that she no longer had a job, and "as long as she is under that agreement, she cannot do anything."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/business/media/tomi-lahren-lawsuit-glenn-beck-blaze.html

U.S. Blinks in Clash with Twitter; Drops Order to Unmask Anti-Trump Account

Twitter account @ALT_USCIS regularly posts tweets critical of White House policy. Whoever is behind the account claims to be a current employee of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Last month, Customs and Border Protection issued a summons ordering Twitter to divulge the identity of the account holder. Twitter responded with its own lawsuit on April 5th, claiming that the summons was unlawful and infringing on First Amendment rights. On April 6th, the federal agency withdrew its demand, thus staving off a showdown between a presidential administration that has effectively blocked other federal agencies from using social media, and a technology company championing free speech. Once the government withdrew its summons, Twitter also withdrew its lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was ready to represent the anonymous @ALT_USCIS account holder. ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari stated that: "The anonymity that the First Amendment guarantees is often most essential when people criticize the government, and this free speech right is as important today as ever." The federal summons only seemed to exacerbate the problem, as the number of @ALT_USCIS followers grew from 32,000 to 155,000. Nevertheless, the entire ordeal was full of anxiety for the Twitter account holder, who on April 7th tweeted that it was going to take a break.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/technology/us-blinks-in-clash-with-twitter-drops-order-to-unmask-anti-trump-account.html

Rolling Stone Settles Libel Suit Over 2014 Campus Rape Article

Rolling Stone and its writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, settled the lawsuit brought in 2014 by Nicole P. Ermamo, a University of Virginia administrator, over the 2014 story, "A Rape on Campus". "Jackie," the victim in the story, alleged that she was gang raped at a fraternity party at the University. The article, timely to the national conversation about college rape, was quickly questioned for lack of journalistic standards. A police investigation found no evidence of the rape. Rolling Stone retracted the article in 2015. Administrator Ermamo, who was portrayed in the story as the "chief villain," sued for defamation. She was awarded $3 million in damages by a federal jury last fall. On April 11th, the lawsuit was dropped in Federal District Court in Virginia, with the terms of the settlement confidential.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/business/media/rolling-stone-university-virginia-rape-story-settlement.html

Suit Asks Yahoo to Refill Fund for China Dissidents

Yahoo was accused of failing to properly oversee its $17 million humanitarian fund. A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Washington by the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, on behalf of eight Chinese dissidents. The suit alleges that Yahoo leadership turned a blind eye on the spending antics of the fund's manager, Harry Wu, a veteran Chinese dissident. The fund was established in 2007 in response to Yahoo's participation in divulging the identity of its subscribers in China whose emails criticized the Chinese government. Yahoo's cooperation with China led to the jailing of two activists, who received stiff 10-year sentences.

Jeffrey Yang, then Yahoo's CEO, gave $3.2 million to relatives of the jailed activists to settle litigation. The company went a step further, and established a fund to assist Chinese activists and their families. Wu was selected to manage the fund due to his work as a rights advocate and having spent 19 years in Chinese labor camps. It was reported that Wu, who is known for having a strong personality, spent money on his Laogai Research Foundation, real estate, a personal raise, and a "no-show" job for his wife, plus on legal fees defending his personal suits on sexual harassment and the misuse of federal grants. With only $700,000 reported as distributed to Chinese dissidents, there is only $3 million left from the $17.3 million fund. The lawsuit "would compel Yahoo to replenish the fund and ensure that it is properly administered."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/business/yahoo-lawsuit-china-dissidents-fund.html

Fox Asks Law Firm to Investigate Bill O'Reilly Harassment Claim

21st Century Fox engaged Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (Paul Weiss) to investigate a sexual harassment claim against Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly, the embattled Fox News host, who is facing allegations of settling complaints of sexual harassment from five women, received an accusation of harassment from Wendy Walsh through 21st Century Fox's anonymous hotline. Walsh, a former guest on O'Reilly's show, alleges that in 2013, after having dinner with O'Reilly, she declined an invitation to his hotel suite. A verbal offer to Walsh to become a network contributor was then never solidified. Lisa Bloom, attorney for Walsh, said that: "They decided to call the hotline because the company had said that nobody had done so." According to a company statement, Paul Weiss conducts all 21st Century Fox's internal investigations for sexual harassment. It is the same firm that conducted the investigation into Roger Ailes, former Fox News chairman, who was dismissed after six women reported sexual misconduct by him. Bloom stated that Walsh "is not seeking money, just accountability."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/09/business/media/fox-bill-oreilly-harassment-claim.html

The Murdochs Assess the O'Reilly Damage

Many are calling for Bill O'Reilly's vacation to Italy and the Vatican to be a permanent one due to the allegations of his sexually harassing several women. The Murdoch family, owners of 21st Century Fox, are weighing the boycott of advertisers, low morale internally, protesters, and a public official's call for a human rights investigation against the consequences of terminating O'Reilly's recently renewed $18 million annual contract. The Murdochs faced a similar situation last summer, when the network's founding chairman, Roger Ailes, was ousted for inappropriate behavior with at least six women. Rupert Murdoch, 86, and his sons Lachlan and James, 46 and 44, are reportedly at odds on how to proceed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/business/media/fox-murdochs-bill-oreilly-sex-harassment.html

O'Reilly's Behavior Said to Have Helped Drive Megyn Kelly Out of Fox

It has been stated that Bill O'Reilly's abrasive comments on his prime-time Fox News Network show regarding Megyn Kelly's book --citing sexual harassment from Fox's ousted chairman, Roger Ailes -- helped solidify her resolve to leave 21st Century Fox. According to an email sent by Ms. Kelly to Fox executives, she complained that O'Reilly's comments had a chilling effect on women in the workplace -- a complaint that was ignored, as O'Reilly proceeded to have a second tirade on his show, ranting that: "If you don't like what's going on in the workplace, go to human resources or leave." His comments shortly came after he had settled two of his own sexual harassment claims. Ms. Kelly's complaints are another example of O'Reilly's behavior. The New York Times recently reported that O'Reilly settled with at least five women to the tune of $13 million for sexual harassment allegations. Advertisers have been pulling support of O'Reilly's show, and many are calling for his removal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/business/media/oreilly-behavior-megyn-kelly-fox.html

Melania Trump and the Daily Mail Settle Her Libel Suits

Melania Trump's two lawsuits against the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, were settled for an undisclosed amount and an apology. The Daily Mail published an article on August 20, 2016, asserting that when Trump worked as a professional model back in the 1990s, she provided services other than modeling. The new lawsuit, commenced in New York this February, asserted that "the article had harmed her opportunities to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories", and sought at least $150 million in compensatory and punitive damages. As part of the settlement, the Daily Mail will publish a retraction and apology in its American and British online versions, plus pay damages and litigation costs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/business/media/melania-trump-daily-mail-libel.html

Criticize the President? Uganda Says That's Insane

In Uganda, if you criticize President Yoweri Museveni, you could be committed to a mental institution. Utilizing the Mental Treatment Act of 1938, Uganda's prosecutor is seeking to quash the dissent of a research fellow at Makerere University named Stella Nyanzi. Nyanzi has been charged with cyberharassment and offensive communication for posting vitriolic comments regarding President Museveni and his wife on Facebook. She was arrested on Friday, held for 18 hours, and beaten, according to her lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo. The state attorney, Jonathan Muwaganya, has applied to have Nyanzi committed to a mental hospital because "she has a direct impact on the moral decadence" of Uganda, claiming that she has had a history of psychiatric problems. Her social media posts allegedly "disturbed the peace, quiet, or the right of his privacy of his excellency of the president with no legitimate communication." Nyanzi challenges Ugandans to remember their rich history of resisting British colonialism with the tool of necessary political vulgarity. Amnesty International stated that the case against Nyanzi is politically motivated and should be dismissed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/world/africa/uganda-yoweri-museveni-protest-mental-institution.html

Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

Eleven House Republicans Sign Letter Supporting Arts Endowment

With Republicans controlling Congress, the possibility of President Trump's proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is real. Yet the list of Republicans who have joined the rallying cry to save the NEA has increased in number. Eleven House Republicans have now signed a letter requesting an increase in NEA funding, which is a welcome sign of support. The letter sent to Representative Ken Calvert, Republican of California and Chairman of the House Subcommittee that funds the cultural endowments, calls for increasing the approximately $148 million endowment to $155 million.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/arts/eleven-house-republicans-sign-letter-supporting-arts-endowment.html

Trump's Trademark Continues Its March Across the Globe, Raising Eyebrows

Prior to Donald Trump being elected President, his trademark registration applications were stalled in countries like Peru and China. Since his election, those applications moved forward successfully and seemingly expeditiously. There is no global registry of trademarks, so only estimates can be made. "A review of 10 trademark databases shows that Mr. Trump's enterprise has 157 trademark applications pending in 36 countries." Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, discovered a 2015 deposition stating that Mr. Trump personally owned his trademarks. Chief Legal Officer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, estimated that overseas sales made up as much as $140 million of $400 million in annual revenue generated by the sale of Trump-branded products and services. In May 2016, Mr. Trump reported to the Office of Government Ethics that "in the previous 17 months, he earned between $14 million and $65 million in royalties and licensing fees, up to two-thirds of it from overseas."

Soon after inauguration, China granted preliminary approval of 38 Trump trademarks. A liberal nonprofit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a lawsuit against the President over the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. Norman Eisen, co-founder of the nonprofit, asks: "How can we be confident that he is making decisions in the interest of the United States when he has these enormous potential inducements?" The emoluments clause specifically "prohibits federal officials from accepting any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any king, prince, or foreign state." U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.

Whether new foreign trademark registrations or other transactions between Mr. Trump's businesses and foreign governments violate the emoluments clause is a complex question with serious ramifications. Firstly, in its 230-year existence, the clause has never been interpreted by a court. Secondly, President Trump is the only president to put the clause to this extensive a test. Ever since President Jimmy Carter put his personal assets in a blind trust so as to avoid emolument "entanglements," each president has followed in his footsteps, until now. Unlike President Carter, President Trump put his businesses in a trust managed by his eldest sons, one of which will keep his father abreast of his vast enterprise. Finally, Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter, is considered a federal official, now that she has become an "unpaid assistant to the president." Her company has 37 trademark applications pending in 10 countries.

Proponents of the lawsuit argue that "the emoluments clause prohibits Mr. Trump from accepting any economic benefit from a foreign power... because foreign governments could seek the president's favor through actions like trademark registration or pressure him by withholding approvals." The Justice Department makes two arguments: 1) that the Constitutional framers "would have had to confront the potential effect of the emoluments ban on the early presidents like George Washington, who supplemented his salary by "exporting flour and cornmeal" (considered an arm's length transaction), and 2) that under the separation of powers doctrine, it is Congress who has the power over such matters, not the courts, and thereby the lawsuit will be dismissed for lack of standing. President Trump pledged to donate profits from foreign government guests at Trump establishments to the federal Treasury, and his sons assert that they have turned down new foreign deals valued in the billions of dollars.

The value of a U.S. trademark registration, according to a federal appeals court, is significant and financially beneficial. In some foreign countries, a trademark approval is an economic asset because it can be used defensively to stake future ground. The countries in and expediency with which President Trump's trademark applications have received approval since his election raises eyebrows. He seems to be making a push in Central and South America; one approval request in Peru took only days, whereas prior to his election, his requests sat for six months. The Peruvian government insists that "Peru's president, who met President Trump in the Oval Office in late February, has no influence over their decisions."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/us/politics/trump-trademark-ethics.html

Family Past Heightens Enigma of Judge's Death

The death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first black woman to serve on the Court of Appeals, continues to be a mystery. In one of Judge Abdus-Salaam's recent important decisions, she overturned a 25-year-old rule that the "nonbiological parent in a same-sex couple had no standing to seek custody or visitation rights after a breakup" by granting the nonbiological parent standing if he or she showed "clear and convincing evidence that all parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together" in the Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C.

Judge Abdus-Salaam was found in the Hudson River. With no apparent signs of trauma, the cause of death is still undetermined, but is being investigated as a suicide. Unfortunately, such tragedy plagued her family previously, with the suicide of her mother in 2012, and brother in 2014. Before Judge Abdus-Salaam joined the highest court, she served on the First Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court and prior to that served as a justice for 15 years on the State Supreme Court. Although she recently told her physician that she was stressed with work demands and not having enough family quality time, many of her friends and colleagues find it hard to believe that she killed herself, since she is a cancer survivor.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/nyregion/sheila-adbus-salaam-new-york-judge-hudson-river-committed-suicide.html

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

Entertainment

What in the Name of Pop Is Going on With Eurovision?

Eurovision, an American Idol-like song contest based in Europe, continues to be riddled with controversy. After Ukraine, this year's host country, barred Russian contestant Yulia Samoylova from entering the country because she performed in Crimea (Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014), Russia refused broadcast the show or to send a replacement contestant. Furthermore, Channel One, the Russian broadcaster of Eurovision, refuses to let her perform by satellite. In response, Eurovision announced that Russia is not allowed to participate in this year's event, the first time a host country has directly prevented another country from competing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/arts/music/eurovision-2017-russia-ukraine.html

Arts

Wounded by "Fearless Girl," Creator of "Charging Bull" Wants Her to Move

Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor who created "Charging Bull," the 3.5-ton sculpture of a bull situated near Wall Street, has asked for the removal of the sculpture facing it: "Fearless Girl," a statue of a girl posed with her fists on her hips commissioned by State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Di Modica created "Charging Bull" after the stock market crash of the 1980s. To him, it is a symbol of "freedom in the world, peace, strength, power, and love." He has copyrighted and trademarked the statue. Through his lawyer, Norman Siegel, he has demanded that "Fearless Girl" be moved to another site, because it subverts "Charging Bull's" meaning, and State Street Global Advisors commissioned the statue as a "site-specific work that was conceived with 'Charging Bull' in mind," thereby infringing on Di Modica's copyright. They also asserted that the City of New York had violated his legal rights issuing the permit for "Fearless Girl." The initial permit was only for one week; however, due to the overwhelmingly positive public response, Mayor de Blasio announced that the permit would be extended until next year's International Women's Day. State Street Global Advisors are reviewing Di Modica's demands, hoping that the matter can be resolved amicably.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/nyregion/charging-bull-sculpture-wall-street-fearless-girl.html

Trinity Church Is Sued for Moving Tree Sculpture

The sculptor of the bronze re-creation of a sycamore tree mounted at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan sued the church for removing his sculpture. Steve Tobin, through his lawyer, Steven Honigman, claims that the church violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, which "prohibits the removal of sculptures created to be installed permanently at a particular site." Tobin installed the work in the church's courtyard in 2005 after a real sycamore tree was destroyed by debris from 9/11. The church moved the sculpture to another site in Connecticut in 2015. It is alleged that the statue was damaged in transport. The church has not offered any comment on the litigation but asserts that the public will enjoy the statue at its new home.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/arts/design/trinity-church-sued-over-sculpture-9-11-loss-of-tree.html

How Much is Too Much Enthusiasm?

A $25,000 preservation prize from the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been called into question. The prize was awarded to the Preservation Society of Newport County in 2011 to repair the Breakers, a 70-room Vanderbilt cottage. Another preservation group, called the Friends of Newport Preservation, charge that the awarded group used unethical means to secure the necessary votes to win the prize by strong-arming its staff to vote multiple times and pushing tourists to vote. The National Trusts says that multiple votes are allowed; however, it prevents the use of automated bots. The issue of the votes seems to be related to a larger conflict between the two Newport preservation groups; particularly the development of a new visitor center planned for the grounds of the Vanderbilt cottage. Third place winner, Over-the-Rhine Foundation of Cincinnati, and second place winner, the Ritz Theater in Wellington, Texas, are not complaining, and are happy to have received much-needed funds.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/arts/in-newport-a-contest-in-which-one-man-one-vote-was-for-losers.html

Sports

Commissioner Says That Charlotte is Eligible to Host 2019 NBA All-Star Game

Now that North Carolina repealed its "bathroom bill," the National Basketball Association (NBA) reinstated the state's eligibility to host games. Charlotte was slated to hold the All-Star Game this year; however, the NBA moved the game to New Orleans in response to North Carolina passing House Bill 2. The law "removed anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people... and required transgender people to use public bathroom facilities that aligned with their sex at birth." The new bill doesn't fully reinstate the anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community, but it's an incremental change. According to Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, the NBA is part of the movement pushing for complete change. Before Charlotte is granted the 2019 All-Star Game, it must provide assurances that anti-discrimination policies will be enforced for the All-Star weekend. The NCAA is also "reluctantly" reinstating eligibility to North Carolina to host championship events.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/sports/basketball/charlotte-eligible-to-host-19-nba-all-star-game-commissioner-says.html

Commissioner Starts to Press Cleveland Indians About Logo

Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred, by beginning talks with the Cleveland Indians owners, appears to have come to a clear position on the team's logo, Chief Wahoo. In his spokesperson's statement, Manfred communicated "his desire to transition away from the Chief Wahoo logo" and identified a specific process to remove it. Although many American baseball fans would like the logo removed, not everyone agrees. Some Indian fans see Chief Wahoo as just a caricature. However, the American Indian Movement of Ohio disagrees. An indigenous Canadian also tried to prevent the logo's use in court during the Indians-Blue Jays playoff series held last fall in Toronto. MLB joined in defending the injunction; however, that case signaled the need for greater dialogue on the issue. Commissioner Manfred and the Indians CEO, Paul Dolan, continue their discussions.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/sports/commissioner-starts-to-press-cleveland-indians-about-logo.html

Aaron Hernandez is Found Not Guilty of 2012 Double Murder

Aaron Hernandez, an ex-National Football League (NFL) New England Patriots tight end, was found not guilty in his double-homicide trial. The jury had been in deliberations since April 7th. He was also acquitted of trying to intimidate a witness. Hernandez continues to serve a life-without-parole sentence for the killing of Odin Lloyd in 2015.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/sports/football/aaron-hernandez-not-guilty.html?_r=0

Oakley Arraigned on Misdemeanor Charges

Retired Knicks player Charles Oakley was arraigned in criminal court in Manhattan on charges stemming from when he was ejected from Madison Square Garden and arrested. The misdemeanor assault charges were for striking a security guard and minor injuries received by two other people. At the arraignment, Oakley was released without bail.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/04/11/us/ap-us-knicks-oakley-arrested.html

William T. Walters, Famed Sports Bettor, Is Guilty in Insider Trading Case

William T. Walters, an infamous professional sports gambler, was convicted in one of the largest insider trading trials of recent history of 10 charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. After four unsuccessful attempts, the U.S. Attorney's office was successful in proving that Mr. Walters used nonpublic information from Thomas C. Davis, a board member of Dean Foods of Dallas, thereby profiting over $40 million in a six-year period. The trial lasted 14 days, yet the federal jury took only half a day to deliberate. Before trial, the investigation, led by Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, focused on high-profile figures, such as Carl C. Icahn, a billionaire investor, and professional golfer, Phil Mickelson. Mickelson, who profited approximately $1 million from trading Dean Foods stocks, was never called to testify, but he forfeited those profits in a separate but related Securities and Exchange Commission case. Icahn, who is also an unpaid advisor to President Trump, was reported to be friends with Walters, and whose stock advice Walters would follow. Icahn was not charged with wrongdoing. The prosecutors argued that Davis of Dean Foods "provided Mr. Walters with secret Dean Foods information about future earnings statements, the planned purchase of another company, and a pending initial public offering." Walter's defense attorneys countered that he was a skilled trader who did not need insider information. That defense did not hold sway over the jury, who considered Davis' credibility, along with corresponding phone and trading records, and testimony of a "Bat Phone" and coded language. Walters faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years. According to his attorney, Barry H. Berke, he will appeal the verdict.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/business/dealbook/william-t-walters-famed-sports-bettor-is-guilty-in-insider-trading-case.html

Media

Tomi Lahren Sues Glenn Beck, Saying She Was Fired for Her Stance on Abortion

Tomi Lahren, a television host on the conservative website, TV station, and subscription service called The Blaze, claims that she was fired due to her opinion on abortion. She is suing Glenn Beck, who is her employer and founder of the right-wing media company. The lawsuit, filed in Dallas County Civil Court, alleges that she was fired directly following her March 17th comments on The View, an ABC syndicated daytime talk show, saying: "I'm for limited government... so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well." The Sunday after the Friday airing of The View's segment, Lahren was informed that her nightly show, Tomi, was suspended. Although The Blaze stated that Lahren was still employed because it continued to pay her, Brian Lauten, the Dallas lawyer representing her, alleges in the lawsuit that she was wrongfully terminated. Lahren was told by the company's human resources director after the suspension that she was not terminated, yet her company email was turned off and a yellow caution tape was stretched over her office. In addition, Lahren was urged to "go dark" on social media. In a statement, The Blaze said that Lahren did not lose her job, and that it continues to comply with the employment agreement that expires in September. Lauten responded that Lahren was told in March that she no longer had a job, and "as long as she is under that agreement, she cannot do anything."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/business/media/tomi-lahren-lawsuit-glenn-beck-blaze.html

U.S. Blinks in Clash with Twitter; Drops Order to Unmask Anti-Trump Account

Twitter account @ALT_USCIS regularly posts tweets critical of White House policy. Whoever is behind the account claims to be a current employee of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Last month, Customs and Border Protection issued a summons ordering Twitter to divulge the identity of the account holder. Twitter responded with its own lawsuit on April 5th, claiming that the summons was unlawful and infringing on First Amendment rights. On April 6th, the federal agency withdrew its demand, thus staving off a showdown between a presidential administration that has effectively blocked other federal agencies from using social media, and a technology company championing free speech. Once the government withdrew its summons, Twitter also withdrew its lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was ready to represent the anonymous @ALT_USCIS account holder. ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari stated that: "The anonymity that the First Amendment guarantees is often most essential when people criticize the government, and this free speech right is as important today as ever." The federal summons only seemed to exacerbate the problem, as the number of @ALT_USCIS followers grew from 32,000 to 155,000. Nevertheless, the entire ordeal was full of anxiety for the Twitter account holder, who on April 7th tweeted that it was going to take a break.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/technology/us-blinks-in-clash-with-twitter-drops-order-to-unmask-anti-trump-account.html

Rolling Stone Settles Libel Suit Over 2014 Campus Rape Article

Rolling Stone and its writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, settled the lawsuit brought in 2014 by Nicole P. Ermamo, a University of Virginia administrator, over the 2014 story, "A Rape on Campus". "Jackie," the victim in the story, alleged that she was gang raped at a fraternity party at the University. The article, timely to the national conversation about college rape, was quickly questioned for lack of journalistic standards. A police investigation found no evidence of the rape. Rolling Stone retracted the article in 2015. Administrator Ermamo, who was portrayed in the story as the "chief villain," sued for defamation. She was awarded $3 million in damages by a federal jury last fall. On April 11th, the lawsuit was dropped in Federal District Court in Virginia, with the terms of the settlement confidential.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/business/media/rolling-stone-university-virginia-rape-story-settlement.html

Suit Asks Yahoo to Refill Fund for China Dissidents

Yahoo was accused of failing to properly oversee its $17 million humanitarian fund. A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Washington by the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, on behalf of eight Chinese dissidents. The suit alleges that Yahoo leadership turned a blind eye on the spending antics of the fund's manager, Harry Wu, a veteran Chinese dissident. The fund was established in 2007 in response to Yahoo's participation in divulging the identity of its subscribers in China whose emails criticized the Chinese government. Yahoo's cooperation with China led to the jailing of two activists, who received stiff 10-year sentences.

Jeffrey Yang, then Yahoo's CEO, gave $3.2 million to relatives of the jailed activists to settle litigation. The company went a step further, and established a fund to assist Chinese activists and their families. Wu was selected to manage the fund due to his work as a rights advocate and having spent 19 years in Chinese labor camps. It was reported that Wu, who is known for having a strong personality, spent money on his Laogai Research Foundation, real estate, a personal raise, and a "no-show" job for his wife, plus on legal fees defending his personal suits on sexual harassment and the misuse of federal grants. With only $700,000 reported as distributed to Chinese dissidents, there is only $3 million left from the $17.3 million fund. The lawsuit "would compel Yahoo to replenish the fund and ensure that it is properly administered."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/business/yahoo-lawsuit-china-dissidents-fund.html

Fox Asks Law Firm to Investigate Bill O'Reilly Harassment Claim

21st Century Fox engaged Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (Paul Weiss) to investigate a sexual harassment claim against Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly, the embattled Fox News host, who is facing allegations of settling complaints of sexual harassment from five women, received an accusation of harassment from Wendy Walsh through 21st Century Fox's anonymous hotline. Walsh, a former guest on O'Reilly's show, alleges that in 2013, after having dinner with O'Reilly, she declined an invitation to his hotel suite. A verbal offer to Walsh to become a network contributor was then never solidified. Lisa Bloom, attorney for Walsh, said that: "They decided to call the hotline because the company had said that nobody had done so." According to a company statement, Paul Weiss conducts all 21st Century Fox's internal investigations for sexual harassment. It is the same firm that conducted the investigation into Roger Ailes, former Fox News chairman, who was dismissed after six women reported sexual misconduct by him. Bloom stated that Walsh "is not seeking money, just accountability."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/09/business/media/fox-bill-oreilly-harassment-claim.html

The Murdochs Assess the O'Reilly Damage

Many are calling for Bill O'Reilly's vacation to Italy and the Vatican to be a permanent one due to the allegations of his sexually harassing several women. The Murdoch family, owners of 21st Century Fox, are weighing the boycott of advertisers, low morale internally, protesters, and a public official's call for a human rights investigation against the consequences of terminating O'Reilly's recently renewed $18 million annual contract. The Murdochs faced a similar situation last summer, when the network's founding chairman, Roger Ailes, was ousted for inappropriate behavior with at least six women. Rupert Murdoch, 86, and his sons Lachlan and James, 46 and 44, are reportedly at odds on how to proceed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/business/media/fox-murdochs-bill-oreilly-sex-harassment.html

O'Reilly's Behavior Said to Have Helped Drive Megyn Kelly Out of Fox

It has been stated that Bill O'Reilly's abrasive comments on his prime-time Fox News Network show regarding Megyn Kelly's book --citing sexual harassment from Fox's ousted chairman, Roger Ailes -- helped solidify her resolve to leave 21st Century Fox. According to an email sent by Ms. Kelly to Fox executives, she complained that O'Reilly's comments had a chilling effect on women in the workplace -- a complaint that was ignored, as O'Reilly proceeded to have a second tirade on his show, ranting that: "If you don't like what's going on in the workplace, go to human resources or leave." His comments shortly came after he had settled two of his own sexual harassment claims. Ms. Kelly's complaints are another example of O'Reilly's behavior. The New York Times recently reported that O'Reilly settled with at least five women to the tune of $13 million for sexual harassment allegations. Advertisers have been pulling support of O'Reilly's show, and many are calling for his removal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/business/media/oreilly-behavior-megyn-kelly-fox.html

Melania Trump and the Daily Mail Settle Her Libel Suits

Melania Trump's two lawsuits against the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, were settled for an undisclosed amount and an apology. The Daily Mail published an article on August 20, 2016, asserting that when Trump worked as a professional model back in the 1990s, she provided services other than modeling. The new lawsuit, commenced in New York this February, asserted that "the article had harmed her opportunities to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories", and sought at least $150 million in compensatory and punitive damages. As part of the settlement, the Daily Mail will publish a retraction and apology in its American and British online versions, plus pay damages and litigation costs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/business/media/melania-trump-daily-mail-libel.html

Criticize the President? Uganda Says That's Insane

In Uganda, if you criticize President Yoweri Museveni, you could be committed to a mental institution. Utilizing the Mental Treatment Act of 1938, Uganda's prosecutor is seeking to quash the dissent of a research fellow at Makerere University named Stella Nyanzi. Nyanzi has been charged with cyberharassment and offensive communication for posting vitriolic comments regarding President Museveni and his wife on Facebook. She was arrested on Friday, held for 18 hours, and beaten, according to her lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo. The state attorney, Jonathan Muwaganya, has applied to have Nyanzi committed to a mental hospital because "she has a direct impact on the moral decadence" of Uganda, claiming that she has had a history of psychiatric problems. Her social media posts allegedly "disturbed the peace, quiet, or the right of his privacy of his excellency of the president with no legitimate communication." Nyanzi challenges Ugandans to remember their rich history of resisting British colonialism with the tool of necessary political vulgarity. Amnesty International stated that the case against Nyanzi is politically motivated and should be dismissed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/world/africa/uganda-yoweri-museveni-protest-mental-institution.html

The Federal Communications Commission Announces Results of Broadcast Television Auction

By Barry Skidelsky

On April 13th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made public the results of its so-called "incentive auction", which began about one year ago, whereby the broadcast television station spectrum was relinquished to be repurposed in support of U.S. consumers' growing demands for mobile broadband.

According to an FCC News Release, a total of $19.8 billion of gross revenue was realized by the federal government for an aggregate 70 MHz of nation-wide spectrum. Of those proceeds, approximately $10 billion will be disbursed to 175 television broadcasters who participated in the so-called "reverse" stage of the auction.

30 of those 175 broadcasters will relocate to a lower channel, and the remaining 145 will relinquish their licenses. However, the latter group is planning to stay on-the-air via channel-sharing agreements with other television broadcasters who did not participate in the auction. The broadcasters will be required to complete their transitions within 39 months.

Among the largest of the 50 successful bidders in the so-called "forward" stage of the auction were: T-Mobile, US Cellular, Dish, and Comcast. More specific details are provided in and linked to the FCC's News Release (https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344397A1.pdf), as well as in a companion summary sheet labeled "By the Numbers." (http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0413/DOC-344398A1.pdf)

Barry Skidelsky is a New York City based attorney and consultant with a nationally prominent diverse practice. He often works with other lawyers or law firms, as well as with individuals and entities directly or indirectly involved with entertainment, communications and technology. His background also includes service as General Counsel for several companies in those fields. A member of the EASL Executive Committee and co-chair of the EASL TV & Radio Committee, Barry is a former chair of the New York Chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association (whose members' practices in part involve the FCC in Washington DC). Contact Barry at bskidelsky@mindspring.com or 212-832-4800.

April 8, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

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

Can Nonprofits Survive Trump? For Some, It's Life and Death

Federal funding has been a go-to point for trimming government spending when Republicans have had majority control in Congress, dating back to the 1980s. Programs such as AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund have used government grants to garner private sector investments in urgent issues, such as homelessness, unemployment, mental health. With President Trump's proposed budget, nonprofits are bracing for severe cuts, expecting that government grants are going to dry up in the near future.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/business/dealbook/charities-budget-cuts-trump.html

Entertainment

Spotify's New Licensing Deal Eases Path to Going Public

Spotify and Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's biggest record company, have agreed to a licensing deal. Analysts use this latest development to forecast the expectation that Spotify will go public in the near future. The deal also puts pressure on other major labels, like Sony and Warner, to follow. The agreement is anticipated to help Spotify achieve its subscriber goals in the coming years, which will also allow Spotify to cut the royalties it pays to Universal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/business/media/spotify-universal-music-group-licensing.html

Arts

Using Art to Transcend Prison Walls

The State of California has initiated an art program, bringing improv theater, novels, and songwriting to its 35 adult prisons throughout the state. The programs hire respected artists to teach inmates in various programs in prison, and those programs are now under siege at a time where the political climate does not favor the funding of arts programs. San Quentin inmates have given art to charities and some works of art have been displayed abroad.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/02/arts/design/california-prison-arts.html

Court Clears Takeover of Poland's New World War II Museum

A Polish court ruled that a newly-opened World War II museum in Gdansk, Poland, may merge with a smaller, not-yet-built institution meant to focus solely on the German invasion in 1939. The right-wing government in Poland has publicly said that the museum, as it is now, does not focus enough on the Polish perspective on the war, hinting that the museum may become more nationalistic in the wake of the court's ruling.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/arts/design/poland-new-world-war-ii-museum-court-clears-takeover.html

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, A Hushed Departure Reveals Management Culture

With the resignation of Thomas Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), a culture is increasingly being revealed that is both exclusive and insular. Campbell was known to have erudition and elegance, but not experience, at managing an institution with approximately 2,200 employees. He created a new position for Erin Coburn, first chief officer of digital media, but she has since resigned, citing a disruptive relationship between Campbell and a female staff member in Coburn's department. While Campbell remains director of the museum until June, Daniel Weiss, a former president of Haverford College, is the interim chief executive and a leading candidate for the next director. The museum's 101-member board, where many decisions are made in committees, has been filled in recent years with trustees from the business world who have been focused on the Met's financial future. The current president, Mr. Weiss, stated last week that he hopes to instill a "climate of candor, transparency, accountability and mutual respect."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/02/arts/design/met-museum-campbell-resignation-brodsky-coburn.html

Sports

Negotiations Intensified Over New Deal for U.S. Women's Soccer Team, Earning Players Greater (Although Not Equal) Pay

U.S. Soccer representatives sat with several members of the national women's soccer team to negotiate player wages through a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Both sides had met over 20 times this year to sort out the agreement, with the main issue being compensation for the players, which is drastically less than the U.S. Soccer organization pays the national men's soccer team.

On Wednesday morning, the team announced a new CBA with U.S. Soccer, which includes an increase in base pay for the players. The increase could push player incomes to $200,000 or $300,000 in any given year, and more in years with major competitions. The women's union's executive director said that the agreement "changes the equation for the future." However, the consummation of the deal will not stop the federal wage-discrimination complaint that five top women players had filed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/02/sports/soccer/negotiations-intensify-over-new-deal-for-us-womens-soccer-team.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/sports/soccer/uswnt-us-soccer-labor-deal-contract.html

With Contract Fight Over, Women's U.S. Hockey Team's Hard Work Begins

The U.S. Hockey organization reached a 4-year deal with the women's national hockey team. U.S. Hockey created an advisory group to help advance women's hockey both in the U.S. and abroad, but has still come under scrutiny, given that the women have widely been considered as being shortchanged. With the support of other women's teams, like the Austrian women's hockey team, the U.S. women hope to increase the diversity in the U.S. Hockey organization and continue the progress achieved in this agreement.

In a close match, U.S. Women beat Canada in overtime to win the gold medal in the Women's World Championship.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/sports/hockey/usa-hockey-womens-team.html

NCAA Lifts Ban After Law is Revoked

The NCAA "reluctantly" lifted its ban on holding championship events in North Carolina after that state's legislative body repealed a law that required transgender people to use bathrooms in public facilities that matched their birth sex. Given the NCAA's boycott of holding events in the state, this is welcome news for cities like Charlotte, where the NCAA regularly held events, as the NCAA's events brought tourism to North Carolina.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/sports/ncaa-hb2-north-carolina-boycott-bathroom-bill.html

Global Federation Says Russian Hackers Accessed Athletes' Medical Records

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the track and field governing body, announced that Russian hackers breached its computer network and potentially accessed athletes' private medical records. The IAAF discovered the attacks, which occurred last year and were orchestrated by a group called Fancy Bear, on February 21st.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/sports/computer-hackers-again-gain-access-to-athletes-private-medical-records.html

Yankee Stadium and Citi Field May Have to Extend Netting to Protect Fans

The New York City Council is proposing legislation requiring its two baseball stadiums, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, to install netting to reach both dugouts. This would be the first time that a legislative body becomes involved in the debate. Rafael Espinal, a City Council member from Brooklyn, is one of the proponents of the legislation and has publicly commented about the necessity of it, given the injuries to fans from foul balls. The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken action, extending the nets in the stadium to 70 feet, and the New York City Council's proposed legislation would extend the netting to the furthest yet: 90 feet.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/sports/new-york-city-council-yankees-mets-fan-injuries.html

The National Hockey League Says That Its Players Will Skip the 2018 Winter Olympics, Leaving Players Cold

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced that its players will not attend the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. NHL players have participated in every Olympics since 1998, and many players, like Henrik Lundqvist, have denounced the decision, touting the Olympics as a major competition for the sport. Alex Ovechkin, a star with the Washington Capitals, said that he will represent Russia at the 2018 Olympics, raising the question of whether there will be a conflict between the NHL and its players who do not comply with its policy.

The mood in the locker rooms following the statement was filled with "frustration, disappointment, resentment and even some defiance." Many current players have participated in previous Olympics and have touted the competition, while the upcoming stars will have to wait until 2022 to participate. Reflecting the players' perspective, their union issued a statement calling the NHL's decision "shortsighted."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/sports/hockey/nhl-2018-olympics-pyeongchang.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/sports/hockey/nhl-2018-olympics-players-reaction.html

New York City Will Pay $4 Million to End False Arrest Suit

New York City (NYC) agreed to pay four million dollars to Thabo Sefolosha, an National Basketball Association forward with the Atlanta Hawks. This payment is part of a settlement, which was prompted after five police officers arrested Sefolosha and allegedly used excessive force outside a Manhattan nightclub on April 8, 2015. Sefolosha broke his right fibula, which required surgery and months of rehabilitation, causing him to miss the 2015 playoffs. NYC did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/nyregion/thabo-sefolosha-ny-atlanta-false-arrest-suit.html

Media

Twitter Sues the U.S. Government to Block the Unmasking of Account Critical of Trump

Twitter has sued the federal government to stop the government from revealing who operates the anonymous account known as @ALT_USCIS, which has posted messages critical of the Trump administration and has claimed to have ties to a government agency. Twitter alleged that it cannot be compelled to reveal the identity of whomever is behind a Twitter account, and to force Twitter to do so would have a chilling effect on the speech of accounts like the one at issue.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/technology/twitter-sues-the-government-to-block-the-unmasking-of-an-account-critical-of-trump.html

Facebook Unveils New Ways to Prevent Revenge Porn

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, announced a new tool that can be used if an individual publishes an image that could be a nonconsensual sexual picture from an ex (known sometimes as "revenge porn"). Facebook will recognize the image and alledgedly prevent it from being shared across all of its platforms. This comes after previous lawsuits were brought by victims who had their images shared on social media, and who had sued Facebook for not preventing the dissemination of those intimate images.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/us/facebook-revenge-porn.html

Facebook Loses Appeal to Block Bulk Search Warrants

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled 5-1 that Facebook "had no right to ask an appellate court to quash search warrants" that ordered Facebook to turn over information from hundreds of accounts. This decision is the latest development in a saga of tension between the government and private companies that have data, raising issues under the Stored Communications Act. Facebook released a statement expressing disappointment, but was encouraged by the dissenting judge's support of online privacy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/nyregion/facebook-bulk-search-warrants-new-york-state.html

Bill O'Reilly Thrives as Settlements Add Up

Bill O'Reilly, who has worked for Fox News for nearly 20 years and had a number one program in cable news, has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Agreements with at least five women have resulted in payouts of approximately $13 million, which comes just a year after Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, was accused of sexual harassment and resigned his position. Fox News declined to answer questions about whether O'Reilly had ever been disciplined for his behavior.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/business/media/bill-oreilly-sexual-harassment-fox-news.html

Roger Ailes Faces New Sexual Claims and O'Reilly Loses Several Advertisers

Fox News' bad news continues as it relates to Roger Ailes and claims of sexual harassment targeting Bill O'Reilly. Despite the ouster of Ailes last year, a new lawsuit has described unwanted sexual advances by him. Then, amid the news that O'Reilly has settled sexual harassment claims, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai withdrew their ads from his show, "The O'Reilly Factor", even as the program drew record ratings with those supportive of President Donald Trump.

With the accusations against Bill O'Reilly piling up, more than 50 companies pulled their ads from his popular prime time program. The National Organization for Women called for O'Reilly to be fired and that an independent investigation into Fox News' culture should be conducted. The "pile-on culture" of social media has played a role in this effect, as outrage quickly spreads and puts pressure on companies.

Another example of the social media impact occurred this week, when Pepsi released a tone-deaf ad depicting the cola as a solution for civil unrest. While Pepsi took down the ad, and companies have removed ads from Bill O'Reilly's program, many others continue to advertise on Fox News because it draws some of the consistently highest ratings in cable news.

"The O'Reilly Factor" draws nearly four million viewers a night, and earned more than $446 million in advertising between 2014 and 2016.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/business/media/fox-news-roger-ailes-harassment-suit.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/business/media/sexual-harassment-bill-oreilly-fox.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/business/media/advertising-activists-social-media.html

President Trump Stands Up for Bill O'Reilly, Calls Him a 'Good Person'

Speaking in the Oval Office, President Trump praised Bill O'Reilly as a "good person", and declared, "I don't think Bill did anything wrong." The president has been known to be a fan of Fox News, giving interviews to its hosts and having private phone calls with the network's chairman, Rupert Murdoch. It is unusual for a sitting president to comment on sexual harassment allegations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/business/media/trump-oreilly-fox-murdochs.html

Russia Bans a Not-So-Manly Image of Putin

A Russian court held that a doctored image of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin dressed in drag is "extremist", and dissemination of it could result in a fine of $53 or 15 days of administrative detention. The image is seen as an attack on the hypermasculinity that Putin embraces, and its banning reflects a trend of quashing expression and prolonging homophobia in Russia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/world/europe/vladimir-putin-clown-drag.html?_r=0

Nivea Pulls 'White is Purity' Ad After Online Uproar

Skincare brand Nivea released an ad on Facebook featuring the phrase "White is purity," generating controversy throughout social media. Nivea has since pulled the ad and apologized, emphasizing that diversity "and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea." This comes at a time where social media reactions have shaped how companies market their products, and missteps are highlighted and spread throughout social media platforms.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/business/media/nivea-ad-online-uproar-racism.html

E!, Red Carpet Mainstay, Buys the People's Choice Awards

E!, a network known for its reality television shows like "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," has acquired the People's Choice Awards from Procter & Gamble. The cable channel's acquisition of the show comes as a surprise, as its correspondents usually stalked the red carpet to interview celebrities and review celebrities' fashion selections. However, it comes at a time when the network's viewership has been dropping and cable subscribers have been dwindling.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/business/media/e-red-carpet-mainstay-buys-the-peoples-choice-awards.html

April 4, 2017

5Pointz

By Barry Werbin

On Friday March 31st, the Eastern District of New York in Cohen v. G&M Realty issued a decision allowing the plaintiff artists in the high profile 5Pointz graffiti art mural case (filed in 2013) to go to trial, finding that the artists demonstrated they were harmed by the building's demolition under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). In particular, Judge Block found that the question of "recognized stature" under VARA was clearly a factual one for the jury, which would assess the plaintiffs' expert's report and testimony at trial.

The court also dismissed the defendants' counterclaim for abuse of process. The plaintiffs' separate claims for conversion, property damage, and intentional infliction of emotional distress were also dismissed: Cohenv.G&MRealty.pdf

April 3, 2017

We Know That A Monkey Can't Own a Copyright, But Can a Computer?

By Barry Werbin

IBM's Watson supercomputer created its own video trailer for the upcoming film thriller called "Morgan" about an AI robot child who rebels. It's creative and haunting. Who owns the copyright in the trailer, if there is one....? Watch the trailer and IBM commentary: https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/01/this-trailer-made-by-ibms-watson-proves-ai-knows-how-to-creep-you-out/

April 2, 2017

Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

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

Reif v. Richard Nagy, 161799/15 (N.Y. App. Div. 2017) Leon Fisher and Milos Vavra, descendants of Holocaust victim Fritz Gr├╝nbaum, have sought for decades the restitution of two watercolors: "Woman in a Black Pinafore" (1911) and "Woman Hiding Her Face" (1912) by Egon Schiele. They reportedly brought a new lawsuit in New York State Court in 2017, based on the newly enacted Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (HEAR). The descendants are claiming that the former case was settled only on "legal technicalities", while the merits of the argument that the art was looted by the Nazis were not addressed. They now hope that HEAR will persuade the court that there is enough evidence to show that Fritz Grunbaum was a victim of Nazi looting.

Estate of Lisa de Kooning v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE (Tax, Feb. 28, 2017) On February 28th, the estate of Lisa de Kooning, daughter of Willem de Kooning, the famous Dutch-American abstract expressionist, filed a petition in U.S. Tax Court after the value of the taxable estate was increased by $231 million in a notice of deficiency. In 2013, a statement of value for the artwork was requested by the IRS's art appraisal division, and the estate submitted an appraisal from Christie's Appraisals pegging the value of the corpus at $231.4 million before any discounts. After consultations with economic professors, the estate proposed a blockage discount of nearly 60% for the paintings and 85% for most of the sculptures. The IRS refused to apply "blockage discounts" to the value of the artwork.

Estate of Eva Franzen Kollsman v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 26077-09 (US. Tax Court, Feb. 22, 2017) Decedent died in August 2005, leaving a will. Among the estate's assets were two 17th-century paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, though there were some questions concerning the attribution of one painting to Pieter Brueghel the Elder. George Wachter, vice president of Sotheby's North America and South America, sent the executor a fair market value estimate and a consignment of rights agreement. The estate filed a Form 706, United States Estate Tax Return, reporting the fair market values, as of the valuation date of respectively $500,000 for one work and $100,000 for the other. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue assigned a different value to the paintings, and a notice of deficiency to determine the fair market values was issued. During redetermination, the court rejected Wachter's valuation and its related arguments: the bad condition of the paintings, the change in market demand, and the uncertainty of the attribution. Instead, the court took into account the valuation of Respondent's expert to fix the amount of the fair market values with some adjustments (respectively: $1,995,000 and $375,000) that now have to be declared and paid.

Petrella v. MGM, 10-55834, 10-55853 (9th Circuit, 22 Aug. 2014) On remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit court rejected MGM's argument that the license it obtained for the book based on the life of boxer Jake LaMotta and 1973 screenplay on the same subject entitled it to a grant of summary judgment of non-infringement, and remanded the case back to the district court. Plaintiff Petrella sued MGM in 2009 for copyright infringement by the film Raging Bull of a 1963 screenplay written by her father. She renewed the copyright in the 1963 screenplay but not in a book or a 1973 screenplay. One of the issues the Ninth Circuit dealt with was whether the book MGM had licensed for Raging Bull was a derivative work of the 1963 screenplay, or vice versa. The Ninth Circuit also directed the lower court to determine whether plaintiff was estopped from arguing that the book MGM licensed was a derivative work of the 1963 screenplay.

Fertitta, III et al v. Knoedler Gallery, LLC et al, 1:2014cv02259 (S.D.N.Y, 29 Jan. 2015) In January 2017, District Court Judge Paul Oetken refused to dismiss allegations of entrepreneur Frank Fertitta against art historian Oliver Wick, a Rothko expert, and two other defendants in the case tied to the December 2011 demise of the renowned Knoedler Gallery of serial allegations for forgeries. Plaintiff Fertitta bought one of the alleged fake Rothko paintings at the Knoedler Gallery. The Judge upheld the following causes of action: Rescission, breach of warranty, and indemnification counts against the art historian Wick. Wick's lawyer argued that the Rothko expert reasonably believed the work was genuine. Urs Kraft, whom Plaintiff alleges coordinated the sale on behalf of an nonexistent mysterious "Mr. X", also faces breach of warranty, breach of contract, fraud, fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting fraud in the ruling. In addition, ex-Knoedler employee Jaime Andrades faces the heaviest charges, including violating the federal anti-racketeering law and a RICO conspiracy charges.

Allbritton et al. v. United States, 4:15-cv-00275 (S.D.Tex., 30 Jan. 2015, settled Sept. 2016) The widow of Texas Tycoon Joe L. Allbritton sued the United States for herself and the estate of her husband in the Southern District Court of Texas for the IRS to tax the tycoon $40.6 million on the belief that he had taken ownership of a treasure trove of art including works by Picasso, Monet, and van Gogh. In her Complaint, Allbritton asserts that that IRS's math is based on a false belief that the family's holding corporation distributed artwork and antiquities worth $139 million to late Joe Allbritton in 2005, and that it also paid the Allbrittons $364,000 to insure the art from 2005 to 2008; payments that contribute "taxable dividends." Ms. Allbritton asserts in her Complaint that the company never transferred ownership of the art to her husband in 2005, and sued the IRS for a full refund of $40.6 million. On Sept. 30, 2016, it was announced that Allbritton's estates and the IRS reached a settlement.

Green v. Nat'l Gallery of Art, London, 1:16-cv-06978 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 7, 2016) The purported heirs to a Matisse painting, "Portrait of Greta Moll" (1908), are suing the National Gallery of Art, London, for its possession and $30 million in damages. Greta Moll's relatives allege that the painting was lost during the Allies' occupation of Germany and, therefore, its acquisition violates international law. The defendants argue that (1) they performed their due diligence in purchasing the painting in 1979, and (2) because the Allied occupation of Germany came after the fall of the Third Reich and end of World War II, the painting is not protected by the international laws on which the plaintiffs rely.

Beck v. Christie's, 141 A.D.3d 442 (N.Y. App. Div., July 7, 2016) This case is related to a Degas drawing, "Danseuses." Plaintiffs seek an injunction and tremble damages against the auction house for allegedly violating the NY Gen. Bus. Law and engaging in "Deceptive Acts" during its November 3, 2009 sale on behalf of an undisclosed private seller. Nazis illegally confiscated the Kainers' substantial art collection, and the heirs only obtained a French inheritance certificate only in May 2012. New York courts have applied CPLR 214 (2)'s three-year period of limitations for statutory causes of action. Christie's asserted that the alleged injury occurred at the time of the sale, more than five years before the filing of the action by the heirs. The action was dismissed based on the statute of limitations.

Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., 14-1128 (7th Cir., 4 Aug. 2014) A plaintiff who brought a declaratory judgment for anthologizing modern authors' stories about Sherlock Holmes after the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle threatened to work with Amazon and other booksellers to block sales of the anthology unless a license was obtained, was awarded $30,000 in attorneys' fees he spent on the appeal at the Seventh Circuit. The court called the estate's approach to encourage payment of a license fee by employing booksellers to boycott the plaintiff anthology "a form of extortion", and stated that it could be considered a violation of the antitrust laws.

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 (http://cardozo.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=78692bfa901c588ea1fe5e801&id=022731d685), the Center for Art Law subscribers receive updates about art and law-related topics through its popular art law blog (http://itsartlaw.com/blog/)and calendar of events (http://itsartlaw.com/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: www.itsartlaw.com or write to itsartlaw@gmail.com.