June 18, 2017

Week in Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

Happy Father's Day to all of our readers who are Dads.

Ivanka Trump's Brand Announced Cancellation of a Deal with Company Backed by the Japanese Government

This week, Ivanka Trump's brand announced, in response to questions posed by the House Judiciary Committee, that it cancelled a deal with Japanese apparel company Sanei, after it was discovered that one of the Sanei's shareholders was a bank owned by the Japanese government. The Ivanka Trump brand was negotiating the deal with Sanei back in December, when Trump sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Although Trump rolled her brand into a blind trust, overseen by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Trump and the Ivanka Trump brand remain under close scrutiny now that Trump has officially joined the White House staff as a presidential advisor.


Donald Trump Added Six New Chinese Trademarks to the Trump Portfolio

It was announced this week that China preliminarily approved six new trademarks for President Trump. Under Chinese trademark law, a preliminarily approved trademark is considered formally registered if no objections are received within three months. The trademark applications were filed in April 2016. Mr. Trump has over 120 Chinese trademarks, four of which are registered under a holding company. The Trump Company stated that it rolled the remaining trademarks into a holding company, and that they are no longer personally held by President Trump. Trademarks open the door for licensing opportunities and also serve as a means to protect brand integrity, especially in a country ripe with counterfeiters. Preemptive filing of trademarks in China is standard practice, and The Trump Organization firmly maintains that filing for trademarks are necessary defensive measures for the brand. The news of these new trademarks will further fuel the President's critics, who believe it is yet another example of how his business interests violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.


President Trump's Russian Trademarks Renewed Last Year

Contrary to President Trump's repeated statements that he does not have any Russian business interests, last year the Russian government extended six trademarks in Mr. Trump's portfolio that were set to expire. The trademarks were for hotels and branding deals that never came to fruition, and were set to expire in 2016. The trademarks were each renewed for additional 10-year terms. While trademark extensions are normal in the course of business, it is unusual for unused trademarks to be extended without challenge, especially if they were unused (as in the case of those at issue). More than the optics of the Russian government extending Mr. Trump's trademarks amidst an election cycle where Russia allegedly meddled in the election through extensive hacking efforts, this revelation does not look good for the President, who insists that he does not have business interests in Russia. Intellectual property interests are valuable assets to a company, and while President Trump may not have active business ventures in the foreign state, these extensions "preserve conditions" for future business deals. Russia is a "first-to-file" country, where prior use of a mark does not preclude registration of another company who is first to file. However, the trademarks must be used, and become open to challenge after being dormant for three years.


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


Mistrial Declared in Cosby Sexual Misconduct Case

After five days of deliberations, jurors remained deadlocked in the sexual misconduct case of Bill Cosby, causing Judge Steven T. O'Neill to declare a mistrial. Throughout the week, the jury asked to rehear portions of testimony and for clarifications on the law and the meaning of "beyond a reasonable doubt." On the forth day, the jury reported that it was deadlocked. Judge O'Neill sent jury members back for further deliberations, called a "Spencer charge" under Pennsylvania law.

Andrea Constand accused Cosby of sexual assault, alleging that he invited her to his home, drugged her, and engaged in sexual activity her while she was incapacitated. Cosby's defense team mounted a defense built on discrediting Constand, who, at the time of the alleged misconduct in 2004, offered inconsistent statements to the police. Several women also came forward with allegations that Cosby similarly took advantage of them while they were incapacitated after taking drugs or alcohol supplied by Cosby. Many people saw Constand as a "proxy" for these women, and as other claims are now time-barred, Constand's case may be the only time Cosby stands trial for these actions. Many on Cosby's team were hoping a not guilty verdict would clear his name and boost his tarnished reputation, but a mistrial leaves the star, and his accusers, in continued limbo. Constand's attorney stated that they will seek to try the case again.



Paradise No More for "The Bachelor's" Latest Spin-Off

The cast and crew from "The Bachelor" franchise's latest show, "Bachelor in Paradise", were sent home this week. Production was stopped after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, and Warner Brothers announced that production was suspended and an investigation was underway. It is very rare for the production of a reality show to be suspended, and the nature of the allegations are unclear at this point in time. The incident highlights the risks associated with producing this genre of show.


For Diehard Fans, Iran's Zumba Ban Will Not Stop Them

The Iranian government issued an edict: Zumba is illegal and contrary to Islamic precepts. The country recently has gone through a fitness revolution, with both men and women flocking to the gym to exercise. Women in particular have been participating in group fitness classes, and Zumba quickly took off, gaining a cult following. The Zumba craze highlights the tension between leaders of Iran and the country's evolving middle class. Shiite Muslim clerics codified hundreds of regulations that are meant to deter sinful activity, which they believe undermines families. Though punishment can be harsh, the laws are seldom enforced, and in many cases, are tolerated as long as the "sins" are committed out of the public eye. Zumba has been taught and practiced for years in Iran, and it was a surprise to many that suddenly Sports for All Federations issued a letter stating that Zumba was not an accepted sport, and citing the ban on dancing as the basis. The instructors who built the Zumba craze are passionate and dedicated, and despite the ban, vow to return to the gyms and go ahead with their scheduled classes.


New York Public Theater's Production of "Julius Caesar" Strikes Many Dissonant Chords

Controversy erupted over New York Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of "Julius Caesar", ultimately causing major corporate sponsors to back out of the production. Shakespeare's iconic play is hardly without controversy on its own - Caesar's assassination is the core around which the play revolves. Modern productions have been met with criticism, from a Mussolini-like Caesar (staged leading up to WWII), an Obama-like Caesar (five years ago) and now, Public Theater's Trump-like leading man. The central premise of the play has long been debated, with scholars and audiences either sympathizing or condemning the conspirators. The play has inspired violence, and contemporary productions that stage the play in modern attire (think business suits, not togas) have perhaps made the play feel more relevant to modern times. Oskar Eustis, Public Theater's artistic director, stands by his decision to portray Caesar as a Trump-like persona. He blames the "right wing hate machine" for causing the outcry, and for comparing the production with the recent photo of comedian Kathy Griffin holding what looked like the President's decapitated head. The public outcry that ensued over Eustis's interpretation caused Delta and Bank of America to immediately withdraw their funding. Sponsors face increasing pressure to align their brands with uncontroversial productions - and can be forcefully criticized on social media at the blink of an eye. Even under pressure, some sponsors of Public Theater's production, including the New York Times, have maintained neutral in the debate, preferring to defer to Public Theater's artistic control over its interpretation of the play.

For artistic director Oskar Eustis's comments:

For more on the Sponsor Withdrawals:

For more about modern-day interpretations of 'Julius Caesar':

Polanski's Rape Victim to Court: Please Drop This Case

Samantha Geimer addressed Judge Scott M. Gordon of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, and asked it to drop the decades-old sexual abuse case against director Roman Polanski. Polanski plead guilty to unlawful sex with a minor and subsequently fled the United States before his sentencing decades ago. The United States has been trying to extradite him for years, so he may face trial. Geimer "implore[d]" the court, asking the Judge to drop the case "out of mercy for myself."


Yoko Ono Recognized With Co-Writing Credit for "Imagine"

The National Music Publishers Association announced that Yoko Ono would be added as a co-writer of the 1971 hit, "Imagine". In an interview in the early 1980s, John Lennon stated that "the lyric and concept came from Yoko", and that the song should have been credited as a co-authored song by the couple. Although the process is in the works and has yet to be officially confirmed, Ono shared the news via Twitter after the public announcement on Wednesday.


Case Dismissed Against iHeartMedia for Copyright Infringement of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

A federal court in the Northern District of Illinois ruled this week on the iHeartMadia case. Finding for the defendants on all four counts and dismissing the case with prejudice, the court held that the digital radio giant (1) did not infringe on the plaintiff's common law copyrights in the plaintiffs' portfolio of pre-1972 sound recordings (under state common law copyright, the plaintiffs' voluntary sale of the sound recordings acted as "publication" of the works, and as such, the plaintiffs' lost their common law right to control public performances of the sound recordings); (2) did not misappropriate plaintiffs' property rights to the sound recordings under the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (iHeartMedia did not act deceptively when it broadcasted the recordings, as there is no common law right to limit the broadcast of a published work; and creating a digital copy of a sound recording solely for broadcast purposes does not violate the law); (3) did not commit conversion of the plaintiffs' sound recordings when it broadcast the sound recordings (the plaintiffs did not have a property right to preclude public performance of the sound recordings, therefore the sound recordings could not have been converted when broadcast by iHeartMedia); and (4) was not unjustly enriched, as such cause of action is not independent, and therefore failed with the previous three claims.

Read the full opinion here: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/illinois/ilndce/1:2015cv09229/316921/50/

Big Victory for the "Jersey Boys" Musical: Copyright Infringement Verdict Overturned

A federal judge in Nevada this week vacated a jury verdict that found that the hit musical "Jersey Boys" infringed on copyrighted material found in Jersey Boys member Tommy DeVito's autobiography. The judge instead found that the musical was a fair use of the material. The opinion walked through the four factor test for fair use, and found that (1) the play did not have an effect on the potential market for the book, as the book had no market value until after the play was written and produced, (2) only 2% of the words in the play also appear in the book - 145 words out of the 68,500 in the book, (3) that although the commercial purpose of the play weighs against fair use, that factor alone was not dispositive in the inquiry, and (4) the play was substantially transformative. The autobiography, co-authored by DeVito and Rex Woodard, was based on FIOA requests, newspaper articles and interviews, and told the story of DeVito from a singular perspective. The nature of the book was informational. The play, however, incorporated multiple new elements, including perspectives from all four members of the band and had elements of creative expression not found in the book. This finding of fair use follows a trend of recent cases, including the recent Drake sampling case and Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up case. If the decision is appealed, it will head to the Ninth Circuit.



Atlanta's Celebrated Murals Become the Center of a Legal Debate

Murals line city streets in Atlanta, and are a source of neighborhood pride. However, in recent years, "street art" has come under scrutiny and is potentially viewed as illegal. A rarely-invoked 2003 city ordinance requires murals on private property to have approvals from five sources - including the mayor, City Council, and the Urban Design Commission. The proposed art is evaluated to see if it conflicts with the city's public art program, and whether it constitutes a dangerous distraction to motorists or pedestrians. The city rolled out a retroactive amnesty program in April, streamlining the certification process and imposing a hard deadline for compliance. Several street artists joined in a federal lawsuit against the city, citing First Amendment protections and arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional. Atlanta's Mayor, Kasim Reed, supports revising the city code, while maintaining protections against harmful or offensive content. The parties recently entered into settlement negotiations.


Major Leadership Restructure Announced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Effective immediately, Metropolitan Museum acting Chief Daniel H. Weiss will assume the new role of President and Chief Executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). Weiss stepped in after the February resignation of the Met's Director, Thomas P. Campbell. Met Trustees voted unanimously to place Weiss in the new leadership role. The institution will undergo a search for a new Director, who will report to Weiss, and will focus on "core mission functions." This new structure shifts the focus of the Met's leader to the museum's financial health. Both the Chief and Director positions will serve on the Board and work collaboratively in shaping the Met's mission and priorities. With a background in academic leadership (Weiss is a medieval scholar and a former president of Haverford College), coupled with an MBA from Yale, Weiss is well-equipped to focus on the business aspects of running the Met - with its $316 million budget, 2,200 staff, and $3 billion endowment.


In a Rare Showing, Members of Venezuela's El Systema Movement Take to the Streets in Protest

Venezuela's El Systema program is celebrated worldwide as an incredible system that has transformed the country, and gave hundreds of thousands of children the opportunity to learn an instrument and become global ambassadors. Despite years of growing unrest in Venezuela, the program and its members maintain a neutral façade, and refrain from expressing political viewpoints. However, a young violist named Armando Cañizales was recently killed in the middle of a protest, and musicians trained in the program are speaking out en masse, instruments in hands, and denouncing the increasing violence. Many people protest under cover, but others bring their instruments and play amidst the fighting. El Systema has been Venezuela's pride and joy for four decades. After the 2013 death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the country faced serious inflation and lack of basic resources that are now affecting the program from drops in teacher salaries, to concert halls, and instruments that are not properly maintained. The death of Cañizales shocked the El Systema community, which now is showing a greater willingness to take a public stand against the current Venezualian government.


Philanthropist Agnes Gund Establishes a Criminal Justice Fund, Seed Funding From the Sale of a Lichtenstein

At an event this week at the Museum of Modern Art, the new Art for Justice Fund was announced by Agnes Gund. Gund, a prominent arts philanthropist and president emerita of MOMA, started the fund with $100 million of the proceeds from the January sale of Lichtenstein's "Masterpiece." The sale netted $165 million and was sold specifically to start this fund, which will be administered by the Ford Foundation. Gund is hoping that the fund will inspire other arts philanthropists to follow suit - and she has challenged the philanthropic community to match her $100 million over the course of the next several years. The idea of using art collections to "advance social justice" is new in arts philanthropic circles. Already committed to the cause are Laurie M. Tisch, Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault, Jo Carole Lauder, Daniel S. Loeb, and Brooke Neidich. The Art for Justice Fund will give grants to leaders and organizations that have an established record in criminal justice reform. The inspiration for the Fund came from within Gund's family - six of her grandchildren are African-American. Michelle Alexander's book on mass incarceration of African-Americans and Ava DuVernay's documentary, "13th", inspired Gund to take steps to impact change in the criminal justice system. Many people, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, hope this fund will "energize" support over criminal justice reform and the role philanthropists can play in effecting change.



National Football League Concussion Settlement Sees its First Two Claims

The National Football League (NFL) recently reached a billion-dollar settlement deal with former NFL players surrounding concussions and their long-term effect on player health. The settlement process is being overseen by the Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The first two claims in the settlement were disclosed this week; the first involving a $5 million payout, and the second a $4 million payout. Former NFL players who have been diagnosed with A.L.S., Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or dementia are eligible to participate in the settlement.


Guilty Plea in FIFA Money Laundering Case

Former managing director at Suiss bank Julius Baer, Jorge Luis Arzuaga plead guilty to money laundering this week. At the federal district court in Brooklyn, Arzuaga publicly admitted to arranging financial processing of $25 million in bribe payments and kickbacks as part of the international investigation into soccer's overseeing body, FIFA. He is the first banker to be convicted in the case, and is also under scrutiny by Swiss officials, who have helped extensively with the investigation and arrests of implicated defendants. Arzuaga agreed to pay $1 million to the government. Julius Baer is one of several financial institutions implicated in this case, and the investigation has revealed an extensive system of money channels for bribe payments through the international banking system. The investigation is the result of coordinated efforts among the Justice Department, FBI, and IRS criminal investigation division. Arzuaga's conviction signals a new stage in the investigation, where financial institutions and their associated bad actors are coming under increased scrutiny.


Mets Exceed Major League Baseball Recommendations for Protective Netting at Citi Field

The Mets this week announced that they will extend protective netting at Citi Field beyond the current Major League Baseball (MLB) recommendations in an effort to increase fan safety. City Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. introduced a bill a month ago requiring stadiums to increase safety measures, and although the bill has not been presented for a vote, the Mets volunteered advance compliance. The Yankees have yet to agree to enhanced measures, but have stated that they are considering the unique elements of Yankee Stadium in conjunction with architects, engineers, and the MLB.


Pitino and Louisville Face Further NCAA Sanctions

Basketball coaching legend Rick Pitino received a five-game suspension this week for his role in the Louisville Cardinal's basketball scandal. Additionally, the team was ordered to forfeit multiple victories, which may include the Cardinals' 2013 national championship, and the school was placed on a four-year probation. Two assistant coaches received show-cause orders, which will affect their ability to coach elsewhere in the NCAA system. These sanctions are in addition to the self-imposed sanctions Louisville announced in 2016. The University quickly announced that it will appeal the ruling, and Pitino said that he will personally appeal the decision. Coach Pitino was found by the NCAA to be ultimately responsible for the actions of his former director of basketball operations, who provided strippers and prostitutes to players and recruits in a campus dormitory as part of his recruitment efforts.


An Unusual Partnership Between the Seattle Storm and Planned Parenthood

This week, the WNBA team Seattle Storm announced a partnership with Planned Parenthood. The partnership, between an all-female owned sports franchise and the embattled health care agency, marks a departure from the norm for sports franchises, which often avoid the political arena when choosing causes to support. However, for the owners of the Storm, the choice was easy. The team will hold a "Stand with Planned Parenthood" Rally at its stadium, donating $5 from every ticket sold for that day to Planned Parenthood. The team will also host a fund-raising auction. Planned Parenthood is thrilled by the partnership, and hopes it will attract new donors and supporters of its mission. The team owners did not conduct market research to determine whether the efforts will be met with criticism, but believe strongly that they know their fan base and community, and that the support will come naturally.


Dennis Rodman Back in North Korea

Dennis Rodman this week returned to North Korea, where he has visited with North Korean President Kim Jong-un. Rodman is one of the first Americans to meet and interact with the North Korean leader, and has received criticism for his willingness to engage with the oppressive regime. Many people have speculated that he will convey a message from President Trump and are also noting that his visit coincides with the surprise release of American student Otto F. Warmbier, who was held by North Korea for over a year and released to the United States in a coma. Americans are warned not to travel to North Korea, and the Department of State maintains that Rodman is not traveling in an official capacity. Regardless of the nature of these visits, personal or as a private diplomat, Rodman has been able to provide a glimpse into the life of Kim Jong-un. Jong-un is an avid basketball fan. Both the Harlem Globetrotters and other former National Basketball Association (NBA) players have traveled to North Korea with Rodman, who enjoys a close relationship with President Trump. Rodman appeared twice on "Celebrity Apprentice", and several people believe it is highly unlikely that Rodman undertook this trip without communicating or coordinating with the President.


Former NBA Star Sebastian Telfair Arrested in Brooklyn on Gun Charges

Last weekend, former NBA point guard Sebastian Telfair was arrested in Brooklyn after police found four loaded guns and a bulletproof vest in his vehicle. A lit marijuana cigarette was also found in the center console of the truck. This not the first time Telfair has been caught with a loaded weapon - he was fined by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006 for concealing a loaded handgun in a pillowcase on the team's private plane, and was dropped from the Boston Celtic's roster after police found a loaded gun in his car during a routine stop in Yonkers. A basketball prodigy and Brooklyn wunderkind, Telfair went straight into the NBA draft after high school. He has not played in the NBA since 2014, and in recent years has been playing for the Chinese Basketball Association.


Court Poised to Decide Whether Paddleboarding is Canoeing or Surfing

The most recent Olympic controversy thankfully is not about doping - but rather the nature of standup Paddleboarding. The question is heading to mediation in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where both the International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation want to oversee the sport. Neither governing body has shown a willingness to compromise thus far. The sport is up for consideration for the Olympics, so the competition for control is fierce. Canoeing has been a part of the Olympic games since the 1930s, and Surfing is slated to be added at least for the 2020 games.


Pre-2005 World Records May Be in Jeopardy

In an attempt to bring credibility back to a sport that has been mired with doping scandals, European Athletics asked the track and field governing body to considering wiping out all pre-2005 track and field records. 2005 marks the year when blood and urine samples started to be stored for future testing. European Athletics has proposed that only world records made by athletes who have undergone strict testing for illegal substances be recognized. The record-holders themselves, however, feel that they will inaccurately be perceived as guilty by association. Included among the athletes who would be affected are those who lived behind the iron curtain, and had little or no choice but to compete for the state. Jarmila Kratochvilova, the famed Czech track star who blew the sport away with her incredible 1983 record 800 meter run, is an example of the issue's complexity. She adamantly denies taking banned substances, but her name has appeared in documents about a covert Czech doping program. Kratochvilova was highly scrutinized as an athlete, not only because of her astonishing speed, but also her incredibly muscular physique, which many believed must have been the result of some combination of hormones or other substances. Many athletes have already stepped up and said they would challenge any attempt to wipe away pre-2005 world records, including American Mike Powell and British athlete Paula Radcliffe. It is unlikely that these records would be cleared without just cause, and many wonder if former Eastern bloc countries will be willing to present concrete evidence, if found, about state-sponsored efforts to enhance athletic performance.


The Latest News in Sports Doping: Russian Pentathlete Barred and Russian Boxer's Appeal Dismissed

Russian Boxer Misha Aloian appealed the decision to strip him of his 2016 Olympic silver medal, but his appeal was denied. Mr. Aloian tested positive for tuaminoheptane, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that no discretion is allowed in doping cases, and therefore the disqualification was a "necessary consequence."

Another Russian athlete, Maxim Kustov, was barred for four year for participating in a doping cover-up. Kustov, a pentathlete, was barred from the Rio Olympics after he tested positive for three banned substances in 2014. His positive test results were recorded as negative by Russian officials. The four-year ban, handed down by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, is backdated to October 2016.


McDonalds Pulls out of Olympic Sponsorship

McDonalds has been a long-time sponsor of the Olympic Games, and this week announced that it planned to end its 41 year sponsorship three years early. The company stated that it was time to refocus its efforts on its core business, but also cited declining TV ratings and high sponsorship costs. The company will continue its sponsorship through the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


Michigan is Suing to Terminate the Parental Rights of Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team, is facing a lawsuit from the state of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has filed to terminate his parental rights. Nassar has been accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women and girls. His wife filed for divorce and sole custody of their children, and Nassar's lawyer maintains there is no evidence that he abused his own children. He faces federal lawsuits by dozens of women and girls who have accused him of sexual molestation while he was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics.



Manslaughter Verdict in Teen Texting Suicide Case

A Massachusetts juvenile court judge found Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. Both Carter and Roy were teenagers at the time of Roy's death. The verdict was a surprise to legal scholars and law enforcement officials alike, because the judge found that Carter's words alone "were reckless and essentially killed him." Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz will sentence Carter, who waived a jury trial, on August 3rd. Carter, then 17, corresponded with boyfriend Roy leading up to and during his suicide attempt. At one point she "ordered" him to get back into his car, which he had flooded with carbon monoxide. At no time was Carter physically present during Roy's suicide, but the judge ruled that Roy's exit of his vehicle during his attempt, broke "that chain of self-causation," and that Carter's insistence that he return to the vehicle "constituted wanton and reckless conduct." Carter's attorney's painted a picture of a pained young woman, who genuinely tried to help others. Her team relied upon the defense that she was "involuntarily intoxicated" by the antidepressants she was taking.

The evidence in the case hinged on an incredible number of text messages and online correspondence between the two. Legal scholars noted that this case could indicate a need for the law to "catch up" with new behavioral norms that have arisen with our society's increasing reliance on technology to communicate and interact. Even though this verdict will not likely set a wide reaching legal precedent, it is a social wakeup call to heed online behavior that moving forward could be construed as criminal.


Evaluating the Growth Trajectory of Spotify

Spotify's newly-released annual report highlighted the company's impressive growth over the last year, reporting a 52% increase in revenue from 2016. However, the company's losses increased significantly ($600 million, increased from $257 million in 2015) and its growth slowed. The company has continuously stated that it believes its model "supports profitability at scale," but has declined to explain what it means by "scale." The biggest budget item by far is licensing rights, which eats up around 85% of the company's revenue. On top of that, the company spends $900 million in other areas, including salaries, marketing, and product development. With plans to go public, the company's business model will come under greater scrutiny. Industry experts believe a more robust financial position would position Spotify to become an industry innovator - rather than acting as a response to Napster. The company boasts 140 million users, 50 million of which are monthly subscribers. For now, Spotify is focused on building its base of paid members and increasing its number of users across the globe, with the idea that an expanded user base and subscriber model will improve the company's margins.


Washington DC Circuit Strikes Down Cost Caps on Inmate Phone Calls

A federal appeals court in the Washington DC Circuit struck down Obama-era regulations that cap the costs of inmate phone calls from state prisons, ruling that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exceeded its authority when it created the rate caps. Inmate phone calls are typically placed through private telecommunications companies. Costs are exorbitant - sometimes up to $10/minute. The FCC had been mounting a defense to the rate caps prior to the appointment of its new Chair, Ajit Pai. Pai has been pushing to roll back FCC regulations, including media ownership rules and net neutrality regulations. He opposed the rate caps as a commissioner, and now has vowed to work with Congress and members of the FCC to address the inmate phone call cost issues "in a lawful manner." Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn strongly supports the rate caps and views the price of inmate phone calls as "the greatest form of regulatory injustice."


Verizon Acquisition of Yahoo is Complete - at a Final Price Tag of $4.48 Billion

Sayonara, Yahoo. This week Verizon completed its $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo, and rolled out a new division called Oath, that will combine Yahoo with AOL under the leadership of Tim Armstrong, AOL's chief executive. Oath currently has 1.3 billion users, and Verizon is hoping it can build its number of viewers by bringing its content and new advertising models to Oath. Yahoo's chief, Marissa Mayer, will step down. Yahoo stockholders will retain stock in a new company, Altaba, which will own investment interests in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.


Negative Impact of Technology in the Criminal Justice System

Automation efforts in the criminal justice system have been helpful to streamline and improve the system. From AI assistance in deploying police to probabilistic software programs used by forensic analysts to digital evidence, computers play a role in all aspects of criminal justice. However, people are noticing that the technological developments come with a hidden price, often paid by criminal defendants. The companies developing these new technologies are largely private, for-profit businesses that hold closely their technology, often refusing to share information about how it works with criminal defendants and their council. Defendants have been unable to challenge how code is used to identify and match DNA samples, rendering defendants unable to challenge the evidence. Other examples include an inmate who, despite an almost perfect rehabilitation record, was unable to obtain parole because of a glitch in a computer program that was used being used to weigh parole factors. Companies can rely on trade secret evidentiary privilege, to shield disclosure of proprietary information about how their technology works. This new privilege is troubling - as the Times stated, "property interests do not usually shield relevant evidence from the accused." Trade secret laws are in place to shield companies from business competitors, not withhold relevant evidentiary information in court. The Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case that will address this issue - whether reliance on trade secret privilege is a violation of due process.


Are Advertisers Weighing in Too Heavily on Content?

In today's social climate, advertisers are finding themselves under increased scrutiny over their ad placements. Consumers are quick to weigh in on anything they find offensive, and vocally criticize brands for their perceived support of controversial topics. This week, Delta and Bank of America withdrew their support for New York Public Theater's production of "Julius Caesar", after consumer outcry on social media forced them to retreat from the production. JPMorgan Chase also withdrew its ad spots from NBC News over Megyn Kelly's decision to interview controversial figure Alex Jones, the latter of whom has made a mark in right-wing circles for his outlandish conspiracy theories. Last month, advertisers fled from Breitbart News and "The O'Reilly Factor". This climate presents a unique challenge for brands and producers of content alike, and many are wary of this new trend. Brands may feel compelled to ask more questions about what they are supporting and weigh in on content - otherwise withdraw their support. JPMorgan has a company policy to not financially support fake news, which it believes Jones perpetuates with his theories. However, the question whether JPMorgan should use its ad buying power to decide what content is newsworthy has raised some eyebrows. While advertisers often "balk" at any appearance of engaging in editorial decisions, recent pressure on brands from all sides may cause some to weigh in or walk away.


Hotseat for Megyn Kelly and NBC

Just days into her tenure at NBC, Megyn Kelly (and NBC) has found herself in the hot seat for her decision to interview right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones is known for promoting the theory that the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado are vast hoaxes. Families and communities are outraged by the decision to air the interview, and several NBC affiliates have refused to broadcast the segment, citing "community concerns." NBC is standing strong behind Kelly, but the backlash about the interview has taken the network by surprise. The network has taken steps to "retool" the interview, and Kelly has personally reached out to many families of the victims from the Sandy Hook shooting, asking if they would be willing to publicly respond to Jones. Many have declined to participate in the interview, stating that their appearance would only give credibility to his opinion. To add to the fire, JPMorgan Chase has withdrawn its sponsorship of Sunday's show. This is a rocky start for Kelly and a network who has invested significant capital in what it hopes will be its "next flagship star."


June 11, 2017

Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

Gorsuch Rejects Doubts Over "Rule of Law Today"

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch gave his first public remarks at Harvard University's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. This was his first public statement since his appointment to the Supreme Court by President Trump. During the Harvard talk with the president of the National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen, Judge Gorsuch commented, "There is a lot of cynicism about government and the rule of law today, but I don't share it." Without mentioning a specific case, he made this statement the day after President Trump attacked the courts for ruling against his travel ban. When asked about the burdens of what Justices work through every day, he responded, "Somebody's got to run the zoo."


National Security Agency Contractor Accused of Leak Left a Trail of Clues

Reality Leigh Winner, a contractor at the National Security Agency's Georgia eavesdropping center, was arrested for leaking a top secret report to The Intercept, a national security news outlet. She was charged with violating the Espionage Act.
The FBI discovered from a trail of clues that Winner printed a copy of a May 5th report detailing hacking by a Russian military intelligence agency called GRU. The clues include a visible crease mark on the file scanned by The Intercept and the discovery that she had used a work computer to print the report, with the most notable being that color printers leave almost unnoticeable microdots that identify the serial number of the printer. Ms. Winner is one of 1.3 million people with top secret security clearance. She now represents the first criminal leak case of the Trump era.


Canadian Pirate Joe's Last Booty Is Sold

A settlement was reached in the Trader Joe's 2013 lawsuit against a Canadian-based reseller, Pirate Joe's, who was an unauthorized importer of Trader Joe's products for over five years. Using disguises to buy in bulk at Trader Joe's in Seattle, Mike Hallatt, founder of Pirate Joe's, would sell the goods at inflated prices in Vancouver, which is only three hours away. Trader Joe's "filed suit against Mr. Hallatt for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false advertising." Due to Trader Joe's having no stores in Canada and failing to prove that Pirate Joe's had affected its business, which includes 450 stores across the U.S., a Washington Federal District Court ruled that the violations occurred in Canada. Trader Joe's appealed, and the case was sent back to the lower court for a November trial. The two companies reached a settlement this week. With mounting legal fees for a protracted battle and a decreasing ability to purchase goods undetected, Pirate Joe's closed its doors on June 8th.


New York Right of Publicity Bill

The New York Assembly introduced a right of publicity bill last week. The bill changes a "right of privacy" into a "right of publicity." It amends New York's right of publicity bill "to make it descendible", and expands liability uses for people's identities, among other changes. Specifically, the bill "establishes the right of publicity for both living and deceased individuals; provides that an individual's name, voice, signature and likeness is the personal property of the individual and is freely transferable and descendible; provides for the registration with the department of state of such rights of a deceased individual; and establishes a 1-year statute of limitations for commencing a cause of action for the violation of such right." There is no Senate version of the bill as of yet.


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


Afrobeat Brings Profit, Mostly for the Pirates

Nigerian music is on the rise; however, many Nigerian artists are plagued with the sting of piracy. Actual record stores are rare even in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Music fans flock to makeshift markets selling illegal downloads where thousands of CDs are burned daily. Members of Nigeria's music industry are trying to put a stop to the piracy by trying to change the perception about the use of music. According to the Copyright Society of Nigeria, "Music is everywhere, but they don't know music is proprietary." The organization has tried to explain copyright law to local businesses, staged protests, hosted conferences, and even filed lawsuits. It is currently battling the nation's major mobile phone company, MTN, for paying artists unfairly to use snippets of their songs in ringbacks. MTN officials acknowledge that it is renegotiating more favorable artist deals.


Bared Breast Enthralls Future Czar, and Stokes a Culture War

The trailer of the Russian film "Matilda" ignited a firestorm with its scene depicting the young ballerina, Matilda Kshesinskaya, having a wardrobe malfunction during a performance where her left breast was exposed. The film, which is not due to be released until October, is about the famed dancer's life, and includes the torrid affair with Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich in 1890. Several have denounced the film without seeing it, including Bishop Tikhon, reputed to be Putin's personal confessor, Natalia Poklonskaya, a prosecutor from Crimea elected to the State Duma, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Poklonskaya commissioned a four-person panel that included religious studies, literature, and psychology specialists to review the film. In a 40-page report, the panel denounced the film and called the affair a myth, because Matilda was too "ugly" to have attracted Nicholas' attention, seemingly overlooking the well-documented affair in state archives, and notwithstanding the attractiveness of the actress portraying Matilda. The panel also damned Lars Eidinger, the German actor playing Nicholas, as a porn star because he appears naked in an entirely different film. The Russian Orthodox Church's main objection with the movie is that "it is an insult to the faithful," and a crime in Russia, as Czar Nicholas II and his wife were canonized in 2000. According to Poklonskaya, there have been threats by extremists to torch theaters that show the film. The Ministry of Culture and Putin's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, along with other senior officials, have endorsed Aleksei Uchitel, the film's director, and are waiting to see the finished film before judging it. In addition, a group of prominent filmmakers signed an open letter to the government in support of the film.


Recap of Cosby Trial Thus Far

Bill Cosby, the icon once regarded in high esteem as a television legend and national father figure, begins his trial for sexual assault. Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 when she was an employee at Temple University and informally mentored by Cosby. The trial, held in Norristown, PA, and presided over by Judge Steven T. O'Neill, is expected to last about two weeks. Prosecutors presented Constand's testimony, a second woman's allegations of a 1996 assault by Cosby, and Cosby's 2005 deposition acknowledging his use of quaaludes during his sexual exploits. He has stated that he does not plan to testify. It is expected that his defense team will seek to undermine Constand's and the second woman's testimony. Whether or not the jury finds Constand's testimony credible is critical. The Montgomery county district attorney is Kevin R. Steele. Cosby is represented by Brian J. McMonagle of Philadelphia. Judge O'Neill has already ruled that the jury will not hear from the 40+ women who have made similar accusations against Cosby, nor about the 2005 civil lawsuit brought by Constand against Cosby or the before trial settlement in that case. It is likely that both sides will produce character and expert witnesses, including drug experts and psychologists. It is unconfirmed whether his wife, Camille Cosby, will attend. The jurors are from the Pittsburgh area, and include two African-Americans and 10 Whites, with seven men and five women. They will be sequestered in Norristown during the trial.

Andrea Constand, the leading witness, took the stand for nearly nine hours over a two-day period. Constand, a former basketball star at Temple University, told the jury that in 2004, Mr. Cosby invited her to his Philadelphia home where he gave her three blue pills with wine and then sexually assaulted her. Her trial testimony is her first public account of the incident. Cosby is accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, and is facing 10-year prison terms for each count. Cosby's defense attorney raised the inconsistencies in Constand's statements over the 12-year period, including how much time they spent together, the number of times that she telephoned Cosby, and how she stayed in touch after the incident. The prosecution also presented Kelly Johnson, who testified to a similar encounter with Cosby in 1996.

Kelly Johnson, a second woman accusing Cosby of sexual assault, was the opening witness for the prosecution. She testified about a 1996 incident at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, where she says that Cosby gave her a large white pill that made her pass out, and when she awakened, he was performing sexual acts on her. Her account parallels Constand's testimony of the 2005 incident at trial.

During the fourth day of trial, parts of a decade-old deposition by Cosby were read into the record. Jurors heard about the beginnings of wooing by Cosby in pursuit of a romantic relationship, further explaining "romance in terms of steps that will lead to some kind of permission or no permission." Judge O'Neill excluded some parts of the deposition after a long fight by Cosby's lawyers to keep the entire deposition from being introduced. Additional prosecution witnesses, a neighbor to Constand and Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Township Police Department, corroborated Constand's testimony. Speculation continues on whether Camille Cosby will accompany her husband at any time during the trial. She has been noticeably absent.






"Monday Night Football" Is Reviving a Rowdy Song

Hank Williams Jr.'s song, "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night," and its catchphrase "Are You Ready for Some Football?" will be back on "Monday Night Football". The song was dropped by ESPN in 2011, after Mr. Williams' appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Fox News Channel, where he likened then President Obama and Vice President Biden to the "Three Stooges" and faulted President Obama and Speaker John Boehner for playing golf together. According to an ESPN spokesperson, fans told ESPN that it missed the Williams' song and wanted it back.


Concord Bicycle Music Buying Imagem Music

The definition of "indie label" just got bigger. Concord Bicycle Music, once an independent label focused on adult pop with a roster including Paul Simon and James Taylor, has become truly a conglomerate with holdings in Latin, hard rock, children's music and now, with the acquisition of Imagem Music Group, will include theatrical and classical music. Imagem is one of the largest music publishers, with a catalog of over 250,000 compositions, including the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Terms of the acquisition are undisclosed. However, it is speculated that the asking price is less than the $650 million price tag offered by its owner three years ago. With this deal, Concord Bicycle will almost double to $1 billion and increase its overhead by growing to approximately 350 employees. Concord Bicycle's Chief Executive Officer projects that the combined revenue of Concord Bicycle with Imagem will be $290 million this year.



Forever 21 & Urban Outfitters Are Facing A Lawsuit Over Tupac T-Shirts

Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters once again are embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Photographer Danny Clinch filed a federal suit in New York, claiming that his 1993 photos of Tupac Shakur were used on clothing without his permission. The defendants include the shirt manufacturer and two companies who licensed the shirts and Tupac merchandise: Bioworld Merchandising, Planet Productions LLC, and Amaru/AWA Merchandising, Inc. Clinch is seeking the prohibition of future use of his images, destruction of the remaining shirts, and $600,000 in damages. Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters have a litany of copyright infringement accusations, including by the Navajo Nation, a case which resulted in a settlement. The use of Frank Ocean's specially designed typeface, although unprotected by intellectual property law, is another example of Forever 21's infringing uses.



Former Contractor Sues Dale Chihuly, Claiming He Helped Create Artwork

Michael Moi, a former contract handyman, filed suit against glass artist Dale Chihuly, the latter of whom is known for large public exhibitions of blown painted glass, and whose works are in more than 200 museums across the globe (including a display of glass art currently showing on the New York Botanical Garden). Moi claims that he is a co-author of certain works and owns an interest in them for participating in "myriad clandestine painting sessions" at the Chihuly Studio. Claiming that Chihuly used a group of unpaid assistants to create works without any attribution, Moi maintains that Chihuly promised him future compensation that never materialized. Chihuly counterclaimed, stating that he has long used assistants to help him; however, Moi was not one of them, as he was only a handyman. The countersuit goes on in great detail, explaining that Moi seeks only to exploit Chihuly who suffers from bipolar disorder, and that Moi has threatened to expose Chihuly unless he iss paid $21 million for his silence. It's common practice for an artist to employ assistants. According to the Moi lawsuit, Moi, by assisting a mutual friend and Chihuly's assistant Billy O'Neil played a huge role in the creative process of many pieces, including pouring paint and eventually working on plexiglass paintings. At one point, Chihuly no longer participated in the process, and only signed the finished pieces. In 2015, O'Neil was fired, and Moi's contact with the studio tapered off. According to Moi, he was never paid, as he was neither an employee, nor had he signed a work-for-hire agreement. However, he was promised that "at some point Mr. Chihuly would take care of him." Moi took that to mean that he would share in the profits of the works they had created and would be acknowledged.


A Wounded Tribe Weighs a Sculpture's Fate

Sam Durant's sculpture Scaffold was created in 2012 to call attention to "the racial dimension of the criminal justice system in the United States." The wood and steel erection of gallows, installed by the Walker Art Center in its renovated public sculpture garden, brings to light the execution of abolitionist John Brown, the Lincoln conspirators, and 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota. The Dakota people denounced the piece as insensitive to what they recall as mass genocide. After mediation, Durant acknowledged his ignorance about the meaning of the Mankato gallows to the Dakota people by transferring his intellectual property rights of the sculpture to the Dakotas. The Dakota traditional and spiritual leaders, after dismantling Scaffold over a four-day ceremony, are now discussing whether the wood fragments should be burned. There is concern in the arts community that burning the sculpture would be considered an act of censorship.


A Hamptons Art Fair is Canceled (Again)

Art Hamptons February cancellation of its 2017 season leaves only one art fair standing in the region: Market Art + Design. Citing market conditions such as buyer fatigue, rising operational costs, and local regulatory restrictions, Nick Korniloff, Art Southamptons' art director, stated that a larger art fair, which was needed after 5 years of operations, could not be supported in the crowded Hamptons market.


J. Crew Chief Out After Failing to End Decline

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, nicknamed the "Merchant Prince", will step aside as Chief Executive of J. Crew, an office he has held since 2003 after an 18-year career at Gap. A spokesperson for J. Crew stated that Drexler has been succession planning for over a year. His departure comes after 11 consecutive quarters of decline in same-store sales. He will be succeeded by James Brett, President of the home furnishings brand West Elm. Brett is credited for turning West Elm into a must have for millennials. Drexler stated that it is his responsibility as head of the company to focus on the future leadership of its strategic plan. His departure as Chief Executive signals the end of an era. Fashion retailers struggle to adapt to changing consumer buying habits. Analysts speculate that J. Crew could join the ranks of several other retailers who filed for bankruptcy, including Payless ShoeSource, The Limited, BCBG Max Azria, and Wet Seal.


China Rejects U.S. Call to Free Activists at Factory Making Trump Shoes

Three labor activists from an activist group called China Labor Watch who were investigating the conditions at Huajian International factories were detained. Huajian manufactures footwear for a number of brands, including Ivanka Trump. Labor experts stated that this is the first time there has been a detention of undercover labor activists investigating the supply chains of Western companies. According to China Labor Watch, this is the first time in its 17-year history that any of its investigators have been detained. The United States called for their release. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it was an internal Chinese matter.



Ex-Penn State Officials Get Jail Terms in Sandusky Case

The three Penn State officials convicted in the Sandusky child molestation scandal were sentenced by Judge John Boccabella of Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. Spanier, the former President of Penn State, was found guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to 4 to 12 months' confinement, including a mandatory two months' actual jail time, plus a $7,500 fine. Curley, the former Athletic Director, and Mr. Schultz, the former Senior Vice President, pleaded guilty to related charges. Curly received 7 to 23 months' confinement, including a mandatory three months in jail, plus a $5,000 fine. Schultz was sentenced to 6 to 23 months' confinement, including two months' jail time, plus a $5,000 fine. All received two years' probation. Jerry Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.


Oakley Rejects Plea Bargain and Demands Day in Court

Charles Oakley, former Knicks star who was ousted from Madison Square Garden on February 8th after a confrontation with Knicks owner James Dolan, would like his day in court. Rejecting a plea offer from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Oakley stated that he wanted to have a public airing of the evidence at trial. After passing on a prosecutor's offer to dismiss Oakley's charges of misdemeanor assault, trespassing, and harassment if he stayed out of trouble for six months, a trial date was set for August 4th.


An Ugly Word. A Catalyst for Change

Kevin Pillar, the Toronto Blue Jays player who shouted an antigay slur during a game, is using the ugly four letter word as a catalyst for sensitivity of gay pride. Last month while playing against the Atlanta Braves, Pillar shouted the 4-letter word at reliever Jason Motte after latter struck out the former. With almost immediate condemnation on social media, Pillar was suspended for two games, participated in public events celebrating gay pride, and was mandated to spend a day in sensitivity training. The money he lost from his suspension was donated to You Can Play and Pflag. At one public event, the Blue Jays commemorated the start of Pride Month by having an officer of Pride Toronto throw out the first pitch to Pillar. Pillar has apologized to the LGBT community and posted an apology on Twitter. He hopes that people learn to be mindful of what they say.


Lawsuit by Boogaard's Parents Is Dismissed

Derek Boogaard, who played for the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers hockey teams, died from an accidental overdose of pain medications and alcohol. His parents brought a wrongful death suit against the National Hockey League (NHL) for their son's brain damage and addiction to prescription drugs. They argued that the NHL was negligent, as it knew or should have known that their son was not complying with the treatment from team physicians, dentists, trainers, and staff. U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman dismissed the suit in a 20-page opinion, stating that Boogaard's parents did not prove negligence.


Doctor in Running Project Is Focus of Doping Inquiry

Dr. Jeffrey Stuart Brown, an endocrinologist to the Nike Oregon Project, was issued an official notice of rules violations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the Agency). The Nike Oregon Project develops a team of elite athletes financed by Nike "to make American distance running relevant again on the international stage." It is led by Alberto Salazar, who trains some of the top track athletes in the world. The Agency has been pursuing the elite team with a broad investigation since last year, when it sought to compel a deposition from Brown. The Agency was unsuccessful in that effort. This week's official notice is the first signal that that it is seeking sanctions. Upon this notice, "the recipient has an opportunity to respond in writing. Then the case goes to a review board, which acts as a grand jury. If charges are made, the recipient has 10 days to accept or contest them in arbitration. Sanctions would be issued after that," reported the New York Times. Brown vowed to defend himself against any allegations.


Brothers Competed Despite Investigation

Steven Lopez, a 38-year-old three-time Olympic medalist, and his brother Jean Lopez, a 43-year-old veteran coach, were allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics despite being under investigation for sexual misconduct. According to USA Today, USA Taekwondo had been investigating sexual assault allegations from multiple women against the brothers. However, after consulting with the U.S. Olympic Committee, it stopped the investigation so that the Lopez brothers could compete. The investigating lawyer, Donald Alperstein, notified the FBI.



Summer Games Grow, Adding Mixed-Gender Events

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced 15 new events that will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics. Some of the events will be mixed-gender relays, including a swimming 4x100 mixed medley relay, a track 4x400 mixed meter race, archery and judo mixed-teams, and table tennis mixed doubles. Other new events in swimming include an 800-meter freestyle for men and 1,500-meter freestyle for women. In addition, freestyle BMX cycling, a two-person cycling race, fencing team events, and 3-on-3 basketball for men and women are also new. These, plus the events added last year, such as karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and baseball/softball, promise to make the 2020 Tokyo games "more youthful, more urban and will include more women," according to Thomas Bach, IOC Committee Chair.


A Jilted Paris Has Pined for the Olympics but the Long Wait May End in 2024

Paris, who lost bids to host the Summer Olympics in 2008 to Beijing and in 2012 to London, looks forward to the 2024 Games. The IOC is scheduled to decide the 2024 Games and possibly the 2028 Games this week. Tony Estanguet, Co-President of the Paris bid, is hopeful that Paris will be designated one of the Olympic games. He competes with Los Angeles, who has bid for both games. It is anticipated that the IOC will designate both games with possibly 2024 to Paris and 2028 to Los Angeles.


Win-Win: Let Paris and Los Angeles Play Host

The IOC Executive Board approved a proposal to award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games concurrently. The proposal is expected to be approved by the full committee on July 11th and 12th, and if so, the bids will be awarded by a final vote in September. Paris and Los Angeles, the only cities bidding to host the Games, are now poised to host an Olympic Game in the next decade. Recently, several cities withdrew their bids to host the Olympics, including Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, and Boston, citing financial concerns and doubts over the long-term value. 2024 would be ideal for Paris, as it coincides with the centenary of the last Games it held. Los Angeles positioned itself as ready to host in 2024, yet "publicly expressing more openness" to host the 2028 Games. The IOC Executive Board's decision establishes the probability of a win-win for both for Paris and Los Angeles.



Trial to Decide if ABC News Defamed Meat Processor with Report on Pink Slime

Beef Products Inc. produces lean, finely textured beef, an ingredient once popular in ground beef back in the 1990s. The beef is produced by "placing trimmings in centrifuges to separate lean meat from fat. The lean meat is then treated with ammonia to remove pathogens." The product was used by McDonald's, Burger King, schools districts, and supermarkets throughout the U.S. Although approved by the Agriculture Department in 1993, a former scientist of the Department, Gerald Zirnstein, questioned the product in 2002, calling it "pink slime". Concerns about the product continued to mount, with the New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for its report on food safety, which included concerns about Beef Products' process and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver stating that the process showed "no respect for food" on his show in 2011. Before ABC News reported on the pink slime in 2012, the top fast food chains had committed to eliminating the ingredient from their foods. Beef Products sued ABC for defamation, "arguing that the news segment and subsequent reports 'were rife with inaccuracies...and had a devastating backlash' on its bottom line." It is seeking $1.9 billion in damages, claiming that ABC acted "with reckless disregard" for the truth by "falsely suggesting that the product was 'pink slime'." ABC counters that its reporters had not acted with actual malice, which is the central question of the case. The upcoming trial is expected to last eight weeks.


Kathy Griffin Is Under Investigations for Photo

Kathy Griffin's online photo of a seemingly decapitated President Trump ignited a Secret Service investigation. According to her attorney, Dmitry Gorin, the investigation should not have been initiated; however, they will cooperate fully. He stated that Griffin had exercised her First Amendment rights. The Secret Service routinely investigates threatening statements that could bring harm to the President.


Telemarketers Fight to Get Into Phones Without Ringing

Frank Kemp, a video editor in Dover, Delaware, experienced a new technology called ringless voicemail, which allows a telemarketer to leave a voicemail message without the phone ringing and without the recipient's consent. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received a petition from All About the Message, the ringless voicemail provider, who would like to avoid regulation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Running on technology developed by Stratics Networks, the company would like the FCC to rule that its voicemail messages are not actual calls, and are therefore exempt from the consumer protection laws that prohibit calling cellular phones with automated dialing and artificial or prerecorded messages without consent. The public comment period is open. The National Consumer Law Center, which represents over 12 consumer groups, drafted a comment letter to the FCC. According to its senior counsel, Margot Freeman Saunders, if the ringless voicemail messages go unregulated, "debt collectors could potentially hijack a consumer's voicemail with collection messages. And, consumers will have no way to limit, control or stop these messages." All About the Message recently settled a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by a consumer who received repeated messages from an auto dealer who is one of All About the Message's customers. Should the FCC rule against All About the Message, the company would like a waiver to relieve the company from any liability and "potentially substantial damages" to be retroactive for voicemails already delivered.


Dismissed Breitbart Editor Blames Anti-Muslim Tweets

Katie McHugh, a Breitbart News editor, claims that she was fired due to her anti-Muslim tweets. According to McHugh, it was her tweet after the London attacks that caused her dismissal. She tweeted that "there would be no attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn't live there." Breitbart, known for being far right, has often defended writers who have been criticized from the left. It declined to provide a comment on McHugh's dismissal.


Journalists Fear Affects of an Arrest

The arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, the intelligence contractor charged with leaking top-secret documents, raised concerns among journalists. Winner was arrested within hours after the publication of an intelligence report by The Intercept, an online news outlet known for its expertise in operational security in journalism. Typically, the measures taken to protect confidential informers by news organizations include establishing secure channels for sensitive news tips and documents. Oddly, The Intercept did not use the basic tenets. According to a statement from The Intercept, the FBI's account of how it came to arrest Winner should be met with skepticism. Another concern is scaring potential informants. The tweet, "If you leak, you will be caught," by Trump confidant Corey Lewandowski is sure to have a chilling effect on potential sources.


China's Censors Target Celebrity News

China's top online regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, held a meeting at the Beijing bureau's office with China's leading Internet companies. The regulator called for the companies to "actively promote socialist core values" and create a "healthy, uplifting environment for mainstream opinion." Since that meeting, many sites have shut down, particularly celebrity gossip sites, now considered a threat to public order (including Tencent, Baidu, and Jinri Toutiao). One closed site is affiliated with Harper's Bazaar. David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project, stated: "It's no longer enough for media content to avoid the negative. It must be adequately positive." The Cyberspace Administration's new cyberspace law and regulations that took effect this week require that "all online publishers including websites, apps, blogs and social media accounts must obtain permits from the authorities in order to publish news or news commentaries." The China Media Project, cautioning that the regulations could dramatic impact on the broader online space, will monitor the regulations' effects.


Charges in Threats to Lawyers Suing Fox

Joseph D. Amico, a 46-year-old repairman, threatened to blow up the Fifth Avenue office of New York law firm Wigdor LLP and shoot its partners for suing Fox News. Representing 11 African-American employees in an anti-discrimination suit, the firm is suing Fox News. Amico made the threatening calls to the firm, apparently disturbed by an earlier press conference held by the firm with regard to the class-action suit. Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christenson appeared in the press conference with the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges that Fox News executives tolerated "abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination in the workplace", but took no action against it. Apparently infuriated by the press conference, Amico took to the phones, calling Wigdor and threatening to kill him and his family for representing the Black employees. The police were able to track down Amico via phone records, locating him in Nevada. In an attempt to arrest Amico at his house, he barricaded himself inside and SWAT was called in. After a five hour standoff, SWAT was able to retrieve Amico from his attic. Amico is represented by Todd Spodek, who stated that "words can be misinterpreted", and that he will fight the charges.


Maher Apologizes for Use of Racial Slur on "Real Time"

Bill Maher publicly apologized for his use of a racial slur during his HBO late night show "Real Time", that aired on June 2nd. His racial epithet, using the N-word while referring to house slaves, was made during an interview with Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. He expressed his regret in a written statement, stating, "the word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry." HBO also issued an apology, calling the joke "completely inexcusable." The call for his removal was almost immediate on social media, while some commentators expressed that his remarks were distasteful but did not rise to a firing offense. Others have questioned why Senator Sasse did not interject when Maher made the comment. Senator Sasse reflected on Twitter that he wished he had.


CNN Severs Its Ties With a Host After His Vulgar Criticism of Trump

Reza Aslan, host of Believer, a show on global religion, was cut from CNN where it had aired weekly since earlier this year. The removal of the show stems from remarks Aslan made on Twitter regarding President Trump after the terrorist attack at the London Bridge. In his tweet, Aslan, along with calling the President "an embarrassment to humankind", used profanity to compare him "to a piece of excrement." CNN moved swiftly to sever ties, making it the second time in less than two weeks that the network removed an on-air talent due to political commentary. Recently, the comedian Kathy Griffin was released from hosting its New Year's Eve program after posting a photograph of a fake severed head of President Trump. Its parent company, Time Warner, is still dealing with the effects of Bill Maher's racial slur on his HBO show Real Time.


MSNBC Surges to an Unfamiliar Spot: No.1

MSNBC, the cable news channel often stereotyped as the liberal news channel, reached No. 1 in prime-time cable news. Up 118% from last year, it garnered the highest viewership on prime-time weeknights for the coveted 25 to 54 age demographic, largely bolstered by the Rachel Maddow Show. The last time MSNBC was No. 1 in this category was 17 years ago, when Bill Clinton was president. According to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, who joined in 2015, the investment in straight-news reporting had allowed the channel to compete during last year's presidential race, leading viewers to feel more comfortable turning to MSNBC for breaking news.


Pandora Gets New Partner in Sirius XM

Pandora, one of the earliest providers of free Internet radio service, will be receiving an infusion of cash from its new partner Sirius XM, the satellite radio provider, to the tune of $480 million. The investment comes at a much needed time, as Pandora has been hemorrhaging, losing $343 million last year. Streaming music providers are facing the same obstacle because of the extreme expense to acquire music rights and marketing. Pandora's Internet radio ad revenue, although a respectable $1 billion annually, is not enough to compete with Apple and Spotify's pick any song on-demand services. Pandora countered with its own premium on-demand service. However, it needs financial support to bolster the new product. Sirius XM's deal will provide the much needed cash for a "company that has never reported an annual profit". As part of the deal, Sirius XM will receive three Board seats and a 19% stake in the company. Both companies will work together on future streaming opportunities in mobile and in cars. According to Sirius XM's Chief Executive, James E. Meyer: "This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for Sirius XM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where Sirius XM does not play today." Having made several missteps, such as purchasing Ticketfly for $335 million (taking a $135 million loss with its sell to Eventbrite for $200 million), and replacing its backer, KKR, at a loss of $22.5 million, hopefully its new partner will help Pandora navigate a highly complex business environment.


June 8, 2017

Center for Art Law Case Updates

Republic of Turkey v. Christie's, Inc., 1:2017cv03086 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 2017) A U.S. Court has granted Turkey 60 days to verify that it is the lawful owner of Guennol Stargazer, a 5,000-year-old, marble statue originally found in the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Eastern Thrace of Turkey (https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2017/04/29/battle-over-ancient-relic-pits-ankara-against-christies?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Upon discovering the statue, Turkey brought action against Christie's for auctioning Guennol Stargazer in its April 28th "Exceptional Sale" for approximately $14,000,000. (http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intsaleid=26907&saletitle=&mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8)

Thrasher v. Siegel, 2:cv-17-3047 (W.D.CA, Apr. 24, 2017) Last month a street artist, Monte Thrasher, brought action against Marci Siegel, for ordering the destruction of his mural "Six Heads" without giving the artist the 90 day notice required by the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) (http://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Bukowski.pdf?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Thrasher claims that Siegel was operating a bar inside the building on which "Six Heads" was painted and that she planned to replace it with a mural promoting her business. The complaint notes that "Six Heads" achieved great renown in the Los Feliz area it occupied since the mid-1990s. Thrasher seeks punitive damages and the opportunity to restore "Six Heads."

US v. Erik Ian Hornak Spoutz a/k/a Robert Chad Smith, a/k/aJohn Goodman, and a/k/a James Sinclair (C.D.N.Y., Feb 16, 2017) Michigan art dealer Erik Spoutz was sentenced to 41 months in prison for wire fraud charges arising out of his sale of dozens of forged artworks purportedly by renowned postwar American artists, such as Willem De Kooning, Robert Indiana, and Joan Mitchell. He allegedly started to sell forged works of art as early as 2005 under various aliases. Despite Spoutz's attempt to provenance for the artworks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams declared: "Spoutz falsified a complex series of seemingly original documentation of each piece's provenance: bills of sale, letters from art dealers, correspondence from prior owner's estates, etc." (http://theartnewspaper.com/news/michigan-art-dealer-sentenced-to-41-months-for-running-modern-art-forgery-scheme/)

Pulphus v. Ayers, Civil Action No. 17-310 (U.S.D.C . Arp. 14, 2017) A high school student, David Pulphus, whose artwork ("Untitled #1") won an art competition and was chosen to be displayed in the halls of Congress, filed a federal lawsuit because his work was removed from the Cannon Tunnel in the U.S. Capitol Complex, after several Congressional members complained about the paintings as being anti-police. The painting depicts a confrontation between police and protesters on the street in downtown St. Louis, and two officers in the forefront have the heads of pigs or warthogs. The lower court denied the plaintiffs' request for preliminary injunction relating to the retroactive removal of Mr. Pulphus' artwork. It was found that the painting's removal did not violate the artist's First Amendment rights. An appeal is anticipated.

Naruto v. Slater 15-cv-04324, 2016 WL 342231, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 18, 2016). In January 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a copyright infringement suit brought by PETA on behalf of a selfie-taking, six-year-old macaque named Naruto (http://clancco.com/wp/2016/02/naruto-copyright-author-owner-monkey/?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). PETA alleged that the defendants, a photographer and publisher, unlawfully claim ownership of the photographs that Naruto snapped of himself while playing with Slater's camera. The court held that the Copyright Act does not extend standing to non-humans, and therefore the case was properly dismissed. On appeal, PETA stands by its original claim that Slater is not the rightful owner of the photographs. Oral arguments are scheduled for July 12, 2017. (http://clancco.com/wp/2017/05/hey-hey-were-the-selfie-taking-monkeys/?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8)

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.

June 4, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Supreme Court Rules Patent Laws Cannot be Used to Prevent Reselling

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court imposed sharper limits on how patent holders can control their products after selling them. Lexmark's toner cartridges were at issue, as the company sold cartridges with the condition that they not be reused after depleted. One company, Impression Products, refilled the cartridges and sold them cheaper than Lexmark's new cartridges. Lexmark sued for patent infringement. The Court ruled that, according to the "patent exhaustion" doctrine, Lexmark could not use patent law to stop companies like Impression Products from refilling and selling the cartridges.


China Detains Activist Who Worked at Manufacturer of Ivanka Trump Shoes

An activist and two others who work for China Labor Watch disappeared after investigating labor conditions at two factories in China. The factories make shoes for Ivanka Trump's brand (among others), and one of the activists was confirmed to be detained by police. In China, it is possible for the activist to be held for days or weeks before being formally arrested. The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment on the detention, which comes at a time of rising pressure on advocacy groups in China.


Trump Awarded a New Chinese Trademark, This Time for Catering

The Chinese government granted new trademarks in recent days for President Trump and Ivanka Trump for jewelry, wedding dresses, and providing catering services in China. President Trump has regularly blamed China for taking American industrial jobs, but the granting of the trademarks raises additional conflict of interest concerns, as shortly after his presidency began, the Chinese government granted a series of trademarks to him as well. The latest granting raises his total of Chinese trademarks to 89, and another 28 have won preliminary approval. The Trump Organization has not responded to the New York Times' request for comment.


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


Judge Rules Against Jazz Musician's Estate in Drake Sampling Suit

In the Southern District of New York, the estate of musician Jimmy Smith filed a copyright violation suit against Drake in relation to one of his songs. His label retained a licensing company to obtain the appropriate permissions, and although it licensed the recording of Smith's song, it did not license the composition of the song. Judge William Pauley dismissed the suit, saying that Drake's sampling of Smith's song was entitled to protection as fair use.


Lebanon Bans 'Wonder Woman' Because Its Star is From Israel

The Lebanese government announced on Twitter that it is banning the new film, "Wonder Woman," from being shown in the country, as its lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli. Lebanon shares a border with Israel and has had an acrimonious relationship in recent years, including a brief war in 2006. The film is still scheduled to show in other Middle Eastern countries.


Fyre Was Bad. For the Concert Industry, This One Could be Worse

Following the failure of the Fyre Festival, which was viewed to be an outlier in the festival industry, the Pemberton Music Festival in the mountains of Canada also collapsed. The two companies hosting the event declared bankruptcy, and ticket purchasers were invited to file proof of claim forms as unsecured creditors. The fact that the festival did not offer refunds to purchasers makes Pemberton's collapse "a fraud and a scam", according to an outspoken voice in the business. That same person claimed that Pemberton's failure "could be the symbolic end for independently promoted festivals."



The Coat of Arms Said 'Integrity.' Now It Says 'Trump'

Throughout President Trump's golf courses in the United States, there is a coat of arms with three lions and two chevrons on a shield. In his two golf courses in Scotland, a two-headed eagle replaces the lions. However, the coat of arms that he uses belongs to another family: British authorities granted the coat of arms to Joseph Edward Davies in 1939. The only change that Trump made to the Davies' coat of arms was replacing the Latin word "Integritas" with "Trump." While the Davies family has not sued Trump for use of the coat of arms, Trump's attempt to trademark the emblem in Britain failed, and he has not registered the emblem under the Lyon King of Arms Act passed in 1672 in Scottish Parliament. The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization, which did not respond to such requests.


El Museo del Barrio Fires Executive as New Director Faces More Challenges

El Museo del Barrio hired a new Executive Director, Patrick Charpenel, a respected curator in Mexico City, who is under pressure to stabilize the museum after it has gone through three Executive Directors in the past seven years. The last one, Berta Colon, was dismissed because of "performance reasons," a claim that she disputed in a letter to the Board of Trustees. The museum, which was founded in 1969, has faced financial problems, and Charpenel will have to engage in significant fundraising efforts; a problem he did not face in his prior work in Mexico. He will also have to deal with the bureaucracy of New York City and the fallout of his predecessor, both of which are daunting. Being a Mexican national, he has not yet obtained the paperwork to come to the United States and begin the work that awaits him.


Bangladesh Orders Statue of Woman at Supreme Court Put Back Up, but Elsewhere

Authorities in Bangladesh ordered the removal of a statue from the country's Supreme Court, conceding to pressure from Islamist groups, but just two days later, they reversed course and ordered the statue be put in a less prominent location in the capital, Dhaka. The statue is a blindfolded woman holding the scales of justice, and while the Bangladeshi Constitution makes the Bangladesh a secular country, more than 90% of its population is Muslim. Rural parts of the country are beginning to embrace a more conservative form of Islam, and that more conservative ideology forbids representations of the human form, making the statue objectionable. The statue is set to be moved 300 yards to an annex where it cannot be viewed from the street.


After Decades, a 'Bittersweet' Resolution Over Lost Art

When the Graf family fled Europe to escape invading Nazis, they left behind an 18th Century oil painting of Venice by Michele Marieschi, titled "La Punta Della Dogana e San Giorgio Maggiore." The Graf family and its heirs have finished a 70-year recovery effort: they have reached a restitution settlement with the trust of the now-deceased owner. The Graf family filed a claim for the work in Austria and sought help from the Art Loss Registry. One painting dealer recognized the work as being in someone's home several years prior, and after a British judge issued an injunction for Christie's to disclose the location of the painting, it told the Graff heirs where the painting was housed. Nonetheless, the owner refused to talk, and when he died in 2013, the painting came to be owned by a resulting trust, when settlement talks began. While the terms of the settlement are not clear, the auction house Sotheby's in London estimated the painting to be valued at $650,000 to $905,000. One heir of the Graf family called the resolution bittersweet, because the Grafs did not live to see the piece again, but he called the settlement amount "acceptable."



An National Basketball Association Throwback: Ads on Jerseys

Beginning next season, each National Basketball Association (NBA) team will have new jerseys with a patch on the upper left representing an advertising sponsor. For LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, there will be a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company patch on his jersey. While in American sports it is rare to have advertising on jerseys, this was not always the case. Dating back to the early 20th Century and into the mid-20th Century, team mascots were local companies, such as the Fort Wayne General Electrics, or the Indianapolis Kautskys, named after Frank Kautsky, a grocery store owner. In the days when teams were named after their sponsors, many players did not earn enough money to pay the rent and had to pick up side jobs. That is a marked difference from the best players of today, who earn tens of millions of dollars each year in the NBA.


NBA Commissioner is Ready for Change in 'One-and-Done' Rule

Commissioner Adam Silver wants to change the NBA's draft eligibility rules. For approximately a decade, the NBA has had a rule with the players' union (known as the "one-and-done" rule), that players either had to be 19 years old or be one year removed from high school before they were eligible for the NBA draft. There have been arguments to raise the minimum age to 20 and others to eliminate the rule altogether. Commissioner Silver said on Thursday that, after speaking with college coaches and athletic directors as well as NBA staff, no one is happy with the quality of training that players are receiving coming into the draft. Commissioner Silver did not propose what rule could replace the "one-and-done" rule, however.


LeBron James Responds to Racial Vandalism

On Wednesday, a vandal painted a racial slur on the front gates of LeBron James' Los Angeles home. James, who has become more outspoken as his flourishing career has progressed, made a public statement as he begins his seventh-straight NBA Finals appearance. He said to reporters that no matter the level of success one achieves, it is tough to be black in America. He has said that his family is safe, but the incident had a significant impact on him, which he says will pass.


Kanter Scoffs at Report on Turkish Warrant

Enes Kanter, a Turkish NBA star, has had his Turkish passport revoked after he expressed disdain on social media toward the Turkish government, and particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport and learned that his passport had been revoked. He has since returned to the United States.


After Tiger Woods Stumbles, Solid Ground Beckons

Following Tiger Woods' arrest on Monday in Florida, the police report was released indicating he had an alcohol level of 0.000 in his system, but video evidence showed that he had difficulty performing a field sobriety test. For Woods, who has attempted to maintain a clean public image, the arrest was an unfortunate consequence of medication he had taken, the effects of which he did not fully realize at the time. Considering the fact that Woods has had several surgeries in recent years, some wonder whether he has developed a dependence on pain medication. If so, it provides him an opportunity to be a role model for millions of Americans, as he was in years past.


Suspensions Given for Giants-Nationals Brawl

Major League Baseball (MLB), following a brawl between the Giants and Nationals, announced fines and suspensions for Giants reliever Hunter Strickland and Washington's Bryce Harper. MLB's Chief Baseball Officer, Joe Torre, incited a "bench-clearing incident and fighting" by charging the mound, throwing his helmet, and fighting Strickland.



As Computer Coding Classes Swell, So Does Cheating

Computer coding classes have proliferated across the country, becoming some of the fastest growing classes in elite universities, like Harvard. Their lure comes because at the end of their education, students can embark on careers in Google, Facebook, or a startup company hoping to emulate the success of the tech giants. However, many students have been caught plagiarizing coursework, and copying each other's lines of code on exams. Some professors are not surprised to see cheating, as there are entire websites dedicated to sharing lines of code with other computer coders, and some professors say that the level of cheating is no different from any other discipline. Nonetheless, many universities have had the most academic dishonesty issues related to computer science students. Anti-cheating software typically uncovers the cheating, but some students still contend that there will always be reasonable sharing, which could be viewed as improper copying.


Twitter Fails European Union Standard on Removing Hate Speech Online

The European Commission is set to announce that Twitter has not met the European standards for removing hate speech online. While European officials have required tech companies to remove at least 50% of the hate speech on their sites, Twitter has removed less than 40%, after the content was flagged to the company. While it did not meet the standard, it is drastically better than last year, when it removed only 19% of hate speech when notified. Policy makers in several European countries have said that they will take more action against companies if the standards are not met: Germany's legislators are planning a law that would lead to fines of up to $50 million if companies do not act quickly to police harmful material.


Egypt's President Enacts Law Placing Severe Restrictions on Aid Groups

The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has enacted a law that imposes new regulations on aid groups, exacerbating fears that his administration would continue cracking down on human rights activists in advance of the presidential election next year. The new Egyptian law affects 47,000 local nongovernmental organizations as well as 100 foreign-financed organizations, making their work subject to approval by a new regulatory agency. One Egypt expert has hypothesized that the Egyptian president and other strongman leaders have been influenced by President Trump's presence to "undertake repressive actions in the name of counterterrorism and to anticipate that the Trump administration will not issue a word of criticism." Sisi's government blocked 21 websites in Egypt, including Al Jazeera; the Arabic language version of The Huffington Post; and Mada Masr, an independent news organization that has published several investigations into the workings of the security agencies. After social media pushback, Mada Masr appeared to be working shortly thereafter.


May 30, 2017

Art Law Mixer @ VLA: Estate Planning for Artists

Wine and Cheese Reception followed by Panel Discussion

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Thursday, June 8th

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Headquarters, 1 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Speakers: Amy Altman, Esq., Peter Arcese, Esq., Barbara Hoffman, Esq., and Betsy Dale, Esq.

Moderator: Irina Tarsis, Esq.

Preceded by our signature wine and cheese reception, the Center for Art Law brings you a group of experts who will discuss important issues involved in creating an estate plan. They will explain the benefits of wills and trusts, the importance of record-keeping, the more nuanced issues of art appraisal and taxation, and considerations in establishing a foundation. They will offer insight on how to retain and manage tangible and intangible assets and increase revenue through licensing.

The evening is designed to provide a useful overview for emerging and established artists who are interested in preserving their legacies in a way that aligns with their values. If you haven't considered your options before, this is a good starting point; if you are in the midst of the process of estate planning, this may offer helpful guidance. As you approach your final resting place, what will you do to ensure your art lives on?

May 27, 2017

Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media. First, of general interest:

Eleventh Circuit Adopts "Registration" Approach to § 411(a)

The Eleventh Circuit has joined the Tenth Circuit in holding that a copyright owner must plead that the Register of Copyrights has acted on its application as a prerequisite to filing a copyright infringement action. The Ninth and Fifth Circuits follow the "application" approach, which requires only that the owner allege that it has properly submitted the application. The Eighth Circuit also has endorsed the "application" approach, albeit in dicta. The Seventh Circuit is split, and the First and Second Circuits are ambivalent as to whether an application or registration is sufficient.



China Approves 116th Trump Trademark

China's Trademark Office granted preliminary approval for Donald Trump's application to trademark the use of his name in connection with the sale of apparel. President Trump faces a lawsuit in the U.S. that alleges that his business interests constitute collection of foreign tributes in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.


Frye Festival Organizers Face Lawsuits, Criminal Investigation

Frye Media, the partnership between rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, is facing over a dozen lawsuits and a federal investigation after a supposed luxury music retreat turned out to be a post-apocalyptic millennial nightmare. In the wake of that disaster, which McFarland and Rule blamed on weather and other external factors, patrons, investors, vendors, talent, and employees are accusing McFarland of fraud.


Cosby Jurors Selected; Racial Bias Claimed

Nearly three thousand potential jurors were summoned to the Pittsburgh courthouse where the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby will take place, and earlier this week a 12-member jury was empaneled. The jury is made up of seven men and five women. The New York Times reports that the majority of the jurors appear to be between the ages of 20 and 40, and that 10 appear to be white. Cosby's lawyers accused the prosecution of "systematic[ally] exclu[ding] African-Americans," but the court upheld the prosecution's peremptory challenges.


Ringling Brothers Pack Up Big Top

The legendary Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which began in 1871, performed its last show last week, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.



Legal Battle over Pier 55 Continues

For several years, the Hudson River Park Trust has tried to build a $200 million performing arts center on the Hudson River, but the project was stalled by legal obstacles, including several lawsuits filed by the City Club of New York. In March, Judge Schofield of the Southern District found that the Army Corps of Engineers had failed to consider the affect of the project on a protected fish and wildlife sanctuary. On Monday, the Corps appealed that decision. In the meantime, the Trust filed a revised permit application that it says addresses Judge Schofield's concerns.


Stolen Art Bounty Increased

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is offering $10 million for the return of 13 works stolen from the museum in 1990 by thieves posing as police officers. The museum initially offered $1 million, raising the reward to $5 million in 1997. The stolen works are collectively valued at around $500 million.


Edward Albee Estate Criticized for Blocking Production with Black Actor

The estate of playwright Edward Albee drew criticism for and sparked debate over its refusal to grant a production company rights to put on a performance of Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," which would have cast a black actor as a character Albee wrote as white. The estate's decision is consistent with Albee's historical refusal to permit such "nontraditional" casting of his play. The producer, Michael Streeter, said: "I do not question the motives of those that made the decision -- I think they have some fealty to a sense of integrity to Edward Albee's desires.... But I had hoped the negative aspects of Albee would die with him."



Child's Injury Stokes Debate Over Safety Netting

On Wednesday, a young boy sitting near the third-base dugout at Yankee Stadium, was struck in the head by the barrel of a shattered bat. A bill pending before the New York City Council that would require the Yankees and the Mets to extend the protective netting behind home plate to both foul poles will come up for debate in September. Opponents to the bill are concerned that extended netting would affect fans' views.


Former Soccer Official Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

Costas Takkas, former general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, plead guilty to facilitating millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for marketing and broadcast rights. Takkas faces up to 20 years in prison, and will be sentenced by Judge Chen in the Eastern District in September.


Russia Paralympics Ban May Persist

The International Paralympic Committee, which suspended Russia's entire team from the 2016 Paralympics for doping, said on Monday that Russia still had not met all the criteria necessary for reinstatement. The Committee's president said that it would revisit Russia's compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency's standards in September.


Former Barcelona Soccer President Arrested

Former Barcelona football club president Sandro Rosell is one of five people arrested by the Spanish police as part of a money laundering investigation concerning audiovisual rights to Brazil's national soccer team.


Rio Medals are Rusting

More than 80 U.S. athletes asked for replacement medals as the ones they were awarded at the Rio Olympics are flaking and rusting. Author's aside: There is no word yet on whether the U.S. Olympic Committee intentionally issued defective medals as a metaphor for the ethical corrosion eating away at international sports.



E.U. Parliament Member Found Guilty of Defamation

Mario Borghezio, an Italian member of the European Parliament, was found guilty last week of defamation and ordered to pay over $50,000 in damages to Cécisle Kyenge, Italy's former minister of integration, after he made racist and sexist remarks about her during a radio interview in 2013. Borghezio said in that interview that Kyenge wanted to "impose her tribal traditions from the Congo," called her a "good housewife, but not a government minister," and said that Kyenge, a doctor, had taken the job of an Italian doctor. The conviction comes after the Parliament voted to lift Borghezio's immunity.


Fox News Retracts Conspiracy Theory About a Democratic National Committee Aide's Murder

On May 16th, Fox News published an article on its website suggesting that Seth Rich, a staff member of the Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.), was shot to death in July in retaliation for sharing D.N.C. emails with WikiLeaks. A week later, Fox News issued a curt retraction, saying that the article "was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting." Notwithstanding the acknowledged lack of evidence, several Fox News personalities, including Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Geraldo Rivera, continue to espouse the theory.


Embattled Fox News Fires Yet Another Host

Last week, Fox News fired Bob Beckel, co-host of "The Five", after an employee accused Beckel of making a racist remark. The employee, who came to Beckel's office to fix his computer, says Beckel left the room and said he was doing so because the employee was black.


Hannity Advertisers Not Fleeing Fake News

Recently, advertisers fled from Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly after the accusations of sexual harassment that have followed him for decades became too numerous and public to ignore. Sean Hannity has not yet suffered the same fate, despite his recent promotion of a conspiracy theory that Fox News has stated has no basis in fact.



Fox News Seeks Sanctions for Allegedly False Fake Twitter Allegations

A lawsuit filed against Fox News by former host Andrea Tantaros alleges that the network used fake Twitter accounts to make false claims about her. Fox is fighting back, claiming that those allegations are themselves false and easily disprovable, and asking that Tantaros and her attorney be sanctioned.


May 22, 2017

11th Circuit Holds That Copyright Registration (Not An Application) Is Necessary to Commence a Copyright Infringement Claim

11th Circuit's opinion summarizes the circuits' split on the question of what "Registration" of a copyright as a precondition to filing suit for copyright infringement means. This Court decides an issue that divides the circuits: Whether registration occurs when an owner files an application to register the copyright, or when the Register of Copyrights registers the copyright. It finds that the first instance is correct.

A summary from the decision fourth estate.pdf:

The question when registration occurs has split the circuits. The Tenth Circuit follows the "registration" approach to section 411(a), which requires a copyright owner to plead that the Register of Copyrights has acted on the application--either by approving or denying it -- before a copyright owner can file an infringement action. La Resolana, 416 F.3d at 1197-1203. In contrast, the Ninth and Fifth Circuits follow the "application" approach, which requires a copyright owner to plead that he has filed "the deposit, application, and fee required for registration," 17 U.S.C. § 411(a), before filing a suit for infringement. Cosmetic Ideas, 606 F.3d at 618-19; Positive Black Talk Inc. v. Cash Money Records Inc., 394 F.3d 357, 365 (5th Cir. 2004), abrogated in part by Muchnick, 559 U.S. 154; Apple Barrel Prods., Inc. v. Beard, 730 F.2d 384, 386-87 (5th Cir. 1984); see also Melville B. Nimmer, et al., 2 Nimmer on Copyright § 7.16[B][3][b][v] (2016). The Eighth Circuit, in dicta, also endorsed the application approach. Action Tapes, Inc. v. Mattson, 462 F.3d 1010, 1013 (8th Cir. 2006). The case law of the Seventh Circuit contains conflicting dicta on whether it follows the application approach, Chi. Bd. of Educ. v. Substance, Inc., 354 F.3d 624, 631 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[A]n application for registration must be filed before the copyright can be sued upon."), or the registration approach, Gaiman v. McFarlane, 360 F.3d 644, 655 (7th Cir. 2004) ("[A]n application to register must be filed, and either granted or refused, before suit can be brought."), or whether it has even decided this question, Brooks-Ngwenya v. Indianapolis Pub. Sch., 564 F.3d 804, 806 (7th Cir. 2009). And both the First and Second Circuits have acknowledged the circuit split but have declined to decide whether to adopt the application approach or the registration approach. Alicea v. Machete Music, 744 F.3d 773, 779 (1st Cir. 2014); Psihoyos v John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 748 F.3d 120, 125 (2d Cir. 2014).

May 20, 2017

Week in Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media; but first, of universal interest:

Possible Path to Independent Register of Copyrights Paved by House Vote

The House voted 378-48 to make the Register of Copyrights independent of the Library of Congress. If the bill passes the Senate, the Register of Copyrights would be a presidential appointee and serve a 10-year term. Last year's decision by the Librarian of Congress to fire the long time Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, was met with much criticism and dismay. This new structure purports to provide more autonomy for the Register, and give him or her more resources to modernize the Copyright Office. Under the bill, Congress and the Librarian of Congress would recommend qualified individuals to the President. The recommended candidates for the position would be required to have a background in copyright law and the ability to oversee a CIO or an individual who would manage modern IT systems. Missing from the bill were other copyright reforms that many were hoping to see, including the establishment of a copyright small claims court.


Charlotte Law School Now Subject to State Inquiry

The embattled for-profit Charlotte Law School is facing yet another challenge - an investigation by North Carolina's State Attorney General's office. The law school was put on probation by the ABA last November, and the Department of Education has cut off student loan funding on the basis that the law school misrepresented itself to students about its accreditation status. The law school maintains that it was required to keep the accreditation issues confidential until the probation was publicly disclosed last fall. The North Carolina Attorney General's office asked the Department of Education to extend the time for students to discharge their student loans. The law school is seeking an "alternative teaching plan" so it may keep its doors open. The school has over $150,000 in past due city taxes, revenue shortfalls, and has dealt with turnover in the dean's office. Students of the law school have filed lawsuits and are seeking class-action status in some cases. As an alternative to federal funds, students may pursue private loans through the law school, which is currently offering zero interest loans.



Cosby Will Not Testify at Criminal Trial

In an effort to reshape the "optics" surrounding his reputation, for the first time since 2015, Bill Cosby gave a radio interview. In the interview, he maintained his innocence, suggested that racism was the foundation of the claims against him, and shared that he would not take the stand in his trial. Cosby is the subject of a criminal lawsuit brought by a woman who claims that he drugged and assaulted her. Cosby has retreated from public life as a result of claims against him by several women. In the interview, he discussed his desire to perform again, and believes that even though negative public opinion about him may not change even if he is exonerated, he maintains his innocence and believes that ultimately, the "truth" will set him free.


The Inevitable Clash Between Netflix and Cannes

This year, two Netflix titles are eligible for the Palme d'Or; however, the Cannes Festival announced a change in its rules for next year, essentially excepting any Netflix films from consideration. The French cultural exception, the basis for the rule change, mandates a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming date for a film. Netflix opted to not participate in the French system. The French National Cinema Center indicated that people in the film industry felt offended - that it showed a refusal on Netflix's part to understand the French cultural exception. Even though many in the French film industry believe that 36 months is too long to wait, changes to the waiting period must be approved by many who profit from its existence, including cinema owners, producers, cable and television broadcasters, and associations that represent writers. Cinema attendance rates in France continue to increase, and many argue the French system, although heavily regulated, works. With a new President sworn into office in France, a new Culture Minister is slated for appointment in the near future. In theory, a new Culture Minister could be the tipping point to shortening the waiting period, leading to yet another rules change for the Cannes Festival.


Conan O'Brien Heads to Court on Joke Theft Allegations

Late-night comedian Conan O'Brien is facing allegations of joke theft after a freelance comedy writer claimed that O'Brien stole five of his jokes from December 2014 to June 2015. Two of the allegations were dismissed by a federal judge in the Southern District of California, but three were allowed to move forward. A trial date has yet to be set.


Partial Summary Judgment Denied in Blizzard Entertainment Case

A district judge in the Southern District of California this week denied partial summary judgment in Blizzard Entertainment v. Lilith Games. The case tackles complex issues of copyright ownership and rights to derivative works in the gaming industry, where it is common for gamers to share and further develop "mods" created and developed by other gamers. Lilith Games and uCool developed mobile versions of games based on DotA platforms extensively developed and modified by gamers known as Eul, Median, Madcow, Guinsoo, and Icefrog. These gamers eventually moved on and joined gaming companies Valve and Riot and assigned their rights in the platforms they developed to the gaming companies. Riot later sold its rights to Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard and Valve sued uCool and Lilith, claiming that their copyrights in the games were violated when uCool and Lilith developed mobile versions of the games. After a lengthy inquiry into copyright ownership in this arena, which is quite complex given the number of works at issue, the court found that the games now owned by Valve and Blizzard were not collective works, but rather each version of the games, developed by gamers, were individual works. The court also found that Eul, Guinsoo, and Icefrog were authors of the works, even though they incorporated suggestions of other gamers, and therefore had the ability to assign their copyrights in the games to Valve and Riot. In denying the motion for partial summary judgment, the court is allowing the case to proceed and further address the issue of uCool's and Lilith's alleged copyright infringement, when mobile versions of the games were developed.



Dutch Efforts in Looted Art Restitution May Be Lagging Behind

The Dutch government has had mixed moments in its efforts for restitution of art looted during World War II (WWII). In the early days after WWII, many looted works were recovered from the Nazis, only to be hung in museums and absorbed as Dutch national property. In 1997, the Dutch government hired an art historian to track looted art and return it to its rightful owners. An exhibit chronicling this process, "Looted Art - Before, During and After WWII", is currently running in the Netherlands. Though the country made significant efforts in the late 1990s and 2000s to increase its efforts to restitute looted works, it is again under scrutiny. A recent policy change allows for a balancing-of-the-interests inquiry when considering claims. Specifically, panels can consider "'the significance of the work to public art collections' against the emotional attachment of the claimant.'" The exhibition contains 75 works from the "NK Collection," which contains over 3,800 looted works that have yet to be returned for various reasons. After WWII almost 9,000 works of art were returned to the Netherlands that had been recovered in Germany. This number is less than half of the works that were eventually reported missing by survivors or heirs. The Dutch government defends its process, stating that many of the claims that have come before the panel in recent years were weak, and were rejected not because the new balancing test was bad, but because the claims were not strong enough. The exhibit organizers are not aiming to criticize the new policy, but highlight past failings.


Author of Book on Campus Sex Sued for Defamation

A student at Northwestern is suing the author of a book on campus sex, with claims of defamation and invasion of privacy. Laura Kipnis's book, Unwanted Advances, claims that Title IX's provision for sexual misconduct may be "overzealous[ly]" applied, with some students using the provision to "adjudicate relationship disputes post-breakup." While Kipnis used a pseudonym for the plaintiff (identified as "Jane Doe" in court papers), Kipnis published text messages and private details about the plaintiff and her relationship with a former professor at the University. Among other things, the plaintiff claims that the book damaged her job prospects. There is a legal history between the parties - Kipnis was the subject of a Title IX complaint brought by two students alleging that Kipnis creating a "hostile environment" after publishing an essay in 2015. One of the students was Jane Doe. Kipnis was cleared of the charges, but Jane Doe alleges that Kipnis wrote the book to retaliate against Doe for filing the 2015 complaint.


Record-Setting $110.5 Million Sale at Sotheby's This Week

Now the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction, Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 painting, "Untitled," was purchased for a whopping $110.5 million this week, by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. Maezawa shared his purchase via Instagram. He also recently purchased another Basquait painting for $57.3 million. Maezawa is the founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation, and of Japan's online fashion mall, Zozotown. Maezawa plans to open a museum in his hometown of Chiba, Japan, and says that he purchased "Untitled" for the museum. Basquait's notoriety has risen astronomically in the past several years. He was a graffiti artist from Brooklyn who died at the age of 27 from a drug overdose. Last year alone, his works grossed $171.5 million at auction, to make him the highest-grossing American artist at auction.


Mixed Feelings About the Proposed Mandatory Entry Fee at the Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum is exploring the possibility of charging a mandatory admission fee to non-New Yorkers. The museum's current admissions policy remains fuzzy to most, prompting surprise when people were questioned about how much they would be willing to pay. Currently, it has a suggested admission policy, with the prices are clearly stated at the admissions desks. The museum is considered a public institution - New York City funds it each year with $26 million in taxpayer dollars, and owns the building itself. While other New York City cultural institutions charge mandatory admissions fees, the City's public support muddies the waters. While visitors generally are supportive of the proposed admissions policy, many question how it would impact those from the Greater NYC area, such as visitors from New Jersey and Connecticut, who may be deterred by a mandatory fee. Next steps include a longer, formal proposal, and approval by the City. Then talks would ensue regarding terms, price of admission, and how to delineate residents from tourists.



National Hockey League Will Not Release Players for the 2018 Olympic Games

The National Hockey League (NHL) last month announced that it would not release players for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This decision impacts all 12 teams that qualified for the Olympics. The NHL does not want to shut itself down for three weeks during the Olympics, which it argues would cause a loss of revenue and "expose its players to injury." The impact on the qualifying teams varies, depending on the number of non-NHL players per country. For example, Slovenia and the Czech Republic will feel a greater impact, whereas countries such as Sweden, Finland, Russia, and China, will not. Some countries see the NHL's decision as an opportunity for their non-NHL players to shine. The International Ice Hockey Federation purportedly is "engaged' in talks with the NHL Player's Association, and the New York Times reported that the Federation disagrees with the NHL's stance on Olympic participation.


Texas Bill Could Impact Transgender Student Athletes

The state of Texas currently requires all student athletes to compete in the genders listed on their birth certificates. This has been challenging for some athletes, including high school wrestler Mack Beggs, who was required to wrestle against girls, rather than boys, because the gender listed on his birth certificate is female. Currently pending in Texas is a related bill that would disqualify transgender athletes undergoing hormone therapy. The bill would require any transgender athletes to disclose medical information to the University Interscholastic League, which is the state's governing body for high school sports. Lawmakers argue that the competition's fairness would be "substantially affected" by the hormone therapy.


No Reinstatement for Josh Gordon

The National Football League (NFL) denied the reinstatement of Josh Gordon, the Cleveland Brown's wide receiver, who has been suspended several times for substance abuse violations. Gordon voluntarily entered a rehabilitation facility last September and completed a 30-day program. The Browns have remained in touch with Gordon, and still own his rights, but have stated that it is moving forward without him on the team roster.


In Spain, A Surprising Boost for Girls Soccer

A Spanish soccer team comprised of 13- and 14-year old girls recently clinched the championship in a league comprised mainly of boy's teams. Efforts in Spain to promote women's and girl's soccer lag behind other countries, and clubs that include girl's rosters often focus their time and resources nurturing the boys. One club, AEM Lleida, has been focusing on girls for a decade, and has recently capitalized on a Spanish soccer federation rule that allows clubs to put both boys and girls at play - including mixed teams - for junior league competition. Parents were reluctant in the early years, but have united behind the effort, as they have experienced the girls' success. The club believes that a large part of the girls' success is discipline - they absorb feedback from their coaches and do what is asked of them. The club is currently raising money specifically for the girl's coaching program, as sponsors are slow to get behind female teams, and its success has increased female membership in the club by 25% - not a small feat.


Recovery of Brady Super Bowl Jersey Highlights the Less Than Fortunate Fate of Most Stolen Sports Memorabilia

The fact that Tom Brady's stolen Super Bowl jersey was recovered is a real story, as the majority of stolen sports memorabilia remains unrecovered. Major pieces, including Yogi Berra's World Series rings, Belmont Stakes trophies, Roger Maris's 1960 MVP plaque, and countless other objects collectively worth in the millions of dollars, have recently disappeared in a "string of thefts." The sports memorabilia market is valued at over $1 billion, and the value continues to climb. Most stolen pieces are difficult to track, because they do not often change hands. A recovery occurs generally when a mistake is made - tracks aren't covered, or a thief becomes sloppy when identifying buyers for the items. In the case of Brady's jersey, the thief, Mauricio Ortega, sent photos of the jersey to a teenager and sports memorabilia enthusiast. The Seattle teen connected the dots when he heard that Brady's jersey was missing. With the teen's help, investigators were able to track down the jersey and recover additional Super Bowl memorabilia.


$12 Million Raised for WinView, a New Player in the Sports Betting Arena

Some heavy hitters have stepped up to provide initial backing for WinView, an interactive sports-betting startup, that aims to change the way fans interact with games in real time. The platform allows users to make predictions in a game as it develops in real time, and presents that it is a "new way for sports fans to engage with games." So far WinView has 130,000 users and is unique, in that it can operate nationwide because it does not charge an entry fee. The NFL, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball have signed on to offer game experiences for WinView users. Advertising revenue is coming in through PepsiCo, and the company is working on pay-to-play options to source additional funds. The new funding will add more sports, and work to expand beyond American offerings. Backers include Graham Holdings (former owner, Washington Post), Discovery Communications, Ted Leonsis (owner, Washington Wziards and Washington Capitals), and LionTree (a boutique investment bank). This service differs from DraftKings and FanDuel, two fantasy sports web companies that were previously sued and face troubles with their businesses.


Despite Lack of Official Reporting, Gisele Bundchen Discusses Brady Concussions

The NFL is sensitive about player concussion reporting, especially after its recent agreement to a $1 billion payout to retired players, who accused the NFL of concealing the correlation between football and brain damage. In an interview this week, Tom Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, stated that Brady played through a concussion in 2016. There are no records that Brady had a concussion or head injury that season. "Significant or noteworthy" injuries are required to be reported, even if the injury does not result in loss of playing time. The NFL stated that it has been in touch with the NFL Players Association regarding the statement, and is looking into any head injuries Brady may have experienced. Brady, who at 39 is considered one of the best players in NFL history, recently suggested that he would like to play well into his 40s. His wife, however, seems to have a different perspective on his safety in a game that is known for aggression and injury.


Another Sexual Assault Lawsuit for Baylor - Ex-Student Claims Gang Rape at the Hands of Football Players

A former Baylor student is suing the University, alleging that she was drugged and gang-raped by members of the football team. This is the most recent lawsuit for the university, which has been involved in several sexual assault lawsuits. The lawsuit claims that the university swept her claim under the rug in order to protect the football team, and created an environment that "advanced sexual violence toward women by its football players." The lawsuit claims that the university often used sex as a way to attract recruits, and would allow team members to "engage in unrestricted behavior." Last year, football coach Art Briles and Kenneth Starr, the University's president and chancellor, were forced out as the university faced repeated sexual assault lawsuits.


No French Open Wild Card for Sharapova

Maria Sharapova, who recently returned to competition after serving a suspension over a doping violation, was denied a wild card into the French Open. Commentators are suggesting that this is a snub and further penalization for Sharapova, while others argue that wild cards are discretionary - and that the Women's Tennis Association acted appropriately by not giving her preferential treatment. Sharapova equates ticket sales for large tournaments. Her next shot at a Grand Slam event is the Wimbledon qualifying tournament at the end of June. No rules exist regarding the issuance of wild cards to players returning from doping suspensions, and Sharapova has been offered wild cards in other tournaments.


Anti-Gay Slur Leads to Two Game Suspension

Toronto Blue Jay's player Kevin Pillar was suspended for two games for an anti-gay slur he flung at an Atlanta Braves pitcher. The Blue Jays released a statement condoning the behavior, and swiftly responded with the suspension. In addition to the suspension, which includes a salary forfeiture, Pillar will pay a fine. Pillar issued an apology, stating that the slur was made in the heat of a moment of frustration, and was not reflective of his feelings towards the LGBTQ community.


With Rules Change, Russia Could be Barred from the 2018 Olympics

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is looking to fast-track rules changes that will allow it to directly apply sanctions against international sporting federations that are non-compliant with anti-doping policies. The goal is to have the proposed rules ready for the November Board meeting, which would satisfy the requisite three month implementation window to apply to the 2018 Winter Games. Widespread, state-sponsored doping was discovered in Russia, and WADA recommended Russia be barred from Rio two years ago. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) overruled WADA, and allowed Russian athletes to compete. Under the proposed rules, the IOC would be unable to circumvent WADA.


Suspicious Anti-Doping Violations at Nike's "Oregon Project"

The Nike-sponsored "Oregon Project," a training program for runners, is under investigation for anti-doping violations. After uncovering a confidential report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada), the New York Times reported on the suspect activities. Alberto Salazar, the coach of the Oregon Project, asserts that he followed anti-doping protocols when he provided the athletes with supplements and drugs that have no proven benefits for runners, and pressured the athletes to unquestionably follow his recommendations for medical treatments that he asserted were legal and designed to help their performance. Among the "treatments" administered in the program was a controversial transfusion of L-carnitine, itself not a banned substance; however, the scope and extent of the transfusions, and method used, was in violation of anti-doping policies. Further, Salazar bound the athletes to secrecy and altered medical records to hide the scope of the transfusions. Athletes felt trapped - they were often threatened with promises to withhold pay if they didn't comply with Salazar's instructions. Anti-doping sanctions have not been announced against anyone in the report.



Federal Communications Commission Votes 2-1 to Reverse Classify Broadband - No Longer a "Utility"

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week voted 2-1 to repeal Obama-era classifications of Broadband, advancing the Republican agenda to repeal Obama's 2015 net neutrality order. Under the prior administration, broadband was classified as a utility, which allowed government regulation. A public comment period has commenced, where the FCC is soliciting comments regarding net neutrality. The FCC is asking for opinions regarding whether it can bar Internet companies from "blocking, throttling or giving 'fast lanes' to some websites", and whether states should be able to establish their own Internet regulations. The Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, publicly supports an "open Internet." Major supporters of an open Internet include the big broadband providers - AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, while other internet companies, such as Facebook and Alphabet Inc., are strong supporters of net neutrality.


News Media Giant Roger Ailes Dies At Age 77

Roger Ailes, the news media giant and acclaimed political strategist, passed away this week at the age of 77. Ailes was no stranger to health issues, and had long suffered from hemophilia, obesity, and arthritis. He was the mastermind behind the incredible success of Fox News, which he founded in 1996 with Rupert Murdoch and lead ferociously for two decades until his ouster last year, in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that has left the network reeling in its wake. In addition to his work at Fox, Ailes was a leading media strategist for many political campaigns, including those of Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Regan, and George H.W. Bush. He was known for incorporating elements of entertainment to news reporting and was often criticized for his methods and approach. He was "feared" in the news industry, and known for frequent outbursts of anger. His drive and tenacity were critical to Fox News's almost instant success. At the end of his tenure there, the network boasted 2 million average daily viewers, more than MSNBC and CNN combined. Ailes is survived by his third wife, Elizabeth Tilson, and son Zachary.


Facebook Receives Warning from Thailand Over Alleged Violation of Lesè-Majesté Law

After pictures of Thailand's new king wearing a crop top surfaced on Facebook, the company was asked by the Thai government to remove dozens of pages from its servers. The government has clamped down on online speech since the 2014 military junta coup. Facebook has struggled with how to balance its core values as a platform for the sharing of news and ideas with local laws and customs that may curtail or limit expression. Thailand's lesè-majesté law, which imposes a criminal penalty of up to 15 years in jail for insulting the king, queen, or crown prince, may be more strictly enforced under the new military rule. Commentators believe that the junta will turn the law into an "offensive weapon designed to eliminate all forms of political opposition." Facebook was asked to remove 131 pages, and the Thai government obtained a court order to block 34 of the pages. The Thai Internet Service threatened to shut Facebook down, but did not follow through on the threat. Facebook released a statement stating that it was the company's policy to comply with such governmental requests to restrict content that was believed to violate local laws.


More Trouble for Facebook From European Privacy Regulators

Dutch and French privacy watchdogs stated that Facebook broke data protection rules in both countries. The European Union (EU) has been increasingly critical about how Facebook collects and stores information about EU residents, including German threats to levy significant fines against the company if it doesn't increase its efforts to crack down on hate speech and misinformation. France this week fined Facebook 150,000 Euros. The Dutch did not impose a fine, and is striving to reach a settlement with the company. Both watchdog groups stated that Facebook compiled massive amounts of personal data about its users in order to provide targeted advertisements, and collected browsing activity of users on third-party websites without their user's knowledge. Facebook, in response, stated that it fully complies with European data protection rules, and has taken steps to simplify its online privacy settings to afford users more control over the use of their personal data.


Chobani Claims Retracted As Part of Settlement

The eye-catching headline, promoted by Alex Jones, read, "Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists." Jones, on his radio show, promoted not only the story, but also connected Chobani to the sexual assault of a child and rising levels of TB cases. Chobani was founded by a Turkish immigrant, Hamdi Ulukaya, who has become a prominent advocate for refugees. He employs refugees in his factories, and started a foundation to aid migrants. Ulukaya has been the target of anti-immigrant anger since he has increased his advocacy efforts. Jones, on the other hand, is no stranger to cease and desist letters, and has a reputation for outrageous, right-leaning remarks. This was not his first apology - prior apologies include those made for his role in the "Pizzagate" scandal, where he spread a hoax claiming that Democratic leaders were involved in a child abuse ring at a Washington restaurant.


"Must Runs" Are Meeting Criticism at Sinclair Broadcast Group Stations

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns a staggering 173 stations, with 42 likely to be added in a proposed acquisition of Tribune Media. This would allow the company to reach over 70% of households across the country. The company hands down daily "must-runs," segments produced by the company that stations are required to broadcast during a 24 to 48 hour window. The segments have a recognizable right-leaning slant, and many journalists are wary of what they consider "intrusive direction" from the company. In Seattle, journalists rebel against these segments in small ways, by airing them at times with low viewership or at the tail end of an ad segment. As the company expands its ownership of stations into the largest markets, journalists are likely to be more resistant to these required segments. Big-market journalists are generally more experienced, lean more to the left, and struggle with what may appear to be interference with their work. Sinclair maintains that it aims to be objective and it works to remain in the center.


An Unfortunately Common Occurrence in Mexico - Murder of Another Prominent Mexican Journalist

Javier Valdez Cardenas, a prominent Mexican journalist who covered drug cartels and the ensuing cultural violence they instigated, was killed on Monday. Since 2000, over 100 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. Most of the murders remain unsolved, and many believe that this is due to "pervasive" corruption. Mr. Valdez was an award-winning journalist and had extensively covered the drug wars in his home state. The murders likely are the work of drug gangs of corrupt politicians who have become embroiled with the gangs or criminal activity. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned the killings, and the Mexican Attorney General's office said the murder would be investigated by a special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression.


State Television Offices Stormed by Suicide Bombers in Afghanistan

The fight lasted three hours and at the end six people were found dead, after suicide bombers raided a state television station in Nangarhar Province in Afganistan. An additional 18 to 24 people were injured. An affiliate of ISIS claimed responsibility.


WannaCry Hits Hard in China, Where Bootleg Software is the Norm

Last week's ransom ware attack hit hard in China, leaving companies, universities, and government agencies scrambling to recover. The extensive nature of the attack in China is believed to be related to the high proliferation of bootleg software, which is the norm in the country. It is so common, that an entire industry of cybersecurity firms has risen to protect users of pirated software. Unlicensed versions of software are not often registered with companies, so users miss critical updates and security fixes necessary to ward off this type of cybersecurity breach. According to researchers, 70% of software installed in China is not properly licensed. Universities and government agencies rely heavily on copies of Windows, and using unlicensed software is generally considered legal, because it is so commonly used. Microsoft had previously cut off support of older versions of Windows, to attempt to curb the use of bootleg copies, but the outcry was so great that the company agreed to upgrade users for free. Additionally, Microsoft abandoned the practice of distributing its software on discs, which makes it more difficult to copy and share the software. Chinese tech companies are rushing to develop their own operating system software, hoping to reduce the country's reliance on foreign software.


May 15, 2017

EASL Section Letter Opposing the De-Funding of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law ("EASL") Section's Executive Committee voted to draft and send a memorandum opposing the de-funding of The National Endowment for the Arts ("NEA"), The National Endowment for the Humanities ("NEH"), and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting ("CPB"). The memorandum was sent by the NYSBA to United States Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as each of the 27 elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the State of New York. EASL Memorandum 1 Support.doc

This outcome is excellent and should have an impact on the budget legislation. The Continuing Resolution, which passed in late April and was signed by the President, funds the federal government through September 30, 2017. The focus of the ongoing debate on this issue now shifts to the forthcoming debate on the Fiscal Year 2018 Federal Budget (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018).

I thank all of those who were so dedicated, passionate, engaged and involved in this difficult process, especially the crack writing and editorial team of Meital Waibsnaider, Irina Tarsis, Marc Jacobson, Steve Richman, Rosemarie Tully and Steve Rodner, and as always, Beth Gould, EASL's own Wonder Woman.

Diane Krausz
Chair, Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section, NYSBA

May 13, 2017

Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media; but first, of universal interest:

Former Partners Sue Chadbourne & Parke for Sex Discrimination

Mary T. Yelenick joined the lawsuit filed by Kerrie L. Cambell, accusing Chadbourne & Park of sex discrimination and pay inequity. The complaint alleges that Chadbourne has "systematically disparately underpaid" its female partners and "systematically shut [them] out of firm leadership, demoted, de-equitized and terminated them."



Jay Z Renews Touring Deal with Live Nation

In a deal Variety reports is worth $200 million, Jay Z and Live Nation renewed their 10-year partnership, pursuant to which Live Nation produces and promotes Jay Z's shows.


Crowdsourced Video Games: Value or Vaporware?

"Star Citizen," a video game announced in 2012, raised $148 million through crowdfunding --a record amount-- but has yet to release the game. Cloud Imperium Games, the developer, says that it keeps pushing the release date back, because more money allows it to develop a better game (Cloud Imperium's founder, Chris Roberts, was hoping to raise $4 million). Some funders have begun demanding their money back.


Hackers Tap Celebrities' Vendors

Some experts estimate that 80% of security breaches occur somewhere in the middle of the supply or distribution chain. Big film and music studios have comprehensive (expensive) security protections, but their various suppliers, vendors and collaborators often do not. Hackers have been targeting those weak links in order to obtain pre-release copies of music, movies, and television shows. One hacker or group of hackers going by the name, TheDarkOverlord, has been demanding ransoms from major studios to prevent them from leaking upcoming content.


Grammys Coming Back to New York

After 15 years in LA, the annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018.




Burglars stole a card on which J.K. Rowling wrote an 800-word prequel to the "Harry Potter" Series. The card's owner bought the card at auction for about $32,000 to raise money for literacy causes.


Canadian Editorial Stirs up Controversy

The Writers Union of Canada apologized for an editorial by Hal Niedzviecki, former editor of the union's magazine, in which he said the "exhaustingly white and middle-class" majority of Canadian authors should be encouraged to "appropriate" from other cultures. Mr. Niedzviecki has resigned.


'Rebecca' Producers Win Small in Legal Battle

On Wednesday, a jury found Mark Thibodeau, a publicist who had sent anonymous emails to a prospective investor warning him that the production of 'Rebecca' Thibodeau was supposed to be promoting was plagued with problems, liable for tortious interference and breach of contract. The jury awarded the plaintiffs, erstwhile producers of the arrested musical, a total of $90,000. They had asked for over $10 million.


Damien Hirst Accused of Misappropriating Nigerian History

Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor accused British artist Damien Hirst of copying a famous ancient Nigerian sculpture known as "Head of Ife." "[F]or the thousands of viewers seeing this for the first time, they won't think Ife, they won't think Nigeria," Ehikhamenor wrote on Instagram after seeing Hirst's work at the Venice Biennale. "Their young ones will grow up to know this work as Damien Hirst's."


Massachusetts Seminary Fumbles with Tribal Artifacts

Two years ago, the Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, proposed selling some of the 158 Native American tribal artifacts it has kept at the Peabody Essex Museum for the past 70 years. The museum notified the U.S. Department of the Interior, who warned the school selling the artifacts would violate federal law. As the Andover school is in the process of joining Yale Divinity School, it is coming under renewed scrutiny, as it has yet to provide the required inventory to the tribes involved.


Met Wants to Charge Bridge & Tunnel Crowd

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) filed a formal proposal with the City of New York to charge mandatory admission to out-of-state visitors. This fact was disclosed at a hearing to approve the Met's settlement with a class of plaintiffs over allegedly misleading signs about the cost of admission.


Coach Pays too Much for Handbags

Luxury handbag maker Coach will pay $2.4 billion to purchase competitor Kate Spade. The New York Times reports that the purchase price represents a 27.5% premium over Kate Spade's share price before rumors of the deal began to circulate.



MMA Fighter Clobbers Tai Chi Master, Runs Away

Mixed martial arts fighter Xu Xiaodong dismissed practitioners of traditional Chinese martial arts as frauds. Wei Lei, a practitioner of "thunder style" tai chi, accepted Xiaodong's challenge and, 10 seconds into the match, was having his head repeatedly smashed against the floor. The ensuing outcry has been so intense that Xiaodong has gone into hiding.


FIFA to Replace Ethics Leaders

FIFA is replacing the officials whose ongoing investigations resulted in the suspensions of several FIFA officials. The departing officials said their replacements were "politically motivated" and would "end...reform efforts."


Hernandez Conviction Nullified

On Tuesday, a Massachusetts judge vacated Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction, because Hernandez, who hanged himself in prison last month, died before his appeal was heard.


FIFA Lifts Messi Ban

FIFA will allow Lionel Messi, captain of Argentina's soccer team, to play in the next three World Cup qualifiers. Messi had been banned from four matches after he insulted a referee's assistant. The FIFA disciplinary appeal committee found that Messi's conduct, while "reproachable," did not merit a four-game suspension.


Messi Look-Alike Causes Tumult in Iran

Iranian Reza Parastesh is a dead ringer for Lionel Messi. This weekend, so many people came out to take selfies with him the Iranian city of Hamadan that the police detained him and impounded his car.



FCC Reviewing Colbert Complaints

In his opening monologue on Monday night, Stephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show" on CBS, made a crude remark combining President Trump, Vladimir Putin, and sodomy. Many viewers were offended, and some have said the remark was homophobic. The FCC is evaluating the remark (which was bleeped, and Mr. Colbert's mouth blurred) to determine whether it violates FCC guidelines.


Richard Simmons Sues Tabloids

Fitness celebrity Richard Simmons sued The National Enquirer and Radar Online for defamation, after the two tabloids published stories claiming that Simmons had undergone a sex change.


Cannes Commits to Cinema in le Cinéma

French theater owners are not happy with the Cannes Film Festival. This year's festival will feature two Netflix-produced films, neither of which will be shown in theaters before streaming on Netflix's service. Under pressure from those theater owners, the festival said that it would change its rules to require all future submissions to be distributed in French movie theaters.


Mexico Increasing Protection for Journalists

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has vowed to remove the lead prosecutor responsible for investigating crimes against journalists, and to fund a federal protection program for threatened journalists. 11 Mexican journalists were killed in 2016.


Sinclair to pay $3.9 Billion for Tribune

The Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local television stations in the United States, has agreed to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. The combined entity would cover more than 70% of the market. Some have expressed concern that Sinclair will use its expanded reach to advance a conservative political agenda.


Comcast Joins with Charter in Wireless Service Alliance

Comcast and Charter Communications announced that they will partner to provide wireless voice and data services to consumers.


Facebook Launches "Fake News" Education Campaign Ahead of UK Elections

Facebook has published a series of newspaper ads in the United Kingdom, advising readers how to spot "fake news" online. Facebook also said it had removed tens of thousands of possibly fake accounts in Britain, and adjusted its algorithms in the country to reduce misinformation and spam. Britain's general elections will take place next month, and Facebook faced widespread criticism for its role in spreading misinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.