August 14, 2017

Week in Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica Ends in a Settlement... With a Twist

A federal judge let Varsity Brands drop its lawsuit against Star Athletica, who it had accused of violating copyright by illegally copying elements of its designs. The Supreme Court in March ruled that "conceptually separable" design elements were copyrightable. The twist here is that Star Athletica, the defendant in the case, wanted to continue litigating the case. Star Athletica was highly critical of the decision, which was negotiated between Varsity Brands and Star Athletica's insurance company.

https://www.law360.com/ip/articles/953048/cheerleader-uniform-ip-case-ends-with-unusual-settlement?nl_pk=6f0d614e-0db2-4790-97ae-b486a25b66a5&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ip

More Law Schools Move to Accept the GRE in Attempt to Boost Admissions

In an attempt to boost enrollment, two more law schools joined the ranks of those that have changed admissions requirements to make the application process easier. Along with Harvard law and the University of Arizona, Georgetown and Northwestern now have changed admissions criteria to accept the GRE instead of the LSAT. These schools hope the change will encourage a more diverse student body, making it easier for students in the traditional STEM fields (which only require the GRE for graduate admissions) to apply to law school. These law schools have each done comparative studies that have shown that GRE scores are comparative predictors of success in law school. The LSAT has long been the single admissions exam accepted by law schools. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC, creator of the LSAT) is highly critical of this shift, warning that the GRE doesn't test for certain critical predictors of success in law school - analytic and logical reasoning. LSAC announced some changes in the administration of the exam, and it is now offering it six times a year, while removing the limit for the number of times someone can sit for the exam. It also is rolling out a free online exam prep course.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/business/dealbook/law-school-gre.html

Texas Transgender Bathroom Bill on its Last Legs

The controversial "bathroom bill" currently in front of the Texas House appears to be faltering - after a strong effort by Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, gay rights and business groups oppose the legislation. The bill passed a Senate vote, and would require transgender individuals to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates or other state-issued ID. The driver of the opposition is big business - actively arguing that the bill would chill business opportunities in Texas. Among those in opposition are IBM, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Capital One, Ben & Jerry's, Facebook, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. They are joined by another 650 businesses. North Carolina recently enacted a similar law, and the fallout was wide. The state reported millions of dollars in economic losses, due to boycotts and cancellations of sporting events and concerts. A study in Texas projected billions of dollars in losses, were a similar bill to pass the House vote.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/us/time-is-running-out-on-texas-bathroom-bill.html

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

ENTERTAINMENT

Lawsuit Against Taylor Swift Dismissed; Countersuit for Assault and Battery Moves Forward

A federal judge in Denver dismissed DJ David Mueller's claim against Taylor Swift, which stated that Swift falsely accused him of groping her, leading to his termination from radio station KYGO. After four days of testimony, the judge ruled that Mueller presented insufficient evidence that Swift "acted improperly when she reported an assault she truly believed happened." Swift accused Mueller of assault and battery, after an incident where. Mueller allegedly grabbed her underneath her skirt during a photo op at the radio station where he worked. The court heard testimony from Mueller, Swift, Swift's mother, and Mueller's then-girlfriend. On the stand, Mueller stated that he thought he was touching her ribs, and strongly denied groping the star. Andrea Swift, Swift's mother and manager, gave an emotional account of the incident. Swift also gave strong testimony and refused to bend to the line of questioning presented by Mueller's counsel. Swift delivered multiple one-liners on the stand that have been widely shared. Eight jurors (6 women, 2 men) will return to listen to testimony on the remaining claims. Swift's legal team said that it will not present any additional witnesses, but rely on testimony already given to support her case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/arts/judge-dismisses-taylor-swift-from-groping-case-brought-by-dj.html?action=click&contentCollection=arts®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/arts/music/radio-host-testifies-i-did-not-grope-taylor-swift.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/arts/music/taylor-swifts-mother-confronts-man-she-says-groped-the-star.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/arts/taylor-swift-mueller-groping.html

Academy Announces New President

Cinematographer John Bailey was named the new president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy). Bailey follows the tenure of Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who served four consecutive one-year terms. While largely considered a ceremonial role, the incoming president has some large PR challenges ahead. The Academy's movie museum is under construction, but a significant portion of the funds have yet to be raised, Academy Awards ratings are down, and race and gender issues loom in the industry, all of which Bailey will have to address. Bailey's partner will be Dawn Hudson, chief executive of the Academy. Hudson has been with the Academy for several years and has a contract through 2020. Bailey was seen as an underdog for the post - and many "below the line" industry personnel are thrilled by his election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/business/media/academy-president-john-bailey-cinematographer.html

Disney Announces Upcoming Launch of Dual Streaming Services

Disney this week announced a plan to launch two streaming services over the next two years. One of the services will center on sports programming from ESPN, and the other will center on Disney and Pixar movies and other Disney content (it is undecided whether Lucasfilm and Marvel content will be included). Both platforms will be powered by Bam-Tech, the company that handles streaming services for HBO and various baseball teams. Disney recently exercised a $1.5 billion option to increase its ownership of Bam-Tech to a 42% share, up from the 33% stake it purchased a year ago. The ESPN service will launch in 2018, followed by the Disney/Pixar service in 2019. Disney terminated its contract with Netflix for streaming of its content (although the content will remain available on Netflix for a period of time). Disney is late to the game - but this bold move shows a commitment by the company to keep its programming relevant and accessible to consumers. The announcement has rocked the industry. With Disney now at the table, consumer consumption of television and movie content has the distinct possibility of shifting from a cable network bundle model to streaming services. Industry watchdogs wondered whether consumers will continue to embrace streaming subscriptions, or become frustrated as they are forced to "cobble together" various streaming services in order to access the content they want. While Netflix stocks dipped following the announcement, Disney's new endeavor hardly signals its demise. Netflix has been adding a significant amount of self-produced content, with plans to release as many as 50 movies a year.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/business/media/with-disneys-move-to-streaming-a-new-era-begins.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/media/disney-streaming-service.html

Comedy Streaming Service Announces Cancellation

Comedy streaming service Seeso announced that it will shut down later this year. The service is part of the NBC family, and featured shows such as "Saturday Night Live", "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon", and also included original programming with several prominent comedians. Leadership changes and layoffs lead to the inability to maintain a steady subscriber base.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/arts/television/seeso-comedy-streaming-service-will-shut-down.html

ARTS

Independent Concert Producer Puts Artist Needs at the Forefront

In the concert production world, large conglomerates such as Live Nation and AEG dominated the touring and concert presentation scene for years. The 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster further pushed smaller, independent promoters aside. In Washington, however, Seth Hurwitz and his small concert promotion company, I.M.P., is making waves in the industry. Hurwitz's philosophy is to focus on the artist experience - his goal is "to win the hearts and minds of performers." He is opening a new performance venue, complete with a movable stage, angled balconies, and waterfront views from its outdoor terrace. The venue can hold 6,000 people. Other venues in his portfolio include the Merriweather, which was designed by Frank Gehry, boasts two swimming pools and massage cabanas as part of the backstage suite. Artists in turn appreciate the attention to their experience, especially in an industry that so heavily caters towards the audience experience and corporate partnerships. It is difficult to compete with the Live Nations in the field, but Hurwitz has worked hard to carve out a niche for himself in the ever-narrowing world of concert promotion.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/business/media/anthem-seth-hurwitz-concert-promoter.html

Controversy Over Conservative Guest Conductor in Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Symphony jumped when the opportunity to play at Disney Concert Hall presented itself - it was a rare opportunity for it to host a gala fundraising event that the ensemble sorely needed. The ensemble is an all-volunteer orchestra, comprised of professional and semiprofessional musicians. Donations are down this season, and in a recent email to musicians, the orchestra's conductor Guido Lamell shared that the orchestra faced a "serious shortfall". The upcoming fundraiser was vital. In an attempt to raise as much as possible, Lamell invited conservative talk show host Dennis Prager to guest conduct the event. The response was immediate - musicians threatened to boycott the concert. An open letter was circulated among the musicians that denounced the choice to invite Prager to conduct, and asked the musicians to "urge your friends not to attend this concert." Prager is a divisive, conservative personality who often speaks out against same-sex marriage, calls the heterosexual AIDS crisis a "manufactured" conspiracy, and has been critical of non-Christian religions. Santa Monica is as liberal as liberal cities come, so the decision to invite Prager to conduct is causing many to scratch heads. He is not a trained conductor, but a self-described classical music aficionado. He has guest conducted other Southern California orchestras, including the Brentwood Westwood Symphony Orchestra. Despite the outrage and response, Lamell stands by the invitation and the Orchestra's Board has stood firm behind the choice. Prager squarely places blame on the musicians and community for politicizing his appearance in front of the ensemble - stating that in his view, "great music should transcend political differences."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/arts/music/santa-monica-symphony-dennis-prager-conservative-guest-conductor.html

"Chicken Don" Makes Appearance Across from the White House

For a few days last week, a giant 10'x30' inflatable chicken made an appearance in the Ellipse, the park directly south of the White House. It was the brainchild of artist Taran Singh Brar, who planned the installation for four months - from designing the inflatable balloon to working with the National Park Service to acquire the necessary permits and First Amendment waivers to the height limits for the park. There was no question who the chicken resembled - with its golden, perfectly coifed hair to its signature red wattle. Chicken Don, as it has been aptly named, was a "statement about the president being a 'weak and effective leader.'" Brar already has Chicken Don's next appearance in the works - he is planning a mock military parade with dozens of Chicken Dons wielding "Russian armaments." President Trump unfortunately was not in residence at the White House to see his doppelganger.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/us/politics/trump-giant-inflatable-chicken.html

Kesha Releases New Album, Despite Ongoing Legal Battle with Dr. Luke

Kesha released her latest album, "Rainbow", last week, the first since she commenced an embroiled legal battle with her producer Dr. Luke three years ago. The singer accused Dr. Luke of abusing her sexually, physically, and emotionally, but has been unable to extricate herself from the web of contractual ties she has with him. Many of her contract claims were dismissed or withdrawn, but she still faces defamation and breach of contract lawsuits from Dr. Luke. He has adamantly denied her allegations of abuse. "Rainbow" was released by Kemosable Records, a subsidiary of Sony that is under the control of Dr. Luke. There are conflicting accounts as to whether Kesha was barred from releasing new music over the past few years. She claims that he threatened to railroad her career, while his representatives state that she has been free to release music and that they have tried to help her find other affiliate labels for her. Dr. Luke's claims against Kesha are in the early phases of discovery, and trial prior to 2018 is unlikely. Kesha appealed the dismissal of her claims and requested a preliminary injunction (allowing her to release music with a non-Sony label). Neither her appeal nor motion have been addressed by the court. Under the terms of her contract, she owes Dr. Luke two more album releases after "Rainbow".

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/arts/music/kesha-rainbow-dr-luke-lawsuits.html

Settlement Deal on the Horizon for Monkey Selfie Case

The case involving whether the work of an animal can be copyrightable is close to a settlement deal. Several years ago, a monkey took the camera of a photographer and snapped a few selfies. The photographer later published a book that included those works. A self-appointed lawyer argued on behalf of the monkey that the monkey's selfies enjoyed copyright protection, and therefore the photographer violated the monkey's copyrights when he published the photos without permission. The 9th Circuit ruled against the monkey, stating that animals cannot own U.S. copyrights. The monkey's lawyer this week told the court that a settlement was likely, and asked the court to refrain from issuing an order in the case.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/08/monkey-selfie-animal-rights-brouhaha-devolves-into-a-settlement/

SPORTS

New Sexual Violence Policy Announced by NCAA

The NCAA announced that it will require member universities to provide sexual violence education for all collegiate athletes, coaches, and administrators. Athletic administrators and participant institutions will be required to attest that the required people received sexual violence education each year. The policy also requires that universities must declare that their athletic departments are knowledgeable of campus sexual violence policies and remedies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/sports/warriors-to-host-rockets-in-an-nba-opener.html

88% Registration Rate in National Football League Concussion Settlement Case leading up to Registration Deadline

As of this week, 18,400 of the 21,000 retired National Football League (NFL) players eligible for NFL concussion settlement payouts registered for benefits. Four years ago, the NFL agreed in a settlement deal to pay ex-players who accused it of concealing the dangers of concussions from the players. Over the course of the 65-year deal, the NFL will like play out upwards of $1 billion. Originally limited to $765 million, the NFL later agreed to pay an unlimited amount to former players. In order to qualify for a payment, eligible players must first register. The registration window closes next week. It hasn't been easy to find players to register for the settlement, due to incomplete team records kept decades ago, and the stigma associated with illness among players. Many players fear that registration - even if they currently are healthy - will hurt their business interests or even cause them to develop concussion-related illnesses.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/sports/football/nfl-concussion-settlement-player-registration.html

Hyperandrogenism Again in the Forefront at the Court of Arbitration for Sport

In 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport temporarily suspended an international track and field rule that prohibited women with naturally-elevated testosterone levels from competing against other women. The rational was that it presented an unfair advantage - and in order to compete with women they had to take hormone-suppressing drugs or have surgery to limit testosterone production. In the wake of the temporary suspension, female athletes, like Indian track and field star Dutee Chand, could compete freely and without having to undergo therapy or surgery. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IIAF), the governing body for track and field, spent two years compiling data about competitive advantage and naturally-elevated testosterone levels in women. Its report, due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, shows that the competition advantage associated with elevated testosterone varies according to the event. The largest advantage was in the hammer throw, where a 4.53% advantage was shown. Other events where elevated testosterone created an advantage include the pole vault, 400-meter hurdles, and the 400-meter and 800-meter sprints. However, all were well below the 10-12% threshold generally recognized as the natural performance difference between men and women. The Court also said in 2015 that the IAAF should reconsider its ban on women with hyperandrogenism if the advantage was found to be "well below" 12%. Experts in the 1990s suggested that women with hyperandrogenism should compete as women if they were raised as women - and that it should be considered a natural genetic advantage, like Usain Bolt's long stride or Michael Phelp's large feet. This issue, however, will continue to challenge the sports world as gender continues to become a more fluid concept with "nuanced distinctions".

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/sports/olympics/gender-dutee-chand-india.html

U.S. Treasury Department Accuses Soccer Start Rafael Márquez of Aiding a Drug Trafficking Organization

The U.S. Treasury Department this week froze the assets of Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez, accusing him of using his multiple business as fronts for the "Flores drug trafficking organization." Marquez's soccer school and charitable foundation were placed on a Specially Designated Nationals list, along with 21 other people and 41 other entities. The assets were frozen under the Kingpin Act, which allows the Treasury Department to freeze assets of foreign nationals suspected of being involved in international narcotics trafficking. Additionally, those designated as Specially Designated Nationals are isolated - they are prohibited from dealing with "U.S. persons". While the Kingpin Act has aided the U.S. in reigning in organized crime and drug trafficking rings, defense attorneys often claim that the system is fraught with errors and that many reputations end up tarnished, without due process and often with scant evidence. One of Mexico's best soccer players, Marquez was captain of the Mexican team at the last four World Cups, won four league titles and two Champions League trophies while playing in Europe, and played on the Red Bulls here in the States. He currently is the Captain of the Mexican club Atlas, based in Guadalajara.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/sports/soccer/rafa-marquez-mexico-drugs.html

Greek Club Match Against Israeli Team Leads to Lifetime Ban for Two Iranian Soccer Players

Iran's deputy sports ministry announced a lifetime ban for Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Haji Safi, two of the country's top soccer stars, after they participated in a match against an Israeli team. Shojaei and Safi are members of a Greek club team, Panionios, which played in Athens recently against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Iran does not recognize Israel, and there is a "longstanding rule" that prohibits Iranian athletes from competing against Israeli athletes, including in the Olympics. The rule has caused several prominent Iranian athletes to pull out of competitions at the last minute for "personal reasons", which many believe are ground in a fear of retribution by the Iranian government if they compete against Israelis. Critics of this decision are vocal - and hope that FIFA intervenes. FIFA rules prohibit political interference in countries' national teams. FIFA has not yet reacted to the ban.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/world/middleeast/iran-soccer-masoud-shojaei-ehsan-haji-safi.html

Tiger Woods Plea Deal in D.U.I. Case

Tiger Woods, who was arrested in May for driving under the influence, agreed to enter a guilty plea at a hearing that will take place on October 25th. Woods will plead guilty to reckless driving and enter a diversion program. Prosecutors agreed to drop the D.U.I. charges against him, and if he completes the diversion program, he may petition a judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction. As part of the deal, Woods will be on probation for one year, attend "D.U.I. school" and do 50 hours of community service. He also will have to pay a $250 fine and court costs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/sports/golf/tiger-woods-dui-plea.html

Police Skirmish and Riot Leads to Arrest of Zach Randolph

An encounter with police that turned into a mini-riot in Southern California last week led to the arrest of Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph. He was arrested on a marijuana charge. Police attention was drawn to a crowd that had gathered outside to drink, smoke marijuana, and listen to music. Among those gathered was Randolph, who police observed reaching for his waistband before they ran away. After a few people were arrested, the crowd threw bottles and rocks, and smashed the windows and slashed the tires of five police cruisers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/sports/basketball/zach-randolph-arrested-on-marijuana-charge-amid-skirmish-with-police.html

Medal Reallocation Ceremonies - Attempting to Right a Wrong in Track and Field

Track and Field is riddled with doping scandals, to the point that fans and athletes are no longer shocked by doping revelations. Retroactive testing of samples, now with better technology to detect banned substances, has caused many athletes to be stripped of their medals. In an effort to make things right, IIAF, track and field's governing body, has been conducting medal reallocation ceremonies to finally recognize the achievements of those athletes that have engaged in clean competition. Many athletes who are just now receiving medals have described the ceremonies as "awkward and bittersweet". Athletes are grateful for the recognition, but note that the ceremonies serve as a reminder of doping's pervasiveness throughout the sport. In addition to these ceremonies serving to bring the doping conversation back to the forefront, sprinter Justin Gatlin's surprise win over Usain Bolt last weekend also sparked debate. Gatlin served two suspensions for doping violations and was seen (perhaps unfairly) as an athlete representative of the problem. As for addressing the systemic problem, the IAAF has been firm in its resolve to address the problem and enforce suspensions. It continues to re-write the record books and retroactivly acknowledge clean athletes for their achievements.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/06/sports/track-and-field-medalists-.html

Tony Granato Named Coach of U.S. Olympic Hockey Team

Newly-named coach Tony Granato has a tough road ahead of him. He must build a stellar Olympic team without players from the National Hockey League (NHL), which announced several months ago that it will not participate in the 2018 Olympics. Players from the American Hockey League will participate, and Granato is hoping to recruit several veteran NHL players who are set to retire. Thirty players will represent the U.S. on the team roster in early training sessions and tryouts, which will include the Deutschland Cup tournament in November. Tough competition for former NHL players is coming from the north, where Canada has been actively recruiting for its Olympic team, looking to former NHL players as well. Former Olympians Chris Chelios and Scott Young, Yale Coach Keith Allain, and Ron Rolston, a longtime coach with USA Hockey, will assist Granato as members of the coaching staff. Jim Johannson will serve as the general manager.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/sports/olympics/usa-hockey-tony-granato-olympics.html

An Accident with Soup and Tortellini Blamed for Sara Errani's Doping Suspension

Sara Errani was suspended for two months and retroactively disqualified from earlier tournaments after she tested positive for the banned substance Letrozole back in February. Errani blames her mother's cancer treatment for the contamination. Her mother is taking Letrozole as part of her cancer treatment, and she believes that she accidently dropped some of the medication into some soup and tortellini while cooking. Errani's ban commenced on August 3rd and ends on October 2nd, and will preclude her from participating in the United States Open.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/sports/tennis/sara-errani-doping-suspension.html

Usain Bolt Defeated in His Career Farewell

Usain Bolt, in his career farewell, concluded his final 100-meter sprint with a bittersweet final bow. Bolt won the bronze, conceding his signature event to Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman. The crowd was shocked and booed Gatlin's win. Bolt has been a seminal figure in the track and field world, astonishing crowds not only with his incredible record and slate of wins, but also his magical personality on the field. He swept the 100 and 200 at the past three Olympic Games, and won four world titles in the 200. And for a sport riddled with doping scandal after doping scandal, Bolt has had a clean record his entire career. Last week's world track & field championships also served as a moment in the sun for Gatlin, who has served two doping suspensions. The first was a one-year ban starting in 2001, the second a four-year ban starting in 2006. Gatlin and Bolt have had a healthy rivalry, and the two greeted each other on the track last week with a warm embrace. Bolt's departure from the sport will leave a large void that will be difficult to fill.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/sports/usain-bolt-100-meters-justin-gatlin.html

MEDIA

Right- and Left-Wing News Media Finds Common Ground in Fight Against Sinclair Acquisition

Sinclair Broadcast group is attempting to acquire Tribune Media. The merger/acquisition would give Sinclair ownership of 233 local television stations, and would reach more than 70% of households across the country. The combined company would also generate a major "toehold" in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York markets. Sinclair is a conservative company that requires its local affiliates to broadcast "must-runs". These segments often include conservative commentary. Intuitively, liberal media outlets harshly criticized the proposed merger, but also joining in the opposition are conservative media outlets who are crying afoul - arguing that any merger would "limit competition and wipe out independent voices." Newsmax founder Christopher Ruddy, a close associate of Trump, filed a petition with the FCC opposing the merger. One American News Network, The Blaze, and Dish Network also joined in opposition, as has the consumer advocacy group Free Press. The fear on both sides is that the merger would leave "unbalanced power in the marketplace," and potentially "homogenize" available content in the U.S., leading to a reduction in press diversity and unique viewpoints.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/media/sinclair-bid-to-acquire-tribune-media-draws-opposition.html

Fox News Turned Down $60 Million Joint Settlement Offer

Fox News spent millions of dollars in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal that rocked the network from the top down. It was revealed this week that the network turned down an offer to settle multiple lawsuits that had been filed by a single lawyer against the network, on behalf of more than 20 individuals. Attorney Douglas H. Wigdor publicly disclosed the suits after mediation efforts broke down. In addition to the sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims, Wigdor also filed a defamation and racial discrimination suit on behalf of Rod Wheeler, a private detective, against Fox News and 21st Century Fox, centered on an article about the death of Seth Rich. Wheeler claims that Fox fabricated quotes from him that were included in the initial version of the article (which were later retracted). Wigdor claims that it is not uncommon for lawyers handling multiple cases against a single party to try to resolve them collectively. Fox is in the middle of an attempt to acquire Sky, a European satellite company. The sexual assault scandal has played a big role in the investigation into the acquisition, and a British authority charged with examining the deal has looked closely at the scandal and the company's response. Wigdor apparently also sent a letter to the British oversight authority, accusing Fox of lack of transparency in its efforts to acquire Sky and for failing to adequately clean its ranks in the aftermath of the scandal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/business/media/fox-is-said-to-have-declined-to-settle-suits-for-60-million.html

Eric Bolling Controversy: a Suspension Followed by a Lawsuit

Accusations that Fox News host Eric Bolling sent sexually graphic text messages to his female colleagues several years ago lead to his suspension this week. HuffPost broke the story, citing a "dozen" anonymous sources that supported the accusation. The law firm Paul, Weiss is conducting an investigation into the accusations. Bolling, who recently signed another long-term contract with the network, in a statement said that he does not recall sending the messages. In a quick response, within a few days Bolling initiated a $50 million defamation lawsuit against HuffPost author Yashar Ali, who penned the article. Bolling is represented by Michael J. Bowe of Kasowitz Benson Torres (the firm also represented Bill O'Reilly during his ouster). Ali vowed to protect his sources in a statement made via Twitter, and HuffPost has publicly supported him and the story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/business/media/fox-news-suspends-eric-bolling.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/business/eric-bolling-fox-news-lawsuit-lewd-photo-article.html

CNN Fired Jeffrey Lord Over Twitter Tirade That Invoked Nazi Propaganda

CNN fired one of its prominent reporters, Jeffrey Lord, after Lord unleashed a Twitter tirade that evoked a Nazi salute. Lord is a staunch advocate of President Trump, and has been heavily criticized by his colleagues. His demise, however, came from a Twitter exchange with Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group. Lord criticized Carusone for calling for sponsors to boycott Sean Hannity's show on Fox News, accusing Carusone of emulating fascists. CNN demonstrated no tolerance for the Nazi reference that followed the exchange. Even as a Trump advocate and defender, he was criticized by the White House for being too gentle and analytical in his approach - they wanted someone to more combatively represent the president's views. In an interview following his ouster, he indicated that he already has received calls about potential employment and is close to finalizing a book deal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/business/media/jeffrey-lord-fired-trump-cnn-nazis.html

New York Times Editorial Board Member Must Testify in Palin Defamation Lawsuit

Southern District Court Judge Jed Rakoff ruled this week that the author of a June 2017 New York Times editorial column that linked Sarah Palin to a mass shooting in 2011 must testify in a hearing to determine whether to dismiss the newspaper's motion to dismiss the case. The New York Times corrected the story and issued an apology to Palin. The New York Times previously reported on Palin, and denounced any links between her political rhetoric and rampage violence. She claims that the June 2017 editorial was in conflict with the previous reporting. Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the testimony, as it will be essential in determining whether the author acted with actual malice and whether the author was aware that prior reporting conflicted with the column.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/business/media/sarah-palin-new-york-times-defamation-lawsuit.html

Google Town Hall Diversity Meeting Cancelled in Response to Harassment Fears

In response to the Google memo situation, in which an employee wrote and published a memo that suggested innate biological differences between men and women were to blame for gender disparity in the top echelons of tech, a company-wide town hall meeting was called to discuss the response and address questions and concerns. Google uses a system called "Dory" to facilitate internal communication. Employees use Dory to submit feedback to management, and for this particular meeting, employees were asked to submit their questions and concerns via Dory in advance of the meeting. However, someone published several of the employee comments and concerns publicly, along with the employees' names. The employees whose comments and questions were made public were subjected to online harassment. In response, Google Chief Sundar Pichai cancelled the meeting 30 minutes before its scheduled start time. The debate over the memo itself and Google's response (to fire its author) have caused divisions within the company. Pichai returned early from his vacation to address the crisis. While he chose to cancel the first meeting, he stated that the company will reschedule when sure that everyone can feel safe and included in the meeting process.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/technology/google-gender-diversity-memo-damore.html

Op-Ed - Class Action as a Means to Address Gender Discrimination in Big Tech

Anita Hill, in an Op-Ed piece published this week in the New York Times, starkly laid out the gender disparities in compensation and leadership roles in the tech industry. Women under 25 earn up to 29% less than their male counterparts, 63% of the time women receive lower salary offers for the same job at the same company, only hold 11% of executive positions in the industry. Eighty-two percent of men working in the industry believe their companies devote enough time addressing diversity concerns, 40% of women say the effort is inadequate. Hill suggests that the best approach would be a class action discrimination case against employers. This was done on Wall Street in the 1990s, and while the results were not perfect, women enjoy much better advantages due to their collective stance for equality. Hill views the leaked Google Memo as a wake-up call for all who have come to believe progress has been made. The memo only served to highlight the deep-rooted nature of anti-equality attitutes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/opinion/anita-hill-women-in-tech-should-take-sexism-to-court.html

FX and Comcast Announce Ad-Free Service Deal

The latest offering of an ad-free viewing experience comes from FX, in a deal with Comcast announced last week. The service will be called FX+, and will include currently-airing shows, as well as tap into the networks older shows. Content that already offered through other providers will not be available on FX+. Networks like FX are navigating a new world of content consumption, and this new venture signals a shift in the network's thoughts about long-term rights vs. the short (albeit often large) gain of negotiating deals with outside streaming services. Comcast also has a similar deal with AMC, which was announced in June.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/business/media/fx-comcast-ad-free-service.html

August 10, 2017

OJ Simpson Granted Parole By The Nevada Board of Parole

By Michael Kusi

OJ Simpson was granted parole by the Nevada Board of Parole, after serving 9 of a 33 year sentence on July 20th. During his hearing, Simpson said that he did not have bad intentions, but was only trying to reclaim his possessions. He is scheduled for release in October 2017.

Simpson was convicted in 2008 by the Nevada District Court of 12 criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit a crime, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit robbery, and burglary with a deadly weapon. He filed a motion for retrial which was heard in May 2013. In this motion, Simpson stated that he had ineffective assistance of counsel that resulted in his conviction. This motion was denied. In July 2013, Simpson was granted parole on the charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, and burglary, by the Nevada Board of Parole. However, the Board did not parole him of all charges, and said that there had to be a separate parole hearing in 2017. The same people who reviewed his parole in 2013 also reviewed it in 2017. These board members voted unanimously to grant parole, and Simpson apologized for his part in the 2007 armed robbery.

OJ Simpson is best known as a college and professional football player, and as an actor. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968, which is awarded to the best college football player. He was also the first running back to run for more than 2,000 yards in a season, which he did in 1973, and the only running back to run for that yardage in 14 games. Simpson also appeared in movies like the Naked Gun comedies, and was an analyst on Monday Night Football. He was acquitted in 1995 of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. However, Simpson was found liable in a civil case and had to pay $33.5 million to his children, as well as the Simpson's and Goldman's families.

Week in Review (from 7/21)

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

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

House Committee Approves Funding for Arts, Humanities

The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would appropriate $145 million for each of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Trump's proposed budget would have eliminated both agencies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/arts/nea-neh-congress-budget-trump.html

Kentucky Must Pay Fees for Refusing Same-Sex Marriage License

A federal judge ordered the state of Kentucky to pay more than $224,000 in legal fees and costs occasioned by the refusal of Kim Davis, a county clerk, to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. Davis's action was in violation of the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/us/kim-davis-same-sex-marriage.html

Ignorance is Bliss in Jury Room

The New York Times explores what it says is a trend toward ignorance and banality in the selection of jurors, at least in high-profile cases.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/business/dealbook/in-juries-lawyers-now-favor-the-uninformed.html

Department of Homeland Security Will Release up to 15,000 H-2B Summer Visas

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it will release up to 15,000 additional seasonal visas to businesses that prove they will suffer irreparable harm without foreign workers. The number of available visas was halved in December when Congress chose not to renew a provision that exempted previously-admitted workers from counting against the quota.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/homeland-security-to-release-up-to-15000-new-seasonal-visas.html

Non-Disparagement Clauses Could Frustrate Harassment Claims

The increasingly common inclusion of non-disparagement clauses in employment contracts, especially at tech companies, may be having a chilling effect on the reporting of sexual harassment--also pervasive in tech companies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/technology/silicon-valley-sexual-harassment-non-disparagement-agreements.html

Entertainment

Spotify Slammed over "Fake" Artists on Playlists

Music streaming service Spotify csme under fire for allegedly stacking its playlists with songs by "fake" artists it either controls or with which it has sweetheart deals. Many of these songs are pseudonymous instrumental works ("mood music") that Spotify may have commissioned, and for which it likely pays lower royalties than it does to publicly-known musicians. Spotify denies owning the rights to these songs, and asserts that their placement on playlists is based solely on popularity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/business/media/while-some-cry-fake-spotify-sees-no-need-to-apologize.html

Warner Takes (Better) Half of Songkick

Songkick, a British company that handles concert ticket sales and provides concert listings and recommendations, sold its name and concert-recommendation service to Warner Music Group for an undisclosed amount. Warner did not buy Songkick's ticket sales business, which has been embroiled in antitrust litigation with its biggest competitor, Ticketmaster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/business/media/songkick-warner-concerts.html

China Comes Down Hard on Soft Cultural Icons of the West

A recurring meme in Chinese social media is the resemblance between Winnie-the-Pooh and Chinese President Xi Jinping. When such comparisons are on the rise, the Chinese government swings the ban-hammer. Days after reports that China was once again censoring posts about the plush bear, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture announced that Justin Bieber was banned from China for "bad behavior". Like the bear after which Pooh was named, Bieber comes from Canada. Coincidence?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/world/asia/china-winnie-the-pooh-censored.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/world/asia/justin-bieber-china-tour.html

Frog v. Mouse

Steve Whitmire, the performer who was the voice of Kermit the Frog between Jim Henson's death in 1990 and last October, when Disney (which bought the Muppets from the Jim Henson Company in 2004) fired him, has spoken out about the termination. Whitmire calls the decision a "betrayal," and claims he was terminated without warning for "minor reasons". Disney says that Whitmire was hostile to co-workers and difficult in contract negotiations. Members of the Henson family supported the dismissal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/arts/television/kermit-the-frog-disney-firing.html

BBC So White

The annual report of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) contains information regarding what it paid its top stars (i.e., performers earning over £150,000 per year) last year. According to the New York Times, the data show a lack of gender parity and a dearth of minority stars.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/world/europe/bbc-salaries-pay-gender.html

DMX Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Fraud

Earl Simmons, a/k/a DMX, pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of federal tax fraud charges and was released on a $500,000 bond. Prosecutors allege that X din' give it to tha IRS.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/arts/music/dmx-pleads-not-guilty-to-tax-fraud.html

Arts

Mayor's "Cultural Plan" Ties Funds to Diversity

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a Cultural Plan for the city that would link funding to museums and art groups to the diversity of their employees and board members.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/arts/design/new-york-cultural-plan-museums.html

Judge Green-Lights Prince Copyright Suit

Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Southern District denied artist Richard Prince's motion to dismiss a copyright case filed against him by the photographer whose work
Prince used in an installation in which he printed Instagram posts on large canvases with his own comments. Prince, who made headlines recently when he returned in protest a $36,000 payment for a work featuring Ivanka Trump, responded with a very Trumpian tweet: "Phony fraud photographers keep mooching me. Why? I changed the game...."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/arts/design/richard-prince-instagram-copyright-lawsuit.html

Antiquities Dealer Sues Wall Street Journal over ISIS Article

Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner of Manhattan gallery Phoenix Ancient Art, sued The Wall Street Journal for defamation. Aboutaam claims that his "personal and professional reputation and business opportunities have been decimated" by an article stating Aboutaam was under investigation for possibly trafficking in artifacts looted by ISIS.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/arts/design/antiquities-dealer-sues-wall-street-journal-over-isis-article.html

Modigliani Exhibit Closes After Allegations of Fraud

An exhibit in Genoa featuring the work of Amedeo Modigliani closed early after Italian prosecutors alleged that one third of the works were fakes. The investigation began when art collector Carlo Pepi, who saw images of the works online, said the exhibition's catalog was "full of fakes".

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/arts/design/modigliani-fakes-palazzo-ducale-genoa.html

Judge Blocks Auction of Madonna Memorabilia

New York Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits granted Madonna's request for a preliminary injunction halting the sale of 22 personal items by a former friend. Madonna contends that she still owns those items and that the auction site, GottaHaveRockandRoll.com, has no right to sell them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/arts/music/madonna-auction-tupac-letter.html

Grave Robbing on the Rise in China

As global demand for Chinese antiquities rises, the Chinese countryside has seen an uptick in tomb-raiding. China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage reported over 100 such cases in 2016, and many more are believed to have gone undetected. Up to eight out of every 10 tombs in China has been robbed, according to that agency.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/world/asia/china-tomb-robbing-qin-dynasty.html

Syrian Performers (Mostly) Make it to U.S. in Time for Performance

Eight of the nine Syrian cast and crew members of "While I Was Waiting", were permitted entry into the United States in time to open Wednesday at Lincoln Center. It was long feared that the show would have to be canceled due to president Trump's travel ban, and many of the cast and crew, coming from six different countries, faced difficulties.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/world/middleeast/syria-play-actors-lincoln-center-travel-ban.html

Dalí Still Keepin' it Surreal

The body of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí was exhumed after a woman claiming to be his daughter obtained a court order authorizing a paternity test. Pilar Abel, a fortune-teller, could claim part of an estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This is all well and good, but the real story here is that Dalí's famous moustache remains intact!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/world/europe/salvador-dali-exhumed-paternity.html

Looted Painting held by Goering Returned

A Renaissance-era painting owned by a German banker was looted by the Nazis during World War II and added to Hermann Goering's enormous collection. The piece recently was found and returned to the banker's heirs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/arts/design/painting-from-goerings-collection-is-returned-to-bankers-heirs.html

Macmillan Books' Newest Imprint: Celadon

Jamie Raab and Deb Futter, who left Hachette's Grand Central Publishing late last year, founded Celadon Books, a new publishing division of Macmillan. Celadon plans to publish 20 to 25 fiction and non-fiction titles per year.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/books/a-new-publishing-imprint-at-macmillan-from-two-hitmakers.html

Harvard's A.R.T. Institute Suspends Admissions for Three Years

Harvard's graduate program in theater, known as the A.R.T. Institute (named after the school's American Repertory Theater), halted admissions to "work on a strategic plan for the Institute." Earlier this year, the institute was named on a list of predatory schools whose students amass more debt than they can afford to repay, and its long-time director, Scott Zigler, left last month to become dean of UNCSA's drama school.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/theater/harvard-graduate-theater-art-paulus.html

Sports

Judge OK's Discovery into "Deceptive Practices" Targeting Former National Football League Players

The federal judge presiding over the National Football League concussion settlement authorized plaintiffs' lawyers to investigate reports that companies have been trying to take advantage of retired football players by offering to help fill out paperwork for a fee, or to obtain helpful diagnoses. The judge indicated that she might void agreements that were based on deceptive or misleading solicitations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/sports/nfl-concussion-settlement-lawyers.html

Former Ohio State University Linebacker Leads Suit for Unauthorized Use of Likeness

Chris Spielman, who played football for Ohio State University (OSU) from 1985-1987, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of current and former OSU players alleging that OSU conspired with IMG College (a sports marketing company that negotiates licenses on behalf of schools) and advertisers, like Honda and Nike, to use the likenesses of Buckeyes without permission or payment.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/07/15/us/ap-us-ohio-state-licensing-lawsuit-spielman.html

Brazil Will Not Punish Lochte

The criminal case against American swimmer Ryan Lochte, who was charged with filing a false robbery report in Brazil during the Rio Olympics, was dismissed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/sports/brazil-court-ryan-lochte.html

Texas Trying to Get Back up in Your Bathroom Stuff Again

The so-called "bathroom bill" that would require restrooms, showers, and changing facilities in public locations "must be designated for and used only by persons of
the same sex as stated on the person's birth certificate," is back under consideration before the Texas Senate. The bill died last year under pressure from pro-business Republicans concerned about the loss of revenue from relocated sports events and economic boycotts similar to those estimated to have cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars when it passed a similar law.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/07/21/us/21reuters-texas-lgbt.html

Boxing Federation in Financial Straits

Boxing's international federation, known as the AIBA, borrowed millions from Azerbaijani investors, and sold a major stake in its marketing subsidiary to a Chinese investor. Now it may be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars. Accounting irregularities and reports of minimal cash flow have raised serious questions about AIBA's ability to repay the Azerbaijani loan, and the Chinese investor wants his money back.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/sports/investors-put-more-financial-pressure-on-boxing-federation.html

Media

Trans-Pacific Partnership (Minus U.S.) May Still Impact IP, Digital

The 11 other countries involved in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multinational trade agreement intended to shore up economic power against China, met this week in Hakone, Japan to discuss reviving the deal. In its present form, the TPP contemplates the loosening of restrictions over the cross-border transfer of online data, including requirements regarding the locations of servers. It also seeks to level the playing field in service industries like software, legal, and IT.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/business/trans-pacific-partnership-trade-japan-china-globalization.html

China Blocks WhatsApp

Turning its attention briefly from its censorship of a childish cartoon character and Winnie-the-Pooh, China has partly blocked use of FaceBook's messaging app, WhatsApp, preventing users from sending videos and photos. Facebook and Instagram are already fully blocked in China.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/technology/whatsapp-facebook-china-internet.html


Week in Review (from 7/29)

By Eric Lanter

Justice Department Nominee Claims Previous Representation of Russian Bank

President Donald Trump nominated Brian Benczkowski, a partner at Kirkland and Ellis, for the position of leading the Department of Justice's criminal division. Benczkowski has disclosed that he previously represented Alfa Bank, a Russian bank whose owners have ties to Russia's president Vladimir Putin. This comes as investigators have found communications between the Trump campaign and a server linked to Alfa Bank, which raised a question of whether it was a back channel to communicating directly with the Russian government during the campaign. While those communications were not found to be relevant for the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, Benczkowski's appointment has raised questions as to whether there are deeper, more latent connections.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/us/politics/brian-benczkowski-justice-alfa-bank.html

Poland's President Vetoes Two Laws Limiting Courts' Independence

Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed two bills that were aimed at placing Polish courts under political control, to the chagrin of his patron Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The laws would have forced the resignation of all Supreme Court justices, empowering the Justice Minister to appoint replacements. Duda and Kaczynski's political party, known as Law and Justice, recently moved Polish politics from a more traditional democracy to a nationalistic and authoritarian flavor of democracy. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo vowed to move forward with overturning the veto or producing fresh legislation. President Duda commented that the judiciary needed reform, but "wise reform", rather than the two bills presented to him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/world/europe/poland-president-duda-veto-courts.html

'Bleak Picture' for Women Trying to Rise at Law Firms

Three former female partners at the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke brought suit against the firm for its gender pay gap. It would not be an anomaly if the women were able to show that a gender pay gap did indeed exist. A recent survey showed that nine out of 300 firms had a female staff totaling 50% or more of the total workforce. Some 20% of equity partners are women, despite the fact that women comprise half of law school graduates.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/business/dealbook/women-law-firm-partners.html

White House Communications Director Vows to Stop Leaks

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, when asked how he would stop leaks coming from within the administration vowed to fire everybody. Scaramucci comes into the White House at a time when Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff, and Sean Spicer, outgoing press secretary, fiercely contested his appointment. This is just the latest development in the saga of warring factions and leaks that have plagued the Trump administration in the past six months.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/us/politics/scaramucci-on-white-house-leaks-fire-everybody.html

Priebus Takes Turn in the Administration Hot Seat

With the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci in the White House, Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff, came under fire for potentially being a leaker of information. Priebus also faces the prospect of being relegated to a lowly position or eliminated altogether, given his contentious relationship with Scaramucci. In recent months, Priebus has become increasingly alienated from the administration and has been seen in a humiliating light, even using the rear staircase to board Air Force One.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/07/27/us/politics/ap-us-white-house-chief-of-staff.html?_r=0

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

Entertainment

Claims of Theft in Hot Magic Show

Derek DelGaudio curated a one-man show called "In & Of Itself", which is performed at a small theater in Manhattan. Recently, two other magicians have been caught allegedly filming his show, which violates an unofficial code amongst magicians. Magic tricks typically fall outside the realm of intellectual property, absent magicians having copyrighted some portion of their tricks. A few have reported disseminating incorrect information on the internet or elsewhere, to throw other magicians off the scent of how the trick was performed. While the two magicians will not be welcomed back to DelGaudio's show, legal action against those magicians will likely not succeed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/theater/hat-rabbit-spy-cam-claims-of-skulduggery-at-a-hot-magic-show.html

Arts

Canada Debates Whether Gift is Tax Dodge

An anonymous person purchased over 2,000 photos by Annie Leibovitz and donated them to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, which allowed the donor to qualify for a tax deduction and recognition as an arts patron. The Canadian government, however, rejected the deduction, as it has not accepted the $20 million valuation of the collection, given that the donor paid $4.75 million for it. The review board spokesman declined to explain how the collection did not meet the standard of "outstanding significance and national importance." A decision is expected in the fall.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/arts/design/canada-debates-whether-gift-of-leibovitz-photos-is-also-a-tax-dodge.html

Sports

Amateur Boxing Federation Votes Against Its President

The amateur boxing federation, known as AIBA, approved a no-confidence motion against its Taiwanese president, accusing him of mismanaging the finances of the organization. One of its largest creditors, an Azerbaijani company, demanded immediate repayment of a $10 million loan that is four years overdue, and several executives that have been fired from AIBA sued the federation and caused more than $1 million in legal fees in just the last year. The organization is expected to hold an "extraordinary congress" in the next three months, where a successor may be chosen for the president.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/sports/amateur-boxing-federation-votes-against-its-president.html

Spanish Soccer Federation President Suspended

Angel Maria Villar, the head of the Spanish Football Federation for the past three decades, was suspended after his arrest in relation to a corruption investigation. He was accused of corrupting regional federations by offering favors in exchange for votes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/sports/angel-maria-villar-suspended-spanish-soccer.html

Study Shows That 110 of 111 Former National Football League Football Players Had CTE

A new study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that of 111 NFL players, 110 had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The disease is known to cause memory loss, confusion, depression, and dementia, and is linked to repeated blows to the head. The brains of the 110 players found with CTE covered all positions in the game: quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers, place-kicker, and punter. Dr. McKee, who oversaw the study, concluded, "It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football -- there is a problem."

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/25/sports/football/100000005247170.app.html

Baylor Ordered to Provide Sex Assault Reports

A U.S. District Judge ordered Baylor University to turn over all sexual assault reports since 2003. This order comes in the context of a lawsuit of several women who attended the university, and are suing the school for its failure to properly investigate their cases.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/07/27/us/ap-us-baylor-sexual-assault-investigation.html

Media

New York Times Asks Fox News for Apology

The New York Times asked Fox News for an apology after its "Fox & Friends" spokeswoman accused the paper of publishing a story in 2015 that prevented the military from attempting to kill a leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Fox News did not issue an apology, but updated an article on its website, adding that the Times article was published more than three weeks after the raid to kill al-Baghdadi and that members of the Pentagon reviewed and had no objections to the publishing of the article.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/business/media/fox-news-apology.html

Ex-Fox News Executive Sues for Sexual Assault

Former Fox News executive Tamara Holder filed suit, claiming that Francisco Cortes, former vice president of Fox News Latino, tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in his office during February 2015. The case settled in March 2017, and Cortes has now accused 21st Century Fox of making him a scapegoat in an effort to battle its public image of rampant sexual misconduct in the organization. The case centers on a confidentiality agreement, which prevented him from defending himself, for fear that his employer would sue him for breach of the contract. Fox News had characterized the allegations as "frivolous and without merit."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/business/media/ex-fox-news-executive-accused-of-sexual-assault-sues-the-company.html

Female BBC Reporters Demand Closing of Pay Gap

Following a government mandate, the British Broadcasting Corporation published the salaries of its entertainers and journalists, revealing a pay gap between men and women and creating outrage. Forty-two of the most prominent female employees wrote an open letter to the BBC director general, demanding that the BBC immediately act to eliminate the pay gap. The employees also had the letter published in The Sunday Times of London. In addition, Prime Minister Theresa May called on the BBC to pay men and women equally, pointing out that many of the women are performing the exact same job as the men who are paid much more.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/23/business/media/bbc-women-pay-gap.html

New York Paid Family Leave: What Employers Need to Know Now and for January 2018

By Kristine Sova
www.sovalaw.com

New York's Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFL) will provide New York employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid family leave to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or address a qualifying exigency relating to the active military duty of a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent. PFL benefits will be fully funded from employee contributions deducted from payroll. When fully implemented, qualifying employees will be entitled to income replacement of up to two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage or up to two-thirds of the New York State average weekly salary, whichever is less.

The PFL is effective January 1, 2018, and benefits will increase annually until January 1, 2021. However, employers are permitted to begin making payroll deductions to fund PFL benefits as early as this month (July 2017).

Below are some answers to FAQs about the new law.

Which employees are eligible for PFL benefits?

PFL covers employees whose regular employment schedule is at least 20 hours per week and have worked at least 26 consecutive weeks before the first full day of PFL begins.

Part-time employees whose regular employment schedule is less than 20 hours per week will be eligible for PFL benefits after the employee has worked for 175 days for the employer. The 175 days are actual days worked, not calendar days.

Does an employee need to qualify for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in order to be eligible for PFL benefits?

No. Employees may be entitled to the benefits associated with PFL even if they do not qualify for leave under the FMLA.

What are the reasons that an employee may take PFL leave?

Eligible employees are entitled to a paid leave of absence from work in three situations:
1. PFL is available for an employee to bond with his/her newborn child during the first year of the child's life, or, in the case of adoption or foster placement, for the first year after the placement of a child with the employee.
2. PFL is available for an employee to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Both "family member" and "serious health condition" are defined in the PFL.
3. PFL is available to address a qualifying exigency relating to the active military duty (or an impending call or order to active military duty) of a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent.

What paid benefits are provided under the PFL?

Paid benefits will be phased in over a period of 4 years as follows:
Effective January 1, 2018 - 8 weeks of paid leave in a 52-week period at 50% of the employee's average weekly wage, or 50% of the New York State average weekly salary, whichever is less
Effective January 1, 2019 - 10 weeks of paid leave in a 52-week period at 55% of the employee's average weekly wage, or 55% of the New York State average weekly salary, whichever is less
Effective January 1, 2020 - 10 weeks of paid leave in a 52-week period at 60% of the employee's average weekly wage, or 60% of the New York State average weekly salary, whichever is less
Effective January 1, 2021 - 12 weeks of paid leave in a 52-week period at 67% of the employee's average weekly wage, or 67% of the New York State average weekly salary, whichever is less

Are tips included when determining an employee's average weekly wage?

Yes.

Can an employee supplement PFL paid benefits with accrued vacation, sick, personal, or other paid time off?

Yes. Employers and employees can agree to allow the employee to supplement PFL benefits up to their full wages with accrued vacation, sick, personal, or other paid time off. Employers who do so may request reimbursement from the insurance carrier that provides PFL benefits to their employees.

What other benefits are associated with PFL?

PFL offers employees the following additional benefits:
• Job protection - An employee who has received PFL benefits must be reinstated to his/her prior position of employment, or to a comparable position with comparable pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, upon the conclusion of PFL leave.
• Benefits protection - An employee who receives health insurance through his/her employer is entitled to continued coverage during PFL on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work during the period of PFL.

Is PFL only available "as blocks of time"?

No. Employees may take PFL leave in minimum full-day increments, either in blocks of time or intermittently. If an employee takes leave in daily increments, he/she may only take a maximum of 60 days of PFL in a 52-week period if he/she works 5 or more days per week.

What impact does PFL have on other types of leave, such as FMLA?

If an employee qualifies for leave under both the PFL and the FMLA, the leave under both laws will run concurrently. Employers are obligated to provide employees with any requisite FMLA notices of same.

Employees receiving PFL benefits may not receive New York State disability benefits during the same time period. Employees who are eligible for disability benefits may only receive a combined amount of 26 weeks of disability and PFL benefits in a 52-consecutive calendar week period.

How are PFL benefits funded?

PFL benefits are intended to be fully funded by employees. The maximum employee contribution will be a small deduction from each employee's paycheck. Beginning January 1, 2018, the contribution will be 0.126% of the employee's weekly wage, up to and not to exceed the statewide average weekly wage. The amount is subject to change on September 1 each year.

All insurance carriers who provide short-term disability benefits must provide PFL benefits.

May an employer self-insure for PFL?

Yes, but only those employers who self-insure for statutory short-term disability benefits may do so and only if they elect to do so before September 30, 2017.

What notices and forms are associated with PFL?

Employers are required to provide employees with written guidance concerning their rights and obligations under the PFL, including how to file a claim for PFL. If an employer maintains an employee handbook or written policies regarding benefits and/or leave, then information concerning PFL must be included within the handbook or policies.

Employers must also display or post, in plain view, a notice concerning PFL in a form prescribed by the New York Workers' Compensation Board.

Employers must provide employees with the option to sign a waiver if their regular work schedule will never achieve the period required to become eligible for PFL benefits (see "Which employees are eligible for PFL benefits?" above.) The New York Workers' Compensation Board will develop a waiver form for employers to use.

What should employers do now to prepare for the PFL?

• Employers should determine how they will obtain PFL coverage. If you self-insure short-term disability benefits and would like to self-insure PFL benefits, you must elect to do so by September 30. Otherwise, contact your disability benefits insurance carrier to find out more about adding PFL coverage.
• Begin taking payroll deductions for PFL, or prepare to start doing so by January 1.
• Draft a PFL policy and determine how it will integrate with your business's current leave practices. Train HR and management professionals accordingly.
• Prepare for extended leave requests from employees. Not only are many more employees eligible for leave under the PFL than under the FMLA, but the paid aspect of PFL will likely result in more employees taking PFL than other forms of leave.

Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

The following case selection first appeared in the Center for Art Law newsletter:

Pape v. LG Electronics USA Inc., 17-cv-04925 (S.D.N.Y., July 18, 2017) Paula Pape, daughter of late Brazilian artist Lygia Pape, brought suit against LG Electronics, Inc. on the premise that the Seoul-based electronics company is using images of her mother's 2003 sculpture Tteia 1, C in the packaging and promotion of its new product, the K20 V mobile phone. The cultural institution responsible for managing the reproduction rights of Lygia Pape's artwork had denied LG's request to use images of the artist's work multiple times. Paula Pape alleges that, despite these rejections, LG went forth with its original advertising campaign plan and used the images without permission. This case comes at an interesting time: a retrospective spanning five decades of the artist's career at the forefront of Brazilian modernism just closed at the Met Breuer.

Noland v. Michael Janssen Gallery Pte., Ltd et al, 1:17-cv-05452 (S.D.N.Y, July 18, 2017). Artist Cady Noland filed suit for copyright infringement and violation of the Visual Artists' Rights Act against a group of dealers, collectors, and galleries. Noland claims that the defendants were involved in the decision to hire a conservator to refurbish her work Log Cabin (1990), without consulting her. She alleges that the refurbishment carried out by the defendants exceeded that which is considered a normal restoration. Noland argues that because the conservator severely altered Log Cabin--by replacing the original wood that had rotted with new, protected wood--the work now stands as a copy of the original work. In recent years, Noland has received much attention for her sensitivity with regard to restoration, and has gone as far as to disavow artworks. In the current suit, Noland is seeking both the destruction of Log Cabin, as she believes it no longer represents a genuine product of her creation, and that the defendants cease circulating images of the work.

Tierney et al v. Camuto Consulting, Inc. et al., 2:17-cv-04936 (C.D.Cal., July 5, 2017). Street artists Joseph Tierney, Cary Patraglia, Spencer Valdez, and Keith Rowland brought suit against fashion designer Vince Camuto for using their work in his Spring/Summer 2017 ad campaign without seeking the artists' permission (http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/graffiti-artists-are-increasingly-lawyering-up-to-fight-fashion-copycats?mc_cid=ed6f0f25a5&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). This copyright infringement suit was fueled by the fact that, beginning in February 2017, Camuto's ad campaign featuring the artwork was displayed on a variety of platforms -- social media, news media, both Vince Camuto and department store websites, and within Vince Camuto stores. Tierney, Patraglia, Valdez, and Rowland seek reputational, future, and punitive damages. This case is one of several others centering around retailers' improper usage of graffiti artists' public murals.

Berkowitz, et al., v. Christie's, 652549/2017 (Sup. NY, May 11, 2017) Co-trustees of the Southern Trust brought action against Christie's, alleging that the auction house, entrusted with the sale of Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry, violated terms of the consignment agreement as well as breached its fiduciary duty when it rescinded the sale of the so-called Taj Mahal diamond. Complaint available at https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/5-11-liz-taylor.pdf?mc_cid=ed6f0f25a5&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.


July 22, 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:

Polish Parliament Curtails Judicial Independence

On Saturday, Poland's Parliament finally approved a measure that, if signed by the President (who is expected to do so) would replace the current court with a new panel of judges, and create a "disciplinary chamber" to "watch the obedience of judges and representatives of legal professions," according to Marek Chmaj, a constitutional law expert at the University of Warsaw.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/world/europe/poland-courts-independence.html

Kentucky Must Pay Fees for Refusing Same-Sex Marriage License

On Friday, a federal judge ordered the State of Kentucky to pay more than $224,000 in legal fees and costs occasioned by the refusal of Kim Davis, a county clerk, to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples, in violation of the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/us/kim-davis-same-sex-marriage.html

Ignorance is Bliss in Jury Room

The New York Times explores what it says is a trend toward ignorance and banality in the selection of jurors, at least in high-profile cases.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/business/dealbook/in-juries-lawyers-now-favor-the-uninformed.html

Department of Homeland Security Will Release up to 15,000 H-2B Summer Visas

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it will release up to 15,000 additional seasonal visas to businesses that prove they will suffer irreparable harm without foreign workers. The number of available visas was halved in December, when Congress chose not to renew a provision that exempted previously-admitted workers from counting against the quota.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/homeland-security-to-release-up-to-15000-new-seasonal-visas.html

Non-Disparagement Clauses Could Frustrate Harassment Claims

The increasingly common inclusion of non-disparagement clauses in employment contracts, especially at tech companies, may be having a chilling effect on the reporting of sexual harassment, which is also pervasive in tech companies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/technology/silicon-valley-sexual-harassment-non-disparagement-agreements.html

Entertainment

Spotify Slammed over "Fake" Artists on Playlists

Music streaming service Spotify came under fire for allegedly stacking its playlists with songs by "fake" artists who it either controls or with whom it has sweetheart deals. Many of these songs are pseudonymous instrumental works ("mood music") that Spotify may have commissioned, and for which it likely pays lower royalties than it does to publicly-known musicians. Spotify denies owning the rights to these songs, and asserts that their placement on playlists is based solely on popularity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/business/media/while-some-cry-fake-spotify-sees-no-need-to-apologize.html

Warner Takes (Better) Half of Songkick

Songkick, a British company that handles concert ticket sales and provides concert listings and recommendations, sold its name and concert-recommendation service to Warner Music Group for an undisclosed amount. Warner did not buy Songkick's ticket sales business, which has been embroiled in antitrust litigation with its biggest competitor, Ticketmaster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/business/media/songkick-warner-concerts.html

Frog v. Mouse

Steve Whitmire, the performer who was the voice of Kermit the Frog between Jim Henson's death in 1990 and last October, when Disney (which bought the Muppets from the Jim Henson Company in 2004) fired him, spoke out about the termination. Whitmire called the decision a "betrayal", and claimed that he was terminated without warning for "minor reasons". Disney said that Whitmire was hostile to co-workers and difficult in contract negotiations. Members of the Henson family supported the dismissal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/arts/television/kermit-the-frog-disney-firing.html

DMX Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Fraud

Earl Simmons, a/k/a DMX, pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of federal tax fraud charges on Friday and was released on a $500,000 bond. Prosecutors allege that X din' give it to tha IRS.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/arts/music/dmx-pleads-not-guilty-to-tax-fraud.html

Arts

House Committee Approves Funding for Arts, Humanities

The Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would appropriate $145 million for each of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. President Trump's proposed budget would have eliminated both agencies.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/arts/nea-neh-congress-budget-trump.html

Mayor's "Cultural Plan" Ties Funds to Diversity

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a "cultural plan" for the city that would link funding to museums and art groups to the diversity of their employees and board members.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/arts/design/new-york-cultural-plan-museums.html

Antiquities Dealer Sues The Wall Street Journal over ISIS Article

Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner of Manhattan gallery Phoenix Ancient Art, sued The Wall Street Journal for defamation. Aboutaam claims that his "personal and professional reputation and business opportunities have been decimated" by an article stating that he was under investigation for possibly trafficking in artifacts looted by ISIS.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/arts/design/antiquities-dealer-sues-wall-street-journal-over-isis-article.html

Judge Blocks Auction of Madonna Memorabilia

New York Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits granted Madonna's request for a preliminary injunction halting the sale of 22 personal items by a former friend. Madonna contends that she still owns those items and that the auction site, GottaHaveRockandRoll.com, has no right to sell them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/arts/music/madonna-auction-tupac-letter.html

Judge Green-Lights Prince Copyright Suit

Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Southern District denied artist Richard Prince's motion to dismiss a copyright case filed against him by the photographer whose work Prince used in an installation in which he printed Instagram posts on large canvases with his own comments. Prince, who made headlines recently when he returned in protest a $36,000 payment for a work featuring Ivanka Trump, responded with a very Trumpian tweet: "Phony fraud photographers keep mooching me. Why? I changed the game...."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/arts/design/richard-prince-instagram-copyright-lawsuit.html

Grave Robbing on the Rise in China

As global demand for Chinese antiquities rises, the Chinese countryside has seen an uptick in tomb-raiding. China's State Administration of Cultural heritage reported over 100 such cases in 2016, and many more are believed to have gone undetected. Up to eight out of every 10 tombs in China has been robbed, according to that agency.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/world/asia/china-tomb-robbing-qin-dynasty.html

Syrian Performers (Mostly) Make it to U.S. in Time for Performance

Eight of the nine Syrian cast and crew members of "While I Was Waiting" were permitted entry into the United States in time to open Wednesday at Lincoln Center. It was long feared that the show would have to be canceled due to President Trump's travel ban, and many of the cast and crew, coming from six different countries, faced difficulties.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/world/middleeast/syria-play-actors-lincoln-center-travel-ban.html

Modigliani Exhibit Closes After Allegations of Fraud

An exhibit in Genoa featuring the work of Amedeo Modigliani closed early this week, after Italian prosecutors alleged that one third of the works were fakes. The investigation began when art collector Carlo Pepi, who saw images of the works online, said the exhibition's catalog was "full of fakes."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/arts/design/modigliani-fakes-palazzo-ducale-genoa.html

Dalí Still Keepin' it Surreal

The body of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí was exhumed earlier this week, after a woman claiming to be his daughter obtained a court order authorizing a paternity test. Pilar Abel, a fortune-teller, could claim part of an estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Which is all well and good, but the real story here is that Dalí's famous mustache remains intact!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/world/europe/salvador-dali-exhumed-paternity.html

Looted Painting held by Goering Returned

A Renaissance-era painting owned by a German banker was looted by the Nazis during World War II and added to Hermann Goering's enormous collection. The piece recently was found and returned to the banker's heirs.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/arts/design/painting-from-goerings-collection-is-returned-to-bankers-heirs.html

Harvard's A.R.T. Institute Suspends Admissions for Three Years

Harvard's graduate program in theater, known as the A.R.T. Institute (named after the school's American Repertory Theater), halted admissions to "work on a strategic plan for the Institute." Earlier this year, the institute was named on a list of predatory schools whose students amass more debt than they can afford to repay, and its long-time director, Scott Zigler, left last month to become dean of UNCSA's drama school.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/theater/harvard-graduate-theater-art-paulus.html

Macmillan Books' Newest Imprint: Celadon

Jamie Raab and Deb Futter, who left Hachette's Grand Central Publishing late last year, founded Celadon Books, a new publishing division of Macmillan. Celadon plans to publish 20-25 fiction and non-fiction titles per year.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/books/a-new-publishing-imprint-at-macmillan-from-two-hitmakers.html

Sports

Judge OK's Discovery into "Deceptive Practices" Targeting Former National Football League Players

The federal judge presiding over the National Football League concussion settlement authorized plaintiffs' lawyers to investigate reports that companies have been trying to take advantage of retired football players by offering to help fill out paperwork for a fee, or to obtain helpful diagnoses. The judge indicated that she might void agreements that were based on deceptive or misleading solicitations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/sports/nfl-concussion-settlement-lawyers.html

Former Ohio State University Linebacker Leads Suit for Unauthorized Use of Likeness

Chris Spielman, who played football for Ohio State University (OSU) from 1985-1987, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of current and former OSU players, alleging that OSU conspired with IMG College (a sports marketing company that negotiates licenses on behalf of schools) and advertisers like Honda and Nike to use the likenesses of Buckeyes without permission or payment.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/07/15/us/ap-us-ohio-state-licensing-lawsuit-spielman.html

Brazil Won't Punish Lochte

The criminal case against American swimmer Ryan Lochte, who was charged with filing a false robbery report in Brazil during the Rio Olympics, was dismissed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/sports/brazil-court-ryan-lochte.html

Texas Trying to Get Back up in Your Bathroom Stuff Again

The so-called "bathroom bill" that would require restrooms, showers, and changing facilities in public locations "must be designated for and used only by persons of the same sex as stated on the person's birth certificate", is back under consideration before the Texas Senate. The bill died last year under pressure from pro-business Republicans concerned about the loss of revenue from relocated sports events and economic boycotts similar to those estimated to have cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars when it passed a similar law.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/07/21/us/21reuters-texas-lgbt.html

Boxing Federation in Financial Straits

Boxing's international federation, known as the AIBA, borrowed millions from Azerbaijani investors, and sold a major stake in its marketing subsidiary to a Chinese investor. Now, it may be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars. Accounting irregularities and reports of minimal cash flow have raised serious questions about AIBA's ability to repay the Azerbaijani loan, and the Chinese investor wants his money back.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/sports/investors-put-more-financial-pressure-on-boxing-federation.html

Media

Trans-Pacific Partnership (Minus US) May Still Impact IP, Digital

The 11 other countries involved in the negotiation of the (TPP), a multinational trade agreement intended to shore up economic power against China, met this week in Hakone, Japan to discuss reviving the deal. In its present form, the TPP contemplates the loosening of restrictions over the cross-border transfer of online data, including requirements regarding the locations of servers. It also seeks to level the playing field in service industries like software, legal, and IT.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/business/trans-pacific-partnership-trade-japan-china-globalization.html

British Broadcasting Corporation So White

The annual report of the British Broadcasting Corporation includes contains information regarding the amounts that it paid to its top stars (i.e., performers earning over £150,000 per year) last year. According to the New York Times, the data show a lack of gender parity and a dearth of minority stars.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/world/europe/bbc-salaries-pay-gender.html

China Comes Down Hard on Soft Cultural Icons of the West

A recurring meme in Chinese social media is the resemblance between Winnie-the-Pooh and Chinese President Xi Jinping. When such comparisons are on the rise, the Chinese government swings the ban-hammer. Days after reports that China is once again censoring posts about the plush bear, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture announced that Justin Bieber was banned from China for "bad behavior". Like the bear after which Pooh was named, Bieber comes from Canada. Coincidence?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/world/asia/china-winnie-the-pooh-censored.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/world/asia/justin-bieber-china-tour.html

China Blocks WhatsApp

Turning its attention briefly from its censorship of a childish cartoon character and Winnie-the-Pooh, China also partly blocked use of FaceBook's messaging app, WhatsApp, preventing users from sending videos and photos. Facebook and Instagram are already fully blocked in China.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/technology/whatsapp-facebook-china-internet.html


July 15, 2017

Week In Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

In Memoriam: Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

On Thursday, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo passed away from cancer at the age of 61. Xiaobo "held vigil" over the protest at Tiananmen Square in 1989, and later promoted a pro-democracy charter that landed him in jail. He spent the remainder of his life imprisoned. The Chinese government revealed in June that Xiaobo had cancer, at which point he was beyond treatment. Xiaobo's wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest and intense surveillance. Her detention has made it difficult for her to publically comment on the medical treatment and care received by her husband. Strong concern for Xiaobo's condition was felt across the globe, a testament to the respect people felt for him and how he was viewed as a symbol for peace and human rights. The Chinese government has been harshly criticized for its treatment of Xiaobo and some have gone as far as to blame the government for his premature death. Xiaobo's condition was not made public until he was unable to receive meaningful treatment, and even after his condition was made known the Chinese refused to release him from custody in order to seek medical treatment abroad. Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. As he was imprisoned at the time, he was not able to accept the Nobel Prize in person. An empty chair, meant to represent him, was a powerful symbol at the ceremony, and the trial statement the Chinese government prohibited from making served as his Nobel lecture. Xiaobo is the second Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in state custody. Among his final words were handwritten notes for the preface of an unpublished collection of his wife's photographs: "Love as intense as ice, love as remote as blackness."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/world/asia/liu-xiaobo-dead.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/world/asia/china-liu-xiaobo-nobel.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/10/world/asia/liu-xiaobo-china-cancer-abroad.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/world/asia/china-liu-xiaobo-nobel-peace-prize-cancer.html

California Supreme Court to Exert Control Over California Bar Exam in Response to Poor Passage Rates

The California Supreme Court announced that it will take control over the bar exam and change the way the certification score for passing the California bar examination is set. Long seen as one of the most difficult bar exams in the country, the California exam boasts the second highest benchmark for a passing score - 144 (second only to Delaware, with a required score of 145 to pass). Last year's passage rates for first time test takers in California reached a new low of 62%. Deans from 20 ABA-accredited law schools in California came together to petition the state Supreme Court to take control of the exam and set a lower passing score. They say the high benchmark keeps many qualified candidates out of the profession. Those in favor of retaining the current passage requirements argue that the state has an ethical obligation to ensure that only well-prepared lawyers join the bar. Many first-time test takers who fail the California exam would pass most others. Each state offers its own bar exam, although many have moved towards a uniform exam. The major differentiation is where the states set their own passing scores. Justices of the California Supreme Court stated that they will announce their decision in September, and the new regulations will go in effect in January.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/dealbook/california-bar-exam.html

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

ENTERTAINMENT

The Path From Miss Universe to Accusations of Russian Collusion

In 2013, Moscow hosted the Miss Universe pageant. At the time, Donald Trump mused on Twitter whether he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if so, whether "he will become my new best friend." While the two didn't meet that fall, Trump made deep connections with several other people who, through a series of connections, ultimately led to Donald Trump, Jr. meeting last year with an attorney linked to the Kremlin. Russian pop star Emin Agalarov and the pop star's father, Aras, sponsored the pageant in Russia. The two are real estate developers who have a relationship with the Kremlin. Trump has remained in contact with the Agalarovs over the years, and it was Emin, through his publicist, who requested that the younger Trump meet with attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Agalarovs introduced President Trump to many prominent Russians, including, in Trump's words, "top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the government people." The Agalarovs introduced him to former Russian economy minster Herman Gref, who hosted a dinner in Trump's honor during his time in Moscow. As part of the pageant, Miss Universe contestants were made to appear in one of Emin's music videos. While any potential plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow were abandoned when Trump announced his presidential bid, the Agalarovs continued to exchange messages with the President.

Donald Trump Jr. came under harsh criticism this week for his failure to disclose the meeting with Veselnitskaya, which took place in Trump Tower in June 2016. Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, which was said to come from a senior Russian government official. Trump Jr. was told that the information would incriminate Secretary Clinton and be useful for his father. The story continues to unfold, but last weekend the exchange of emails between Trump Jr., and Emin's publicist, Rob Goldstone, was made public by Donald Jr. just minutes before the New York Times was set to publish them. Each day more facts come to light, including the number of people in the meeting. President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and several others were present, although Donald Jr. only initially disclosed the presence of Kushner at the meeting. The White House is reeling in the wake of these revelations, and several reports emerge each day with new facts and information surrounding the meeting. The President defended his son, stating that "anyone" would have taken the meeting, and it was "standard practice" to do so. Several former Republican campaign advisors stated that their approach would have been to ignore the contact and/or notify the FBI.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/us/politics/collusion-trump-russia-campaign.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fpolitics&action=click&contentCollection=politics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=53&pgtype=sectionfront

https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000005261211/trump-russia-meeting-donald-jr.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/us/politics/trump-falsely-blames-loretta-lynch-in-sons-meeting-with-veselnitskaya.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fpolitics

Prince's Music Catalog Again on the Market

The $31 million distribution deal between Universal Music Group (Universal) and Prince's estate for Prince's music catalog was rescinded by a judge, after Universal made claims of fraud and misrepresentation by the estate during negotiations. The catalog includes previously unreleased recordings and a set of "disputed rights" that became the heart of the case between the parties. Universal claimed that several of the rights to Prince's catalog were already held by Warner Bros. Records, and was not disclosed as part of the negotiations for the distribution deal. Warner Bros. owned the rights to many of Prince's early albums, and claims that a deal was signed with Prince in 2014 to extend the duration of the rights for those early works. Lawyers for Prince's estate claim no wrongdoing, and the court neither addressed Universal's claims of fraud against the legal team, nor interpreted the underlying contracts for the rights to Prince's catalog. The estate now will have to refund the full price for the distribution rights, which were paid as an advance, and shop the catalog for a new buyer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/media/prince-estate-distribution-deal-rescinded.html

Murder Charges in Manhattan Rap Concert Shooting

Charges against Brooklyn resident Daryl Campbell, a/k/a Taxstone, were handed down on Thursday. Campbell was accused of the fatal shooting of Ronald McPhatter, a bodyguard, during a T.I. concert in Manhattan last year. Three other people were also injured during the shooting, including Roland Collins, a rapper with the stage name Troy Ave, who was also accused of firing a weapon and was charged with attempted murder. For months prior to the shooting, Campbell and Collins engaged in a "war of words". Surveillance video shows the confrontation and resulting shooting incident. The murder weapon was found in the car that brought Collins to the hospital after the shooting. Collins claims that he is the victim, as he wrestled Campbell's gun away and used it in self-defense. The firearms charge against Campbell were a twist in the investigation. He plead guilty in federal court last month to receiving a firearm by interstate commerce with the intent to commit a felony and possessing a firearm as a felon. He was indicted on the murder charges by a state grand jury on Thursday.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/nyregion/brooklyn-man-charged-with-murder-in-manhattan-rap-concert-shooting.html

James Franco Satire Play Shut Down

Lawyers for actor James Franco sent a cease-and-desist letter to the New York theater that was to present the play, "James Franco and Me", a satire that has been running without issue at the Epic Theater in Rhode Island. Author Kevin Broccoli was surprised and disappointed by the letter, and maintains that the play is satirical in nature and within the bounds of fair use guidelines. Broccoli chose James Franco as part of the play out of admiration for the actor. The play is about a man, played by Broccoli, who is in the hospital visiting his dying father. In the play, Franco comforts the son, and the characters forge a bond reflecting on life and mortality. Instead of change the show in response to the letter, the New York production was cancelled. Broccoli will run a new version of the show for one night only, titled "___________ and Me", removing any reference to Franco from the production.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/theater/james-francos-play-cancelled.html

ARTS

Bolshoi Postpones Controversial Nureyev Ballet Claiming Lack of Preparation, Not Censorship

The Bolshoi was set to premiere a much-anticipated ballet this week about the life of dance legend Rudolf Nureyev. General Director of the Bolshoi, Vladimir G. Urin, stated in a press conference last week that the premiere would be delayed - likely until after May 2018. The ballet's central character, Rudolf Nureyev, was a highly controversial figure in Russia. He was an openly gay man whose sexuality influenced his work. The Russian government's 2013 ban against "gay propaganda" and its current emphasis on "Family Values" has caused many to speculate that the Bolshoi is caving to pressure from the Kremlin. A leaked video of a rehearsal, which showed male dancers performing in high heels, sparked outrage, with people calling the Russian culture minister to ban the production. Urin maintained that the motivation behind the cancellation was that it needed more work, as the choreography requires intense coordination, and recent rehearsals were shaky.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/10/arts/dance/bolshoi-denies-gay-theme-forced-postponing-of-nureyev-ballet.html

Hong Kong Indie Music Scene Under Attack

Police raids have become a common occurrence for those in the indie music community in Hong Kong. Popular clubs, or "live houses," are often infiltrated by police, who aggressively address violations of building regulations or accusations that foreign citizens are performing without proper visas. Several decades ago many manufacturing companies relocated their businesses to mainland China, leaving a swath of abandoned factories in their wake. The indie music community quickly embraced the abandoned factories as performance and gathering spaces. While the clubs were far from fancy, they thrived. However, Hong Kong's extensive system of building regulations, zoning laws, and performance rules continuously "impede artistic expression and cultural development" in the territory. On top of the sea of regulations, an industrial revitalization program was recently rolled out, incentivizing building owners to convert the factories into office space. This has caused a spike in rent, adding additional costs above and beyond the already costly public entertainment license the venues are required to obtain in order to operate. Lawmakers are starting to notice the impediments to cultural development and are planning to introduce new legislation aimed at live houses, creating avenues for them to operate as long as they meet reasonable safety standards.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/world/asia/hong-kong-live-music.html

SPORTS

LA and Paris on the Cusp of Receiving Olympic Bids

In an unusual move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week unveiled a plan to award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics simultaneously - likely to be awarded to Los Angeles and Paris. Official voting will take place on September 13th in Lima, Peru. The cities must both agree on hosting arrangements by the vote, otherwise only the 2024 Games will be awarded. Representatives from both cities made their formal presentations to officials this week, with French President Emmanuel Macron supporting the Paris presentation in person and President Trump lending his support for Los Angeles via Twitter. The IOC voted unanimously to change the bidding process, which it believes in the past has cost losing cities incredible amounts of money to participate, and leaves them reluctant to attempt a bid in the future. Many cities withdrew from the current bidding process early, much to the embarrassment of the IOC. In addition to the enthusiasm presented by Paris and Los Angeles, both cities have an established framework for hosting the Games with several stadiums already in place and the capacity to construct temporary structures as needed without great sacrifice. Many people speculate whether the IOC will consider the current political climate when making its final decision - perhaps awarding 2024 to Paris in light of President Macron's ascendancy, and giving the Games to LA in 2028, so they are not hosted during Trump's administration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/sports/olympics-2024-2028-paris-los-angeles.html

Former Team USA Gymnastics Doctor Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography

Dr. Larry Nassar, former team doctor to the women's Team USA Gymnastics who was accused of sexually assaulting scores of women and girls, also faces unrelated federal charges of possession of child pornography. This week he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. He is being sued by over 100 women and girls who claim that he sexually assaulted them, and faces three criminal cases in the Lansing, MI area.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/07/10/us/ap-gym-doctor-sexual-assault.html

Police Say That Prior to Crash, Venus Williams Lawfully Entered Intersection

After reviewing new evidence, police investigating the fatal crash involving Venus Williams issued a new report stating that Williams lawfully entered the intersection prior to the crash. The initial report stated that she ran a red light, causing another vehicle driving through the intersection with the right of way to crash into her car. Jerome Barton, the passenger in the car, later died in the hospital from injuries sustained in the crash. The Barton family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams. The police investigation is ongoing. Williams has publicly expressed her devastation over Barton's death.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/07/sports/tennis/venus-williams-evidence-fatal-crash.html

FBI Investigated Basketball Hall-of-Famer Bob Knight

The Washington Post reported this week that Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight was investigated by the FBI and the Army over complaints of inappropriate behavior back in 2015. Four women accused Knight of groping them at an event held at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Springfield, VA. The FBI interviewed Knight at his home following the allegations, and dropped the investigation shortly thereafter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/08/sports/ncaabasketball/fbi-bob-knight.html

U.S. Women's Open - Trump National Golf Club

This year's the U.S. Women's Open Golf Championship is being held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. The women playing in the tournament find themselves having to reconcile the Donald Trump they know - a staunch supporter of women's golf in general and many of the players individually - and President Trump, who presents himself as insensitive to women and often disparages them, consciously or unconsciously. The club has served as Trump's summer retreat from Washington. LPGA player Cristie Kerr has known Trump since her early career, and says that he was proactively supportive of women golfers; often hosting the LPGA at Mar-a-Lago and inviting the women to join him on his informal rounds of golf. She often doesn't recognize the public face of President Trump, which is in sharp contrast to the supporter she knew. Lizette Salas, on the other hand, has long been critical of Trump. Salas is the top-earning American female golfer, and long has felt what she calls "subtle sexism" that pervades the sport. Bedminster has been slated to host this year's tournament since 2012 - and regardless of how the women feel about Trump, they recognize the increased visibility that women's golf will receive due to the venue for this year's Open.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/sports/golf/us-womens-open-trump-bedminster.html

Persistent Use of Offensive Chant at Gold Cup Games

Despite concerted efforts to end soccer fans' uses of an offensive chant at this week's Concacaf Gold Cup tournament, Concacaf officials acknowledged that changing fan behavior is a longer-term process. Strategies included a fan education program, public fan pledges not to use the offensive chant, and blocking the chant over the international broadcast feed by adding pretaped crowd noise to drown it out. The chant remained audible over the broadcast through the announcers' microphones, which picked it up. Ending the chant is especially important to the Mexican soccer federation, which has been fined by FIFA due to fan behavior related to the chant. If the individual federations' efforts do not yield results, FIFA has its own plan to implement - including possible team forfeits if they can't control their fans' behavior.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/sports/soccer/pleas-to-end-offensive-chant-fall-on-deaf-ears-in-stands-at-gold-cup.html?_r=0

Cancer Leads to Death of Central Figure in FIFA Scandal

One of the central figures in the FIFA scandal died this week in New Jersey. Chuck Blazer, a former member of FIFA's Executive Committee, was in the middle of the investigation of corruption in international soccer. What started with Blazer's failure to file personal income tax returns, lead to an international investigation of improprieties in the soccer world, including racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. The case in the U.S. alone included over 40 defendants. In Europe, Swiss authorities made a surprise arrest at FIFA headquarters in 2015, and are conducting an ongoing, independent criminal investigation. Blazer was instrumental in the early stages of the investigation. He cooperated as a witness and provided secret, insider testimony that revealed the international scope of corruption. During his lifetime, Blazer was known as an eccentric figure who dominated the soccer world. He earned the nickname "Mr. 10 Percent" from his uncanny ability to collect commissions. His lavish lifestyle and public persona ultimately could not mask the money laundering, bribes, unauthorized ticket sales, and kickback payments. He quickly agreed to cooperate and recorded conversations with international soccer officials for the authorities. FIFA barred him for life from soccer-related activities, but he was never formally sentenced for his criminal acts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/sports/soccer/chuck-blazer-central-figure-in-fifa-scandal-dies-at-72.html

MEDIA

Big Win for Google in French Tax Case

Google is celebrating a big victory in France, as a French court ruled in its favor, agreeing that Google did not have to pay $1.3 billion in back taxes the French government claims it is owed for services Google sold in France through its Irish-based subsidiary. Ireland is a popular tax haven in Europe due to its low corporate tax rates. Many global companies, including Google, opened subsidiaries in Ireland in order to take advantage of these favorable tax rates. Google also has a French subsidiary, which employs 700 people. Despite this presence in France, the company used its Irish-based division to sell goods and services to consumers in France. French authorities argued that Google's French employees were "instrumental" in selling the services, even though the contracts were with the Irish subsidiary. The French court agreed with Google that the company operated within the bounds of French law and international business standards. Tax authorities in France plan to appeal the decision.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/business/13google.html

Trump Administration Planning to Rescind "Start Up Visa" Rule for Foreign Entrepreneurs

The International Entrepreneur Rule was designed under the Obama administration to use the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) "Parole authority" to allow qualifying foreign entrepreneurs temporary entry into the United States without a visa. In order to qualify for the program, an entrepreneur would have to have concrete, significant financial backing. The duration of the stay was to be limited to 30 months, with the opportunity for an extension. Many in the tech world lauded this as a way to boost the startup industry. DHS this week announced that it would delay, if not fully eliminate, the rule, in response to President Trump's January 25, 2017 Executive Order on improvements to border security and immigration enforcement. Silicon Valley is dismayed - tech leaders are saying that the U.S. will lose credibility as a "beacon of innovation", and that the decision to potentially rescind the rule is short-sighted and underestimates the value of jobs and industry growth foreign entrepreneurs bring when they decide to launch their businesses in the U.S. Implementation of the rule is delayed until March 14, 2018, during which time DHS will solicit public comments on its plan to fully rescind the rule.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/10/technology/in-blow-to-tech-industry-trump-shelves-start-up-immigrant-rule.html

In Effort to Wire Rural Communities, Microsoft Attempting to Harness Unused TV Channels

10 years in the making, Microsoft announced its plans to tap into "white space", or unused TV channels, as a vehicle to provide Internet access to rural parts of the country that are without access to broadband service. Called "super Wi-Fi", the technology behaves like Wi-Fi, but instead of using broadband technology, it uses low-powered TV channels. Super Wi-Fi is more powerful than traditional wireless access, because the vehicle, TV channels, cover greater distances than wireless hot spots. It also is more powerful than cellular technology, because it can penetrate concrete barriers and other obstacles. Over 24 million people in rural areas are currently without Internet access, and Microsoft believes that this is an untapped market ripe for development. There are many barriers to this effort, including the current prohibitive cost of white-space technology. Devices compatible with white-space technology cost upwards of $1,000. Rural areas don't provide economies of scale to incentivize device makers to find ways to reduce costs. Microsoft has four devices it believes can be produced at a cost to consumers of $200 each. The bigger hurdle, however, may be regulatory. Microsoft is seeking approval from federal and state regulators to guarantee the use of the unused TV channels. TV broadcasters are fighting back against white-space technology, which they argue causes interference with broadcasts being run on neighboring channels.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/technology/to-close-digital-divide-microsoft-to-harness-unused-television-channels.html

News Outlets/Bargaining Rights Against Google & Facebook

In an effort to increase their bargaining power against media behemoths Google and Facebook, a group of news publishers joined together in an effort to bargain collectively with Google and Facebook regarding digital distribution of the news. Spearheaded by the News Media Alliance, the group will ask Congress for a limited antitrust exemption. By seeking approval to negotiate together, they can avoid the trouble book publishers faced when they participated in Apple's online book platform. The publishers buy-in to this effort is wide - including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, plus a large number of mid-size regional papers. Google and Facebook provide an alternate digital portal to news stories, on which publishers rely to reach a broad audience. Beyond reaching a larger audience, the group's efforts are motivated by the desire to preserve quality journalism - which is expensive to produce and difficult to compete against quick news stories (think "Pope Endorses Trump" and "Millions of Illegal Votes"). Facebook and Google are eager to support journalism. Facebook is working with publishers to develop new ways to sell subscriptions, and Google has changed the algorithms in its News Lab to favor quality news stories. Publishers recognize the efforts, but "economic imbalances" leave them without many options, especially as Facebook and Google hold close to 60% of the online advertising market. Although this type of clearance to collectively bargain is not often granted, Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of News Corporation, brings a significant amount of influence to the table with both Congressional Republicans and the White House.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/business/media/google-facebook-news-media-alliance.html

Measured Choice Between Facebook and YouTube for Internet Video Stars

For years YouTube has been the preferred platform for Internet video stars. YouTube shares ad revenue with its stars, which can generate large revenue streams for those with large followings. Its platform allows for subscription-based viewing, allowing stars to develop large numbers of devoted fans. As people go to YouTube
specifically to watch videos, the format trends towards longer videos. Historically, Facebook has been seen as a platform best suited for shorter video clips - viewers tend to "stumble" on videos rather than visit the site to watch specific content. Facebook is trying to change this with the introduction of Facebook Live and a pilot program aimed to cultivate Internet video stars, or "creators". In its pilot program, Facebook paid out up to $220,000 for creators to produce exclusive content. The company believes that its platform can provide similar ad revenue as YouTube. Although the participants in the pilot program have received substantial income, some creators are hesitant to make the switch while the program is in its early stages. Despite the inherent differences between the two platforms, many stars use both sites as part of their overall strategy to reach viewers. YouTube tends to be used for more substantive content delivery, and Facebook for marketing purposes and introducing brands to wider audiences. The two companies recently added features to make them more like each other - Facebook added a dedicated video tab, and YouTube recently added a feature that allows people to share videos directly with friends and added a group messaging component. The two platforms offer distinct avenues to viewers for creators, and while some prefer one over the other, many have learned to leverage the features and strengths of both to reach the widest audiences possible.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/technology/facebook-video-stars.html

AT&T and Time Warner Deal Hanging in Mid-Air

The first major business deal under the Trump Administration will set the tone for the business world - and everyone is paying close attention. A proposed deal between AT&T and Time Warner has been intensely scrutinized by antitrust officers for months, but remains in limbo as key vacancies in the Justice Department are still unfilled, and as President Trump stated his opposition to the deal and shown willingness to use his administration's oversight as leverage over Time Warner's news network, CNN. While AT&T and Time Warner don't directly compete, antitrust issues are present, due to AT&T's nationwide wireless and DirecTV satellite service, which could be used to charge media companies and other cable and satellite companies' higher fees. For example, AT&T could charge Dish network higher fees for Time Warner content, which in turn could be passed along to rural customers who rely on satellite services. Several lawmakers have spoken out against any efforts by the White House to influence the merger review in light of Trump's contentious relationship with CNN. To some, it comes across as an inappropriate attempt by the government to use "law enforcement authority to alter or censor the press." Despite this increased scrutiny of the merger review, AT&T expects the deal will be approved - and has spent a significant amount of time and money on lobby efforts to see it through to the end.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/09/technology/att-time-warner-merger.html

FCC Opposition Unites Tech Industry in a "Day of Action" Online Protest

Internet companies and public policy groups banded together for what they dubbed a "Day of Action". The protest was aimed at the FCC and its plans to overturn net neutrality rules. Many tech giants are against loosening net neutrality rules, firmly arguing that the rules protect them from broadband companies treating them unfairly. Among those involved were Netflix, Amazon, Reddit, Twitter, and Etsy. Facebook and Google participated through its leaders. The twist in the protest was that many companies that have been active in pushing to rewrite net neutrality rules made statements in support of the protest. Among the companies seen to be in favor of loosening net neutrality rules, but which indicated their support of the protest, were Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. Two possible explanations for this curious support are mere puffery - an attempt to manipulate public perception of the companies' stance on net neutrality, or, more plausibly, that the companies believe the better approach to net neutrality is through Congressional legislation, not FCC regulation. While legislation may be hard to come by, many are starting to think that it is a better, long-term solution to the neutrality fight. Perhaps a better outcome can be achieved through a legislative approach, taking into consideration business and consumer interests - which are often more aligned than it initially appears. Broadband companies have a healthy monetary interest in keeping their consumers happy. Deregulation that leads to slower load times, paid bundles of services are likely to anger consumers, hurting the bottom lines. The landscape may be ripe for legislative compromise, and the Day of Action brought to light this willingness to negotiate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/net-neutrality-broadband-companies-fcc.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/technology/see-how-tech-companies-got-together-for-a-day-of-online-protest.html

Tronic Bid to Acquire the Chicago Sun-Times Stymied by Investment Group

An investment group headed by businessman Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation of Labor won its bid to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times, ending months of speculation that the city would become a one-paper town. Publishing company Tronic, which owns The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and The Baltimore Sun, was heavily favored to acquire the Sun-Times. The Sun-Times took matters in its own hands when it looked like Tronic was all but confirmed to finalize the acquisition, by publishing a full-page ad saying that it was looking for new ownership. Former owner of the Sun-Times Michael W. Ferreo Jr. became a majority stakeholder in Tronic in 2011, and transferred ownership of the Sun-Times to a charitable trust to avoid appearance of a conflict of interest. In response to concern that Tronic and Ferro would own two newspapers in Chicago, Eisendrath rallied the support of over 300 labor groups to submit a bid for the paper.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/business/media/the-chicago-sun-times-edwin-eisendrath-chicago-federation-of-labor.html

July 12, 2017

California Travel Ban Could Affect College Football

By Michael Kusi

California created a travel ban on January 1, 2017 against eight states: Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota, for what it claims are discriminatory laws that violate LGBT rights. For example, a Texas law grants an exemption for adoption agencies to deny services or refuse to allow LGBT couples to adopt. Any football contracts signed before January 1, 2017 for college football games are not affected by the California ban.

The travel ban prevents state-funded travel for employees from traveling these eight states. It does not, however, impact travel to these states by private citizens.

This travel ban could affect much college football, because California coaches and staff would not be able to recruit prospective high school football players from the eight banned states using state-funded travel. However, coaches and staff would be able to travel using funds from non-government sources. Public colleges in California, such as UCLA, would not be able to play football in any of the eight states, either for the regular season or the post-season, whereas football games between the USC and Texas football teams would still be played, because private colleges are not affected by this ban.

UCLA officials state that they will not schedule games in Texas in the upcoming football season, because of the California travel ban. Whether UCLA, or other California public colleges would be able to go to bowl games in the postseason, remains to be seen.

July 10, 2017

New National Basketball Association Collective Bargaining Agreement in Effect

By Michael Kusi

The National Basketball Association (NBA) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) terms went into effect on July 1st. This was after intense negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). The CBA is a seven year deal, but the players or the NBA can opt out a year before the end of the deal. Among the points of agreement in the new CBA, is one that concerns when a team and player agree on a contract buyout, to limit the compensation in conjunction with the basketball team submitting a request that this player be waived. In such a case, the team will not be able to consequently sign the player to a new contract with new teams, or get the player off waiver, before the end of one year after the contract is terminated or the July 1st after the final season of the player's contract, whichever is later.

Another provision of the CBA is that the NBA provides worker's compensation to both NBA and Two-Way Players, the latter of whom are players who have played both in the NBA and in the NBA G-League.

The CBA also retained the one and done provision that allows college basketball players to go to the NBA after a year of playing college basketball. This was a compromise between the NBA's position, which wanted a zero or two position, where a high school basketball player could come into the NBA after high school or would have to play two years in college, and the NBPA's position, which wanted the one and done rule entirely eradicated.

Additionally, in the CBA a contract might be voided if, among other reasons: A player cannot pass his physical examination, the contract is not approved by the NBA, the player is disqualified from playing because he failed a drug test, or makes an assault on NBA officials, players or people in attendance at the game. The NBA has said that it had the power to void all player contracts during negotiations with the previous CBA, but had never exercised that power.