October 16, 2017

Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

President Renews Attack on National Football League, and Then Criticizes a Host on ESPN

Players kneeling in protest during the national anthem led President Trump to threaten to eliminate a federal tax law that allows the National Football League (NFL) to avoid paying taxes as a nonprofit organization. The tax law applies only to the NFL central office, since the teams are for-profit and already pay taxes. President Trump also called for firing ESPN SportsCenter host Jemele Hill on Twitter for her criticisms of him. Tax breaks for sports franchises have been controversial, as many businesses have benefited from tax subsidies, including the financing of stadiums with tax-exempt municipal bonds. The White House later backed away from President Trump's comments, stating that he was only making a point, as the federal tax law does not actually apply in this instance.


NBC Nuclear Arsenal Story Prompts a Threat by Trump

On Wednesday, NBC reported on-air and online that President Trump stated during a July meeting that he wanted to increase the national nuclear arsenal by 10 percent. Afterwards, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a "moron." In retaliation, on Twitter, President Trump threatened NBC's federal license to broadcast television. Many immediately reacted, concerned "that he was undermining the First Amendment." Senator Edward J. Markey from Massachusetts wrote to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai to protect the First Amendment. The NBC report did not identify the three officials in the meeting. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a written statement calling the report "absolutely false." President Trump's attacks on the NBC suggested an unfamiliarity with how broadcast licensing works. Television networks like NBC, ABC, and CBS do not license spectrum; individual television stations do.


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


The Fall of Harvey Weinstein

Film producer Harvey Weinstein of Miramax and the Weinstein Company was accused by actresses and models of sexual assault stemming back to the 1980s. Big-name actresses, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Dawn Dunning, Judith Godreche, and Katherine Kendall reported to the New York Times and the New Yorker Magazine that Weinstein had a history of sexual harassment, including sexual assault entailing forced oral and vaginal sex. The fallout from the exposés has been deep and swift. The Weinstein Company terminated him almost immediately, even though he made a failed last-ditch attempt to dissuade its board from voting to fire him. He is currently under criminal investigation in several jurisdictions, spanning from New York to London. The London Metropolitan Police Service confirmed that it is investigating allegations against the disgraced filmmaker that date back to the 1980s. New York police are investigating claims by actress Lucia Evans for a 2004 sexual assault on her in his then Miramax office. Following due diligence, the New York police are researching other complaints as well. There is one as recent as 2015, when Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez claimed that he groped her in his Tribeca office. According to Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., the sex crime prosecutors determined that that case was not provable. It is unclear to what degree the Weinstein Company was aware of the sexual allegations. His brother and co-founder Bob Weinstein, along with the company president David Glasser, held a video conference call with employees. They stated that they were shocked and unaware of the allegations and any settlement payments. Hervey Weinstein, during his final hours of employment, emailed the board, and stated that they were aware of the settlement payments to several women. One board member, Lance Maerov, admitted his knowledge of the payoffs, but thought they were for consensual affairs. Several members left the board since the allegations were made public, but said that they would cooperate with the criminal investigation.

As a result of these allegations, the Hatchett Book Group announced that it is shuttering Weinstein Books, a Weinstein Company publishing imprint. Weinstein was also condemned for his actions by former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Companies continue to distance themselves from his spotlight. The Walt Disney Company, which once owned Miramax Studios and employed Weinstein before he left to found the Weinstein Company with his brother Bob Weinstein, stated that it was unaware of the complaints and that the Weinstein brothers operated autonomously. His wife, Georgina Chapman, stated publicly her intention to divorce him, and educational institutions and entertainment organizations are denouncing him as well. The University of Southern California has gone as far as to reject Weinstein's $5 million pledge to its School of Cinematic Arts. Finally, the Motion Picture Academy expelled him over the weekend.







Rose McGowan Calls Ben Affleck a Liar

Actress Rose McGowan said that she told Ben Affleck that Harvey Weinstein had behaved inappropriately with her. Affleck's response, "GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT," suggested that he had apparently chastised Weinstein about his behavior in the past. However, when questioned, Affleck gave no indication of being aware of the incidents. McGowan took to Twitter: "You lie." Affleck did not respond.


Nelly Arrested on Rape Accusation

Cornell Haynes Jr., better known as "Nelly," was arrested on October 7th for sexual assault. A young woman accused the St. Louis-born rapper of rape while on his tour bus after a performance at the White River Amphitheater in Seattle. He was released from custody the same day and has not been charged. The investigation is ongoing. The woman now wants to recant her story.




Couple Drops Lawsuit over Disputed Antiquity

Lynda and William Beierwaltes, a Colorado couple with a penchant for antiquities, decided to drop their federal lawsuit to stop the repatriation of a 2,300-year-old sculpture to Lebanon. The Beierwaltes purchased the marble sculpture of a bull's head for more than $1 million in 1996. The Republic of Lebanon reported the artifact as being looted during its civil war. It was discovered by a curator when it was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Michael H. Steinhardt, a New York collector, who had purchased the work from the Beierwalteses in 2015. He has since asked the couple to take back the work and return his money. The Beierwalteses sued the Manhattan district attorney and the Lebanese government, claiming that they had a clear title. However, they recently released a statement of "incontrovertible evidence that the bull's head had in fact been stolen from Lebanon." There are no criminal charges against the Beierwalteses. However, investigations continue, as there is a second antiquity, "an archaic marble torso of a calf bearer," that was also stolen from Lebanon. Interestingly, the second work was also sold by the same gentleman who sold the Beierwalteses the first piece, and the Beierwalteses later sold it also to Steinhardt.


Publishing's Unfair Gray Market

When an Amazon customer hits the main buy button, he or she expects to get a brand-new book. Previously reserved for Amazon's inventory, that spot has now changed. Amazon now allows third-party sellers to be featured above the primary book purchase button for new books. Therefore, a customer now may not receive a "new" book, as third-party sellers often purchase books in bulk that were review copies sent freely to media outlets or overstocks returned from brick and mortar bookstores. The problem, other than being unethical, is that the author often receives nothing for these types of sales. The Independent Book Publishers Association is investigating this gray market on Amazon. Publishers receive some revenue from overstocks sales. However, authors receive little, if any, income. Amazon clarified its definition of "new," stating that remainders and overstocks do not qualify. The Authors Guild asked publishers to keep better records, but the cost to police this gray market is prohibitive. Amazon, through a spokesperson, said: "We move quickly to address any violations." Perhaps it would be easier if it simply returned to disallowing third-party sellers access to the main buy button.


U.S. Will Withdraw from Cultural Agency, Citing "Anti-Israel" Bias

The Trump administration has announced that it is withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It cited UNESCO's "anti-Israel" bias as its reason to withdraw, as UNESCO continues to recognize Palestine as a full member since 2011. In addition, the U.S. is $550 million in arrears to the organization. The withdrawal becomes effective at the end of 2018, at which point the U.S. will become a nonmember observer allowed to continue to provide expertise and perspective. American cultural organizations criticize the decision. Metropolitan Museum of Art chief executive Daniel H. Weiss said that "UNESCO may be imperfect," but it has been an important leader in preserving vital cultural heritage worldwide. UNESCO criticized Israel in 2015 for "aggressions and illegal measures against freedoms of worship" in Jerusalem. This summer, it declared the West Bank's ancient Hebron as an endangered Palestinian Heritage site.


The Guggenheim Censors Itself

"Art and China after 1989", a new show at the Guggenheim Museum, is causing quite a stir. Animal rights activists protested several works that entailed pigs mating, pit bulls on treadmills, and insects trapped with reptiles. A New York Times preview of the show stated that "some creatures will be devoured; others may die of fatigue." The museum received threats of violence. Richard Armstrong, the museum's director, removed the animal works in response to the protest, reasoning that he had to consider the safety of the museum's staff, visitors, and participating artists.



NFL Unity on Anthem Is Vanishing

Two weeks ago, the NFL was locked in unity, literally, many arm in arm or kneeling in protest mostly against President Trump's calls for firing players who do not stand for the national anthem. That united front is crumbling as the President re-frames the focus of the protest away from police brutality and social injustice to a statement on the flag and supporting the military. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench any player who does not stand for the anthem. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, who has been empathetic with his players, is now telling them that by not standing they are hurting their cause. For the owners, it comes down to money, according to Frank Zaccanelli, a former part owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "If any business took a 10-12% business hit, red lights would be going off." The players union is standing with the players, by issuing a statement defending its members' right to free expression. Current players voiced their opinions, ranging from continuing to kneel to staying in the locker room until after the anthem. Some former players are not aware of the issues. Hall of Famer Mike Ditka did not quite get all the fuss, stating, "All of a sudden, it's become a big deal now, about oppression." The NFL's rule that "players must be on the sideline for the anthem and should stand while it is being played" has not been enforced. That may change after the owners meet to discuss what actions to take.


NFL Players Who Protest Have an Ally in Labor Law

While players, owners, cheerleaders, and fans from the national and international shores continue to kneel, lock arms, and wait in locker rooms during the national anthem, the question remains: "How far can workers go in banding together to address problems related to their employment?" Federal labor law protects any "concerted activities" that "employees engage in to support one another in the workplace." Such activity has been broadly defined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and courts, where rulings have allowed a myriad of activities bearing on one's work life. "To be protected under federal labor law, an employee's action must be conducted in concert with co-workers, it must address an issue of relevance to their job, and it must be carried out using appropriate means." Referring to a 1978 Supreme Court case, where it was determined that "workers have a right to engage in political advocacy as long as the political theme relates to their job," many experts believe that the recent protests, at least some of them, meet the federal law's conditions. With the Trump administration's assault on workers' rights--as noted in its directed reversal of the government's position in a recent Supreme Court worker rights case, National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, No. 16-307, (Arg. 10.02.2017), and a Republican majority on the NLRB board, a narrowing of the interpretation of what constitutes "protected concerted activity" is expected.


NFL Player Calls for Unity on a Strategy for Protests

Russell Okung, lineman with the Los Angeles Chargers, urged all 1,700 NFL players to take a unified stand against NFL owners' pressure to stand during the national anthem. The anthem demonstrations were intended to draw attention to racial inequality and police shootings of African-Americans. President Trump blurred that initial message by tweeting that "players who kneel or sit during the national anthem are disrespecting the flag and the military" and chastising the team owners for not disciplining the players for protesting. In an interview, Okung said that "he wrote the letter as a way to move players' focus away from the president's agenda and back toward their own goals of addressing inequity." He posted his letter on The Players' Tribune in an attempt to reach all players across the players' association who may want to do more as a group, but did not have a vehicle to do so, as "the system is designed to keep us divided and stifle our attempts to collaborate." Team owners are meeting next week to discuss the anthem demonstrations. Some owners have threatened to bench players who do not stand. Okung invited players to contact him on Twitter to facilitate a conversation on "important decisions" made without players' input.


NCAA Declines to Punish North Carolina for Academic Fraud

The fact that the University of North Carolina is guilty of running an academic fraud scheme is undisputed. However, the NCAA will not issue penalties because technically no rules were broken, according to its recent ruling. It is uncanny that, for almost two decades, North Carolina had offered approximately 200 "paper" classes that were "laxly administered and graded" and geared towards student athletes, particularly in the football and basketball programs. The classes were predominantly offered through the African and Afro-American Studies Department, administered by a staff member, barely required attendance, and at best required one paper. The university was put on probation temporarily, and its accreditation was in jeopardy. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions determined that because non-athlete students had access to the "shadow curriculum," it "could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules." The fact that the University of North Carolina is satisfied with this standard of academic curriculum quality actually protected it from punishment. The panel concluded that it could not establish that the courses were "solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes." If the NCAA's membership, which consists of more than 1,000 colleges and universities, wants its athletes to be adequately educated, regardless of the educational standard at an individual school, then it will have to establish rules to that effect.


In Scandal's Aftermath, NCAA Plans a Commission to Reform Men's Basketball

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it was forming a college basketball commission to make substantial changes to the way it operates. This decision is in response to the federal charges against 10 men for a scheme among the sneaker giant Adidas, assistant coaches, agents, and money managers to funnel money to players and coaches. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will chair the commission, and it will include members such as Ohio State's athletic director, Gene Smith; president of the Association of American Universities, Mary Sue Coleman; and Jeremy Foley, Florida's former athletic director. The commission will examine the NCAA's fundamental regulatory arrangements, the rules regarding interrelated institutions such as apparel companies, nonscholastic basketball programs, and agents, and the NCAA's relationship with the National Basketball Association.


Elliott's Suspension Is Reinstated by Court

The NFL will be able to impose a suspension on Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys running back accused of domestic violence, according to a recent ruling by a federal district court. Elliott was initially suspended for six games. The NFL Players Association defended Elliott in district court, and that court issued an injunction blocking the suspension. The NFL appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where it found on Thursday that the lawsuit "was 'premature' because the NFL and the players' union had not exhausted all available procedures in the league's collective bargaining agreement."


PSG Chairman Faces Claims of Bribing FIFA

Nasser al-Khelaifi, chairman of Paris St. Germain soccer team and chief executive of beIN Media Group, was accused by the Swiss attorney general of bribing Jerome Valcke, former FIFA general secretary for World Cup soccer broadcasting contracts. Valcke is currently serving a 10-year ban from soccer. In a written statement, the Swiss authorities said that it suspected Valcke of accepting "undue advantages" from al-Khelaifi regarding the award of media rights for certain countries at FIFA World Cups 2026 and 2030. beIN, the Doha-based television network that has been on a spending spree for media rights, refutes all accusations. The Swiss investigation stems from a U.S. indictment made in May 2015, charging a two-decade-long corruption scheme with the largest power brokers in the world of soccer. With 25 soccer-related investigations still open, al-Khelaifi is one of the first Qatari to be formally charged.


Aaron Hernandez's Family Drops CTE Suit against NFL, for Now

Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots tight end, committed suicide while in jail this past April. At the time, he was serving a life sentence for the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd. That conviction was vacated because his appeals had not been exhausted before his death. In September, his family sued the NFL for not adequately protecting him from concussions. It was determined from Hernandez's autopsy that he had an "advanced form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head hits." The family dropped the suit against the NFL so that it can refile in state court, where more claims can be filed, than in federal court. There will still be significant hurdles when the family refiles in Suffolk County Supreme Court: there is a high bar to overcome for athletes who played football in childhood and college, in addition to overcoming the argument that the proper forum is by the collective bargaining agreement with an arbitrator, and not in court with a judge.


Game Forfeited over Racist Posts

South Dakota high school Sturgis Brown canceled its annual homecoming celebrations due to photos shown on social media of students destroying a car with "Go back to the Rez" painted on the side. Sturgis Brown was due to play Pine Ridge School from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at the homecoming festivities. The school board voted unanimously to cancel all homecoming activities, which included the football game, dance, and parade, to avoid any potential danger to the students.


Hall of Famer Says Warn Parents of Risks

NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson testified at a Congressional hearing that parents should be warned when signing up their children to play football, as the sport can cause long-term neurological damage. Carson is a former linebacker who was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in 1990. The 13-year veteran of the New York Giants will not allow his 8-year old grandson to play the sport that yielded him nine Pro Bowl wins and a Super Bowl ring. He now spends his time devoted to raising awareness of the risks associated with playing the sport.



ESPN Host Barred for Urging Boycott to Rebuke Jerry Jones

ESPN enforces its social media guidelines with the suspension of Jemele Hill, its SportsCenter host, for a second Twitter outburst. In response to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones's statement that he would bench all players who "disrespect the flag," Hill tweeted, "If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers." She called President Trump a white supremacist last month. Although she later clarified that she was not calling for a boycott of the NFL, ESPN implemented a two-week suspension. Jones's threat that the Cowboys will not play if they disrespect the flag was met with opposition from the NFL Players Association, which "issued a statement that defended its members' right to free expression."


Google Inquiry Connects Election Ads to Russians

Google's internal investigation revealed how Russia used social networks and technology services to influence the 2016 presidential election. The social media giant discovered thousands of dollars' worth of ads purchased by Russian agents. The ads spanned the political spectrum, from Donald Trump building a golf course in Scotland, to asking whether President Obama needed to resign. Microsoft is also investigating whether Russia infiltrated its Bing search engine. Facebook already discovered that Russia had placed over 3,000 ads during the election campaign. Representatives from Google have been called in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on November 1st.


Lawmakers Will Release Facebook Ads from Russia

The thousands of Facebook ads used by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election will be released to the public according to the House Intelligence Committee. Hearings will be held on November 1st to investigate the role of social media in Russia's election tampering. Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has been meeting with federal officials in a public relations effort to diffuse the political pressure surrounding the media giant. She has agreed to provide additional fake news and inflammatory content from the social media platform. According to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the ads will have to be scrubbed of personally identifiable information before being released to the public.


Russians Spun Americans' Rage on Facebook into a Weapon

The New York Times investigated hundreds of posts written by Americans that were re-posted on Russian social media pages. The posts took "descriptions and videos of police beatings from genuine YouTube and Facebook accounts," and re-posted them on Russian pages entitled "Being Patriotic," "Blacktivist," and others resembling American angst. They used the social media platform's system for engagement to feed outrage. Jonathan Albright from Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism calls it "cultural hacking." The Being Patriotic page added the statement: "the national can't trust the federal government. What a disgrace!" to a statement copied from the American site InfoWars that said, "the federal government had taken property from private land owners at pennies on the dollar." According to Graphika, a commercial analytics company, the Russians used platforms from white nationalists to Bernie Sanders supporters to manipulate them. Unlike "astroturfing," a public relations strategy that constructs fake grassroots support behind an idea, the Russians threw seeds and fertilizer onto social media to cultivate a political movement.


Turkish Court Convicts American Reporter in Absentia

Journalist Ayla Albayrak, a dual citizen of Turkey and Finland, was convicted of terrorism by Turkey and sentenced to two years and one month in prison. Ranked by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the highest jailer of journalists, Turkey has implemented a crackdown on media news members. Albayrak was charged with violating Turkey's Article 7/2 Antiterror Law for her 2015 Wall Street Journal article entitled, "Urban Welfare Escalates in Turkey's Kurdish-Majority Southeast," which described clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists. Wall Street Journal executives Gerard Baker and William Lewis condemn the ruling. The newspaper will appeal.


Blind Man's Lawsuits Seek Access to College Websites

Emanuel Delacruz, who is blind, filed several lawsuits against area colleges, charging them with violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Manhattan against Fordham University, Manhattan College, Long Island University, Iona College, and Hofstra University, because their websites are inaccessible to Delacruz. Attorneys are arguing that the federal law requiring public spaces to be accessible to those with disabilities also applies to websites. Over 750 lawsuits have been filed since 2015, mostly against retailers and restaurants. Colleges and universities have only recently faced lawsuits. In 2015, MIT and Harvard were sued by advocates for the deaf, and the Department of Justice's civil rights division found that the University of California, Berkeley, violated the disability law. Failing to caption online lectures and not providing accommodations for video lectures and podcasts are argued to be noncompliance. The 1990's Americans With Disabilities Act does not include the internet, so it is unclear whether the lawsuits will prevail. The Justice Department has issued guidelines, but considering that "web regulations" have been placed on the federal government's "inactive" agenda items, it is unlikely that formal regulations will be adopted.

There is no nationwide consensus of enforcement. A Californian judge earlier this year dismissed a suit by a blind man against Domino's Pizza, "because the chain offered an option to order by telephone." A Florida judge ruled that Winn-Dixie "had to offer the same accommodations on its website as it did in stores." Then in July, a Brooklyn judge ruled that "Blick Art Material's website had to be readily available to a blind man." Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, said the rulings result in a legal gray area for "either significant civil rights advances or exploitation by lawyers looking to make a quick buck through settlements." There have been cases where identical lawsuits have been filed against several businesses or colleges. Sometimes, the unintended consequences can be dire. The Berkeley suit resulted in the university taking down over 20,000 video and audio files.


Amazon Suspends Executive Accused of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment allegations continue to fly in the entertainment and media industries. Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, was suspended resulting from accusations that he made unwanted sexual advances towards Isa Dick Hackett. Hackett, executive producer of "The Man in the High Castle," said in a Hollywood Reporter article that Price propositioned her in July 2015 after a dinner at San Diego Comic-Con. Reportedly, he made use of vulgar genitalia terms. Her claims were first made public in an article in The Information, a tech news website. Hackett told the Hollywood Reporter that she had found inspiration to go public after the recent articles in the New York Times and the New Yorker Magazine regarding the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. "I feel inspired by the other women who have been far braver than I am, who have come forward," she said.


Investor Presses for Change in 21st Century Fox Board

CtW Investment Group, an organization that "advises several union pension funds invested in Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox," called for an overhaul of the 21st Century Fox board and a comprehensive review of its workplace culture. In a letter from CtW's executive director, Dieter Waizenegger, to Viet D. Dinh, chairman of 21st Century's nominating and corporate governance committee, the organization accuses the directors of failing to ensure that the proper corporate controls were in place when it was aware of the settlements, and "refused to investigate and mitigate the risk . . . and facilitated a tone at the top that permits unethical behavior by high performers." 21st Century Fox stated that it will "respond accordingly," as it takes CtW's communications seriously. Although 21st Century Fox is currently under investigation by the U.S. attorney's office, CtW said it does not need to wait for the results of that investigation. It has called for the resignation of Roderick Eddington, the company's lead director who is also chairman of the audit committee, for failing in his "risk oversight responsibilities." In addition, CtW called for adding directors with human resources experience, increasing the number of women directors, and creating a new committee of independent directors to focus on "organizational culture, workplace safety and health, work force diversity and pay equality, and employment engagement and development." This urging for corporate governance reform should be of no surprise to 21st Century Fox, as shareholders called for similar changes six years ago after its phone-hacking scandal. 21st Century Fox's dual-class share structure continues to present a problem to implement reform. The Murdoch family controls 40 percent of the class of stock with voting rights, compared to other owners with a second class of stock with no voting rights. Even if more independent directors are added to the board, it is unlikely that they will have voting privileges. There is a proposal to the shareholders that would eliminate the dual-class share structure. The 21st Century Fox board is opposed to changing the share structure.


October 12, 2017

FCC Grants Experimental License for Project Loon to Operate in Puerto Rico

By Barry Skidelsky

On October 7th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted an experimental license for Project Loon, led by Google's parent company Alphabet, to help provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico. As FCC Chairman Pai explained: "More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without access to much-needed communications services. That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island. Project Loon is one such approach."

Project Loon is a network of high altitude balloons that provides connectivity to users on the ground. This novel approach, which requires the cooperation of local incumbent wireless carriers en la isla del encanto, could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service enabling them to connect with loved ones and to access life-saving information.

Project Loon potentially could bring voice and internet access services not only to additional areas impacted by natural disaster caused emergencies, but also to rural or remote regions that generally lack the same communications connectivity large urban areas in the United States regularly enjoy. A brief video explanation from Project Loon is at https://x.company/loon/#video:MiEZfRh-h-s.

Barry Skidelsky is a NYC based attorney whose private practice involves entertainment, media, telecommunications and technology. A frequent author and speaker, member of EASL's Executive Committee and co-chair of EASL's TV & Radio Committee, se habla espańol tambien. Barry can be reached at 212-832-4800 or bskidelsky@mindspring.com.

October 9, 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:

Vegas Shooter Kills 58

During the last night of the "Route 91" country music festival in Las Vegas, a 64-year-old white male fired repeatedly into the crowd from a suite in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where he had more than 20 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He also had explosives and chemicals used for bomb-making in his car. Investigations are ongoing.


High Court Hears Argument on Workplace Arbitration

The Supreme Court heard argument in three cases consolidated to present the issue of whether employment agreements could include arbitration clauses with class-action waivers. The Justices' comments and questions suggest no clear outcome.


France Moves Closer to Stricter Counterterrorism Laws

The lower house of the French Parliament has passed, by a wide margin, a bill that would put into the hands of security personnel decisions typically reserved for, or overseen by, the judiciary. The legislation would permit search and seizure and house arrest without judicial review, expands the areas where police can establish checkpoints, and permits the restriction of access to public areas for up to a month without judicial review. The bill, which still must be reconciled with the upper house's version, is intended to codify measures that would allow the president to lift the state of emergency that has been in place for two years.


U.S. Shuts Door on Cuban Immigrants, Mystery Ailments

The U.S. State Department sharply reduced its staff at the U.S. embassy in Cuba, and indefinitely suspended processing of visas at that embassy. The U.S. also has halted its "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which permitted Cubans to stay if they made it to U.S. soil, but required those halted short of the shore to turn around. President Trump also expelled 15 Cuban diplomats. All of these steps appear to be in response to mysterious symptoms reported by U.S. consular staff, which some think may be the result of a direct attack on those personnel.



Japanese Journalist Dies of Overwork

31-year-old journalist Miwa Sado died of congestive heart failure caused by overwork. Sado rarely took weekends off, and in one month worked 159 hours of overtime. Death by overwork is so common in Japan that there is a name for it: karoshi.


Trump Administration Asks High Court to Dismiss Travel Ban Suits

The U.S. Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to dismiss two cases challenging the Trump administration's revised travel ban, arguing that they are moot in light of recent changes to the travel restrictions. The Court took the case off the argument calendar last month, after the administration announced the changes.


Attorney General Rolls Back Transgender Workplace Protections

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans workplace discrimination based on sex, does not protect transgender people. This is a reversal of former attorney general Eric Holder's order instructing the DOJ to define "sex" in that statute to include gender identity.


Concert in Egypt Leads to Crackdowns on Gay and Transgender People

Since fans waved a rainbow flag at a rock concert in Egypt last month, at least 34 people have been arrested, apparently for "trying to promote homosexual ideas," and at least one detainee has been convicted of "committing debauchery" and sentenced to 6 years in prison.



Weinstein Company in Distress after Harassment Allegations

In the wake of reports that co-chairman Harvey Weinstein had been engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment for over three decades, the Weinstein Company is in disarray. On Thursday, Weinstein announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence. On Saturday, Weinstein's attorney, Lisa Bloom, resigned. At least three board members reportedly have resigned, and the remaining members have hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. On Sunday evening, the directors announced that Harvey Weinstein was "terminated, effective immediately."



Country Music Artists Have Mixed Reactions to Vegas Shooting

The mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas has highlighted divisions--and fears--in the country music community. Long associated with pro-gun rights sentiment, the country music industry historically has had a very close relationship with the NRA, including a "lifestyle brand" called "NRA Country." Some musicians, like Jennifer Nettles and Sheryl Crowhave, called for stricter gun control in the wake of the massacre, while others, like country duo Big and Rich, see no connection between gun laws and what happened in Vegas. For the most part, however, country artists seem to be keeping mum, afraid of being "Dixie Chick-ed" for expressing a view that may be unpopular among fans.


Actress Accuses Polanski of Rape

No, a different one. Renate Langer, a former actress, recently told Swiss Police that director Roman Polanski raped her when she was 15, in 1972. Langer is the fourth woman to publicly accuse Polanski of sexually assaulting her as a teenager.


Television Directors More Diverse

The Directors Guild of America released the results of a study it says shows that women and "ethnic minorities" are being hired as first time directors at higher rates than in 2009. Others criticize the results as incomplete and unduly self-congratulatory.



"Street-style" Photographers Protest Unauthorized Use

Dozens of photographers promoted the hashtag #NoFreePhotos to protest the uncompensated use of their photos in the promotion of fashion brands. "The Photographers," as they call themselves, are among the paparazzi-like street photographers who vie for snaps of so-called "influencers"--Internet personalities known for their styles. The influencers and the fashion brands with whom they often have synergistic, cross-promotional relationships, increasingly are using these copyrighted photos in their own promotions, without paying the photographers.


Critic Accuses Poet of Plagiarism

In his review of Jill Bialosky's memoir, "Poetry Will Save Your Life," literary critic William Logan accused the poet of plagiarizing Wikipedia and the websites of the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation. Bialosky, who is a vice president and executive editor at W. W. Norton, said Logan "extracted a few ancillary and limited phrases...that inadvertently include fragments of prior common biographical sources and tropes after a multiyear writing process."


"Fearless Girl" Firm Failed Females Financially, Forfeits Five Million

State Street Corporation, the financial services firm that sponsored the "Fearless Girl" statue that now stands in front of the iconic Wall Street bull, agreed to pay $5 million to settle an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor that State Street paid female executives less than similarly situated males. The $5 million will go into a fund for female and minority executives who were paid less than white males in the same positions. .


Seuss Museum to Replace Offensive Mural

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts, will be replacing a mural depicting "the Chinaman," a character from Seuss's first book, "And to think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street." Several authors complained, calling the image a "jarring racial stereotype," and refused to attend an event at the museum. The museum announced that it would take down the image, then canceled the event.


Guggenheim Pulls Works After "Ominous Threats"

The Guggenheim Museum removed three works from its new exhibit, "Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World," after receiving threats directed at its employees. All three pieces involved animals (the basis for the threats and protests). The most notorious piece, "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other," featured two fighting dogs on treadmills facing each other.


Louvre Pulls "Sexually Explicit" Installation

The Louvre announced that "Domestikator," a piece by the collective Atelier Van Lieshout, will not be on view at the Louvre's Tuileries Gardens on October 19th as originally planned. The 40-foot high sculpture is a semi-abstract representation of copulation, and the Louvre's director cited concerns that the work "risks being misunderstood by visitors to the garden," and that it is situated near a children's playground.


Lincoln Center Abandons $500 Million Renovation

A $500 million plan to gut renovate the home of the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center was scrapped. Media mogul David Geffen pledged $100 million to the effort in 2015, and Avery Fisher Hall was renamed David Geffen Hall. Citing various construction issues and concerns for delay, the project leaders went back to the drawing board to devise a more modest renovation. In reaction to the news, Geffen called out New York's wealthiest for not giving more. "New York deserves to have the best concert hall for the Philharmonic. New York should have the best of everything," said Geffen on the day the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced that Geffen was donating $150 million.



Miranda Releases Charity Single for Hurricane Relief

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash musical "Hamilton", released a single called "Almost Like Praying," which features a lineup of famous Latino artists like Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, John Leguizamo, and Rita Moreno to raise funds and awareness for victims of Hurricane Maria.


Ishiguro Wins Nobel

Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese novelist best known for "The Remains of The Day," has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.



Russia Orders Doping Whistle-Blower's Arrest

A Russian court issued an order calling for the arrest of Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Anti-Doping Center in Moscow, who publicly disclosed that urine samples were tampered with during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Rodchenkov's revelations led to investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee, and the banning of several Russian athletes.


Silver Says Hoopsters Should Stand for Anthem

National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking after the NBA's Board of Governors meeting, said that he expected players to follow the league rule requiring standing during the national anthem. He said they have other avenues through which to make their voices heard.


National Football League to Investigate Pryor Claims of Racial Taunting

National Football League officials are investigating Washington Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor's report that racial slurs were shouted at him from the crowd during last Monday night's game at Kansas City. TMZ published a video that catches the tail end of a heated exchange between Pryor and some fans; reportedly no racial slurs are clearly audible in the video.


Head of Brazil's Olympic Committee Arrested in Bribery Investigation

On Thursday, federal police detained Carlos Arthur Nuzman, head of Brazil's Olympic Committee. Nuzman is accused of failing to declare assets (including 16 bars of gold) held abroad, and is implicated in emails that appear to discuss payment of bribes in connection with Brazil's successful bid to host the Olympic games.


Major League Baseball Clears Coach of Cheating with Apple Watch

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced its conclusion, after investigation, that Arizona Diamondbacks coach Ariel Prieto did not use his Apple Watch for improper purposes during a recent game against the Colorado Rockies. Prieto and the Diamondbacks were fined for violating the MLB's rules against using electronic communications during games.


Newton Apologizes for Sexist Remark

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton apologized for a sexist remark he made to reporter Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer. The apology came after Dannon withdrew its sponsorship of Newton.


Devils to be First National Hockey League Team to Own Women's Franchise

The New Jersey Devils agreed to a three-year partnership with the Metropolitan Riveters (nee New York Riveters), which includes providing the women's team with rent-free facilities, and assisting in sponsorships, ticket sales, and marketing.


Youngstown Settles with Convicted Rapist

Several months after Youngstown State university accepted Ma'lik Richmond to the football team, the university told Richmond that he couldn't play. That decision was made after a student circulated a petition to keep Richmond off the team, because Richmond previously had been convicted of rape. Richmond sued the school and obtained a TRO allowing him to play. The parties settled, and Richmond will remain on the active roster.


Barcelona Joins Catalan Protest

The Barcelona football club joined a country-wide strike to protest government efforts to stop Sunday's referendum on Catalonian independence.


French Bank Implicated in Olympics Bribery Scheme

French prosecutors are looking into the role of Société Générale, one of France's largest banks, in a $2 million transfer officials believe was a bribe intended to secure Brazil's chances of hosting the Olympics in 2016.


String of Arrests in Basketball Bribery Investigation

A three-year investigation into bribes given to basketball recruits led to the arrest of 10 people, including four assistant coaches, an Adidas marketing executive, and a tailor who made suits for NBA stars. At the University of Louisville, which is alleged to have paid a player to attend the school, coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on administrative leave, and the school began the process of firing Pitino.


Contact Sports Cause 600,000 Injuries a Year

Researchers at Yale University calculated that contact sports may be responsible for 650,000 injuries among male high school and college athletes. Making those sports non-contact could save over $20 billion in medical costs and time lost.



Top Lawyer Leaves Fox News

Fox News announced Friday that its executive vice president of legal and business affairs, Dianne Brandi, has taken a voluntary leave of absence. Brandi is reportedly a subject of the U.S. Attorney's investigation into Fox News' handling of sexual harassment complaints. The plaintiffs in several lawsuits alleged that Brandi concealed inappropriate behavior or dismissed employees' concerns.


AIM is 404 as of 12/15/17

On December 15, 2017, the 20-year-old messaging platform AOL Instant Messenger will transmit its last message.


Los Angeles Times Newsroom Looking to Unionize

Newsroom employees at The Los Angeles Times have been organizing in favor of a union they hope would help them improve working conditions, pay, benefits, and employee protections. A majority reportedly support representation by the NewsGuild, a national organization. The push for unionization is a reaction to recent unilateral and unwelcome actions by the Times' parent company, Tronc.


Yahoo Breach Hit All Three Billion Accounts

Yahoo previously disclosed that a cyberattack in 2013 had affected 1 billion user accounts. Verizon, which bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion in June, announced that all of Yahoo's user accounts--about 3 billion--were affected.


Russian Collusion Investigation Continues, Targets Social Media

The Senate Intelligence Committee has now been investigating whether Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 elections for roughly nine months. It has interviewed over 100 witnesses, reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents, and the investigation continues. Facebook gave Congressional investigators over 3,000 Russian ads it said had been viewed by about 10 million individuals in the U.S. According to the social media giant, "[m]ost of the ads appear to focus on divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum...." Twitter has agreed to appear for a public hearing on November 1st to answer questions about fake Russian accounts. Facebook has said it also will appear.




Facebook to Manually Review Sensitive Ads

Facebook announced that it will implement "human review" for ads that target certain politically sensitive groups or issues, and that this may cause delays in approval of ads.


Google Finds Russian-financed YouTube Ads

Google determined that some YouTube ad spending--less than $100,000--was potentially linked to Russian operatives.


Facebook Blocks Critic of China

Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire living in New York, is known for publicizing accusations of corruption among China's leaders. Facebook blocked Guo's profile and took down another page associated with him, stating that the pages included a third party's personal identifiable information in violation of the Facebook terms of service.


October 1, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Supreme Court Cancels Hearing on Previous Trump Travel Ban

The Supreme Court cancelled its hearing of the Trump administration's revised travel ban, which targeted seven majority Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa and severely limited immigration from those countries. President Trump announced a third revised travel ban, which also includes two countries that do not have majority Muslim countries, and is therefore more likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court if it is challenged on the basis of religious discrimination, as expected. The Supreme Court's decision to cancel the hearing is likely to lead to a decision deeming the case moot as a result of the revisions.


Twitter Seen as Key Battlefield in Russian Influence Campaign

Following Facebook coming under scrutiny both in the public eye and behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Twitter is now under the microscope. Given the platform's historical problem with eliminating bots from its site, as well as the fact that accounts can be created with near-total anonymity, it was an appealing platform for Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. Analysts have observed what appear to be continued use of the bots through the latest controversies, including that of National Football League (NFL) players taking a knee during the national anthem. It is expected that Twitter will disclose documents to the Congressional committees investigating the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.


Attorney General Sessions Joins War Over Free Speech

Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Georgetown University Law Center and spoke about free speech at universities. Sessions called for a re-commitment to having free speech on campuses. He lamented that universities have transformed "into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos." He cited examples of conservative commentators having to cancel their speaking engagements because of protests.


Egyptian Concertgoers Wave Flag, are Jailed

Egyptian police arrested seven concertgoers for promoting homosexuality after the audience members waved rainbow-colored flags at a concert in Cairo last week. A popular Lebanese band, Mashrou' Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay, was performing in Cairo at a time when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been cracking down on free speech and gay rights. The seven individuals were charged with "promoting sexual deviancy," leaving one to remark that he would have been in half the trouble if he had waved an ISIS flag.


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


Pharrell Williams 'Takes a Knee' as Artists Join Anthem Protest

Singer and producer Pharrell Williams, while at a charity concert in Charlottesville, Virginia, dropped to both knees in a show of solidarity with the NFL players who have knelt or locked arms during the national anthem as a show of defiance against the Trump administration, and to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice. This debate was inflamed when President Trump tweeted that players who do not stand during the national anthem should be fired. Several other performers have taken a knee like Williams, including Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews, John Legend, and Eddie Vedder.



Billionaires, Bruised Egos and the Death of a Grand Project

Barry Diller's dream of opening Pier 55, a floating park in the Hudson River near 14th Street, was dashed after months of resistance from those in the community who did not want the park. They challenged him in federal court, causing a judge to revoke the permit to build, and Diller arranged a meeting with the people who had waged a war against him. When confronted with the minutiae of building the park and addressing their concerns, he agreed to abandon the project. With that, the six-year saga that had cost $40 million ended, putting Diller into company with David Rockefeller, another billionaire who tried and failed to develop the West Side's waterfront.


The Guggenheim Bows to Animal Rights Activists

The Guggenheim came under pressure from animal rights activists for an exhibition that showed dogs struggling to fight each other, pigs mating, and hundreds of insects, lizards, and snakes under an overhead lamp. Each piece was meant to be symbolic of oppression in China, but activists did not sympathize. The Guggenheim has since removed the works from exhibition, prompting the artist and activist Ai Weiwei to say in a telephone interview: "Pressuring museums to pull down artwork shows a narrow understanding about not only animal rights but also human rights."




In College Basketball Scandal, Follow the Money and the Shoes

At major colleges and universities, there have been quid pro quos among companies, like Adidas, and staff, such as associate head coaches. Nearly $100,000 changed hands as bribes to bring top prospects to the best programs in college sports. These allegations and more were revealed in a series of complaints that federal investigators made public on Tuesday. The complaints show a black market surrounding teenage athletes, where executives at shoe companies like Adidas paid families of potential star athletes tens of thousands of dollars to influence their decisions in selecting programs. Louisville's men's basketball program is the latest to be caught in this type of scandal, causing Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to be fired, a disgrace for the two-time national champion. While he denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, the recent revelations paint the picture that it was so pervasive as to be difficult to ignore.



Nine Florida Football Players Face Fraud Charges

Nine players for the University of Florida are now facing felony charges for transferring money from a stolen credit card to their campus bookstore accounts, using the funds to buy electronics. All of the players were suspended from the team, but are still enrolled at the university.


Tom Brady: 'I Certainly Disagree' With What Trump Said

Tom Brady, the five-time Super Bowl winner and quarterback of the New England Patriots, has a documented friendship with President Trump. Brady, on a morning radio show, commented that he "certainly disagree[d]" with President Trump's statements as they were divisive. Notably, Brady chose to lock arms with one of his teammates and put his other hand over his heart during the national anthem during their last game.


NFL Owners' Unity With Players Might Be Short-Lived

NFL owners are predominantly white, conservative billionaires, and several were top donors to Donald Trump's campaign. However, following the debate surrounding kneeling during the national anthem, many owners find themselves in harmony with their players. Analysts expect that the display of unity will likely be short-lived, as the kneeling issue fades and labor disputes flare up again.


Trump's NFL Critique Calculated to Shore Up His Base

Those close to President Donald Trump have noted that he was pleased at the response of his base to his attacks on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Kellyanne Conway, a White House advisor, called him "intuitive" for his ability to discern what his base wants and to act based on those wants. Others have noted that Trump's shoring up his base inevitably pulls him away from the center, and makes it more difficult to accomplish his legislative agenda, as Congress is not likely to broadly agree with his brand of politics.


Trump Attacks Warriors' Curry. LeBron James' Retort: 'U Bum.'

On Twitter, President Trump withdrew Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry's invitation to the White House, which was extended after the Warriors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship earlier this year. This prompted other NBA stars to come defend their colleague. LeBron James tweeted back to President Trump: "U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" This development is the latest in athletes commenting on race and social justice, to which President Trump has increasingly reacted.


A Big College Sports Business is About to Get Bigger

Learfield Communications began as a small company selling rights to radio broadcasts, corporate sponsorships, and in-stadium signage for the University of Missouri. It expanded in the last 40 years and mergeed with a competitor, IMG College, to control multimedia rights for approximately 55 of 65 colleges and universities in major conferences. Learfield hopes to continue acquiring rights, such as naming rights, ticketing, and associated licensing with all the major programs to further grow the business and to increase the scale of businesses supporting college sports.



68 Things You Cannot Say on China's Internet

Writers have to be remarkably careful in China in what they seek to publish. A writer cannot describe explicit sexual acts, leaving romance novels to be vague in their descriptions. China released a directive identifying 68 categories of materials that are censored on the internet, also including political commentary, material that depicts excessive drinking or gambling, material that publicizes a life of luxury, or any ridicule of China's historical revolutionary heroes.


September 28, 2017

Designated Agent Deadline re DMCA Safe-Harbor

By Barry Skidelsky

The United States Copyright Office (CO) released a reminder that previous paper filings designating agents for the receipt of take-down notices from copyright owners will only continue to be valid until December 31, 2017 (see https://www.copyright.gov/newsnet/2017/683.html).

By that date, existing agent designations must be updated using the CO's new online registration system. New registrations of designated agents also must be made online. The DMCA Designated Agent Directory's homepage is at www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/.

Any blogger, website or other online service provider who/that hosts content posted by third parties (e.g., User Generated Content or UGC) that might possibly infringe someone else's copyrights must electronically file an agent designation as a condition of receiving safe harbor protection against copyright infringement claims under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The current filing fee is six dollars, a pittance compared to statutory and other damages available in copyright infringement cases. Of course, registering a designated agent to receive take-down notices is just one necessary step to limit liability for materials online (e.g., see 17 USC 512).

September 25, 2017

Aaron Hernandez's Estate Sues the National Football League for Lack of Parental Consortium

By Michael Kusi

Aaron Hernandez was a tight end who played for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) from 2010 to 2013. He was arrested on June 26, 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was a semi-professional football player. The New England Patriots released Hernandez from the team after this arrest.

Hernandez was convicted on April 15, 2015 of first-degree murder for Lloyd's death, and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He was also charged in the murders of Safiro Furtado and Daniel De'abreu. On April 14, 2017, Hernandez was found not guilty of those murders. On April 19, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell. On May 9, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh vacated Hernandez's murder conviction on the grounds of abatement ab initio, which is a legal doctrine that mandates dismissal of a conviction when the defendant has not finished his appeal when he dies.

On September 21, Hernandez's estate sued the NFL and the New England Patriots for Lack of Parental Consortium on behalf of his daughter, Avielle Hernandez. In the Complaint, filed with the United States District Court for State of Massachusetts, the plaintiff requests a jury demand and states that Aaron Hernandez had severe Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of playing in the NFL. The CTE was diagnosed by the School of Medicine at Boston University.

The Complaint states that there is a correlation between Aaron Hernandez's CTE and his actions leading up to his death. It also alleges that the NFL did not take sufficient remedial measures to combat the potential for CTE in its athletes. The Complaint asserts that the NFL was negligent in managing existing CTE cases, and that it knew the dangers of football, but misled the public and its athletes.

The plaintiff alleges that because of Aaron Hernandez's death, his daughter suffers from a loss of parental consortium, which is when a child suffers from a lack of parental relationship and injury occurs as a result. The Complaint states that the NFL should have stopped Aaron Hernandez from playing football due to its dangerous nature, and that because of his playing football, he was subjected to head trauma, which gave him CTE. The Complaint also depicts the link between the CTE and Aaron Hernandez's erratic behavior leading up to his death.

The Complaint requests a judgment against the defendants, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney's fees and costs.

more . . .

September 24, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

For Puerto Ricans Off the Island, a Struggle to Contact After Hurricane Maria

With approximately five million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland and their families in Puerto Rico, the magnitude of Hurricane Maria brought tremendous concern. After the hurricane passed, however, the concern increased, as the assurances of safety and health were not forthcoming from the island: approximately 95% of communications equipment was not operational. By the end of the week, some services, such as limited texting, were somewhat available. The American Red Cross, as well as other organizations, opened services to allow family members to post notices about whom they are searching, and for Puerto Rican families to post that they are okay.


Skadden Faces Questions on Work with Paul Manafort

Approximately five years ago, Paul Manafort contacted the prestigious law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to draft a report for Manafort's client Viktor Yanukovych, who was the pro-Russian president of Ukraine at the time and used the report to jail a political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko. The Department of Justice recently asked the firm for information and documents in relation to that work, and it is unknown whether the request concerns Robert Mueller's inquiry regarding Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. However, even if the request is unrelated to Mueller's inquiry, it illustrates the risks that high-profile firms face in entering the lucrative business of advising foreign governments.


State Department to Tighten Visa Entry Rules for U.S.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a cable to American embassies around the world informing them of a policy change: those visitors who require visas must stick to their plans reported to the Embassy when acquiring the visas for the first three months after entry into the U.S. If they do anything that is not in their stated plans, such as go to school, get a job, or get married to an American citizen, there will be a presumption that they deliberately lied in obtaining the visa, which would make it extraordinarily difficult to renew it, obtain a new one, or change the status from visitor. This rule will not apply to citizens of 38 countries, including most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.


Judge Rules That Videographers Cannot Cite Religious Beliefs to Refuse Same-Sex Clients

A Minnesota couple who posted on their media production business' website that they would not make films celebrating same-sex marriages filed suit against the Minnesota State Department of Human Rights and the state's attorney general, arguing that they had a free speech right to refuse business. The United States District Court heard the case, and this week, Judge John Tunheim held that the couple cannot keep the statement, as it is the equivalent of posting a sign stating, "White Applicants Only." This holding comes as the Supreme Court is set to hear a case soon about a baker in Colorado who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding on the basis of his Christian faith and free expression.


Syrian Activist and Daughter Found Stabbed in Turkey

Orouba Barakat, a Syrian activist, and her daughter, Halla Barakat, were found stabbed in their Istanbul apartment this week. The elder Barakat was a prominent activist against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and his father's regime as well, but after the civil war broke out in Syria, she moved to Istanbul with her daughter and continued her activism. She was part of an opposing party in Syria, which has prompted many to speculate whether Assad's government was behind the assassination. The party released a statement indicating it believed the "hand of terrorism and tyranny is the prime suspect in this heinous crime of assassination."


Japan's Dennis Rodman: 32-Time Visitor to North Korea and Former Wrestler

A Japanese former professional wrestler and member of Parliament, Antonio Inoki, has visited North Korea 32 times since 1995 and become a liaison between North Korea's government and the rest of the world, which has particularly drawn interest as tensions have flared among North Korea, Japan, and the U.S. Following a recent visit to North Korea, he opined that its government simply wants to have a dialogue with the U.S. and deescalate the situation. Neither the Japanese government nor the American government has pursued a serious dialogue with North Korea.


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


Saudi Textbook Withdrawn Because of Picture of Yoda with King

Saudi Arabian high school students were issued a textbook that depicted King Faisal at the United Nations with Yoda, a Star Wars character, seated next to him. The unlikely meeting never occurred; in fact, an artist named Abdullah Al Shehri created the work. However, he does not know how the art made its way into the book. The Saudi education minister apologized for the mistake and formed a legal committee to "determine the source of the error and to take the proper measures." It is unclear as to what extent the committee will investigate the intellectual property issues of using Yoda's image and publishing it in a textbook, or whether Lucasfilm intends to pursue this infringement. Regardless, the ministry is issuing corrected copies of the textbook.


KB Home to Cut CEO's Bonus After Sexist, Homophobic Outburst Against Kathy Griffin

Following a verbal tirade by Jeffrey Mezger, the chief executive of homebuilding company KB Home, the company announced that he will only receive a portion of his annual bonus. The specific amount of the bonus, and the portion that he will receive are unknown, but last year he earned $9 million total from his role as chief executive. The confrontation was recorded at Kathy Griffin's home when she and her boyfriend, Randy Bick, were targeted after calling the police to complain about noise from Mezger's backyard.


Expecting Hero's Welcome, Lebanese Director Charged with Treason

Lebanese film director Ziad Doueiri returned this month to Beirut to celebrate the debut of his new movie "The Insult." When he arrived at the airport, he faced an unexpected surprise: arrest and appearance before a military court the next day facing accusations of treason. He shot his previous movie in Israel, which is an enemy state for Lebanon. He was released after a few hours of questioning, but it is unclear what will happen in the future, given the fact that he had visited Lebanon more than a dozen times since the offending film was released.



If You Shame Them, Will They Pay?

There have been numerous instances of Forever 21, the fashion retailer, releasing articles of clothing that are eerily similar to ones that independent artists or smaller brands created. One example was when two women joined together with one's husband to create a shirt with the word "woman" written in several languages, and released it on social media for friends and family to buy. The proceeds were meant to go to Planned Parenthood. However, they soon found that Forever 21 was also selling a shirt with "woman" spelled in different languages. One expert has said that brands like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 interpret trends and change designs just enough to avoid liability, but sending a cease-and-desist letter to those companies may net a settlement. Others have taken to shaming the brands on social media and raising awareness that taking designs from lesser known artists or companies prevents those startups from gaining traction in the marketplace.


Ambitious Art Show Faces Debt

Germany has hosted an exhibition of contemporary art every five years called Documenta, which is in its fourteenth edition, and this edition is creating controversy after centering on the financial state of Greece and Germany. The exhibition was set up in both Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece, and its cost appears to have put the organization into financial distress. There is a dispute as to whether the artistic director, Adam Szymczyk, is to blame for the financial shortfall, or whether the economic plan in place before his appointment is the cause. Regardless, analysts point out that the exhibition's success or failure has a direct impact on the well being of Kassel, Germany, and for that reason, it is likely there will be further investigation.


Painting Emerges as Cautionary Tale

Leon Hanssen, a Piet Mondrian biographer, visited the Bozar Center for the Arts in Brussels, Belgium when he saw a painting that appeared to be an untitled 1923 Mondrian that the Nazis displayed in 1937 as an example of "degenerate art." It was believed to have been destroyed in the Berlin air raids at the end of World War II, and Hanssen asked to have a closer inspection of the painting. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam was set to receive the work next, and Hanssen approached it to get more information about the owner of the painting, who had lent it to three art institutions. Hanssen's research revealed that the painting had been rejected multiple times, with its authenticity in question, but nonetheless, the institutions had accepted it from the owner for exhibition. One industry expert says that this is an example of where institutions are not equipped with the experts to ensure that works are properly vetted before being brought in for display.


Upheaval at Bach Festival

The Bach Festival is centered in Eugene, Oregon and brings world-class artists together from around the globe. However, the festival fired its artistic director, Matthew Halls, which raised questions about the stability of the institution. His style of smaller, historically-informed performances as opposed to the big-symphony performances of his predecessor may be one reason for his firing. However, some wonder whether it has anything to do with his faking a Southern accent with an African-American colleague and making racially insensitive jokes. Given the fact that he was fired a few months into his new four-year contract, and the festival has only cited "personnel issues" for the firing, those in the industry are inclined to conclude that his firing was not solely because of the change in performance style.


Holocaust Museum, Seeking Lessons on Syria, Gets Backlash Instead

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum commissioned a study about whether alternative strategies could have lessened the bloodshed in Syria, which is now in its sixth year. The study concluded that no American action was guaranteed to significantly reduce the violence in Syria, which has set off a strong reaction. Many have attacked the institution for the study, which some interpret as exonerating President Barack Obama for any fault for the killings that occurred under his watch. The museum has since pulled the report, and some board members admitted that they did not expect such a furor to result.


As 'Diller Island' Sinks, Whitney Plans Artwork on Hudson

Last week, Barry Diller announced that after numerous setbacks, there would in fact not be a floating park in the Hudson River. The Whitney Museum of American Art, which is in the Meatpacking District, has plans for a permanent art installation on land and water by the artist David Hammons. The installation is expected to feature a ghostlike image of the pier building on the site, and Whitney Museum officials are quick to point out that they followed the obstacles that the Diller Island installation faced. The project is to be presented to the local community board on October 4, 2017 for review.



Aaron Hernandez Had Severe CTE at Time of Death, But Legal Hurdles Impede Suit Against NFL

Researchers determined that the late New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had a severe form of the degenerative brain disease CTE that is tied to repeated head hits. There are questions now as to whether his behavior, and the killing of a friend and himself, were tied to the brain disease. His relatives sued the National Football League (NFL) and the Patriots organization for failing to protect him, despite knowing that the game was dangerous and could lead to brain damage. The family will face difficulty having its case heard, given the NFL's past success in arguing that matters between it and players should exclusively be resolved in arbitration, not in the courts. Further, the NFL is expected to argue that its players know the risks of injury when they agree to play, and that Hernandez's actions were not directly linked to any brain disease.


The Home Run Explosion is Not Beyond Suspicion

Earlier this week, a record-setting 5,694th home run was hit in Toronto, raising the question of what has changed in the sport to cause more home runs this year. While in 2014, only 11 players hit 30 or more home runs, this season will bring 32 players to clear the 30-home run mark. Coaches and players have insisted that the increase results from is the launch angles and revelations as to the physics of hitting the baseball. Michael Powell of the New York Times remembers back to 1998, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were setting home run records and the same reasons were given, only to later be revealed as being steroid-induced. While Powell does not conclude that there are inevitably steroids involved in the records being broken this year, he does note that there are steroids on the market now that are virtually undetectable given the current testing that players undergo.


Stronger Calls for Netting in Baseball After Latest Bloody Incident

Last week at Yankee Stadium, a young girl was struck by a 105-mile-per-hour line drive, which left her seriously injured. Incidents like this have caused many baseball teams to put protective netting to prevent line drives from hitting fans and causing injuries. The Yankees' chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, rather than announce the installation of netting as many other teams have done, announced that the Yankees would investigate the installation of netting and cautioned that it would not be a three-day job to install netting in the stadium. While Major Leage Baseball (MLB) does not require netting to be installed throughout the stadium, some teams, like the New York Mets, have installed netting all the way through to the outfield to protect fans. The Yankees have suggested in the past that doing so would interfere with the views that its fans pay good money to enjoy.


U.S. Women's Soccer Faces Old Foe: Artificial Turf

The U.S. women's national soccer team has a continuing dispute with its federation: artificial turf. The players are scheduled to have four of their final nine matches on artificial turf, which is known to be less desirable than natural turf. The topic was raised in their negotiation of the new collective bargaining agreement, which provides that matches were preferred to be played on natural turf. While the collective bargaining agreement was centered on a dispute over equal pay with the men's team, the deal also reflected that the women wanted to be more involved with the team's day-to-day issues, such as turf selection. The players are accusing the federation of ignoring preferences like turf and other scheduling concerns.


Officer Defends Takedown of Tennis Star

New York police officer James Frascatore charged across East 42nd Street and tackled a man that he thought to be a suspect in a credit card fraud ring who might have been armed. In fact, it was James Blake, the retired professional tennis player. The Civilian Complaint Review Board investigates accusations of misconduct for the NYPD's police officers, and a Police Department judge will decide the case as to whether the police officer used excessive force. The attorney for the officer indicated that it is only going to a trial because Blake was a celebrity and that the officer was acting on the information that he had in his possession at the time.


Judge Rules Against NFL in Ezekiel Elliott Case

A federal judge in Texas denied the NFL's request to suspend Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension. The NFL had also filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans with the same request. The judge criticized the NFL for not waiting for a decision, and the NFL filed a request for an emergency stay with the appeals court on Friday, which contain essentially the same arguments as the case filed in the Texas District Court.


Lawyers Say Players in Concussion Settlement May Have Been Swindled

In the context of settling the federal litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania regarding ex-NFL players being exposed to concussions during their time playing for the NFL, lawyers claim that many players signed dubious contracts with lenders and lawyers that placed them in impossible positions for repayment. Some players signed agreements where they received $10,000 from the lender, but were required to pay back $17,310 from the settlement payout in one year; another one stated that after receiving $312,000 from a lender, he would have to pay back $568,000 upon receiving the settlement. This is not the first instance of companies targeting retired players: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau sued a New Jersey company after it lured retired players into costly advances on settlement payouts with deceptive terms in the contracts. The attorneys for the players have asked the judge to pursue criminal claims against lawyers and advisers who filed false claims, because their actions are endangering the administration of the settlement.


Princess Quietly Helps FIFA Investigation

The Jordanian princess Haya bint al-Hussein is married to the billionaire ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and has been working with British private investigators for over a year to collect evidence of corruption in the global soccer arena. She has brought investigators to meet with current and former FIFA officials, as well as those in the underworld of soccer politics at a time where there is intense scrutiny of the sport. There were indictments and arrests of top officials in 2015 in the United States, which sent shock waves throughout FIFA. It is known that Princess Haya previously shared information with American investigators, and she may be providing information to investigators about FIFA's controversial decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.


Tackle Football Before Age 12 Tied to Brain Problems Later

A new study revealed that athletes who begin to play tackle football before the age of 12 have developed behavioral and cognitive problems later in life. The findings come from a study at Boston University at a time when parents are considering when is appropriate for children to play football, if at all. The study was conducted through telephone interviews and online surveys and found a twofold increase in behavioral problems and a threefold risk of "clinically elevated depression scores." One author of the study cites the ages of 10 to 12 as being an "incredible time of growth" in the brain, which would be impeded through repeated hits to the head.


NCAA Finds Rutgers Failed to Monitor Football Program

The NCAA punished Rutgers for what it called "a failure to monitor its football program" during a five-year period, as the university ignored rules related to recruiting and drug testing. The sanctions include two years of probation and recruiting restrictions, which will only compound the problems the school has faced, as its athletics have been known for losses and red ink in the past couple of years. The NCAA also found that 14 players were allowed to compete after violating the drug testing policies of the school, which should have been penalized.



Facebook Vows More Human Oversight of Advertisements

Facebook's advertisements came under scrutiny this week. The chief operating officer, Sheryl Sanderg, announced that Facebook will have "more human review and oversight" to its automated systems to prevent ads to be directed at users who used racist comments or hate speech in their profiles. This comes after a report revealed that Facebook's "online ad tools had allowed advertisers to target self-described 'Jew haters' or people who had used terms like 'how to burn Jews.'" Second, Facebook announced that it is disclosing information and documents to congressional committees investigating the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This turnover of documents is in relation to hundreds of accounts that are thought to be linked to the Russian government and were designed to promote the candidacy of Donald Trump over that of Hillary Clinton, to influence the outcome of the election.


Leading the Legal War Against Fox: Wigdor

Douglas Wigdor, a conservative Republican, filed 11 suits against Fox News for defamation, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination just this year alone. Altogether, the lawsuits he filed for his clients seek damages in excess of $100 million, which is the most sustained attack on Fox mounted by a single private lawyer. While other suits, like those in relation to Bill O'Reilly and the late Roger Ailes, were brought by larger firms, Wigdor has had a monopoly on the other suits against the news organization. He earned a reputation for being an aggressive employment lawyer when he filed gender discrimination suits against Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, as well as an age and racial bias suit against the New York Times. His critics contend that those suits have left him ill-prepared for taking on Fox, with its vast resources, despite the fact that Wigdor's clients have strong cases against the organization.


Fox News Guest Sues, Claiming Organization Banned Her After Accusing Charles Payne of Rape

In Douglas Wigdor's latest filing against Fox News, he is representing commentator Scottie Nell Hughes, who claimed that she was raped by longtime anchor Charles Payne and then faced retaliation from the network when she came forward with her allegation. Payne is the host of "Making Money" on Fox Business and returned to the air in July after being suspended pending an investigation into his conduct. Hughes alleges that he pressured his way into her hotel room in 2013 and coerced her into having sexual intercourse with him despite her saying "no" and "stop." She did not immediately report it as she was "shocked and ashamed" but has alleged gender motivated violence, gender discrimination, retaliation, and defamation against Payne, Fox News, and 21st Century Fox in her lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York.


Fox Presses for Arbitration or Dismissal in Suit Over Seth Rich Article

In the context of the lawsuit against Fox News for defamation and racial discrimination for its publication of an article about the death of a young Democratic aide named Seth Rich, Fox filed a motion to move the case from federal court to arbitration, given the plaintiff Rod Wheeler's agreement with the network. The plaintiff was a private detective who Rich's family hired after his death, and a Fox News story fabricated quotes from the detective, causing the organization to retract the piece. Wheeler's attorney, Douglas Wigdor, sought to keep the case in federal court and viewed the motion as nothing more than an effort to keep "people in the dark on what now is a matter of serious public concern."


Preorders Sag for Bill O'Reilly's Latest Book

Bill O'Reilly published a book in the fall of each of the last six years that soars to the top of the nonfiction best-seller list. This year's version, "Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence," may be the first year where it does not become a best-seller, given its low preorders. Due to the accusations from five women of sexual harassment or verbal abuse, as well as his ouster from Fox, where he had an audience of four million viewers every night, some analysts wonder whether he can regain the energy that he once enjoyed with each book he published. Nonetheless, his book will be displayed prominently in Barnes and Noble and on Amazon's website.


Wenner Media Puts Rolling Stone Magazine Up For Sale

Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone Magazine in 1967 and the controlling stakeholder in the company, put his shares up for sale. This announcement comes three years after the magazine botched a story about an unproven gang rape on the campus of University of Virginia that bruised the magazine's journalistic integrity. The potential sale of the magazine, which was a counterculture icon, illustrates the difficulty of print advertising and media in the current market. Both Wenner and his son Gus Wenner have said that they intend to stay on at the magazine, if the new owner allows it.


Rolling Stone Magazine Facing Revived Suit Regarding Campus Rape

A matter of days after announcing that Rolling Stone's owner was selling his controlling share in the magazine, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court erred in dismissing the defamation lawsuit in relation to the magazine's publication of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. The lower court judge ruled that three men who were part of a fraternity had not shown that the article was "of and concerning" them apart from their fraternity and dismissed the action. The Court of Appeals sent the action back down to district court for further proceedings. This comes after Rolling Stone settled with the fraternity for $1.65 million and with the associate dean at the university for $3 million in damages.


Dr. Seuss Parody Wins in Lawsuit

Matthew Lombardo's theatrical parody titled, "Who's Holiday!" is a dark sequel to the Dr. Seuss classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" A judge recently ruled that the parody does not violate the copyright of the original story. Dr. Seuss Enterprises brought suit against the company after sending cease-and-desist letters and forcing the cancellation of the production. Lombardo filed a suit in the Southern District of New York and argued that the parody was protected under the First Amendment, and the Seuss estate countersued that the play was derivative and "a blatant infringement" of the copyright. Judge Alvin Hellerstein found that there was no possibility that consumers would see the play in lieu of reading the book or watching an authorized derivative work, noting that the themes for the play were "teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, murder and prison culture."


After Star Turn, Spicer Says He Regrets Berating Reporters over Inauguration Crowd

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer made a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards and announced that he regrets criticizing accurate news reports that the inauguration crowd size was bigger for President Donald Trump's inauguration than President Barack Obama's. After his resignation from the White House this summer, his appearance was intended to attract a television audience that he seeks for speaking engagements and other television appearances.


Tumult After AIDS Fundraiser Supports Harvey Weinstein Production

In May 2015, film producer Harvey Weinstein arranged for an auction of goods and services for a fundraiser for amfAR, a charity that seeks a cure for AIDS. The auction included tickets to awards events and parties, but they came with a condition: that $600,000 of the money raised would go to the American Repertory Theater, a nonprofit playhouse that was doing a trial run of "Finding Neverland," which Weinstein produced. amfAR's board of directors is questioning whether the arrangement was disclosed prior to the deal being finalized, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the corporate governance of the charity as a whole. Weinstein said in an interview that he thought "we were doing something fantastic for both sides. We get money, they get money, and it's all our money." A prominent law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Cutcher reviewed the transaction and found it to be legitimate and lawful for amfAR's board of directors, but another reviewing lawyer found that the arrangement may put the financial integrity of the charity at risk, as the show's 24 investors would be reimbursed if they brought in third-party charitable contributions to the private benefit of Weinstein and other commercial investors.


September 18, 2017

Week In Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

Trump Backs Plan to Stop Deportation of Dreamers

After meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi for dinner at the White House, President Trump announced he could support a deal to protect young, undocumented immigrants brought to the county as children if it is paired with enhanced border security legislation. Not all Republicans are in agreement with the deal, primarily because it was struck with Democrats. Some of the points discussed over the dinner included "sensors to beef up border monitoring, rebuilding roads along the border, drones and air support for border enforcement" measures drawn mainly from President Trump's budget request. Many from the political left and Hispanics have misgivings, as the talks which were to be about DACA are now including increased border security. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a "get-tough measure called the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, aimed at MS-13 and other immigrant gangs." Opponents say that the act will codify racial profiling.


New Battlefield in a War Over Judicial Appointments

With the huge number of judicial vacancies, President Trump may have one of the largest election spoils of any administration in political history. There are 144 federal court vacancies, which include 21 on the appeals court and 115 at the district court level. With the current Republican majority, it is nearly impossible for a minority party (in this case, the Democrats) to block an appointment except for the little-known power in the "blue slip." Individual senators can block a nomination in their home states by refusing to sign the blue slips. One candidate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit experienced the blue slip's influence. David R. Stras from Minnesota had his nomination blocked by Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota and a member of the Judiciary Committee. Ninth Circuit nominee Ryan Bounds from Oregon encountered the same obstacle from Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is now advocating "that the blue slip be made strictly advisory when it comes to appeals court nominees." The blue strip practice is at the prerogative of the Judiciary Committee chairman. Democratic leaders are seeking to meet with Senator McConnell and top members of the Judiciary Committee to dissuade from weakening the blue slip practice, citing that "both parties should remember that they could find themselves back in the minority." Interestingly, Senator McConnell wanted to repeal use of blue slips when the Democrats held a majority.


Whistle-Blower Suit Discloses Inquiry into Practices of For-Profit Law School

Professor Barbara Bernier's whistle-blower lawsuit against her former employer, Charlotte School of Law, revealed fraud practices by the now-defunct school. Originally kept sealed under the False Claims Act, the whistle-blower suit was unsealed under motion by the U.S. attorney's office in Charlotte, North Carolina, noting that it was not intervening in Professor Bernier's lawsuit. Bernier will be able to continue her federal claim that InfiLaw Corporation, the for-profit owner of Charlotte School of Law, "defrauded taxpayers of $285 million over a five-year period." According to Bernier, she quit her tenured position after discovering that the school "shored up student numbers and performance metrics through unusual means . . . telephoned graduates the night before the bar exam to dissuade them from taking the exam the next day . . . to reduce the number of first-time bar exam takers who might fail it." The school then instituted a mandatory bar preparation course, requiring students to add another semester to their education and resulting in additional student loans. By targeting military veterans and African-Americans, it boosted its enrollment numbers, a factor of great importance to the school's investors. The school asked for additional time to respond to the lawsuit. It closed its doors last month, after the Department of Education withdrew its eligibility for federal student loans in response to the American Bar Association's placing it on probation, due to "deficiencies in several areas."


Ban on Refugees Stands as Court Considers Case

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily re-instituted one aspect of the Trump administration's ban on immigrants from six Muslim countries. Nearly 24,000 refugees will be stopped from entering the U.S. until the court considers the lawfulness of the travel ban on October 10th. The travel ban is limited to people "without a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S." The definition of a "bona fide relationship" is still contested, but the court stated that spouses and mothers-in-law count. To qualify as "an entity," the court said "the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, such as students admitted to American universities, workers with job offers from American companies, rather than entities formed for the purpose of evading" the travel ban.


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


Rebel Wilson Prevails in Defamation Suit

"Pitch Perfect" star Rebel Wilson was awarded $3.6 million in damages for her Australian defamation suit against Bauer Media. The publisher of the Australian publications Woman's Day and Women's Weekly painted Wilson as a "serial liar and opportunist who assumed a false name, age and biography to advance her career." Justice John Dixon agreed that the articles cost her work and personal distress, citing in his opinion that the publisher "did not care whether the plaintiff suffered reputational damage as it pursued its own corporate interests."



Still on View: A Lingering Cloud

The Walker Art Center (the Walker) continues to swirl in a cloud of controversy after dismantling Sam Durant's, "Scaffold". The piece, which "evoked the macabre setting of seven executions including the hanging of 38 Dakota Indian men in Minnesota after the US-Dakota war in 1862," was denounced by Native American leaders. After several weeks of deliberation, the Walker ultimately decided to demolish and bury the sculpture. The board of directors hired a law firm to review its handling of the artwork, as many are dismayed that the Walker not only decided to display the piece on former Dakota land without consulting the native community, but also brought in a Jimmie Durham exhibition when his self-identification as Cherokee has not yet been validated. In addition to the legal review of its actions, staff members have left the museum, sparking speculation on mismanagement. Executive director Olga Viso acquiesced that the museum some "rocky terrain," but she remains optimistic.


Brazilian Art Show Sets Off Dispute That Mirrors Politics

Funders of an art show in Porto Alegre, Brazil, suddenly closed an exhibit on gender and sexual diversity. Queermuseu, or Queer Museum, which was curated by Gaudencio Fidelis and included over 263 works of art from 85 artists, was funded by Santander Bank. It is a common practice in Brazil for banks to finance museums. Queermuseu, which went on exhibition at the bank's cultural center on August 15th, came under heavy criticism from conservative groups who said that the work promoted pedophilia and child pornography. Two images "included a baby monkey snuggling in the Virgin Mary's arms, sacramental wafers with the words 'vagina' and 'tongue' written on them, and naïve-style portraits of smiling children spray-painted with tags like 'transvestite' and 'gay child.'" Julio Almeida, the regional district attorney for children's issues, did not find pedophilia when he saw the exhibit. He stated: "There are some images that could be characterized as sexually explicit. But from a criminal viewpoint, there is nothing." The protesters called it a victory when they heard Santander Bank's statement for canceling the show: "We heard the protests and we understand that some of the works at the Queermuseu disrespected symbols, beliefs and people, which is not in line with our vision of the world." Exhibit supporters formed their own protest outside the cultural center, demanding that the show be reopened, and gathered more than 60,000 signatures denouncing censorship. In the meantime, the show may move to the city of Belo Horizonte, where censorship is not welcomed.


Lawsuits and High Costs Sink Billionaire's Plan for Arts Pier

Barry Diller, the billionaire chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, decided to pull the plug on the Hudson River project called Pier 55. He stated that his reasons for ending the $250 million project along the Hudson River shoreline were "because of the huge escalating costs and the fact it would have been a continuing controversy over the next three years." The Hudson River Park Trust, which was overseeing the project, introduced the idea of the pier to Diller in the fall of 2011. It was widely supported by the community and public officials, and expected to benefit millions for their enjoyment. The futuristic pier evolved from a $35 million project "with a few trees" to a quarter of a billion dollar performance destination, including an amphitheater and two landscaped areas for staging musical and theatrical performances. Opposition came eight months after it was formally announced in 2014 from the City Club; Douglas Durst of the large Manhattan real estate family; and two activists, Tom Fox and Rob Buchanan. City Club protested that the project would negatively impact the protected estuary. Diller accused Durst of bankrolling the opposition's lawsuits, but in the end relented to his family's concerns that other causes were being overlooked while continuing with the project.


Foam, Armor, and Nights at the Museum: Protecting Florida's Art from Irma

Floridian arts and cultural organizations took precautions to brace for Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, arts groups were in the strongest buildings, according to Quincy Perkins, director of development of the Key West Film Festival. Many organizations prepared for hurricanes during their building phases by advising architects to build in a contingency for hurricanes into the planned structures. The Perez Art Museum Miami was designed with Miami's "mercurial weather in mind," and the new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg has 18-inch thick walls. As a result of water damage, some buildings, like the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, have to find alternative venues for upcoming exhibitions and performances. Irma's route twisting left some areas not as affected as predicted and others walloped by its blasts. In Sarasota, many artists weathered the storm in nearby hotels, while several in Naples had to evacuate. Protecting the art by moving pieces inside or upstairs, taking works off the walls, and packaging pieces in foam and storing in bins, was the order of the day.


Vandals Mar Christopher Columbus Statue, Leaving a Warning

An 1892 bronze sculpture of Christopher Columbus mounted in Central Park was vandalized. Its hands were painted red, pedestal graffitied with "#somethingscoming," and "Hate will not be tolerated" written in white spray paint. Nationwide, statues have been removed in response to the white supremacists' violence last month in Charlottesville. Mayor Bill de Blasio convened a commission to study the possible removal of statues across the city. One suggestion is to keep the statues in place, but add plaques that explain "issues surrounding them." Several Central Park visitors stated that it was good to have the city presenting both sides of history. According to a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, there are no plans to increase police protection to the statues at this time.


Got a Warhol? An Insurer May Arrive at Your Door Before a Flood

Property and casualty insurers who cater to high-net-worth individuals will extend extraordinary levels of service to help art collectors protect their holdings during natural disasters. Such companies as AIG Private Client Group, Chubb, Cincinnati Insurance, and Pure Insurance, not only advise in advance of a potential disaster, but will also call on the aid of specialists to determine the steps to protect the artwork. They will send an art preservationist and a team of movers to move the art out of harm's way, send plumbing professionals to install seismic shut-off valves in earthquake-prone homes, offer wildfire protection or remediate services, and provide a complimentary risk-minimization service for the new construction of homes budgeted at $5 million or more. They will even find space to have yachts pulled out of the water and into secure, dry dock storage in advance of mother nature's wrath. The insurers try to cover every scenario.



International Olympic Committee Investigation of Russian Doping Could Lead to Sanctioning of Athletes

It is expected that the investigation into Russia's elaborate doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games will soon yield Russian athletes who will be formally disciplined. According to Denis Oswald, a member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, the investigation should conclude by the end of this year. The investigation suffered initially due to inadequacy of its urine sample testing method. It has since been able to overcome its examination challenges, and will have the results on the first set of 50 urine samples in less than a week. Those athletes found to have participated in the doping program could be stripped of their medals and barred from future games.


Son of Sandusky Pleads Guilty to Sex Abuse Charges

Jeffrey Sandusky, the son of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, plead guilty to 14 counts of sexual abuse. Two teenage girls accused the younger Sandusky of pressuring them to send him naked photos and to perform oral sex. He plead guilty to all charges, including solicitation of statutory sexual assault and solicitation of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, and will receive a six-year jail sentence, although a longer sentence could be imposed. By pleading the charges, the young girls will avoid suffering through a trial. Sandusky was a loyal supporter of his adopted father Jerry Sandusky, who is now serving an over 40 year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of 10 boys.


Red Sox Are Fined over Theft of Signals

Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a fine against the Boston Red Sox for the use of electronic devices to steal signs during games. At issue was a complaint from Red Sox archrival, the New York Yankees, for the use of an Apple Watch by an assistant trainer in the dugout during a game at Fenway Park in August. The Yankees submitted video they shot of the Red Sox trainer "Jon Jochim looking at his Apple Watch and then apparently passing information along to outfielder Brock Holt and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who is seen passing information to outfielder Chris Young." The goal of this "game of telephone" style of information passing is to alert the batter as to what pitch is coming. The information chain sped quicker with use of the advanced technology, an upgrade from the use of video replay. The Red Sox did not deny the allegation. The MLB hopes that the penalty will be a deterrent to future use of the prohibited action.


It's Official for Paris and Los Angeles

The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Paris, and the 2028 Summer Olympics will be held in Los Angeles. Establishing two Summer Games at once is an unprecedented decision by the International Olympic Committee.


Randolph Sentenced to Community Service

Zack Randolph, the Sacramento Kings forward, entered a no-contest plea to marijuana possession and resisting arrest charges on August 9th. He was recently sentenced to 150 hours of community service. After one year, he may petition the court to vacate the charges if he stays out of trouble.


Former FIFA Official's Testimony Could Raise New Ethics

A former FIFA governance committee member has little hope that the association will be able to clean up its act under its current leadership. Joseph Weiler, a New York University law professor, filed an ethics complaint against FIFA's top leadership. Filed days after Miguel Maduro, the former chairman of FIFA's governance committee, testified before a British parliamentary hearing that FIFA's president Gianni Infantino tried to block scrutiny of senior soccer executives, Weiler's complaint covers many of Maduro's allegations. Specifically, Maduro testified that Infantino "bowed to pressure from senior soccer figures rather than uphold FIFA's regulations" and highlighted cases of "electoral abuses in regional confederations." Maduro was fired eight months after he was hired to help reform FIFA's image. The top ethics investigator and the adjudicatory chamber judge were also fired after a second ethics probe commenced into Infantino's conduct, who had since been cleared of his first complaint about his misuse of FIFA's resources.


Brain-Damaged Boxer to Receive $22 Million

A settlement was reached in a lawsuit stemming from a 2013 boxing match between Russian boxer Magomed Abdusalamov and Mike Perez. During the match held at Madison Square Garden, Abdusalamov sustained injuries to his head early on. In round one, "he took an errant forearm to the cheek," and although he told his handlers that it might be broken, the fight continued through the 10 rounds. The lawsuit pertains to what occurred after the fight, when instead of being directed to two ambulances stationed at the garden, Abdusalamov was ushered to Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street to hail a cab. Improper interpretive services appear to be the cause of delay in medical services. Abdusalamov, age 38 and married with children, suffered brain damage and remains unable to walk or to speak in complete sentences. Judge Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick in New York City Civil Court awarded a $22 million settlement. Another lawsuit is pending against the ringside doctors Anthony Curreri, Osric King, and Gerard Varlotta.


At US Open, Women Surprise and New Rules Get Trial Run

The world of tennis is undergoing a season of change--some welcomed and some with resistance. The US Open's experiment with serve clocks, warm-up clocks, and in-match coaching met mixed reviews. Allowing coaches to communicate directly with their players during the qualifying and junior events was met with skepticism. The chair umpires were pleased with the change, because it allowed them to avoid having to police the usual entourage of coaches trying to get a word to their players on the sly. However, Wimbledon officials are concerned that "tennis's appeal" will be negatively impacted. Watching high-level players handle the stress of problem-solving when six million people are watching them is the essence of the sport. CEO of the WTA Steve Simon's proposal to restructure the women's tour by creating more mandatory tournaments for the leading players, has met opposition from tournament directors. Some change is inevitable. The serve and warm-up clocks during the US Open were well received, according to Stacey Allaster, the CEO of the US Tennis Association. The new clocks, meant to help with "pace-of-play" concerns, had few hiccups on the field. They will likely be adopted. The ATP is considering reviving its World Team Cup in 2019, which would add to an already full slate of men's events.


Some Chafe at Rules Meant to Protect Youngest Girls

American women of all ages did very well at this year's US Open. Sloane Stephens won the all-American women's final, and Amanda Anisimova beat Cori Gauff in the girls' final. The shocker was that Cori Gauff is only 13 years old, making her "the youngest player to ever reach the US Open girls' final," with the youngest being Martina Hingis, who won at age 12 the 1993 French Open, followed by Jennifer Capriati who won at age 13 the 1989 French Open. Under too much pressure at such a young age, Capriati burned out, and the WTA "restricted the number of professional tournaments that teenagers could play at each age." Female players 13 and younger cannot play at any professional tournaments. Some feel that the rule is unfair because there are no such restrictions for the men's tour, and it prevents girls from competing with better players.


Oakley Sues, Continuing Feud with Knicks

Charles Oakley filed a lawsuit against Knicks owner James Dolan, Madison Square Garden (MSG), and two other companies owned by Dolan. The lawsuit stemmed from his February 8th incident with Dolan, when Oakley was ejected from MSG during a game. A month ago, Oakley agreed to a deal with the Manhattan district attorney's office on charges relating to the incident. He vowed to pursue civil remedies against Dolan. In Oakley's suit, he alleges assault, battery, and false imprisonment against MSG, MSG Networks, and MSG Sports & Entertainment, plus defamation against Dolan for statements he made after Oakley's arrest, inferring that OaMSGkley has a drinking problem. The defendants are also accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and state and city human rights statues for the Garden's perception of his alcoholism as a disability and subsequent ban.


95 Russian Athletes Are Cleared in Doping Plot

Out of the first 96 doping cases brought after the discovery that Russia had a year's long program of doping, 95 were dropped due to insufficient evidence, according to Olivier Niggli, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The identities of the 96 athletes under review were not revealed. The cases stem from a tell-all account by whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the Russian antidoping lab chief who is now living in hiding in the U.S. According to Dr. Rodchenkov, Russia has a very well-organized system of cheating that extended all the way to the Olympics. A two-year investigation implicated 1,000 athletes. However, it has been difficult to bring the cases forward, due to Russia's practice of destroying evidence, impeding investigations by making it a crime for investigators to enter certain storage areas of the lab, and the unavailability of Dr. Rodchenkov, which he disputes. His lawyer, Jim Walden, stated that only one investigator requested an interview. The 95 cases were derived from an evaluation of the 1,000 athlete pool through a process of scrutiny and punishment by governing sports bodies for each sport, whose decisions were then reviewed by WADA. Conflicts of interest in the leaders of the individual governing sports bodies who may want to protect their own athletes are a concern, as well as the conflict of Craig Reedie's position as head of the WADA and serving on the International Olympic Committee. Investigations of the other athletes are ongoing. Exoneration of the 95 athletes may be seen to vindicate Russia. However, Niggli cautions that although there may not be enough evidence against individual athletes, the investigator has established a Russian system of doping, and the International Olympic Committee is considering blanket sanctions against the country ahead of the 2018 Games.


Show of Unity in Anthem Demonstration in Cleveland

At games across the National Football League (NFL), players continue to demonstrate protests during the national anthem, with the latest at a Cleveland Browns game where players--united with police, firefighters, and emergency rescue workers--locked arms before the season opener. The protests stem from Colin Kaepernick kneeling during his former team's anthems last season. Formerly a San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Kaepernick is now a free agent who has yet to be picked up, spurring speculation that his politics may be affecting his future in football. There have been several "Standing 4 Kaepernick" protests, and boycotts by bar owners who will not show NFL games. Recent demonstrations include Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks sitting during the anthem while his teammate Justin Britt kept his hand on Bennett's shoulder. Other teammates shook his hand, and Jimmy Graham wore "liberty" and "justice for all" inscribed on his cleats. Martellus Bennett, who plays for the Packers and brother to Michael Bennet, raised his right fist, along with Robert Quinn of the Los Angeles Rams and Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles. Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders sat during the anthem, and Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs did not stand.


Battling the Scourge of Doping with Patience and Candor

Gary Wadler, the antidoping pioneer, died last week. He was 78. "His articulate explanations about steroids and human-growth hormones made him a frequent voice in the news media, at medical conferences, before congressional panels and at trials as an expert witness." It was his approachability that became his greatest asset on top of being a distinguished physician. Don Hooton--the father of Taylor Hooton who, as a teenager, committed suicide after he stopped using steroids--spoke highly of Dr. Wadler as being the unofficial translator on the subject of performance-enhancing drugs. Hooton stated that "he was able to put things in a way that I could understand, and was so compassionate." Dr. Wadler was a founding member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, testified before Congress on steroid use in MLB, and was an advisor to the National Basketball Association. He began his career in sports and medicine as a tournament physician at the US Open in 1980, and co-authored the seminal textbook Drugs and the Athlete in 1989.




White House Calls ESPN Host's Remarks a "Fireable Offense"

ESPN's SportsCenter co-host Jemele Hill is under fire from the White House for calling President Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. Her comments included that "Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period." ESPN gave a public statement that Hill's comments "do not represent the position of ESPN" and have addressed the matter with Hill. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the comments "a fireable offense." ESPN stated that Hill recognizes her actions were inappropriate. She continues to co-host the show and has not addressed her tweets on the air. As the company gives its employees "wider latitude in talking about politics when they intersect with sports," it continues to struggle with the line between "what is considered inappropriate commentary from its writers and TV personalities."


Connecticut Law May Shield Anchor from Discipline

A Connecticut law may shield ESPN host Jemele Hill from being discharged or disciplined for her comments disparaging President Trump. General Statute 31-51q states that an employer may be liable for damages if it "subjects any employee to discipline or discharge on account of the exercise by such employee of rights guaranteed by the first amendment to the United States Constitution." One attorney with the New Haven Legal Assistance Association said that the statute was intended to protect people who say things about an important issue of public concern. In Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that "people who work in Connecticut who comment on matters of 'public concern' are protected by state law, extending some speech protection for those employees even beyond the First Amendment." Remarks about the president's beliefs and fitness for office are considered highly protected matters of public concern. What constitutes protected "public concern" is important to understand, as not all public concern speech is shielded. Under the statute, employees can be disciplined or discharged when the activity "substantially or materially interferes with the employee's bona fide job performance or the working relationship between the employee and the employer." Some legal experts are of the view that ESPN may discipline Hill, as her comments may have impacted her ability to attract sponsors and viewers, and thereby may materially interfere with her performance. ESPN's greater challenge may be in meting out its discipline in a balanced manner. Last year, it fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling for sharing a Facebook post about North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill."


Major Sites Face Rebuke for Ads Tied to Racism

Reports from ProPublica and BuzzFeed expose that Facebook and Google enable advertisers to tailor groups of people based on hate speech and racism. According to ProPublica, it tested Facebook advertising categories to see whether they could purchase ads based on anti-Semitic topics, such as "Jew hater" and "How to burn Jews," among others. Facebook approved the ad in a matter of minutes, reaching about 2,300 people with a $30 ad boost. Facebook said that it is discontinuing such fields until it has "the right processes in place to help prevent this issue." The social media giant continues to be under fire since last fall when ProPublica reported that the platform was being used for civil rights discrimination by allowing advertisers to exclude "ethnic affinities," defined as certain races, from housing and employment ads. Facebook no longer allows the term to be used in ads for credit, housing, and employment, the typical industries most often used to discriminate based on race. Google, it was reported, not only allowed advertisements tied to racist keywords, but it also "automatically suggested more offensive terms" as part of its customer service. In response to the BuzzFeed article, Google promised to work harder to stop offensive ads. These reports support the imperative for increased disclosure of the funding behind political ads, especially in light of Facebook's revelation that its platform had been used by Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election. The Federal Communications Commission will be seeking public comment on disclosure requirements for online political ads.


Search Giant Sued by Three Female Ex-employees Who Cite Pay Discrimination

Three former female Google employees filed suit against the tech giant for employment discrimination. The plaintiffs alleged that "Google knew or should have known about the pay disparity between men and women at the company, but failed to take action to rectify it." One plaintiff who worked as a software engineer claims that she was hired at Level 3, where entry-level software engineers begin, although she already had four years of work experience. Shortly after she began, Google hired a male software engineer with duplicate credentials, but placed him at Level 4, which gave him not only a higher salary but also raises, stock options, and additional chances for bonuses. The lawsuit filed in the California Superior Court in San Francisco states that other men of equal or lower qualification started at Level 4. Women at the company make up 31% of the workforce but hold only 20% of the higher-paying engineering jobs. The suit cites a 2015 Labor Department review of Google's entire workforce at its headquarters (21,000 employees) that found significant pay disparity between men and women. The Labor Department and Google continue to battle over its pay practices.


Kaspersky Lab Software Is Ordered Wiped from Government Computers

On Wednesday, Elaine C. Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, ordered the removal of Kaspersky Lab Software from all federal government computer systems. Kaspersky Lab was founded by Eugene V. Kaspersky, who wrote software for the Soviet Army after being trained at a high school for spies. He started his company in 1997 and led it to become the prominent cybersecurity firm in the world, boasting over 400 million users globally. The firm is currently under federal investigation for possible links to Russian intelligence agencies, an accusation Kaspersky denies. The FBI, CIA, and other security officials have warned private companies to stop using Kaspersky software, including its antivirus products, and testified they are not comfortable with the software on their federal agencies' systems. Homeland Security has asked for the software to be removed from all federal agencies within the next 90 days.


Tracing Photos in Fake Facebook Profile

An unsuspecting Brazilian found himself the subject of a media puzzle. The Russian-created fake profile discovered by Facebook included several biographical details and photos. Discovering the actual identity of the made-up "Melvin Redick" profile required the help of crowdsourcing after Google's image search function did not find anyone. The New York Times noted that one of the photos depicted "Redick" at a bar in Brazil. Readers of the Brazilian media outlet Globo shared the photo, and one recognized "Redick" to be her son-in-law, Charles David Costacurta. Costacurta had no idea that his 2014 photos of him with his then three-year-old daughter had been stolen, and was particularly disturbed, because he used Facebook's privacy setting.


Shkreli Is Jailed for Seeking a Strand of Clinton's Hair

Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud this summer, had his bail revoked on Wednesday. He was free on $5 million bail while waiting for his January 16, 2018, sentencing for his fraud conviction of a pharmaceutical company he ran. However, his recent Facebook posts landed him back in jail. He has an apparent infatuation with Hillary Rodham Clinton's hair. In his posts, he offered $5,000 for a strand of her hair, requesting that the strand include a follicle. According to Shkreli's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli shows "immaturity, satire, a warped sense of humor" and deserved a second chance. Brooklyn Federal District Court Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto did not see the humor. At the hearing, Judge Matsumoto revoked Shkreli's bail and said, "That is a solicitation to assault in exchange for money that is not protected by the First Amendment." He is now being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn.


Feeling Heat from Top Brands, Facebook Blocks Ads from Noxious Content

In response to the heightened scrutiny by its advertisers, Facebook established new rules on the types of videos and articles that it will bar from running ads. Seeking to assure its major brands that they will not inadvertently appear next to noxious content, Facebook will also disclose where their messages will be placed on its vast ecosystem of apps, websites, and platform. The new rules, which replicate Google's YouTube guidelines, "restrict ads from content that depicts, among other topics, real-world tragedies, debatable social issues, misappropriation of children's show characters, violence, nudity, gore, drug use and derogatory language." Facebook's vice president of global marketing, Carolyn Everson, said: "We want to do everything we can to ensure that we are providing the safest environment for publishers, advertisers and for people that utilize the platform." In addition to a preview of where the ads may appear, marketers will also receive a report on where the ads actually run. The company will be hiring an additional workforce to police the new advertising program and will institute "an appeals process for content deemed ineligible for ads."


Fake Facebook Account with Ties to the Kremlin Posed as U.S. Activists

Facebook disclosed additional but limited details on a fake Facebook account created by Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg firm that posts material in support of Russian government policies. Facebook stated that it discovered 470 fake accounts linked to Russia between June 2015 and May of this year. One such account, called Secured Borders, posted a notice to citizens of Twin Falls, Idaho to attend a town meeting. The meeting was fake, as well as the agenda item to discuss the "huge upsurge of violence toward American citizens by Muslim refugees who had settled there." The fact that the $100,000 in advertising is low, compared to Facebook's advertising income of more than a billion dollars quarterly, should not be dismissed. Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, explained that microtargeting allows a small budget to "go a lot further than most realize." What's most alarming is Russia's ability to destabilize American democracy, according to Jonathan Morgan, former State Department advisor, whose company New Knowledge studies Russian online activity. Former FBI agent, Clinton Watts, stated that the online campaign gives Russian president Vladimir Putin leverage in negotiations and Russian influence on the American public. "If he's successful, it gives him (Putin) an indigenous U.S. audience in support of his policies . . . It also gives him leverage in talking to President Trump: 'Why don't you stop interfering in Ukraine, and we'll leave your domestic audience alone.'" Facebook has not released the actual posts, something its own employees are requesting. According to the company's security chief, Facebook is unable to release more information due to legal issues.


Political Feud Stifles Network As Millions Feel the Effects

beIN, a broadcaster with one of the world's largest arsenal of sports rights, has found itself in a fallout between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the latter being a country that financed the company. Saudi Arabia and several Arabic-speaking countries have severed ties with Qatar, "accusing its rulers of destabilizing the region and supporting terrorism." The political feud is starting to affect beIN's business: viewers had their signals blocked, reporters have been blocked from stadiums, and players and coaches have boycotted interviews with the channel. In some instances, another sports rights agency had to "step in to ensure that crucial games such as World Cup qualification games and Asian Champions League matches could be broadcast." Until Qatar meets the Saudi Arabian-led demands, including closing the pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera, beIN will be unable to fulfill its role as a global host broadcaster. This situation jeopardizes the viewing of Asian World Cup qualifier games and games in the MENA region of the Confederation of African Football where, among other regions, it is the sole authorized broadcaster.


September 15, 2017

"Ripped From the Headlines"- Depicting Lawyers and Judges on TV: Truth or Fake Law?

Actor's Temple | 339 W 47th Street | New York, NY 10036

Cost to Attend: $30 for EASL and IP Section Members | $50 for NYSBA Members | $75 for Non-Members


Cheryl L. Davis, Esq., Menaker & Herrmann LLP, Moderator
Hon. Barbara Jaffe, Supreme Court of the State of New York
Warren Leight, Former Showrunner, "Law and Order- SVU," Tony-award winning playwright, screenwriter
Anne Milgrim, Special Legal Consultant, Law and Order

Many people (including most lawyers) are first exposed to the New York court system through shows like Law & Order. But unless you are in court on a regular basis, you may not know how close to "reality" the action and story actually are. Some, however,
possess an intimate knowledge of the New York courts, and while huge fans of such programs, specifically instruct their juries to ignore points of law that they may have seen on TV. How and why these differences and inconsistencies exist is the subject of a lively and informative discussion by our panelists who are from both sides of the camera - i.e., the real courtroom and the "fake" one.

Reception and Q&A to follow.

This program does not carry MCLE

Register Today!www.nysba.org/store/events/registration.aspx?event=EA1200OC17>

September 14, 2017

Charles Oakley Files Lawsuit Against President James Dolan of the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden Company

By Michael Kusi

Former NBA power forward Charles Oakley, who played for the New York Knicks from 1988-1998, filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against James Dolan and Madison Square Garden (MSG). Oakley demanded a jury trial, and alleged that defendant James Dolan had always displayed animus toward Oakley from the beginning of Dolan's tenure as president of the Knicks.

Oakley claims that on February 8, 2017, he was watching a Knicks game, when Madison Square Garden security approached him and asked him to leave. Oakley began to argue and tried to go back to his seat. A scuffle ensued, and Oakley was escorted out of the MSG arena.

Oakley's complaint alleges 10 different causes of action, including defamation per se (for the Dolan's accusations against Oakley), libel (for statements made by MSG Networks on Twitter), slander (for accusing Oakley of assault and alcoholism), assault (for removing Oakley from the MSG arena), battery (for harmful and offensive contact sustained while at MSG), false imprisonment (for unlawful detention after the security asked him to leave), abuse of process (for causing Oakley to receive criminal charges), denial of a public accommodation under the ADA, for removing him under the pretense of alcoholism, and denial of a public accommodation in violation of New York State Human Rights Law.

In the Prayer for Relief, Oakley asks for a declaratory judgment and an injunction against the defendants. However, the complaint requests that the amount of damages would be awarded at trial.

As part of Oakley's plea deal with New York prosecutors in August stemming from this incident, he was barred from coming to MSG for one year under a trespass order. He also had an adjournment in contemplation in dismissal, which means that the charges against Oakley would be dismissed in six months if there are no additional criminal charges against him.