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Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Second Circuit Court of Appeals Rules on Copyright Use

Capitol Records, LLC, the record company, brought an action against Vimeo, LLC, an Internet service provider where users post videos, for copyright infringement. The Second Circuit, on appeal from the Southern District of New York, held that as to pre-1972 sound recordings, the fact that a video contained a "recognizable, copyrighted sound recording" does not prove knowledge of infringement by Vimeo, LLC and falls under the safe harbor of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As to post-1972 recordings, Capitol Records, LLC did not provide evidence sufficient to show that Vimeo, LLC was willfully blind as to impute knowledge of the infringement.


U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Legal Fees in Copyright Cases

The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday that a Thai student who won a copyright case in 2013 involving imported textbooks should have a second chance to persuade a lower court that the publisher of the textbooks should pay his legal fees. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the Court, stated that while a losing side's position being objectively reasonable was one proper consideration, the lower court gave it too much weight, in light of other considerations: motivation, deterrence, and compensation. Her opinion also seemed to suggest that the student was unlikely to prevail under the current standard, however, that will be for the lower court to decide.

The decision is available to read at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/15-375_4f57.pdf.


Court Backs FCC's Rules Treating Internet as Utility, Not Luxury

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the cable and telecommunications companies with a 2-1 ruling upholding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) recent regulations. Those regulations include ensuring net neutrality, which prohibits companies from slowing data delivery to consumers. The cable companies indicated that they will appeal to the United States Supreme Court.


Russia's Track and Field Team Barred from Olympics

The global governing body for track and field, known as IAAF, announced on Friday in a unanimous ruling that Russia is barred from competing in this summer's Olympics in Brazil because of the doping conspiracy that has come to light. The International Olympic Committee is set to discuss the decision on Tuesday, however, it would be an unusual move if Olympics officials were to amend the ruling, as they typically defer to governing bodies of the specific sports.


World's Doping Watchdog Did Nothing After Confession of Cheating

Following the news that several of Russia's athletes in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics may have been doping, new evidence has emerged that shows the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) could have been more proactive in investigating Russia's athletes. Following the 2012 Olympics, one Russian athlete, Darya Pishchalnikova, sent an email to WADA disclosing that she was taking banned drugs at the direction of Russian sports authorities, and she pleaded that WADA investigate. Rather than investigate, WADA forwarded the email to Russia's sports authorities and apparently turned a blind eye to the issue, allowing it to fester.


WADA Accuses Russian Athletes of More Violations

On Wednesday, WADA announced that more violations have occurred in Russian sports in just the past seven months, since the country was accused of government-sponsored doping. A track and field athlete was caught attempting to smuggle a clean urine sample for drug testing, sports officials did not provide a list of athletes who were at a boxing training camp until after an hour of stalling, and armed federal police officers threatened drug testers who sought to collect athletes' urine. These developments call into question whether Russia has taken remedial action since the accusations of government-sponsored doping were revealed seven months ago.


Commentary: In Russian Doping Scandal, Time for Punishment to Fit the Crime

In a commentary by Michael Powell, he argues that it is time for there to be a strict, severe punishment for Russia's doping history. Anything short of that, Powell states, would be too lenient, given the deeply ingrained culture of doping and the lengths that the Russian state has gone to in perpetuating the doping. He seems to agree with Sanya Richards-Ross, a gold medal runner, that Russia should not be allowed to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.


Picasso Sculpture in Dispute Goes to Leon Black

A heated dispute regarding one of Picasso's sculptures, thought to be worth more than $100 million, has come to an end. Leon Black will take possession of the sculpture, while his adversary, the Qatari royal family, will receive an undisclosed amount in financial compensation.


Expelled Yale Basketball Player Sues

Jack Montague, who Yale University expelled in February after a committee found that he had raped a fellow student, filed an action against Yale on June 9th. Montague alleges that Yale used a "deeply flawed process" in making him an example because of criticism that has emerged about the university's handling of sexual assaults on campus. The complaint was filed in federal court in Connecticut, and Yale's spokesman stated that "Yale will offer a vigorous defense."


A Push to Improve Welfare of Horse Racing's Involuntary Heroes

Amidst the growing concerns about animal welfare in places like SeaWorld, horse racing has come under scrutiny as well. With horses sometimes collapsing and dying on the track, and doping a regular occurrence, a piece of federal legislation, the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Anti-Doping Act of 2015, has started to gain momentum. The legislation would put doping under the purview of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which many believe would restore the credibility to horse racing that has been increasingly compromised in recent years.


Owner of Modigliani Portrait is Adamant the Work is Not Nazi Loot

Billionaire and art dealer David Nahmad owns a Modigliani portrait that is said to be worth at least tens of millions of dollars. However, an action in New York court brought by Philippe Maestracci challenges his ownership. The complaint claims that Maestracci's grandfather owned it, and that during World War II, the Nazis invading Paris looted it from his grandfather's shop only for Nahmad to later come to wrongfully own it. Now, both parties are attempting to retrace the history of the portrait in the pending action. Nahmad insists that he is ready to fight the action, but he acknowledges that if it is in fact a stolen portrait, he will return it.


Maria Sharapova Appeals Two-Year Doping Ban

Maria Sharapova filed an appeal of her two-year doping ban in the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne, Switzerland. She hopes to overturn or at least reduce the suspension imposed by the International Tennis Federation, which was imposed after she tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January of this year. An expedited ruling is expected to be issued next month, before the Olympics in Brazil.


Russia Faces Threat of Expulsion from Euro 2016 Competition

As a result of violence by Russian fans in the Euro 2016 soccer competition, UEFA has penalized the Russian soccer federation approximately $170,000 and given a suspended disqualification. This effectively leaves the Russian soccer team on the precipice of being disqualified from Europe's most prestigious tournament just two years before Russia hosts the World Cup. Given UEFA's broad definition of "crowd disturbance," which the Russian fans' violence apparently constituted, an act by fans short of violence could still disqualify Russia.


Cable Industry Mobilizes Lobbying Army to Block FCC Moves

The FCC has proposed new regulations that would permit an opening of the market for cable set-top-boxes, which are currently dominated by the major cable companies. In May, 60 lawmakers signed a letter from the cable industry voicing their concerns about the adoption of such regulations and the impact it would have on the cable companies.


Gawker Article on Trump's Hair Draws Threat from Hulk Hogan's Lawyer

Charles Harder, the same attorney who represented Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, sent a letter last week to Gawker on behalf of a hair treatment clinic, stating that in a recent article about Donald Trump's hair on Gawker's website, Gawker made "numerous false and defamatory statements about my clients." The letter demanded that Gawker remove the article, issue a public apology, and execute a full retraction of the article, threatening legal action otherwise.


Foo Fighters File Action Against Insurance Companies

The rock band the Foo Fighters brought a lawsuit against London-based insurance market Lloyd's. The lawsuit comes as the Foo Fighters cancelled four shows in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris in November of 2015, which they expected would be covered under the Terrorism Policy of their insurance with Lloyd's. However, Lloyd's has neither paid nor offered to pay any money for this claim. The Foo Fighters are seeing damages as well as punitive damages and attorneys' fees.


Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page Testifies in Copyright Trial

On Wednesday, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin testified in a copyright trial, claiming that Led Zeppelin's 1971 hit "Stairway to Heaven," was copied from Spirit's "Taurus," a 1968 song. Page insisted that when he heard "Taurus," it sounded "totally alien" to him. This trial comes just a year after Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay $5.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye for their song "Blurred Lines."


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 17, 2016 2:46 PM.

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