January 15, 2021

Theater News for the Week of January 15th

By Bennett Liebman

Cuomo Transcript on State of the State Arts, Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Outlines 2021 Agenda, https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-outlines-2021-agenda-reimagine-rebuild-rene-0

Schenectady Theater CEO on State of Performing Arts, https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/ny-state-of-politics/2021/01/13/-they-have-nothing---proctor-s-theater-ceo-on-state-of-the-performing-arts-industry

Musicians groups pan Cuomo's arts program, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/new-york-elections-government/ny-cuomo-state-of-the-state-artists-freelancers-20210113-yzdejn2bajao7ppwvr7s5qpfdy-story.html

New York to launch 'arts revival' performances, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/cuomo-new-york-arts-revival/2021/01/12/1ede803a-550b-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html

The show will go on,' Cuomo says, https://www.lohud.com/story/news/2021/01/12/cuomo-ny-post-covid-arts-renewal/6639375002/

Dr. Fauci says live shows will be back, https://nypost.com/2021/01/12/dr-fauci-says-live-shows-will-be-back-fall-if-vaccine-works/

Theaters Could Reopen in the Fall, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/theaters-fall-2021-opening-vaccinations-fauci-72431/

York Theatre Company Dealt Another Blow, https://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/5196622-york-theatre-company-dealt-another-blow-after-water-main-break-floods-stage/

The State of Broadway: January 2021, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/The-State-of-Broadway-January-2021-20210113

Broadway Actors are Finding Solace in Television Gigs, https://observer.com/2021/01/broadway-stars-finding-work-tv-svu/

Risk Of Aerosol Transmission In Concert Hall Can Almost Be Excluded, German Study Finds, https://www.pollstar.com/article/risk-of-aerosol-transmission-in-concert-hall-can-almost-be-excluded-german-study-finds-147138

UK report reveals 'disgraceful' gender inequality in the arts, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/13/uk-report-reveals-disgraceful-gender-inequality-in-the-arts

Arts in Crisis, The Arts Are in Crisis. Here's How Biden Can Help., https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/arts/design/arts-stimulus-biden.html?referringSource=articleShare

A Playwright's New Subject: Her Husband, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/14/theater/lauren-gunderson-the-catastrophist-nathan-wolfe.html

What Canadian theatre companies need to survive, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/theatre-and-performance/article-as-canadian-theatre-companies-prepare-to-reopen-in-2021-industry/?utm_medium=Referrer:+Social+Network+/+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

Mobile Ticketing, https://blog.ticketmaster.com/mobile-ticketing-an-essential-for-safe-entry/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mobile-ticketing-an-essential-for-safe-entry

Broadway industry members await guidelines, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/13/broadway-industry-members-await-guidelines-on-save-our-stages-legislation/

How 8 Countries Have Tried to Keep Artists Afloat, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/arts/coronavirus-pandemic-arts-support.html

Modest Beginnings, Towering Legacy: The Negro Ensemble Company, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/13/modest-beginnings-towering-legacy-the-negro-ensemble-company/

Ben Brantley: A Critic Is a Mirror, Not a Shaper, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/11/ben-brantley-a-critic-is-a-mirror-not-a-shaper/

Hundreds Of Playwrights And Composers Urge Biden Administration To Prioritize Arts Support, https://deadline.com/2021/01/arts-funding-letter-campaign-playwrights-composers-biden-administration-covid-19-1234673721/

January 11, 2021

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


IRS Says Prince's Estate Worth Twice What Administrators Reported

The IRS, in filings with the U.S. Tax Court, has made clear that it disagrees with the value of Prince's estate: the IRS is now "seeking nearly $39 million in taxes and fees based on a valuation of Prince's assets." Although the estate's administrator valued the estate at $82.3 million, the IRS has valued the estate at $163.2 million.


Blizzard Sued for 'Wiretapping' World of Warcraft Website Visitors

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. is now being sued for its use of a "mouse-tracking software called Mouseflow to record visitors' sessions" on its World of Warcraft website. One plaintiff, a California resident has "filed a putative class action complaint" alleging that the use of the software constitutes "intentional wiretapping under the California Invasion of Privacy Act."


Bobby Shmurda Eligible for Release From Prison in February

Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda, "who was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and weapons possession, will be eligible for release next month." His "viral ascent was cut short" when he faced "gang conspiracy charges," but because of "good behavior" while in prison, he is being permitted to serve the "remainder of his seven-year sentence on parole."



Great Gatsby's Copyright Expires

On January 1, 2021, the copyright on "The Great Gatsby" expired, and it is "like a literary version of Pfizer losing its patent to Lipitor: Generic versions will flood the market." Industry analysts expect that there will now be on the market "illustrated editions, scholarly editions, cheap knockoff editions (beware), and editions with introductions by John Grisham and others."


San Francisco's Top Art School Says Future Hinges on a Diego Rivera Mural

The University of California "is aiding the San Francisco Art Institute [SFAI], but SFAI officials say selling a $50 million Rivera could save the school" even though the move is outraging former students. The potential sale of the Rivera work comes months after the SFAI was close to losing its campus and art collection except for when the California Board of Regents "stepped in to buy its $19.7 million of debt from a private bank, in an attempt to save the 150-year-old institution from collapse."


Congress Poised to Apply Banking Regulations to Antiquities Market

Congress passed legislation that gave it "greater oversight" over the antiquities trade, "which regulators have long feared provided fertile ground for money laundering and other illicit activities." The legislation "empowers federal regulators to design measures that would remove secrecy from transactions" which have "long worried" regulators of the antiquities trade given their opaque nature.


Art World Sets Plans for 2021 Fairs (in Pencil)

With 2020 being a wash for art fairs and exhibitions, organizers and collectors "are looking cautiously forward in the coming year, knowing that their schedules will be at the mercy of the coronavirus." In 2019, "sales from the world's art fairs reached an estimated $16.6 billion, with dealers relying on fairs to generate more than 40 percent of that year's revenue, according to last year's Art Basel & UBS Art Market Report."


Richard Liebowitz Suspended in the Southern District of New York

Richard Liebowitz, an attorney known for representing photographers in protecting their work, has been suspended from practicing law in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), "pending the final adjudication of the charges against him and until Liebowitz has the opportunity to present his defense at an evidentiary hearing." The order was issued by the Committee on Grievances for the SDNY.



NCAA President Seeks Delay on Vote to Let Students Profit From Fame

NCAA president Mark Emmert has stated that he "strongly recommended" that the NCAA wait to vote on whether students may profit from their fame. The move is "effectively stepping back from pledges to lawmakers and others that college sports leaders would act this winter on the issue known as name, image, and likeness," but the move also comes as the NCAA begins to face additional scrutiny from the Department of Justice.


Horse Trainer Barred in New York and Other States for Giving Horse a Racist Name

After a horse trainer gave a horse a racist name, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) barred that trainer from its circuit competitions. The trainer is not permitted to "enter horses or have stalls on the nation's premier circuit," and the NYRA president and chief executive released a statement: "Racism is completely unacceptable in all forms. NYRA rejects Eric Guillot's toxic words and divisive behavior in the strongest terms."


Steve Cohen's Past Re-emerges to Cast Doubt on His Updated Image

Steve Cohen, the Mets' new owner, "has portrayed himself as affable and accessible," but a "gender discrimination complaints filed by a former employee paints a far different picture." While he has appeared in recent media appearances and on Twitter as being friendly and joyful, others who worked with him at his hedge funds have known him to have a "mercurial nature that has prompted him to lash out at traders he believes are not making him enough money."


Kelly Loeffler Is Done in the Senate. But What About in the Women's National Basketball Association?

With Senator Kelly Loeffler's days in the Senate coming to an end, there remain questions about her co-ownership of the Atlanta Dream. Those questions are even more pronounced as "many players want her gone" from the league altogether, and there has been talk that LeBron James may make a move to acquire an ownership interest in the team.


A Push for Cyclists' Safety After 5 Die Near Las Vegas

With the Las Vegas metropolitan area growing, cars and construction leave cyclists in a precarious position. With five cyclists dying last month, there have been increased calls for better regulation and more protection for cyclists, and activists are attempting to not only implement more protections but to "toughen penalties for motorists who injure or kill bicyclists, making such offenses a felony with required jail time of up to one year."



Hundreds of Google Employees Unionize, Culminating Years of Activism

After years of "increasing outspokenness by Google workers," hundreds of Google employees have unionized, and executives "have struggled to handle the change." Over "400 Google engineers and other workers have formed a union," and the formation of the union "is highly unusual for the tech industry, which has long resisted efforts to organize its largely white-collar work force."


U.K. Judge Blocks Assange's Extradition to U.S., Citing Mental Health

Although U.S. officials have sought for the U.K. to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to "face charges of violating the Espionage Act," a judge in the U.K. has ruled that Assange "was at extreme risk of suicide" and therefore blocked the extradition to the U.S. The decision is "a major victory against the US authorities who charged him over his role in obtaining and publishing secret military and diplomatic documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."


General News

Congress Certifies Election Result After Insurrection, Leading to Calls for Trump's Resignation and Impeachment

In the history of American transfers of power, this was a week that most Americans would have found impossible to occur. It began with the release of a phone call of a sitting President asking a Georgia state official to "find" votes that would swing the state of Georgia to his column and that state official declining to entertain the request. The President's efforts culminated in he and his surrogates rallying supporters outside the White House to march to the Capitol and engage in "trial by combat" and to refuse to "concede" the election result by disrupting Congress' certification of the Electoral College's vote--the last procedural step in confirming Joe Biden as the President-elect and setting up his inauguration for January 20th. The President's supporters complied: they marched to the Capitol, and in extraordinary scenes for what many have called the "temple of democracy", those supporters overwhelmed police, broke through barricades and windows and doors, and invaded the halls, offices, and chambers of the Capitol, forcing members of the House of Representatives and Senate to take cover and flee for their lives. Federal law enforcement eventually took back control of the building, arresting some of the rioters--who left a trail of destruction throughout the building--and the law enforcement response since has been swift: those rioters who had committed some of the most pronounced degradations of the building and its traditions have been arrested throughout the country. Regardless of the destruction, Congress reconvened the night of the turmoil and certified that Biden will become President on January 20th. The response in Washington and around the country has left the remaining 10 days of the Trump administration up in the air: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have blocked President Trump's accounts, there have been talks of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump (which Vice President Pence has apparently rejected as a viable option), there have been talks of President Trump's resignation (which reports have characterized as an option that President Trump simply will not entertain), and there have been plans put in place for Democrats in the House of Representatives to proceed with one article of impeachment--incitement of insurrection. Nonetheless, the longer term consequences of the week's events remain to be seen.











































Covid-19 Continues Its Global Rampage

With vaccinating underway at a pace that many have found to be stunningly slow--and wasteful, given that some vaccines are being discarded as there are insufficient numbers of people in the categories being permitted to receive the vaccines--the numbers in the United States and around the world continue to break records. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to accelerate the rate of vaccination in the country upon taking office on January 20th. There remain significant concerns: some industries, such as television and movie production, are struggling to continue at their current rate given the concern of spreading the virus. Meanwhile, there remain concerns about mutations of the virus: one mutation that was found in the United Kingdom is known to be more easily spread, but likely to be equally deadly. A stimulus package is looking likely under the Biden administration and the newly-Democrat-controlled Congress, but the precise contours of that package remain unclear a week and a half before Biden is set to be sworn in.











Justice Department Seeks to Pare Back Civil Rights Protections for Minorities

The Department of Justice "has submitted for White House approval a change to how it enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating based on race, color, or national origin" and "covers housing programs, employers, schools, hospitals, and other organizations and programs." The move is the latest by the Trump administration "to undo some civil rights protections for minority groups."


As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm

American officials in the intelligence community have named Russia as the "likely" source for the "broad hacking of the United States government and private companies", which is a "clear rebuke of President Trump's efforts, in posts on Twitter, to suggest that China was behind the hacking." The statement released by 4 government agencies "is as definitive a blaming of Russia as the United States has yet made, and echoed the early statements in 2016 about the Kremlin's interference in that year's election."




Trump Administration, in Parting Gift to Industry, Reverses Bird Protections

The Trump administration has created a rule change that "means companies will not be punished for killing migratory birds", which analysts see as a "parting gift" to the oil and gas industries that have "long sought to be shielded from liability for killing birds unintentionally in oil spills, toxic waste ponds, and other environmental disasters." In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a regulation that "effectively bars some scientific studies from consideration when the agency is drafting public health rules."



U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change

In 2020, disasters across the U.S. "caused $95 billion in damage", which is "almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010." The figures "are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change" and can be attributed to disasters, including the record number of storms in the Atlantic Ocean last year and the largest wildfires in California ever recorded.


Sale of Drilling Leases in Arctic Refuge Fails to Yield a Windfall

The Trump administration has sought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge "to fossil fuel development," but after opening up the refuge to bids, "only half of the oil and gas leases offered for sale Wednesday received bids, and all but two of those came from the state of Alaska itself." Although the move to sell oil and gas leases was expected to "bring in close to a billion dollars for the federal Treasury, in all the sale netted less than $15 million, with half of that going to the state."


Jacob Blake Shooting: No Charges Against Officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, the top prosecutor has "declined to bring charges against the police officer who shot and gravely wounded Jacob Blake outside an apartment building in August, an episode that sparked protests and rioting and made the city an instant flash point in a summer of unrest that began with the killing of George Floyd." The announcement came after investigators "reviewed 40 hours of video and hundreds of pages of police reports."


Deutsche Bank Will Pay $125 Million Over Bribery Violations

Deutsche Bank "will enter a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges stemming from its attempts to win business in several countries." Authorities in the U.S. said payments issued to consultants in places like "Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and China" were not the "referral fees" the bank said, but "were actually bribes to politically connected fixers that gave the scandal-marred German bank access to foreign officials."


China Moves to Punish Lawyers Hired to Help Hong Kong Activists

Two lawyers, Lu Siwei and Ren Quanniu, "were barred from aiding a group of pro-democracy protesters who were arrested at sea, but could still lose their licenses." The move by Chinese legal authorities is the latest in suppressing Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition, and the "case has highlighted fears of the Communist Party-controlled legal system on the mainland and the risks it poses to the city's tradition of an independent judiciary."


China's New Rules Could Hit U.S. Firms and Send a Message to Biden

China's Ministry of Commerce has issued an order empowering "Beijing to tell companies to ignore US restrictions and allows them to sue other businesses if they comply." The move is retribution for the Trump administration's "new rules that would punish global companies for complying with Washington's tightening restrictions on doing business with Chinese companies."


January 10, 2021

Theater News for the Week of January 8th

By Bennett Liebman

'Mean Girls' Won't Return to Broadway, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/theater/mean-girls-closing.html

'Mean Girls' Broadway Musical Announces Permanent Closure Due To Covid Shutdown, https://deadline.com/2021/01/mean-girls-broadway-tina-fey-closing-musical-covid19-shutdown-1234666902/

York Theatre Flooded After Water Main Break, https://www.theatermania.com/off-broadway/news/york-theatre-flooded-after-water-main-break-at-sai_91792.html

'Spamalot' Movie: Paramount Acquires Musical, https://deadline.com/2021/01/spamalot-paramount-pictures-movie-musical-eric-idle-casey-nicholaw-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-1234665944/

When Will We Be Back in 2021, 2021 in the arts: Will we be back to live shows by, say, October? https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-arts-entertainment-2021-year-ahead-slow-recovery-0110-20210107-d35hp3tl3bbdnhpd7zkcan45se-story.html

Arts workers are building a labor movement to save a creative economy in peril, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/arts-advocacy-pandemic-relief/2021/01/07/97a36c8c-4edb-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

A Biden Cabinet Secretary For Arts? Advocates Are Hopeful, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/07/953937793/a-biden-cabinet-secretary-for-arts-advocates-are-hopeful

Danny Burstein on the Devastating Loss of His Wife, Fellow Broadway Star Rebecca Luker (Guest Column), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/danny-burstein-on-the-devastating-loss-of-his-wife-fellow-broadway-star-rebecca-luker-guest-column

Can We Bring Back Broadway?, https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/in-focus/2021/01/03/can-we-ever-bring-back-broadway-

UK Theatre Power List, Lloyd Webber and Waller-Bridge on theatre power list for coronavirus effort, https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55571470

Shea's in Buffalo, Shea's role in community much larger than just theater, https://www.wgrz.com/article/money/business/sheas-role-in-community-much-larger-than-just-theater/71-b1ed36c4-d3ae-4cf7-8c70-124ee85d7b6a

Fixing Broken Boards, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/05/boards-are-broken-so-lets-break-and-remake-them/

Digital Performances are Landing with Audiences, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/11/11/new-study-digital-performances-are-landing-with-loyal-audiences/?utm_content=148456201&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-2968990931

Crowdsourced 'Ratatouille' TikTok Musical Sells $1 Million In Tickets, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericfuller/2021/01/04/ratatouille-crowd-sources-theater/?sh=192f49071eff

Congress Approves $15 Billion In Grants To Shuttered Live Venues, https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2021/01/07/congress-approves-15-billion-in-grants-to-shuttered-live-venues-a-closer-look/?sh=7b579a6144f7

Brooklyn venues see ray of hope with passage of 'Save Our Stages Act, https://www.brooklynpaper.com/brooklyn-venues-find-ray-of-hope-with-passage-of-save-our-stages-act/

State Theatre in Ithaca Raises Funds, https://ithacavoice.com/2021/01/state-theatre-reaches-160k-goal-of-save-your-seat-campaign/

Saving New York Theater: A Political Status Report, https://newyorktheater.me/2021/01/05/saving-new-york-theater-a-status-report/

Shakespeare in a pandemic, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/05/shakespeare-in-a-pandemic-you-cant-have-romeo-and-juliet-without-touching

UK performers raise alarm as Brexit deal threatens EU touring, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/dec/29/uk-performers-raise-alarm-as-brexit-deal-threatens-eu-touring

Sports Law News for the Week of January 8th

By Bennett Liebman

Sports Law In 2021 - Key Issues To Watch In North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2021-key-issues-to-watch-in-north-america-2

Sports Law In 2021 - Key Issues To Watch In Europe, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2021-key-issues-to-watch-in-europe

New York Yankees: Is the Yankee's clean appearance policy legal?, https://empiresportsmedia.com/new-york-yankees/new-york-yankees-is-the-yankees-clean-appearance-policy-legal/

GOVERNOR CUOMO TO PUSH MOBILE NY SPORTS BETTING VIA STATE LOTTERY, https://www.legalsportsreport.com/46989/cuomo-mobile-ny-sports-betting-proposal/

State of Emergency Officially Declared in Tokyo, http://aroundtherings.com/site/A__102095/Title__State-of-Emergency-Officially-Declared-in-Tokyo/292/Articles

Maryland's Path To Legalized Sports And Event Wagering In 2021, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/maryland-s-path-to-legalized-sports-and-9006594/

'Like nothing we have ever seen': 2021 predictions from sports business figure, https://theathletic.com/2297120/2021/01/07/2021-sports-business-predictions/

NFL likely to issue fines over secrecy breaches in heated WFT litigation, https://theathletic.com/2306763/2021/01/06/nfl-wft-fines-secrecy-breaches-heated-litigation/

Opinion | The future of sports is embracing digitization, https://www.sportspromedia.com/opinion/sports-blockchain-tokens-digital-collectibles-tech?utm_content=150953761&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan announces shock departure, https://www.sportspromedia.com/movers-and-shakers/lpga-commissioner-mike-whan-resign-2021?utm_content=150949340&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

Trek used bogus safety claims to market pricey bike helmets, lawsuit says, Thttps://www.reuters.com/article/products-trek/trek-used-bogus-safety-claims-to-market-pricey-bike-helmets-lawsuit-says-idUSL1N2JI3EJ

IOC stress need for vulnerable priority but hopeful of pre-Tokyo 2020 vaccinations, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102744/ioc-coronavirus-vaccines-tokyo-2020

US Soccer "looking into" Morgan's positive COVID-19 case, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102737/us-soccer-looking-into-morgan-case

Querrey defends decision to flee Russia after contracting COVID-19, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102726/querrey-defends-fleeing-russia-covid-19

SECTION 230 OVERHAUL LOOMS OVER SPORTS INDUSTRY AFTER GEORGIA ELECTION, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/section-230-sports-repeal-1234619694/

ETHAN ELALOUF decision Florida appellate decision on student-athlete release for negligence, https://www.4dca.org/content/download/699244/opinion/193272_DC05_01062021_100719_i.pdf

Key Sports Law Cases And Developments Of 2020 - North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2020-key-sports-law-cases-and-developments-north-america?utm_content=150644136&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-145208608

TOP SPORTS LAW TRENDS TO FOLLOW IN 2021, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/2021-sports-law-trends-1234619431/

UPDATE: Michigan Joins Growing Number Of States Granting Name, Image, Likeness Rights To Collegiate Student-Athletes, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/update-michigan-joins-growing-number-of-3939360/

Congress Should Pass A Bill Granting College Athletes The Right To Unionize, https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2021/01/03/why-congress-should-pass-a-bill-granting-college-athletes-the-right-to-unionize/?sh=77d6370f6246

January 3, 2021

Theater News for the Week

By Bennett Liebman

In Memoriam: A Look at the Theatre Artists We Lost in 2020, https://www.playbill.com/article/in-memoriam-a-look-at-the-theatre-artists-we-lost-in-2020

Theater Died in 2020. Its Rebirth Will be Suitably Dramatic, https://www.thedailybeast.com/theater-died-in-2020-its-rebirth-will-be-suitably-dramatic

Mental Wellness in Chicago, https://news.wttw.com/2020/12/28/boosting-mental-wellness-chicago-theater-community?fbclid=IwAR3YJzDm3VGRgfbV6vMEegCjVop81-uJrYwRpQSKGcLcTa5a6Yq2i7uPvmo

Broadway 2021: What Will It Look Like When New York Turns Lights On, https://deadline.com/2020/12/broadway-2021-coronavirus-shutdown-reopening-plans-1234660092/

Cuomo's New Buffalo Pilot Plan Is a Go, Could Be Gateway to Reopening Broadway, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/cuomos-new-pilot-plan-is-a-go-could-be-gateway-to-reopening-broadway-more/2805539/

Fans at Bills game could be first step for reopening Broadway, concerts, other venues, https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/12/fans-at-bills-game-could-be-first-step-for-reopening-broadway-concerts-other-venues.html

Broadway 2021: What To Expect When New York Turns The Lights Back On, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/broadway-2021-expect-york-turns-153034724.html

Dr. Fauci Has Hope That Theaters and Sporting Events Could Resume Sooner Than Planned, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Dr-Fauci-Has-Hope-That-Theaters-and-Sporting-Events-Could-Resume-Sooner-Than-Planned-20201228

When and How Will Broadway Re-Open? Industry Leaders Look Ahead, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/When-and-How-Will-Broadway-Re-Open-Industry-Leaders-Look-Ahead-20201230

How 'Ratatouille' the TikTok Musical Became 'Ratatouille' the Broadway Musical, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/ratatouille-tiktok-musical-broadway-the-actors-fund-72365/

A Theatre of Circumstance, or, From Stuck to Strength, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/12/28/a-theatre-of-circumstance-or-from-stuck-to-strength/

Top Posts of 2020: Hamilton on Stage, On Screen and in Japanese, https://newyorktheater.me/2020/12/27/top-posts-of-2020-hamilton-on-stage-on-screen-and-in-japanese-broadway-from-a-to-z-11-interviews-on-what-weve-lived-through/

Chicago theaters, music stages welcome 'crucial' funding in COVID-19 bill Chicago theaters, https://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment-and-culture/2020/12/28/22197499/covid-rescue-bill-save-our-stages-lifeline-for-chicago-music-venues-theaters-museums

A COVID-19 vaccine is here, but theaters seek New Deal, https://theundefeated.com/features/a-covid-19-vaccine-is-here-but-theaters-seek-a-new-deal/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Theatre in 2020: a recap, https://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2020/12/30/theatre-in-2020-a-recap-and-an-outlook-for-2021/

How Jewish theater adapted to the pandemic era, https://forward.com/culture/461199/zoom-readings-and-recipe-boxes-how-jewish-theater-went-online-during-the/

Dewey decibels: High school to build Broadway-caliber theater, https://brooklynreporter.com/2020/12/dewey-decibels-high-school-to-build-broadway-caliber-theater/

Like Restaurants, New York Theater Is Going Al Fresco This Spring, https://www.barrons.com/articles/like-restaurants-new-york-theater-is-going-al-fresco-this-spring-01609271284

Rear-view mirror | About Last Night, https://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/2020/12/rear-view-mirror.html

Sports Law News

By Bennett Liebman

The Sports Feats That Defied Covid, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-sports-feats-that-defied-covid-2020-11609126753?mod=e2tws

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bring Football and Fans Back to Raymond James Stadium Safely, https://frontofficesports.com/tampa-bay-buccaneers-adventhealth/

Former AG Loretta Lynch Joins NFL Probe of Escalating Fight Among Washington Football Team Owners, https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-ag-loretta-lynch-joins-nfl-probe-of-escalating-fight-amont-washington-football-team-owners-11608664109?mod=e2tws

MLS informs players' union that it will invoke force majeure clause in CBA - source, https://www.espn.com/soccer/major-league-soccer/story/4275493/mls-informs-players-union-that-it-will-invoke-force-majeure-clause-to-terminate-cba-source

WFT partners allege financial malfeasance; Daniel Snyder calls that 'scandalous', https://theathletic.com/2290235/2020/12/29/wft-partners-allege-financial-malfeasance-daniel-snyder-calls-that-scandalous/

Why Dwayne Haskins Agent Tweeted About Ending Their Relationship, http://sportsagentblog.com/2020/12/31/why-dwayne-haskins-agent-tweeted-about-ending-their-relationship/

Google, Microsoft and Facebook among Major League Cricket in the United States investors, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102483/major-league-cricket-investors-released

Italian swimmers test positive for COVID-19 following national championships, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102478/italian-swimming-covid-19

MOREY TAMPERING FINE FOR AUTOMATED TWEET FINDS NO SYMPATHY IN NBA RULES, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/daryl-morey-james-harden-1234619205/

TOP TEN SPORTS LAW CONTROVERSIES OF 2020 SET TO SHAPE INDUSTRY'S FUTURE, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/sports-law-1234618901/

Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Signed Into Law, https://www.paulickreport.com/news/the-biz/horseracing-integrity-and-safety-act-signed-into-law/

Key sports law cases and developments of 2020 - North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2020-key-sports-law-cases-and-developments-north-america

EU General Court delivers ruling on the application of EU competition law to sports authorization rules and upholds the role of the Court of
Arbitration for Sport, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/eu-general-court-delivers-ruling-on-the-47216/

A State Skirmish Over N.C.A.A. Amateurism Rules Has Quickly Become a National Battle, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/28/sports/ncaa-amateurism-rules.html

Which bill to compensate college athletes will win out, and which one should?, https://theathletic.com/2287100/2020/12/28/ncaa-congress-name-image-likeness-bill/

Jeff Brandes again wagers on legalized sports betting, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/391139-jeff-brandes-files-bill-to-legalize-sports-betting

Spartan Accommodations: Winning Football Masks San Jose State Troubles, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2020/san-jose-state-sjsu-football-doj-1234619245/

December 29, 2020

New York Enacts New Post-Mortem Publicity Rights Law with Significant Implications for Commercial Advertising and Marketing Uses

By Barry Werbin

This and other blogs by Barry can be found at Herrick, Feinstein LLP's website at https://www.herrick.com/publications/new-york-enacts-new-post-mortem-publicity-rights-law-with-significant-implications-for-commercial-advertising-and-marketing-uses/

A sea-change in NY's privacy/publicity rights law went into effect on November 30, 2020, when Gov. Cuomo signed legislation establishing a new Civil Rights Law Section 50-f (S5959D /A.5605-C), which for the first time grants a 40-year post-mortem right of publicity for deceased "performers" and "personalities" (as defined below) to protect against unauthorized commercial exploitation of specific attributes of their persona. NY's pre-existing limited right of publicity (Civil Rights Law Sections 50 and 51), which remains in place, applies only to use of a living individual's name, portrait, picture or voice for purposes of advertising or trade (such unauthorized uses of a person's name, portrait or picture is also a misdemeanor under Section 50).

As with the current law, there is a private right of action for damages and injunctive relief arising from acts occurring directly in NY that are related to the unauthorized use of the protected persona of a deceased performer or personality "on or in products, merchandise, goods, or services, or the advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods, or services" that are prohibited by the statute.

The new law further places restrictions on using technology to create digital reproductions of persons. This expanded right of publicity protects a deceased performer's digital replica in expressive works to prevent third parties from misappropriating such professional performances without consent.

Under the new law, successors in interest to deceased individuals can enforce such post-mortem rights, provided they first give notice of such interest through a public registration database, which will be maintained by the NY Secretary of State. The law includes usage exceptions consistent with constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

The law becomes effective on or about May 28, 2021 (180 days after it became law on November 30, 2020), and applies to all living and deceased individuals who die on or after that date. Remedies include the greater of compensatory damages or statutory damages of $2,000 per violation of the post-mortem and digital replica sections of the statute, plus any profits from the unauthorized use that are not taken into account in awarding compensatory damages. Punitive damages are also available.

There are a wide variety of exempt uses, consistent with First Amendment rights, depending on whether the deceased person is defined as a "deceased performer" or a "deceased personality," as further explained below. Exempt uses generally include plays; books and other literary works; magazines and newspapers; musical works; works of art and other visual works; works of political, public interest, educational or newsworthy value, including comment, criticism, parody or satire; documentaries, docudramas, or historical or biographical works, regardless of the degree of fictionalization; audio and audiovisual works, radio and television programs, if they are fictional or nonfictional entertainment; news, public affairs and sports programming; and advertisements for any of the foregoing types of works.

Owners and employees of any medium used for advertising are also exempt, provided they do not have actual knowledge by prior notice of an unauthorized use of a deceased performer's digital replica or deceased personality's name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness. Protections afforded interactive computer service providers under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, however, expressly remain unaffected.

Unless covered by an exempt category, entertainment, sports, media, marketing and advertising enterprises, and online platforms, will now need to undertake specific due diligence before using any of the delineated persona of deceased performers and personalities for specified commercial advertising and marketing purposes.

For over 100 years, NY's publicity rights law only applied to living persons. Originally enacted in 1903, the long-existing law covers use of a living person's name, portrait, picture or voice for advertising or purposes of trade, which remains unchanged under the new law, thus leaving in place decades of established court precedent interpreting that legacy statute. Before the new law, anyone was free to use a deceased New Yorker's persona for commercial purposes without restriction. Various other states grant post-mortem publicity rights, such as California (70 years after death) and Elvis' home state of Tennessee (where such rights can extend indefinitely as long as the deceased person's persona continues to be exploited).

The new law expands the categories of a deceased individual's persona to include "name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner." It also defines two distinct protected groups: "Deceased Performer" and "Deceased Personality." "A deceased performer" is a person who dies while domiciled in New York and who, for livelihood, was "regularly engaged in acting, singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument." "A deceased personality" is a person who dies while domiciled in New York and whose "name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness" had commercial value "at the time of his or her death, or because of his or her death," regardless of whether that person during their lifetime "used his or her name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or solicitation of purchase of, products, merchandise, goods, or services."

The law also provides a new definition of a "digital replica," covering any newly-created computer-generated, electronic performance by an individual that is then used in a new audiovisual work or sound recording "in which the individual did not actually perform," such that "a reasonable observer would believe it is a performance by the individual being portrayed and no other individual."

Any use of a deceased personality's defined persona "on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods, or services" without consent from that person or their authorized representatives, is a violation of the statute that gives rise to a claim for damages. The use of a deceased performer's digital replica in an audiovisual work as a fictional character, or for the live performance of a musical work, without permission, also gives rise to a claim for damages if the use is likely to deceive the public into thinking such use was authorized by the deceased person. However, liability can be avoided if the user posts a "conspicuous disclaimer" in the credits of the audiovisual work and in any related advertisements where the digital replica appears, stating that use of the replica has not been authorized by the depicted deceased person.

These publicity rights are now deemed property rights, which are made freely transferable and descendible, in whole or in part, by contract, license, gift, trust, or other testamentary instrument. These rights can also be exercised by subsequent owners of such rights. It will be important for estate planning purposes for celebrities and performers to carefully plan for succession rights. Such rights can also be transferred prior to death to a separate entity that can be managed by those trusted by the individual personality. Persons dying intestate will have their publicity rights inherited by one or more persons who own 51% or more of the deceased individual's rights under the law. Successors must register in the new database in order to enforce these rights.

The law also adds a new Civil Rights Law Section 52-c, which imposes penalties for publishing sexually explicit depictions of individuals, to protect against "revenge porn" and "deep fakes." "Depicted individuals" include persons who appear, through digitization, to give a performance they did not actually perform or to be performing in a performance that is digitally modified. "Digitization" means realistically depicting nude body parts of another person as the body parts of the subject person, using computer-generated nude body parts as the parts of the subject person, or depicting an individual engaging in sexual acts in which that person did not actually engage. An offended person has a private right of action to enforce his or her rights against any other person who discloses, disseminates or publishes sexually explicit material related to the depicted individual and who knows or reasonably should have known that the depicted individual did not consent to such use. Remedies include compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and court costs. A defense of consent is only valid if there is a written agreement in plain language that includes a general description of the sexually explicit content. While First Amendment protections are included for matters of legitimate public interest and news reporting, sexually explicit material shall not be considered "newsworthy" merely because the depicted individual is a public figure.

December 28, 2020

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Arts, Sports, Media/Technology, General News, and Coronavirus:

Spending Bill Includes Several Intellectual Property Measures, Creates Copyright Small Claims Court

The $2.3 trillion spending and coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress includes several intellectual property provisions, such as creating a copyright small claims court, making unauthorized commercial streaming of copyrighted material a felony, and altering some trademark and patent procedures.



Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Establishing Post Mortem "Right of Publicity" in New York State

The legislation is meant to protect deceased individuals against the commercial exploitation, or unauthorized use, of their name or likeness, and takes effect on May 31, 2021. These rights can also be exercised by their descendants, "giving performers' estates the ability to control and protect their likeness or image after they have died." The law also "creates new penalties for publishing sexually explicit depictions of individuals, protecting people from revenge porn and 'deep fakes'."



A 'Great Cultural Depression' Looms for Legions of Unemployed Performers

The article discusses the impact of COVID-19 in the arts and the resulting unemployment that left 52 percent for actors, 55 percent of dancers and 27 percent of musicians out of work in the third quarter of 2020.


R. Kelly is Set to Face Trial in Chicago in September

The singer's federal trial for child pornography and obstruction charges has been moved to September 13, 2021. Originally scheduled to begin in April 2020, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sesame Street Creates New Muppets for Rohingya Refugees

The two muppets are named Noor and Aziz and will be featured in programming run by the Sesame Workshop and shown in refugee camps. The characters will speak Rohingya, the language of the Rohingya Muslims who escaped ethnic cleansing in their native Myanmar.


Epstein Associate Charged with Rape of Minors in France

Former modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel has been charged with rape of minors of the age of 15 and sexual harassment. The Epstein associate is also "under investigation on suspicion of human trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation." The indictment is the result of an inquiry opened by French prosecutors in 2019 to uncover potential offenses committed in France or against French victims in connection with the Epstein scandal.



Stimulus Bill Offers $15 Billion in Aid for Struggling Arts Venues

The coronavirus relief package that Congress passed on Monday includes $15 billion for music venue owners, theater producers, and cultural institutions impacted by the coronavirus. Entertainment businesses can apply for grants from the Small Business Administration "to support six months of payments to employees and for costs including rent, utilities and maintenance. Applicants must have lost at least 25 percent of their revenue to qualify and those that have lost more than 90 percent will be able to apply first."


Congress Approves New Museums Honoring Women and Latinos

Funding for two long-sought Smithsonian museums dedicated to the contributions of women and Latinos has been secured as part of the $2.3 trillion year-end spending bill. It is unclear where the museums will be located, given that the crowded National Mall may not be able to accommodate additional construction.


Trump Makes Classical Style the Default for Federal Buildings

President Trump signed an executive order that "establishes classical architecture as the preferred style for new federal buildings but stops short of banning newer designs from consideration." In addition to praising Greco-Roman architecture and describing Modernist designs as "ugly and inconsistent," the order also establishes a new selection process that will apply to the construction of federal courthouses and agency headquarters, and projects costing more than $50 million.


Star Trek and Dr. Seuss Mash-Up Not Protected Under the Fair Use Doctrine

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a book titled "Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!", which consisted of Start Trek characters inserted into the 1990 children's classic, was not protected from a copyright infringement claim and failed to meet the required standards for fair use, "partly because it was not a parody or otherwise transformative." The Court found that all of the fair use factors favored the plaintiff (the author's estate), and that the district court had erred in putting the burden on the plaintiff as to the fourth factor, the market harm element, given that fair use is an affirmative defense for defendants.


Decision: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0?ui=2&ik=edaa24804e&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1686793996906190129&th=1768b23402dad531&view=att&disp=inline&realattid=1768b22c1aa87e7e3e81

Actors and Writers Lobby for Congressional Support

Advocacy Group Be an #ArtsHero is lobbying Congress and pushing "to help shape legislative language so [pandemic relief] bills include relief to artists and workers, not just institutions." One of its founding members has also circulated an open letter to the U.S. Senate arguing that "cultural work is labor" and underlining the importance of the culture sector as a job creator.


Phishing Scam Targets Book Manuscripts

An international phishing scam is targeting authors, agents and editors by tricking them into sending unpublished book manuscripts, with no clear sign of what the motive is or who is profiting, and how. There have been no ransom demands and the manuscripts are not showing up on the black market. One of the leading theories in the publishing world is that this is being done by someone in the literary scouting community, who is familiar with insider lingo and the path a manuscript takes.


Sheldon Solow's Collection Faces Uncertain Future

The art world is waiting to see whether real estate tycoon Sheldon Solow's collection of paintings and sculptures, valued at $500 million, will be heading to a private museum or to auction. Solow amassed the collection over 50 years but was criticized in 2018 "for having benefited from the tax-exempt status his art foundation has held since 1991 while keeping the works in the collection largely inaccessible to the public."


A Legal Tug-of-War Over an Idyllic Work

After discovering the whereabouts of a looted Pissarro painting that belonged to her family, Leone Meyer brokered a compromise with a museum at the University of Oklahoma to rotate the painting between the university and a French museum. After finding it difficult to secure museums that would take on the liability of transporting the painting, Meyer is now seeking to change the agreement and permanently keep the painting in France. A judicial tribunal is Paris has ordered Meyer and the university to meet with mediators; a trial is scheduled in January "to hear Meyer's arguments for keeping the work in France, and a second hearing is set for March on whether to prohibit transport abroad."


Dutch Court Rules Against Jewish Heirs on a Claim for a Kandinsky Work

In a case seen as a litmus test for Dutch restitutions policy, the court ruled that the Stedelijk Museum can retain "Painting with Houses", a 1909 Kandinsky painting that it acquired during World War II. In making the order, the court upheld a decision of the Restitutions Commission, which has recently been criticized for its approach to claims for restitution involving art looted by the Nazis.



Michigan Appeals Court Upholds Larry Nassar Sentence

In a 2-1 decision, the state's Court of Appeals upheld Larry Nassar's 175-year prison sentence for sexual assault. Nassar is the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State's athletic department. Nassar appealed the sentence on the basis that Judge Aquilina, who had handed down the sentence in January 2018, was biased against him during his sentencing hearing and in public comments she had made. Nassar's previous appeals of two other sentences were also unsuccessful. He is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence for child pornography


Former U.S. Attorney General Assisting National Football League Probe into Washington Football Team Owners' Dispute

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has joined the National Football League (NFL's) investigation into allegations of misconduct among owners of the Washington Football Team. The NFL is "in the midst of an arbitration involving a feud" between majority owner Dan Snyder and the team's minority owners, who have been attempting to sell their stakes in the team and alleged that Snyder violated their shareholder agreement in various ways.


U.S. Olympic Officials Considering Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations

CEO Sarah Hirshland said the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee was "focused on building a vaccine plan" but would not comment on a firm policy yet. The L.A. Times reports that the availability of the vaccine could influence the board's decision on whether to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for American athletes headed to the Tokyo Games. The International Olympic Committee, for its part, said that it would not require the vaccination of athletes, but did encourage it where possible.


Baseball Hall of Fame Tries to Contextualize Baseball's Racist Past

In an effort to contextualize its past, the museum will be adding new signs and displays to explain the legacy of some of its problematic inductees, while enhancing and renaming its exhibit on Black players in baseball.


Swiss Federal Court Sets Aside Chinese Swimmer's Eight-Year Doping Ban

The Swiss federal court upheld a challenge questioning the neutrality of one of the Court of Arbitration for Sport panelists. Lawyers for Sun Yang argued that former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, the chairman of the panel who had issued Sun's ban in February, had made comments on social media that included anti-Chinese sentiments. News media reports showed Twitter posts by Frattini that expressed disdain over examples of animal cruelty in China. The World Anti-Doping Agency said that it would retry the case.



Google Denies Claims of Antitrust Behavior in Early Response to U.S. Lawsuit

In its filing, the company takes the position that users turn to its online search engine because they choose to, not because they lack alternatives and are therefore forced to. Google is responding to antitrust claims, specifically that it "used agreements with device makers like Apple, Samsung and LG to make sure it was the default search engine on their phones ... [thus] preventing rival search products ... from growing."


Defamation Lawsuits Could Sink Right-Wing Media

Voting machine companies are threatening legal action against conservative media as they find themselves at the center of conspiracy theories about electoral fraud. One of these companies is demanding that the Fox News Channel, Newsmax, and OAN immediately clear its name and
"that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit." The lawsuits pose a serious threat to OAN and Newsmax, which are vying to build "a giant new media company in the president's image."


Pulitzer Board Rescinds New York Times's 'Caliphate' Citation

The board announced it has stripped The New York Times of its finalist status after the newspaper reported that its podcast "Caliphate" and the related report, "The ISIS Files", did not meet its editorial standards for accuracy. A review found that the audio documentary "gave too much credence to the false or exaggerated account of one of its main subjects, Shehroze Chaudhry, a Canadian who claimed to have taken part in atrocities."


The Village Voice Rises from the Dead

The Village Voice, a "mainstay of independent journalism," ended its 63-year run in 2018. Brian Calle, the owner of LA Weekly, will revive the publication next month. It will include a website, a "comeback" print edition, and quarterly print issues.


Kansas City Star Apologizes for Racism in Decades of Reporting

The Kansas City newspaper issued a front-page apology for having "disenfranchised, ignored and scorned" generations of Black residents. Across 10 pages, it reflected on the ways in which it "had disregarded the city's civil rights struggle and had helped support racial segregation in housing." An advisory group has also been struck to help inform the newspaper's future coverage of communities of color.


President Trump Appointee Seeks to Cut Off Funding for Global Internet Access Group

The head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media is moving to defund the Open Technology Fund (OTF) partly "because of a dispute over whether the fund should support work done by the Falun Gong," a pro-Trump, anti-China movement. OTF develops tools that support internet access in places that tightly control access. Michael Pack cited various reasons for seeking to defund OTF and will make his final decision by January 19th, one day before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.


With Alibaba Investigation, China Gets Tougher on Tech

The dynamic between the government and major tech companies is shifting in China as online giants have grown in power in recent years. The country's regulators have now opened an antitrust investigation into Alibaba; under China's antimonopoly law, a company can be fined a maximum of 10% of its sales from the previous years, which in Alibaba's case could amount to billions of dollars.


Number of Journalists Killed for Their Reporting Doubled in 2020

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 30 journalists were killed this year, 21 of whom were killed as a direct result of their work (compared to 10 in 2019). Deaths related to conflict fell, however, given waning violence in the Middle East and also as a result of fewer journalists travelling because of the pandemic.


Wuhan Citizen Journalist Faces Trial for Pandemic-Related Posts

In the first known case against a citizen journalist, Zhang Zhan will face trial for her coverage of the pandemic during lockdown. The government accuses her of spreading lies and "provoking trouble", and are seeking a sentence of four to five years in prison. Zhang's reporting undermined government efforts to censor information and her prosecution is seen to be part of a "continuing campaign to recast China's handling of the outbreak."


Pakistani Court Orders Release of Men Convicted in 2002 Killing of American Journalist Daniel Pearl

Even though earlier convictions had been overturned in April 2020, the men were rearrested and were still being held under a detention order that allows the government to hold terrorism suspects for up to three months. The court said that the continued detention was now illegal.


General News

Answering Trump, Democrats Try and Fail to Jam $2,000 Stimulus Payments Through House

The House majority leader asked for "unanimous consent to accede to President Trump's request for larger checks" but failed to pass it. Lawmakers had previously agreed to $600 direct payment checks, but President Trump suggested he would reject that compromise unless lawmakers raised the amount, leaving many Republican lawmakers divided over the proposal. As President Trump continues to criticize the $900 billion aid package and resists signing it, millions of Americans lost unemployment coverage as two federal programs run out of money.






Climate Change Legislation Included in Coronavirus Relief Deal

Two climate change-related measured were attached to the government spending and coronavirus relief package that was recently passed by Congress: one was to curtail the use of planet-warming chemicals found in air-conditioners and refrigerators, and the other to authorize millions in spending on wind, solar, and other clear power sources.


Biden Introduces Climate Team

In choosing Gina McCarthy as the head of a new White House Office of Climate Policy, Biden said that his climate change team is one that "prioritizes making clean energy jobs and environmental protection a cornerstone of his economic plans." The group includes Rep. Deb Haaland, who will lead the Department of the Interior, and Jennifer Granhold as the Energy secretary.


Biden Cabinet Leans Centrist, Leaving Some Liberals Frustrated

The article discusses president-elect Biden's personnel choices and describes them as being "pragmatic and largely centrist."


Reversal of Trump Border Policies Will Not Be Immediate

The incoming Biden administration announced that it would not immediately reverse border restrictions imposed by Trump, cautioning that it will take time to build capacity to process claims by asylum-seekers. The president-elect said a new border policy will not be in place for at least six months.


Trump's Failed Crusade Debunks GOP's Case for Voting Restrictions

Despite courts finding no evidence of widespread election fraud, efforts to roll back voting rights persist and are fueled by the myth of stolen elections. For example, allegations that people "double voted" have been used to justify stricter voter identification laws and the claim that non-citizens cast illegal votes is being used to argue for new "proof of citizenship" requirements for voter registration. The defeats in the courts will likely not change "the trajectory of the ongoing efforts to restrict voting that have been core to conservative politics since the disputed 2020 election."


Trump Grants Mining and Energy Firms Access to Public Lands

The Trump administration is quickly approving a number of corporate projects on federal lands in what is an intense push by the Interior Department to increase domestic energy and mining production.


Trump Contradicts Pompeo Over Russia's Role in Hack

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized the latest hack of the federal government as a cybersecurity attack by Russia, while the president downplayed the severity of the attack and suggested it might have been China.


Trump Pardons Two Russia Inquiry Figures and Four Blackwater Guards

Among those pardoned by the president are two people who pleaded guilty in the special counsel's Russia Inquiry (George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan), as well as "four former U.S. service members who were convicted on charges related to the killing of Iraqi civilians while working as contractors for Blackwater in 2007." Trump has already pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, Jared Kushner's father, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and commuted Roger Stone's sentence.



Court Extends Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Term

In a rarely used power, the Federal District Court in Manhattan formally appointed Audrey Strauss as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Strauss was the acting head of the Southern District after Trump removed Geoffrey Berman from the post. Her term was set to expire a few days before the Trump administration ends, and her appointment is seen to be a "stabilizing force when the chief judge and the unanimous court" endorsed her appointment.


New York Judges File Age Discrimination Lawsuits in Response to Forced Retirements

New York City judges are being forced to retire to close a pandemic budget gap. The State's retirement age for judges is 70, but judges can apply to continue serving in two-year increments until they are 76, although many are being denied. These developments have prompted 10 New York judges to launch lawsuits against the state's chief judge and an administrative board that voted unanimously to let older judges go. They cite age discrimination and argue that the state violated a requirement to consider applications individually.

Critics say that the decision will mean New York City will lose a high number of experienced judges "at a time when the system is already struggling with backlogs created by the pandemic," with certain boroughs being affected more than others.


Alex Padilla Will Replace Kamala Harris in the Senate

California Governor Gavin Newsom selected Padilla to serve the final two years of Kamala Harris's term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator to represent the state.


Misinformation Amplifiers Target Georgie Senate Races

Conservative media personalities spreading baseless rumors of election fraud are focusing their efforts on Georgia's two special elections next month. The messaging is aimed at discrediting the outcome of the November election and convincing Georgia voters that voting fraud is being perpetrated in the state.


Push Underway to Rename Jefferson Davis Avenue in Alabama

An effort is underway to rename Jeff Davis Avenue after Fred Gray, long-time civil rights lawyer who defended Rosa Parks and who grew up on the street that continues to "serve as a reminder that the quest for racial equality is far from over."


William Barr Sees No Reason for Special Counsels for Hunter Biden and Election

Attorney General Barr broke with the president in saying that he saw no reason to appoint special counsels to oversee the Justice Department's criminal investigation into Biden's son, or to investigate claims of widespread voter fraud. It remains to be seen whether Barr's replacement, who will lead the department on an acting basis for a few weeks, will take a different approach.


MacKenzie Scott Upends Philanthropy, Giving Away $6 Billion This Year

Following her divorce from Jeff Bezos, Mackenzie Scott has donated approximately $10 billion from her fortune of Amazon shares. Her practices are non-traditional - she disburses money quickly, without much fanfare and without reporting requirements, the latter of which many underfunded non-profits find burdensome.


Britain and the European Union Reach Landmark Deal on Brexit

After months of negotiations, Britain and the European Union (EU) have reached a trade deal that still needs to be ratified by the British and European Parliaments. Britain had previously agreed to continue abiding by EU rules and regulations until the end of the year, to avoid disruption to business and cross-Channel trade.


Coronavirus Update

U.S. Employers Can Require Workers to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces workplace laws, says that "employers can require workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine and bar them from the workplace if they refuse." The EEOC said that the administration of a vaccine does not fit the definition of medical examinations that an employer can be prohibited from administering under the Americans With Disabilities Act.


Disadvantaged Students More Likely to Be Learning Online

Research from Columbia University found that "closed classrooms were disproportionately composed of nonwhite students" and students with lower testing scores, and suggested that remote learning will widen the achievement gap as disadvantaged students lack the support that remote learning requires.


Mexico is First Latin American Country with Vaccination Program

The country started administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to health care workers this week and will continue to do so over the next two months, before moving on to other at-risk populations.


Concerns About Coronavirus Mutation Push Europe to Isolate U.K.


Poorer Nations at Back of the Line for the Vaccine


How China Censored Bad News About COVID-19

Internal directives and reports show how government officials controlled digital media content in the early days of the pandemic, including censoring information about Dr. Li, the ophthalmologist who first warned of the viral outbreak. Directives also required news sites to avoid sharing negative news about the virus and to downplay reports of donations or purchases of medical supplies from abroad, which would risk disrupting China's procurement efforts in bringing in vast amounts of PPE.


December 24, 2020

Sports Law News for the Week of December 25th

By Bennett Liebman

Why LeBron James seeks $1 million from courtside photographer in countersuit, https://theathletic.com/2279041/2020/12/22/lebron-james-photographer-lawsuit/

Report: Washington paid $1.6 million to settle a sexual misconduct accusation against Daniel Snyder, Rhttps://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/12/22/report-washington-paid-1-6-million-to-settle-a-sexual-misconduct-accusation-against-daniel-snyder/

SNYDER SEX MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS CLOUD SALE BY WASHINGTON LIMITED PARTNERS, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/dan-snyder-sexual-misconduct-allegation-1234618898/

NBA RETURNS WITH FANS IN SOME ARENAS AND REVENUE SHORTFALLS EVERYWHERE, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2020/nba-opens-season-revenue-shortfall-1234618855/

Santabarbara: It's time for legal mobile gambling, https://dailygazette.com/2020/12/22/santabarbara-its-time-for-legal-mobile-gambling/

Report: NHL looking to raise US$15m from 2020/21 helmet sponsors, https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/nhl-helmet-sponsors-value-2020-21-season?utm_content=149856551&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

'It Doesn't Work': Critics of Russia's Doping Ban Blame the System, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/21/sports/olympics/russia-doping-wada-cas.html?referringSource=articleShare

KEYONTAE JOHNSON COLLAPSE AND MYOCARDITIS DIAGNOSIS SPARKS HEALTH AND LIABILITY CONCERN, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/keyontae-johnson-florida-1234619037/

Opinion: By handing drug enforcement to U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, can horse racing clean up its act?, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/dan-wolken/2020/12/22/horse-racing-serious-catching-cheaters-usada/4016180001/

Column: If Supreme Court rules against NCAA athlete compensation, the fight must not end, How might Supreme Court rule on NCAA athlete compensation? https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-12-20/supreme-court-ncaa-athletes-compensation

Supreme Court to Weigh in College Sports: The Intersection of Antitrust and "Amateurism", https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/supreme-court-to-weigh-in-college-13406/

Michigan Appeals Court decision in People v. Larry Nassar, COA 345699 PEOPLE OF MI V LAWRENCE GERARD NASSAR Opinion - Per Curiam - Unpublished 12/22/2020 http://publicdocs.courts.mi.gov/opinions/final/coa/20201222_c345699_88_345699.opn.pdf#search=%22Nassar%22

Joe Nocera: Supreme Court can end the college sports charade, https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2020/12/19/Joe-Nocera-Supreme-Court-can-end-the-college-sports-charade/stories/202012190007

USADA find three-time Olympic archer Ellison not at fault after positive doping test, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102352/ellison-not-at-fault-for-positive-sample

HOW A NEW VISA POLICY COULD IMPACT US ONLINE SPORTS BETTING PAYMENTS, https://www.legalsportsreport.com/46378/visa-us-sports-betting-online-payments/

Sun Yang's doping ban referred back to Cas after Chinese swimmer's appeal, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/dec/24/sun-yangs-doping-ban-referred-back-to-cas-after-chinese-swimmers-appeal


COVID, legislation, lawsuits signal change in college sports, https://www.foxnews.com/sports/covid-legislation-lawsuits-signal-change-in-college-sports

Parents sue Illinois Gov. Pritzker over winter sports cancellation due to COVID, https://news.yahoo.com/parents-sue-illinois-gov-pritzker-003000337.html

Athletes, doctors, former AGs file briefs opposing Idaho transgender sports law, https://www.postregister.com/news/education/athletes-doctors-former-ags-file-briefs-opposing-idaho-transgender-sports-law/article_5806616d-65f4-5412-ac7d-94a607d4765c.html

Theater News for the Week Ending December 25th

By Bennett Liebman

Broadway Sees Lifeline in $15 Billion Aid for U.S. Entertainment, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-22/broadway-sees-lifeline-in-15-billion-aid-for-u-s-entertainment

Broadway community applauds relief package, but says more is needed, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/12/22/theater-community-applauds-relief-package-but-says-more-is-needed/

Stimulus Offers $15 Billion in Relief for Struggling Arts Venues, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/21/arts/covid-stimulus-theaters-venues.html

House And Senate Pass Massive Covid-19 And Government Spending Package: What's In It For Showbiz, https://deadline.com/2020/12/covid-19-relief-congress-save-our-stages-1234660371/

My dream for theater: Toss the old business model in the dumpster fire of 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/my-dream-for-theater-toss-the-old-business-model-in-the-dumpster-fire-of-2020/ar-BB1c6KyK

A Chance to Invest in the Next 'Hamilton'? Broadway's Financiers Say to Call Them Now., https://www.riaintel.com/article/b1ps502v3xc60p/a-chance-to-invest-in-the-next-hamilton-broadways-financiers-say-to-call-them-now

Rebecca Luker, a Broadway Star for Three Decades, Dies at 59, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/23/theater/rebecca-luker-dead.html

Rebecca Luker, 3-Time Tony-Nominated Performer, Passes Away at 59, https://www.playbill.com/article/rebecca-luker-3-time-tony-nominated-performer-passes-away-at-59

With a Beloved Cafe Threatened, Broadway Stars Put on a Show, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/23/theater/west-bank-cafe-telethon.html

The most exciting theater now is a figment of our imagination, How TikTok and social media are changing Broadway fandom, https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2020/12/22/tiktok-broadway-musical-theater-ratatouille/

Turning Great Plays into Bad Films, Thttps://www.wsj.com/articles/turning-great-plays-into-bad-films-11608654000

The 10 Best Theater Moments of 2020, https://www.vulture.com/article/the-10-best-theater-moments-of-2020.html

Let's Be Real: These Programs Won't End Racism at Your Theatre, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/12/22/lets-be-real-these-programs-wont-end-racism-at-your-theatre/

'It's More Money Than I Imagined.' So He's Giving Some of It Away, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/23/theater/jeremy-o-harris-commission-philanthropy.html?smid=tw-share

Why Would a Broadway Actor Choose to Live in Philadelphia?, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/22/realestate/rob-mcclure-mrs-doubtfire-diy-philadelphia-house.html?auth=login-email&login=email

The Artists We Lost in 2020, in Their Words, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/22/arts/artists-who-died-2020.html

Remembering Broadway's shining stars who died in 2020, https://nypost.com/2020/12/23/remembering-broadways-shining-stars-who-died-in-2020/

An Online Show that Runs and Runs (and Runs), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/23/theater/stars-in-the-house-rudetsky.html

Seven Broadway Stars Who Have Created New Businesses During the Pandemic, https://variety.com/2020/legit/news/broadway-pandemic-covid-19-robbie-fairchild-jeremy-o-harris-1234873686/

How Broadway's workers are getting through the shutdown together, https://nypost.com/2020/12/23/how-broadways-workers-are-getting-through-the-shutdown/