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Week in Review

By Ben Natter

Swiping a Priceless Antiquity ... With a Scanner and a 3-D Printer

Two German artists, Nora al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, claimed to use mobile 3D scanning technology to scan and create copies of the bust of Nefertiti. The bust is considered the "jewel of Germany's state museum" and is on advertisements for the museum throughout Berlin. Experts opined that the quality of the scan was too high and that the artists somehow acquired the museum's high quality 3D scans and made copies. The artists claim to have made the scans using technology originally developed for the Xbox game console.



Federal Agents Raid Christie's, Seizing Ancient Sculptures

Two Indian sculptures, valued together at about $450,000, were seized by the U.S. government prior to being auctioned at Christie's earlier this week. The sculptures were scheduled to be included in a Tuesday Christie's auction titled The Lahiri Collection: Indian and Himalayan Art, Ancient and Modern. Christie's denied knowledge of the items being stolen.

The government had been searching for the antiquities since 2012, when images of the sculptures were found during a raid of a storage facility belonging to Subhash Kapoor, a former gallery owner who is currently under international investigation for dealing in stolen and antiquities.


Wideman Suspension Reduced by Arbitrator

An independent arbitrator ruled on Friday that the National Hockey League's (NHL) 20 game suspension of Dennis Wideman should be reduced to 10 games. Wideman had already sat out 19 of the 20 games, thus the main impact of the decision is that Wideman will be paid his salary for 9 games that he did not play.

The arbitrator felt that Wideman's contact with the official was unintentional and that Wideman's concussion impacted his behavior. The NHL is exploring options for an appeal.


Mejia's Lawyer and Major League Baseball Trade Charges Over Doping Ban

The attorney representing Jenrry Mejia, the Mets' pitcher who was permanently banned from Major League Baseball (MLB) after three failed drug tests, spoke out against MLB at a press conference earlier this week. Meija's attorney summarized his client's belief that he had been threatened by MLB and that there was some type of conspiracy against his client. Attorneys for MLB denied the allegations.


Mass Market Edition of To Kill a Mockingbird to End

The Hachette Book Group, publisher of the mass market paperback edition of To Kill A Mockingbird, will be discontinuing printing of its paperback edition of the book in late April. The mass market edition of the book is the copy supplied to schools around the country.

More than 20 million copies of the mass market paperback have been sold over the last 40 years. HarperCollins will continue to publish the "trade" paperback, which sells for about twice as much as the mass market edition. The publisher stated that the estate of the author did not wish to renew its license. It is possible that the estate may enter into another license agreement with a different publisher.

Bill Cosby Turns to His Insurance For Help With Legal Costs

To help with legal costs for defamation suits filed in connection with statements Bill Cosby made about claims of sexual assault, he is relying on insurance policies he has on his properties in Massachusetts and California, each with limited liability coverage of $1 million. Cosby and his wife, Camille, also have another policy with $35 million in coverage. Cosby would like the insurance companies to also be responsible for any awards decided after a judgment.

Bill Cosby's insurer, American International Group (A.I.G.) argued federal court that it should not be required to pay legal costs for defamation lawsuits arising from acts of sexual misconduct. A federal judge found in favor of Cosby in November. The California Judge found the language of the policy to be ambiguous, and that precedent required an interpretation favoring extension of coverage.

A.I.G. is paying the legal fees in three of the five defamation suits and is currently disputing coverage in federal court with Cosby in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California, arguing that it should not be responsible for paying Cosby's legal fees and should not be responsible for any final judgments.


Sony to Pay Jackson Estate $750 million for Stake in Catalog

Michael Jackson's estate has agreed to sell its 50% stake in Sony/ATV for $750 million. The deal will significantly strengthen Sony's position as a music publisher, and the catalog includes the Beatles, in addition to Michael Jackson and many other high profile songwriters and artists. Jackson acquired the rights to the Beatles' catalog in 1985 for 41.5 million. Sony and Jackson formed a partnership to control the catalog in 1995.


American Bar Association to Enforce Stricter Timeline for Law Graduates to Pass the Bar Exam

This week the American Bar Association (ABA) put the word out that it planned to "tighten" the language and enforcement of a rule requiring 75% of law school graduates to pass the bar exam within two years of graduation. The current rule was somewhat vague, and many schools were allowed to avoid the requirement. Two schools in California were recently placed on probation for violating the rule. Previously, A.B.A. accreditation of two additional schools was temporarily withdrawn due to low bar passage rates. Bar passage rates have been dropping across the country.


National Football League Suspends Bryant for One Year

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant was suspended by the National Football League (NFL) for at least one year after a second violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Bryant was a fan favorite and caught 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns after missing the first four games of last season due to a previous violation of the NFL substance abuse policy.


NFL Acknowledges Concussion and CTE Link

Jeff Miller, the NFL's Senior Vice President for Health and Safety, admitted on Monday that a correlation between concussions and CTE exists during a discussion about concussions that was organized by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce. This is the first time an official from the NFL publicly acknowledged that there was a connection.


FIFA Seeks to Collect Millions of Dollars in U.S. Case

Earlier this week FIFA made a formal request to the US.. Department of Justice for a share of the millions of dollars it will collect from defendants who have and will plead guilty to involvement in bribery and kickbacks involving FIFA. The U.S. government, in characterizing FIFA as a victim, has helped FIFA's position for receiving some of the funds. FIFA made the formal request on Tuesday to the Department of Justice. Such requests are usually made closer to sentencing of defendants. If the government can prove knowing participation in the corruption, it could bar FIFA from a share of the amount collected.


Spotify Settles With the National Music Publishers' Association

Spotify will reportedly pay between $16 million and $25 million, along with a $5 million bonus, to the National Music Publishers' Association for unpaid royalties to U.S. music publishers. As a result of the settlement, industry experts anticipate that songwriters and publishers who had previously boycotted the Swedish music streaming company may be more inclined to license their music for use on Spotify.


Italian art Police Crack Case of Verona Museum Theft

Italian Police made 13 arrests earlier this week in connection with a robbery of 17 paintings from Verona's Castelvecchio Museum. In a well-timed robbery, the men were able to take more than an hour to collect the paintings and flee the museum. Investigators analyzed 4,000 hours of video and hundreds of phone calls to identify the suspects. The suspects included the security guard who was tied up during the heist, as well as 12 other individuals. The stolen works were not recovered but are believed to be in Moldova.

Video of the heist was also released and is visible at the below link.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 18, 2016 6:01 PM.

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