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June 4, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Supreme Court Rules Patent Laws Cannot be Used to Prevent Reselling

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court imposed sharper limits on how patent holders can control their products after selling them. Lexmark's toner cartridges were at issue, as the company sold cartridges with the condition that they not be reused after depleted. One company, Impression Products, refilled the cartridges and sold them cheaper than Lexmark's new cartridges. Lexmark sued for patent infringement. The Court ruled that, according to the "patent exhaustion" doctrine, Lexmark could not use patent law to stop companies like Impression Products from refilling and selling the cartridges.


China Detains Activist Who Worked at Manufacturer of Ivanka Trump Shoes

An activist and two others who work for China Labor Watch disappeared after investigating labor conditions at two factories in China. The factories make shoes for Ivanka Trump's brand (among others), and one of the activists was confirmed to be detained by police. In China, it is possible for the activist to be held for days or weeks before being formally arrested. The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment on the detention, which comes at a time of rising pressure on advocacy groups in China.


Trump Awarded a New Chinese Trademark, This Time for Catering

The Chinese government granted new trademarks in recent days for President Trump and Ivanka Trump for jewelry, wedding dresses, and providing catering services in China. President Trump has regularly blamed China for taking American industrial jobs, but the granting of the trademarks raises additional conflict of interest concerns, as shortly after his presidency began, the Chinese government granted a series of trademarks to him as well. The latest granting raises his total of Chinese trademarks to 89, and another 28 have won preliminary approval. The Trump Organization has not responded to the New York Times' request for comment.


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


Judge Rules Against Jazz Musician's Estate in Drake Sampling Suit

In the Southern District of New York, the estate of musician Jimmy Smith filed a copyright violation suit against Drake in relation to one of his songs. His label retained a licensing company to obtain the appropriate permissions, and although it licensed the recording of Smith's song, it did not license the composition of the song. Judge William Pauley dismissed the suit, saying that Drake's sampling of Smith's song was entitled to protection as fair use.


Lebanon Bans 'Wonder Woman' Because Its Star is From Israel

The Lebanese government announced on Twitter that it is banning the new film, "Wonder Woman," from being shown in the country, as its lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli. Lebanon shares a border with Israel and has had an acrimonious relationship in recent years, including a brief war in 2006. The film is still scheduled to show in other Middle Eastern countries.


Fyre Was Bad. For the Concert Industry, This One Could be Worse

Following the failure of the Fyre Festival, which was viewed to be an outlier in the festival industry, the Pemberton Music Festival in the mountains of Canada also collapsed. The two companies hosting the event declared bankruptcy, and ticket purchasers were invited to file proof of claim forms as unsecured creditors. The fact that the festival did not offer refunds to purchasers makes Pemberton's collapse "a fraud and a scam", according to an outspoken voice in the business. That same person claimed that Pemberton's failure "could be the symbolic end for independently promoted festivals."



The Coat of Arms Said 'Integrity.' Now It Says 'Trump'

Throughout President Trump's golf courses in the United States, there is a coat of arms with three lions and two chevrons on a shield. In his two golf courses in Scotland, a two-headed eagle replaces the lions. However, the coat of arms that he uses belongs to another family: British authorities granted the coat of arms to Joseph Edward Davies in 1939. The only change that Trump made to the Davies' coat of arms was replacing the Latin word "Integritas" with "Trump." While the Davies family has not sued Trump for use of the coat of arms, Trump's attempt to trademark the emblem in Britain failed, and he has not registered the emblem under the Lyon King of Arms Act passed in 1672 in Scottish Parliament. The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization, which did not respond to such requests.


El Museo del Barrio Fires Executive as New Director Faces More Challenges

El Museo del Barrio hired a new Executive Director, Patrick Charpenel, a respected curator in Mexico City, who is under pressure to stabilize the museum after it has gone through three Executive Directors in the past seven years. The last one, Berta Colon, was dismissed because of "performance reasons," a claim that she disputed in a letter to the Board of Trustees. The museum, which was founded in 1969, has faced financial problems, and Charpenel will have to engage in significant fundraising efforts; a problem he did not face in his prior work in Mexico. He will also have to deal with the bureaucracy of New York City and the fallout of his predecessor, both of which are daunting. Being a Mexican national, he has not yet obtained the paperwork to come to the United States and begin the work that awaits him.


Bangladesh Orders Statue of Woman at Supreme Court Put Back Up, but Elsewhere

Authorities in Bangladesh ordered the removal of a statue from the country's Supreme Court, conceding to pressure from Islamist groups, but just two days later, they reversed course and ordered the statue be put in a less prominent location in the capital, Dhaka. The statue is a blindfolded woman holding the scales of justice, and while the Bangladeshi Constitution makes the Bangladesh a secular country, more than 90% of its population is Muslim. Rural parts of the country are beginning to embrace a more conservative form of Islam, and that more conservative ideology forbids representations of the human form, making the statue objectionable. The statue is set to be moved 300 yards to an annex where it cannot be viewed from the street.


After Decades, a 'Bittersweet' Resolution Over Lost Art

When the Graf family fled Europe to escape invading Nazis, they left behind an 18th Century oil painting of Venice by Michele Marieschi, titled "La Punta Della Dogana e San Giorgio Maggiore." The Graf family and its heirs have finished a 70-year recovery effort: they have reached a restitution settlement with the trust of the now-deceased owner. The Graf family filed a claim for the work in Austria and sought help from the Art Loss Registry. One painting dealer recognized the work as being in someone's home several years prior, and after a British judge issued an injunction for Christie's to disclose the location of the painting, it told the Graff heirs where the painting was housed. Nonetheless, the owner refused to talk, and when he died in 2013, the painting came to be owned by a resulting trust, when settlement talks began. While the terms of the settlement are not clear, the auction house Sotheby's in London estimated the painting to be valued at $650,000 to $905,000. One heir of the Graf family called the resolution bittersweet, because the Grafs did not live to see the piece again, but he called the settlement amount "acceptable."



An National Basketball Association Throwback: Ads on Jerseys

Beginning next season, each National Basketball Association (NBA) team will have new jerseys with a patch on the upper left representing an advertising sponsor. For LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, there will be a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company patch on his jersey. While in American sports it is rare to have advertising on jerseys, this was not always the case. Dating back to the early 20th Century and into the mid-20th Century, team mascots were local companies, such as the Fort Wayne General Electrics, or the Indianapolis Kautskys, named after Frank Kautsky, a grocery store owner. In the days when teams were named after their sponsors, many players did not earn enough money to pay the rent and had to pick up side jobs. That is a marked difference from the best players of today, who earn tens of millions of dollars each year in the NBA.


NBA Commissioner is Ready for Change in 'One-and-Done' Rule

Commissioner Adam Silver wants to change the NBA's draft eligibility rules. For approximately a decade, the NBA has had a rule with the players' union (known as the "one-and-done" rule), that players either had to be 19 years old or be one year removed from high school before they were eligible for the NBA draft. There have been arguments to raise the minimum age to 20 and others to eliminate the rule altogether. Commissioner Silver said on Thursday that, after speaking with college coaches and athletic directors as well as NBA staff, no one is happy with the quality of training that players are receiving coming into the draft. Commissioner Silver did not propose what rule could replace the "one-and-done" rule, however.


LeBron James Responds to Racial Vandalism

On Wednesday, a vandal painted a racial slur on the front gates of LeBron James' Los Angeles home. James, who has become more outspoken as his flourishing career has progressed, made a public statement as he begins his seventh-straight NBA Finals appearance. He said to reporters that no matter the level of success one achieves, it is tough to be black in America. He has said that his family is safe, but the incident had a significant impact on him, which he says will pass.


Kanter Scoffs at Report on Turkish Warrant

Enes Kanter, a Turkish NBA star, has had his Turkish passport revoked after he expressed disdain on social media toward the Turkish government, and particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport and learned that his passport had been revoked. He has since returned to the United States.


After Tiger Woods Stumbles, Solid Ground Beckons

Following Tiger Woods' arrest on Monday in Florida, the police report was released indicating he had an alcohol level of 0.000 in his system, but video evidence showed that he had difficulty performing a field sobriety test. For Woods, who has attempted to maintain a clean public image, the arrest was an unfortunate consequence of medication he had taken, the effects of which he did not fully realize at the time. Considering the fact that Woods has had several surgeries in recent years, some wonder whether he has developed a dependence on pain medication. If so, it provides him an opportunity to be a role model for millions of Americans, as he was in years past.


Suspensions Given for Giants-Nationals Brawl

Major League Baseball (MLB), following a brawl between the Giants and Nationals, announced fines and suspensions for Giants reliever Hunter Strickland and Washington's Bryce Harper. MLB's Chief Baseball Officer, Joe Torre, incited a "bench-clearing incident and fighting" by charging the mound, throwing his helmet, and fighting Strickland.



As Computer Coding Classes Swell, So Does Cheating

Computer coding classes have proliferated across the country, becoming some of the fastest growing classes in elite universities, like Harvard. Their lure comes because at the end of their education, students can embark on careers in Google, Facebook, or a startup company hoping to emulate the success of the tech giants. However, many students have been caught plagiarizing coursework, and copying each other's lines of code on exams. Some professors are not surprised to see cheating, as there are entire websites dedicated to sharing lines of code with other computer coders, and some professors say that the level of cheating is no different from any other discipline. Nonetheless, many universities have had the most academic dishonesty issues related to computer science students. Anti-cheating software typically uncovers the cheating, but some students still contend that there will always be reasonable sharing, which could be viewed as improper copying.


Twitter Fails European Union Standard on Removing Hate Speech Online

The European Commission is set to announce that Twitter has not met the European standards for removing hate speech online. While European officials have required tech companies to remove at least 50% of the hate speech on their sites, Twitter has removed less than 40%, after the content was flagged to the company. While it did not meet the standard, it is drastically better than last year, when it removed only 19% of hate speech when notified. Policy makers in several European countries have said that they will take more action against companies if the standards are not met: Germany's legislators are planning a law that would lead to fines of up to $50 million if companies do not act quickly to police harmful material.


Egypt's President Enacts Law Placing Severe Restrictions on Aid Groups

The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has enacted a law that imposes new regulations on aid groups, exacerbating fears that his administration would continue cracking down on human rights activists in advance of the presidential election next year. The new Egyptian law affects 47,000 local nongovernmental organizations as well as 100 foreign-financed organizations, making their work subject to approval by a new regulatory agency. One Egypt expert has hypothesized that the Egyptian president and other strongman leaders have been influenced by President Trump's presence to "undertake repressive actions in the name of counterterrorism and to anticipate that the Trump administration will not issue a word of criticism." Sisi's government blocked 21 websites in Egypt, including Al Jazeera; the Arabic language version of The Huffington Post; and Mada Masr, an independent news organization that has published several investigations into the workings of the security agencies. After social media pushback, Mada Masr appeared to be working shortly thereafter.


June 8, 2017

Center for Art Law Case Updates

Republic of Turkey v. Christie's, Inc., 1:2017cv03086 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 2017) A U.S. Court has granted Turkey 60 days to verify that it is the lawful owner of Guennol Stargazer, a 5,000-year-old, marble statue originally found in the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Eastern Thrace of Turkey (https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2017/04/29/battle-over-ancient-relic-pits-ankara-against-christies?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Upon discovering the statue, Turkey brought action against Christie's for auctioning Guennol Stargazer in its April 28th "Exceptional Sale" for approximately $14,000,000. (http://www.christies.com/salelanding/index.aspx?intsaleid=26907&saletitle=&mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8)

Thrasher v. Siegel, 2:cv-17-3047 (W.D.CA, Apr. 24, 2017) Last month a street artist, Monte Thrasher, brought action against Marci Siegel, for ordering the destruction of his mural "Six Heads" without giving the artist the 90 day notice required by the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) (http://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Bukowski.pdf?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Thrasher claims that Siegel was operating a bar inside the building on which "Six Heads" was painted and that she planned to replace it with a mural promoting her business. The complaint notes that "Six Heads" achieved great renown in the Los Feliz area it occupied since the mid-1990s. Thrasher seeks punitive damages and the opportunity to restore "Six Heads."

US v. Erik Ian Hornak Spoutz a/k/a Robert Chad Smith, a/k/aJohn Goodman, and a/k/a James Sinclair (C.D.N.Y., Feb 16, 2017) Michigan art dealer Erik Spoutz was sentenced to 41 months in prison for wire fraud charges arising out of his sale of dozens of forged artworks purportedly by renowned postwar American artists, such as Willem De Kooning, Robert Indiana, and Joan Mitchell. He allegedly started to sell forged works of art as early as 2005 under various aliases. Despite Spoutz's attempt to provenance for the artworks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams declared: "Spoutz falsified a complex series of seemingly original documentation of each piece's provenance: bills of sale, letters from art dealers, correspondence from prior owner's estates, etc." (http://theartnewspaper.com/news/michigan-art-dealer-sentenced-to-41-months-for-running-modern-art-forgery-scheme/)

Pulphus v. Ayers, Civil Action No. 17-310 (U.S.D.C . Arp. 14, 2017) A high school student, David Pulphus, whose artwork ("Untitled #1") won an art competition and was chosen to be displayed in the halls of Congress, filed a federal lawsuit because his work was removed from the Cannon Tunnel in the U.S. Capitol Complex, after several Congressional members complained about the paintings as being anti-police. The painting depicts a confrontation between police and protesters on the street in downtown St. Louis, and two officers in the forefront have the heads of pigs or warthogs. The lower court denied the plaintiffs' request for preliminary injunction relating to the retroactive removal of Mr. Pulphus' artwork. It was found that the painting's removal did not violate the artist's First Amendment rights. An appeal is anticipated.

Naruto v. Slater 15-cv-04324, 2016 WL 342231, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 18, 2016). In January 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a copyright infringement suit brought by PETA on behalf of a selfie-taking, six-year-old macaque named Naruto (http://clancco.com/wp/2016/02/naruto-copyright-author-owner-monkey/?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). PETA alleged that the defendants, a photographer and publisher, unlawfully claim ownership of the photographs that Naruto snapped of himself while playing with Slater's camera. The court held that the Copyright Act does not extend standing to non-humans, and therefore the case was properly dismissed. On appeal, PETA stands by its original claim that Slater is not the rightful owner of the photographs. Oral arguments are scheduled for July 12, 2017. (http://clancco.com/wp/2017/05/hey-hey-were-the-selfie-taking-monkeys/?mc_cid=9214b948a0&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8)

The Center for Art Law strives to create a coherent community for all those interested in law and the arts. Positioned as a centralized resource for art and cultural heritage law, it serves as a portal to connect artists and students, academics and legal practitioners, collectors and dealers, government officials and others in the field. In addition to the weekly newsletter (http://cardozo.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=78692bfa901c588ea1fe5e801&id=022731d685), the Center for Art Law subscribers receive updates about art and law-related topics through its popular art law blog (http://itsartlaw.com/blog/)and calendar of events (http://itsartlaw.com/events/). The Center for Art Law welcomes inquiries and announcements from firms, universities and student organizations about recent publications, pending cases, upcoming events, current research and job and externship opportunities. To contact the Center for Art Law, visit our website at: www.itsartlaw.com or write to itsartlaw@gmail.com.

June 11, 2017

Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

Gorsuch Rejects Doubts Over "Rule of Law Today"

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch gave his first public remarks at Harvard University's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. This was his first public statement since his appointment to the Supreme Court by President Trump. During the Harvard talk with the president of the National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen, Judge Gorsuch commented, "There is a lot of cynicism about government and the rule of law today, but I don't share it." Without mentioning a specific case, he made this statement the day after President Trump attacked the courts for ruling against his travel ban. When asked about the burdens of what Justices work through every day, he responded, "Somebody's got to run the zoo."


National Security Agency Contractor Accused of Leak Left a Trail of Clues

Reality Leigh Winner, a contractor at the National Security Agency's Georgia eavesdropping center, was arrested for leaking a top secret report to The Intercept, a national security news outlet. She was charged with violating the Espionage Act.
The FBI discovered from a trail of clues that Winner printed a copy of a May 5th report detailing hacking by a Russian military intelligence agency called GRU. The clues include a visible crease mark on the file scanned by The Intercept and the discovery that she had used a work computer to print the report, with the most notable being that color printers leave almost unnoticeable microdots that identify the serial number of the printer. Ms. Winner is one of 1.3 million people with top secret security clearance. She now represents the first criminal leak case of the Trump era.


Canadian Pirate Joe's Last Booty Is Sold

A settlement was reached in the Trader Joe's 2013 lawsuit against a Canadian-based reseller, Pirate Joe's, who was an unauthorized importer of Trader Joe's products for over five years. Using disguises to buy in bulk at Trader Joe's in Seattle, Mike Hallatt, founder of Pirate Joe's, would sell the goods at inflated prices in Vancouver, which is only three hours away. Trader Joe's "filed suit against Mr. Hallatt for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false advertising." Due to Trader Joe's having no stores in Canada and failing to prove that Pirate Joe's had affected its business, which includes 450 stores across the U.S., a Washington Federal District Court ruled that the violations occurred in Canada. Trader Joe's appealed, and the case was sent back to the lower court for a November trial. The two companies reached a settlement this week. With mounting legal fees for a protracted battle and a decreasing ability to purchase goods undetected, Pirate Joe's closed its doors on June 8th.


New York Right of Publicity Bill

The New York Assembly introduced a right of publicity bill last week. The bill changes a "right of privacy" into a "right of publicity." It amends New York's right of publicity bill "to make it descendible", and expands liability uses for people's identities, among other changes. Specifically, the bill "establishes the right of publicity for both living and deceased individuals; provides that an individual's name, voice, signature and likeness is the personal property of the individual and is freely transferable and descendible; provides for the registration with the department of state of such rights of a deceased individual; and establishes a 1-year statute of limitations for commencing a cause of action for the violation of such right." There is no Senate version of the bill as of yet.


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


Afrobeat Brings Profit, Mostly for the Pirates

Nigerian music is on the rise; however, many Nigerian artists are plagued with the sting of piracy. Actual record stores are rare even in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Music fans flock to makeshift markets selling illegal downloads where thousands of CDs are burned daily. Members of Nigeria's music industry are trying to put a stop to the piracy by trying to change the perception about the use of music. According to the Copyright Society of Nigeria, "Music is everywhere, but they don't know music is proprietary." The organization has tried to explain copyright law to local businesses, staged protests, hosted conferences, and even filed lawsuits. It is currently battling the nation's major mobile phone company, MTN, for paying artists unfairly to use snippets of their songs in ringbacks. MTN officials acknowledge that it is renegotiating more favorable artist deals.


Bared Breast Enthralls Future Czar, and Stokes a Culture War

The trailer of the Russian film "Matilda" ignited a firestorm with its scene depicting the young ballerina, Matilda Kshesinskaya, having a wardrobe malfunction during a performance where her left breast was exposed. The film, which is not due to be released until October, is about the famed dancer's life, and includes the torrid affair with Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich in 1890. Several have denounced the film without seeing it, including Bishop Tikhon, reputed to be Putin's personal confessor, Natalia Poklonskaya, a prosecutor from Crimea elected to the State Duma, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Poklonskaya commissioned a four-person panel that included religious studies, literature, and psychology specialists to review the film. In a 40-page report, the panel denounced the film and called the affair a myth, because Matilda was too "ugly" to have attracted Nicholas' attention, seemingly overlooking the well-documented affair in state archives, and notwithstanding the attractiveness of the actress portraying Matilda. The panel also damned Lars Eidinger, the German actor playing Nicholas, as a porn star because he appears naked in an entirely different film. The Russian Orthodox Church's main objection with the movie is that "it is an insult to the faithful," and a crime in Russia, as Czar Nicholas II and his wife were canonized in 2000. According to Poklonskaya, there have been threats by extremists to torch theaters that show the film. The Ministry of Culture and Putin's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, along with other senior officials, have endorsed Aleksei Uchitel, the film's director, and are waiting to see the finished film before judging it. In addition, a group of prominent filmmakers signed an open letter to the government in support of the film.


Recap of Cosby Trial Thus Far

Bill Cosby, the icon once regarded in high esteem as a television legend and national father figure, begins his trial for sexual assault. Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 when she was an employee at Temple University and informally mentored by Cosby. The trial, held in Norristown, PA, and presided over by Judge Steven T. O'Neill, is expected to last about two weeks. Prosecutors presented Constand's testimony, a second woman's allegations of a 1996 assault by Cosby, and Cosby's 2005 deposition acknowledging his use of quaaludes during his sexual exploits. He has stated that he does not plan to testify. It is expected that his defense team will seek to undermine Constand's and the second woman's testimony. Whether or not the jury finds Constand's testimony credible is critical. The Montgomery county district attorney is Kevin R. Steele. Cosby is represented by Brian J. McMonagle of Philadelphia. Judge O'Neill has already ruled that the jury will not hear from the 40+ women who have made similar accusations against Cosby, nor about the 2005 civil lawsuit brought by Constand against Cosby or the before trial settlement in that case. It is likely that both sides will produce character and expert witnesses, including drug experts and psychologists. It is unconfirmed whether his wife, Camille Cosby, will attend. The jurors are from the Pittsburgh area, and include two African-Americans and 10 Whites, with seven men and five women. They will be sequestered in Norristown during the trial.

Andrea Constand, the leading witness, took the stand for nearly nine hours over a two-day period. Constand, a former basketball star at Temple University, told the jury that in 2004, Mr. Cosby invited her to his Philadelphia home where he gave her three blue pills with wine and then sexually assaulted her. Her trial testimony is her first public account of the incident. Cosby is accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand, and is facing 10-year prison terms for each count. Cosby's defense attorney raised the inconsistencies in Constand's statements over the 12-year period, including how much time they spent together, the number of times that she telephoned Cosby, and how she stayed in touch after the incident. The prosecution also presented Kelly Johnson, who testified to a similar encounter with Cosby in 1996.

Kelly Johnson, a second woman accusing Cosby of sexual assault, was the opening witness for the prosecution. She testified about a 1996 incident at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, where she says that Cosby gave her a large white pill that made her pass out, and when she awakened, he was performing sexual acts on her. Her account parallels Constand's testimony of the 2005 incident at trial.

During the fourth day of trial, parts of a decade-old deposition by Cosby were read into the record. Jurors heard about the beginnings of wooing by Cosby in pursuit of a romantic relationship, further explaining "romance in terms of steps that will lead to some kind of permission or no permission." Judge O'Neill excluded some parts of the deposition after a long fight by Cosby's lawyers to keep the entire deposition from being introduced. Additional prosecution witnesses, a neighbor to Constand and Sgt. Richard Schaffer of the Cheltenham Township Police Department, corroborated Constand's testimony. Speculation continues on whether Camille Cosby will accompany her husband at any time during the trial. She has been noticeably absent.






"Monday Night Football" Is Reviving a Rowdy Song

Hank Williams Jr.'s song, "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night," and its catchphrase "Are You Ready for Some Football?" will be back on "Monday Night Football". The song was dropped by ESPN in 2011, after Mr. Williams' appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Fox News Channel, where he likened then President Obama and Vice President Biden to the "Three Stooges" and faulted President Obama and Speaker John Boehner for playing golf together. According to an ESPN spokesperson, fans told ESPN that it missed the Williams' song and wanted it back.


Concord Bicycle Music Buying Imagem Music

The definition of "indie label" just got bigger. Concord Bicycle Music, once an independent label focused on adult pop with a roster including Paul Simon and James Taylor, has become truly a conglomerate with holdings in Latin, hard rock, children's music and now, with the acquisition of Imagem Music Group, will include theatrical and classical music. Imagem is one of the largest music publishers, with a catalog of over 250,000 compositions, including the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Terms of the acquisition are undisclosed. However, it is speculated that the asking price is less than the $650 million price tag offered by its owner three years ago. With this deal, Concord Bicycle will almost double to $1 billion and increase its overhead by growing to approximately 350 employees. Concord Bicycle's Chief Executive Officer projects that the combined revenue of Concord Bicycle with Imagem will be $290 million this year.



Forever 21 & Urban Outfitters Are Facing A Lawsuit Over Tupac T-Shirts

Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters once again are embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Photographer Danny Clinch filed a federal suit in New York, claiming that his 1993 photos of Tupac Shakur were used on clothing without his permission. The defendants include the shirt manufacturer and two companies who licensed the shirts and Tupac merchandise: Bioworld Merchandising, Planet Productions LLC, and Amaru/AWA Merchandising, Inc. Clinch is seeking the prohibition of future use of his images, destruction of the remaining shirts, and $600,000 in damages. Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters have a litany of copyright infringement accusations, including by the Navajo Nation, a case which resulted in a settlement. The use of Frank Ocean's specially designed typeface, although unprotected by intellectual property law, is another example of Forever 21's infringing uses.



Former Contractor Sues Dale Chihuly, Claiming He Helped Create Artwork

Michael Moi, a former contract handyman, filed suit against glass artist Dale Chihuly, the latter of whom is known for large public exhibitions of blown painted glass, and whose works are in more than 200 museums across the globe (including a display of glass art currently showing on the New York Botanical Garden). Moi claims that he is a co-author of certain works and owns an interest in them for participating in "myriad clandestine painting sessions" at the Chihuly Studio. Claiming that Chihuly used a group of unpaid assistants to create works without any attribution, Moi maintains that Chihuly promised him future compensation that never materialized. Chihuly counterclaimed, stating that he has long used assistants to help him; however, Moi was not one of them, as he was only a handyman. The countersuit goes on in great detail, explaining that Moi seeks only to exploit Chihuly who suffers from bipolar disorder, and that Moi has threatened to expose Chihuly unless he iss paid $21 million for his silence. It's common practice for an artist to employ assistants. According to the Moi lawsuit, Moi, by assisting a mutual friend and Chihuly's assistant Billy O'Neil played a huge role in the creative process of many pieces, including pouring paint and eventually working on plexiglass paintings. At one point, Chihuly no longer participated in the process, and only signed the finished pieces. In 2015, O'Neil was fired, and Moi's contact with the studio tapered off. According to Moi, he was never paid, as he was neither an employee, nor had he signed a work-for-hire agreement. However, he was promised that "at some point Mr. Chihuly would take care of him." Moi took that to mean that he would share in the profits of the works they had created and would be acknowledged.


A Wounded Tribe Weighs a Sculpture's Fate

Sam Durant's sculpture Scaffold was created in 2012 to call attention to "the racial dimension of the criminal justice system in the United States." The wood and steel erection of gallows, installed by the Walker Art Center in its renovated public sculpture garden, brings to light the execution of abolitionist John Brown, the Lincoln conspirators, and 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota. The Dakota people denounced the piece as insensitive to what they recall as mass genocide. After mediation, Durant acknowledged his ignorance about the meaning of the Mankato gallows to the Dakota people by transferring his intellectual property rights of the sculpture to the Dakotas. The Dakota traditional and spiritual leaders, after dismantling Scaffold over a four-day ceremony, are now discussing whether the wood fragments should be burned. There is concern in the arts community that burning the sculpture would be considered an act of censorship.


A Hamptons Art Fair is Canceled (Again)

Art Hamptons February cancellation of its 2017 season leaves only one art fair standing in the region: Market Art + Design. Citing market conditions such as buyer fatigue, rising operational costs, and local regulatory restrictions, Nick Korniloff, Art Southamptons' art director, stated that a larger art fair, which was needed after 5 years of operations, could not be supported in the crowded Hamptons market.


J. Crew Chief Out After Failing to End Decline

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, nicknamed the "Merchant Prince", will step aside as Chief Executive of J. Crew, an office he has held since 2003 after an 18-year career at Gap. A spokesperson for J. Crew stated that Drexler has been succession planning for over a year. His departure comes after 11 consecutive quarters of decline in same-store sales. He will be succeeded by James Brett, President of the home furnishings brand West Elm. Brett is credited for turning West Elm into a must have for millennials. Drexler stated that it is his responsibility as head of the company to focus on the future leadership of its strategic plan. His departure as Chief Executive signals the end of an era. Fashion retailers struggle to adapt to changing consumer buying habits. Analysts speculate that J. Crew could join the ranks of several other retailers who filed for bankruptcy, including Payless ShoeSource, The Limited, BCBG Max Azria, and Wet Seal.


China Rejects U.S. Call to Free Activists at Factory Making Trump Shoes

Three labor activists from an activist group called China Labor Watch who were investigating the conditions at Huajian International factories were detained. Huajian manufactures footwear for a number of brands, including Ivanka Trump. Labor experts stated that this is the first time there has been a detention of undercover labor activists investigating the supply chains of Western companies. According to China Labor Watch, this is the first time in its 17-year history that any of its investigators have been detained. The United States called for their release. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it was an internal Chinese matter.



Ex-Penn State Officials Get Jail Terms in Sandusky Case

The three Penn State officials convicted in the Sandusky child molestation scandal were sentenced by Judge John Boccabella of Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. Spanier, the former President of Penn State, was found guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to 4 to 12 months' confinement, including a mandatory two months' actual jail time, plus a $7,500 fine. Curley, the former Athletic Director, and Mr. Schultz, the former Senior Vice President, pleaded guilty to related charges. Curly received 7 to 23 months' confinement, including a mandatory three months in jail, plus a $5,000 fine. Schultz was sentenced to 6 to 23 months' confinement, including two months' jail time, plus a $5,000 fine. All received two years' probation. Jerry Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.


Oakley Rejects Plea Bargain and Demands Day in Court

Charles Oakley, former Knicks star who was ousted from Madison Square Garden on February 8th after a confrontation with Knicks owner James Dolan, would like his day in court. Rejecting a plea offer from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Oakley stated that he wanted to have a public airing of the evidence at trial. After passing on a prosecutor's offer to dismiss Oakley's charges of misdemeanor assault, trespassing, and harassment if he stayed out of trouble for six months, a trial date was set for August 4th.


An Ugly Word. A Catalyst for Change

Kevin Pillar, the Toronto Blue Jays player who shouted an antigay slur during a game, is using the ugly four letter word as a catalyst for sensitivity of gay pride. Last month while playing against the Atlanta Braves, Pillar shouted the 4-letter word at reliever Jason Motte after latter struck out the former. With almost immediate condemnation on social media, Pillar was suspended for two games, participated in public events celebrating gay pride, and was mandated to spend a day in sensitivity training. The money he lost from his suspension was donated to You Can Play and Pflag. At one public event, the Blue Jays commemorated the start of Pride Month by having an officer of Pride Toronto throw out the first pitch to Pillar. Pillar has apologized to the LGBT community and posted an apology on Twitter. He hopes that people learn to be mindful of what they say.


Lawsuit by Boogaard's Parents Is Dismissed

Derek Boogaard, who played for the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers hockey teams, died from an accidental overdose of pain medications and alcohol. His parents brought a wrongful death suit against the National Hockey League (NHL) for their son's brain damage and addiction to prescription drugs. They argued that the NHL was negligent, as it knew or should have known that their son was not complying with the treatment from team physicians, dentists, trainers, and staff. U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman dismissed the suit in a 20-page opinion, stating that Boogaard's parents did not prove negligence.


Doctor in Running Project Is Focus of Doping Inquiry

Dr. Jeffrey Stuart Brown, an endocrinologist to the Nike Oregon Project, was issued an official notice of rules violations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the Agency). The Nike Oregon Project develops a team of elite athletes financed by Nike "to make American distance running relevant again on the international stage." It is led by Alberto Salazar, who trains some of the top track athletes in the world. The Agency has been pursuing the elite team with a broad investigation since last year, when it sought to compel a deposition from Brown. The Agency was unsuccessful in that effort. This week's official notice is the first signal that that it is seeking sanctions. Upon this notice, "the recipient has an opportunity to respond in writing. Then the case goes to a review board, which acts as a grand jury. If charges are made, the recipient has 10 days to accept or contest them in arbitration. Sanctions would be issued after that," reported the New York Times. Brown vowed to defend himself against any allegations.


Brothers Competed Despite Investigation

Steven Lopez, a 38-year-old three-time Olympic medalist, and his brother Jean Lopez, a 43-year-old veteran coach, were allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics despite being under investigation for sexual misconduct. According to USA Today, USA Taekwondo had been investigating sexual assault allegations from multiple women against the brothers. However, after consulting with the U.S. Olympic Committee, it stopped the investigation so that the Lopez brothers could compete. The investigating lawyer, Donald Alperstein, notified the FBI.



Summer Games Grow, Adding Mixed-Gender Events

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced 15 new events that will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics. Some of the events will be mixed-gender relays, including a swimming 4x100 mixed medley relay, a track 4x400 mixed meter race, archery and judo mixed-teams, and table tennis mixed doubles. Other new events in swimming include an 800-meter freestyle for men and 1,500-meter freestyle for women. In addition, freestyle BMX cycling, a two-person cycling race, fencing team events, and 3-on-3 basketball for men and women are also new. These, plus the events added last year, such as karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and baseball/softball, promise to make the 2020 Tokyo games "more youthful, more urban and will include more women," according to Thomas Bach, IOC Committee Chair.


A Jilted Paris Has Pined for the Olympics but the Long Wait May End in 2024

Paris, who lost bids to host the Summer Olympics in 2008 to Beijing and in 2012 to London, looks forward to the 2024 Games. The IOC is scheduled to decide the 2024 Games and possibly the 2028 Games this week. Tony Estanguet, Co-President of the Paris bid, is hopeful that Paris will be designated one of the Olympic games. He competes with Los Angeles, who has bid for both games. It is anticipated that the IOC will designate both games with possibly 2024 to Paris and 2028 to Los Angeles.


Win-Win: Let Paris and Los Angeles Play Host

The IOC Executive Board approved a proposal to award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games concurrently. The proposal is expected to be approved by the full committee on July 11th and 12th, and if so, the bids will be awarded by a final vote in September. Paris and Los Angeles, the only cities bidding to host the Games, are now poised to host an Olympic Game in the next decade. Recently, several cities withdrew their bids to host the Olympics, including Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, and Boston, citing financial concerns and doubts over the long-term value. 2024 would be ideal for Paris, as it coincides with the centenary of the last Games it held. Los Angeles positioned itself as ready to host in 2024, yet "publicly expressing more openness" to host the 2028 Games. The IOC Executive Board's decision establishes the probability of a win-win for both for Paris and Los Angeles.



Trial to Decide if ABC News Defamed Meat Processor with Report on Pink Slime

Beef Products Inc. produces lean, finely textured beef, an ingredient once popular in ground beef back in the 1990s. The beef is produced by "placing trimmings in centrifuges to separate lean meat from fat. The lean meat is then treated with ammonia to remove pathogens." The product was used by McDonald's, Burger King, schools districts, and supermarkets throughout the U.S. Although approved by the Agriculture Department in 1993, a former scientist of the Department, Gerald Zirnstein, questioned the product in 2002, calling it "pink slime". Concerns about the product continued to mount, with the New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for its report on food safety, which included concerns about Beef Products' process and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver stating that the process showed "no respect for food" on his show in 2011. Before ABC News reported on the pink slime in 2012, the top fast food chains had committed to eliminating the ingredient from their foods. Beef Products sued ABC for defamation, "arguing that the news segment and subsequent reports 'were rife with inaccuracies...and had a devastating backlash' on its bottom line." It is seeking $1.9 billion in damages, claiming that ABC acted "with reckless disregard" for the truth by "falsely suggesting that the product was 'pink slime'." ABC counters that its reporters had not acted with actual malice, which is the central question of the case. The upcoming trial is expected to last eight weeks.


Kathy Griffin Is Under Investigations for Photo

Kathy Griffin's online photo of a seemingly decapitated President Trump ignited a Secret Service investigation. According to her attorney, Dmitry Gorin, the investigation should not have been initiated; however, they will cooperate fully. He stated that Griffin had exercised her First Amendment rights. The Secret Service routinely investigates threatening statements that could bring harm to the President.


Telemarketers Fight to Get Into Phones Without Ringing

Frank Kemp, a video editor in Dover, Delaware, experienced a new technology called ringless voicemail, which allows a telemarketer to leave a voicemail message without the phone ringing and without the recipient's consent. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received a petition from All About the Message, the ringless voicemail provider, who would like to avoid regulation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. Running on technology developed by Stratics Networks, the company would like the FCC to rule that its voicemail messages are not actual calls, and are therefore exempt from the consumer protection laws that prohibit calling cellular phones with automated dialing and artificial or prerecorded messages without consent. The public comment period is open. The National Consumer Law Center, which represents over 12 consumer groups, drafted a comment letter to the FCC. According to its senior counsel, Margot Freeman Saunders, if the ringless voicemail messages go unregulated, "debt collectors could potentially hijack a consumer's voicemail with collection messages. And, consumers will have no way to limit, control or stop these messages." All About the Message recently settled a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by a consumer who received repeated messages from an auto dealer who is one of All About the Message's customers. Should the FCC rule against All About the Message, the company would like a waiver to relieve the company from any liability and "potentially substantial damages" to be retroactive for voicemails already delivered.


Dismissed Breitbart Editor Blames Anti-Muslim Tweets

Katie McHugh, a Breitbart News editor, claims that she was fired due to her anti-Muslim tweets. According to McHugh, it was her tweet after the London attacks that caused her dismissal. She tweeted that "there would be no attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn't live there." Breitbart, known for being far right, has often defended writers who have been criticized from the left. It declined to provide a comment on McHugh's dismissal.


Journalists Fear Affects of an Arrest

The arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, the intelligence contractor charged with leaking top-secret documents, raised concerns among journalists. Winner was arrested within hours after the publication of an intelligence report by The Intercept, an online news outlet known for its expertise in operational security in journalism. Typically, the measures taken to protect confidential informers by news organizations include establishing secure channels for sensitive news tips and documents. Oddly, The Intercept did not use the basic tenets. According to a statement from The Intercept, the FBI's account of how it came to arrest Winner should be met with skepticism. Another concern is scaring potential informants. The tweet, "If you leak, you will be caught," by Trump confidant Corey Lewandowski is sure to have a chilling effect on potential sources.


China's Censors Target Celebrity News

China's top online regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, held a meeting at the Beijing bureau's office with China's leading Internet companies. The regulator called for the companies to "actively promote socialist core values" and create a "healthy, uplifting environment for mainstream opinion." Since that meeting, many sites have shut down, particularly celebrity gossip sites, now considered a threat to public order (including Tencent, Baidu, and Jinri Toutiao). One closed site is affiliated with Harper's Bazaar. David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project, stated: "It's no longer enough for media content to avoid the negative. It must be adequately positive." The Cyberspace Administration's new cyberspace law and regulations that took effect this week require that "all online publishers including websites, apps, blogs and social media accounts must obtain permits from the authorities in order to publish news or news commentaries." The China Media Project, cautioning that the regulations could dramatic impact on the broader online space, will monitor the regulations' effects.


Charges in Threats to Lawyers Suing Fox

Joseph D. Amico, a 46-year-old repairman, threatened to blow up the Fifth Avenue office of New York law firm Wigdor LLP and shoot its partners for suing Fox News. Representing 11 African-American employees in an anti-discrimination suit, the firm is suing Fox News. Amico made the threatening calls to the firm, apparently disturbed by an earlier press conference held by the firm with regard to the class-action suit. Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christenson appeared in the press conference with the plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges that Fox News executives tolerated "abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination in the workplace", but took no action against it. Apparently infuriated by the press conference, Amico took to the phones, calling Wigdor and threatening to kill him and his family for representing the Black employees. The police were able to track down Amico via phone records, locating him in Nevada. In an attempt to arrest Amico at his house, he barricaded himself inside and SWAT was called in. After a five hour standoff, SWAT was able to retrieve Amico from his attic. Amico is represented by Todd Spodek, who stated that "words can be misinterpreted", and that he will fight the charges.


Maher Apologizes for Use of Racial Slur on "Real Time"

Bill Maher publicly apologized for his use of a racial slur during his HBO late night show "Real Time", that aired on June 2nd. His racial epithet, using the N-word while referring to house slaves, was made during an interview with Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. He expressed his regret in a written statement, stating, "the word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry." HBO also issued an apology, calling the joke "completely inexcusable." The call for his removal was almost immediate on social media, while some commentators expressed that his remarks were distasteful but did not rise to a firing offense. Others have questioned why Senator Sasse did not interject when Maher made the comment. Senator Sasse reflected on Twitter that he wished he had.


CNN Severs Its Ties With a Host After His Vulgar Criticism of Trump

Reza Aslan, host of Believer, a show on global religion, was cut from CNN where it had aired weekly since earlier this year. The removal of the show stems from remarks Aslan made on Twitter regarding President Trump after the terrorist attack at the London Bridge. In his tweet, Aslan, along with calling the President "an embarrassment to humankind", used profanity to compare him "to a piece of excrement." CNN moved swiftly to sever ties, making it the second time in less than two weeks that the network removed an on-air talent due to political commentary. Recently, the comedian Kathy Griffin was released from hosting its New Year's Eve program after posting a photograph of a fake severed head of President Trump. Its parent company, Time Warner, is still dealing with the effects of Bill Maher's racial slur on his HBO show Real Time.


MSNBC Surges to an Unfamiliar Spot: No.1

MSNBC, the cable news channel often stereotyped as the liberal news channel, reached No. 1 in prime-time cable news. Up 118% from last year, it garnered the highest viewership on prime-time weeknights for the coveted 25 to 54 age demographic, largely bolstered by the Rachel Maddow Show. The last time MSNBC was No. 1 in this category was 17 years ago, when Bill Clinton was president. According to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, who joined in 2015, the investment in straight-news reporting had allowed the channel to compete during last year's presidential race, leading viewers to feel more comfortable turning to MSNBC for breaking news.


Pandora Gets New Partner in Sirius XM

Pandora, one of the earliest providers of free Internet radio service, will be receiving an infusion of cash from its new partner Sirius XM, the satellite radio provider, to the tune of $480 million. The investment comes at a much needed time, as Pandora has been hemorrhaging, losing $343 million last year. Streaming music providers are facing the same obstacle because of the extreme expense to acquire music rights and marketing. Pandora's Internet radio ad revenue, although a respectable $1 billion annually, is not enough to compete with Apple and Spotify's pick any song on-demand services. Pandora countered with its own premium on-demand service. However, it needs financial support to bolster the new product. Sirius XM's deal will provide the much needed cash for a "company that has never reported an annual profit". As part of the deal, Sirius XM will receive three Board seats and a 19% stake in the company. Both companies will work together on future streaming opportunities in mobile and in cars. According to Sirius XM's Chief Executive, James E. Meyer: "This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for Sirius XM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where Sirius XM does not play today." Having made several missteps, such as purchasing Ticketfly for $335 million (taking a $135 million loss with its sell to Eventbrite for $200 million), and replacing its backer, KKR, at a loss of $22.5 million, hopefully its new partner will help Pandora navigate a highly complex business environment.


June 18, 2017

Week in Review

By Anna Stowe DeNicola

Happy Father's Day to all of our readers who are Dads.

Ivanka Trump's Brand Announced Cancellation of a Deal with Company Backed by the Japanese Government

This week, Ivanka Trump's brand announced, in response to questions posed by the House Judiciary Committee, that it cancelled a deal with Japanese apparel company Sanei, after it was discovered that one of the Sanei's shareholders was a bank owned by the Japanese government. The Ivanka Trump brand was negotiating the deal with Sanei back in December, when Trump sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Although Trump rolled her brand into a blind trust, overseen by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Trump and the Ivanka Trump brand remain under close scrutiny now that Trump has officially joined the White House staff as a presidential advisor.


Donald Trump Added Six New Chinese Trademarks to the Trump Portfolio

It was announced this week that China preliminarily approved six new trademarks for President Trump. Under Chinese trademark law, a preliminarily approved trademark is considered formally registered if no objections are received within three months. The trademark applications were filed in April 2016. Mr. Trump has over 120 Chinese trademarks, four of which are registered under a holding company. The Trump Company stated that it rolled the remaining trademarks into a holding company, and that they are no longer personally held by President Trump. Trademarks open the door for licensing opportunities and also serve as a means to protect brand integrity, especially in a country ripe with counterfeiters. Preemptive filing of trademarks in China is standard practice, and The Trump Organization firmly maintains that filing for trademarks are necessary defensive measures for the brand. The news of these new trademarks will further fuel the President's critics, who believe it is yet another example of how his business interests violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.


President Trump's Russian Trademarks Renewed Last Year

Contrary to President Trump's repeated statements that he does not have any Russian business interests, last year the Russian government extended six trademarks in Mr. Trump's portfolio that were set to expire. The trademarks were for hotels and branding deals that never came to fruition, and were set to expire in 2016. The trademarks were each renewed for additional 10-year terms. While trademark extensions are normal in the course of business, it is unusual for unused trademarks to be extended without challenge, especially if they were unused (as in the case of those at issue). More than the optics of the Russian government extending Mr. Trump's trademarks amidst an election cycle where Russia allegedly meddled in the election through extensive hacking efforts, this revelation does not look good for the President, who insists that he does not have business interests in Russia. Intellectual property interests are valuable assets to a company, and while President Trump may not have active business ventures in the foreign state, these extensions "preserve conditions" for future business deals. Russia is a "first-to-file" country, where prior use of a mark does not preclude registration of another company who is first to file. However, the trademarks must be used, and become open to challenge after being dormant for three years.


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


Mistrial Declared in Cosby Sexual Misconduct Case

After five days of deliberations, jurors remained deadlocked in the sexual misconduct case of Bill Cosby, causing Judge Steven T. O'Neill to declare a mistrial. Throughout the week, the jury asked to rehear portions of testimony and for clarifications on the law and the meaning of "beyond a reasonable doubt." On the forth day, the jury reported that it was deadlocked. Judge O'Neill sent jury members back for further deliberations, called a "Spencer charge" under Pennsylvania law.

Andrea Constand accused Cosby of sexual assault, alleging that he invited her to his home, drugged her, and engaged in sexual activity her while she was incapacitated. Cosby's defense team mounted a defense built on discrediting Constand, who, at the time of the alleged misconduct in 2004, offered inconsistent statements to the police. Several women also came forward with allegations that Cosby similarly took advantage of them while they were incapacitated after taking drugs or alcohol supplied by Cosby. Many people saw Constand as a "proxy" for these women, and as other claims are now time-barred, Constand's case may be the only time Cosby stands trial for these actions. Many on Cosby's team were hoping a not guilty verdict would clear his name and boost his tarnished reputation, but a mistrial leaves the star, and his accusers, in continued limbo. Constand's attorney stated that they will seek to try the case again.



Paradise No More for "The Bachelor's" Latest Spin-Off

The cast and crew from "The Bachelor" franchise's latest show, "Bachelor in Paradise", were sent home this week. Production was stopped after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, and Warner Brothers announced that production was suspended and an investigation was underway. It is very rare for the production of a reality show to be suspended, and the nature of the allegations are unclear at this point in time. The incident highlights the risks associated with producing this genre of show.


For Diehard Fans, Iran's Zumba Ban Will Not Stop Them

The Iranian government issued an edict: Zumba is illegal and contrary to Islamic precepts. The country recently has gone through a fitness revolution, with both men and women flocking to the gym to exercise. Women in particular have been participating in group fitness classes, and Zumba quickly took off, gaining a cult following. The Zumba craze highlights the tension between leaders of Iran and the country's evolving middle class. Shiite Muslim clerics codified hundreds of regulations that are meant to deter sinful activity, which they believe undermines families. Though punishment can be harsh, the laws are seldom enforced, and in many cases, are tolerated as long as the "sins" are committed out of the public eye. Zumba has been taught and practiced for years in Iran, and it was a surprise to many that suddenly Sports for All Federations issued a letter stating that Zumba was not an accepted sport, and citing the ban on dancing as the basis. The instructors who built the Zumba craze are passionate and dedicated, and despite the ban, vow to return to the gyms and go ahead with their scheduled classes.


New York Public Theater's Production of "Julius Caesar" Strikes Many Dissonant Chords

Controversy erupted over New York Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of "Julius Caesar", ultimately causing major corporate sponsors to back out of the production. Shakespeare's iconic play is hardly without controversy on its own - Caesar's assassination is the core around which the play revolves. Modern productions have been met with criticism, from a Mussolini-like Caesar (staged leading up to WWII), an Obama-like Caesar (five years ago) and now, Public Theater's Trump-like leading man. The central premise of the play has long been debated, with scholars and audiences either sympathizing or condemning the conspirators. The play has inspired violence, and contemporary productions that stage the play in modern attire (think business suits, not togas) have perhaps made the play feel more relevant to modern times. Oskar Eustis, Public Theater's artistic director, stands by his decision to portray Caesar as a Trump-like persona. He blames the "right wing hate machine" for causing the outcry, and for comparing the production with the recent photo of comedian Kathy Griffin holding what looked like the President's decapitated head. The public outcry that ensued over Eustis's interpretation caused Delta and Bank of America to immediately withdraw their funding. Sponsors face increasing pressure to align their brands with uncontroversial productions - and can be forcefully criticized on social media at the blink of an eye. Even under pressure, some sponsors of Public Theater's production, including the New York Times, have maintained neutral in the debate, preferring to defer to Public Theater's artistic control over its interpretation of the play.

For artistic director Oskar Eustis's comments:

For more on the Sponsor Withdrawals:

For more about modern-day interpretations of 'Julius Caesar':

Polanski's Rape Victim to Court: Please Drop This Case

Samantha Geimer addressed Judge Scott M. Gordon of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, and asked it to drop the decades-old sexual abuse case against director Roman Polanski. Polanski plead guilty to unlawful sex with a minor and subsequently fled the United States before his sentencing decades ago. The United States has been trying to extradite him for years, so he may face trial. Geimer "implore[d]" the court, asking the Judge to drop the case "out of mercy for myself."


Yoko Ono Recognized With Co-Writing Credit for "Imagine"

The National Music Publishers Association announced that Yoko Ono would be added as a co-writer of the 1971 hit, "Imagine". In an interview in the early 1980s, John Lennon stated that "the lyric and concept came from Yoko", and that the song should have been credited as a co-authored song by the couple. Although the process is in the works and has yet to be officially confirmed, Ono shared the news via Twitter after the public announcement on Wednesday.


Case Dismissed Against iHeartMedia for Copyright Infringement of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

A federal court in the Northern District of Illinois ruled this week on the iHeartMadia case. Finding for the defendants on all four counts and dismissing the case with prejudice, the court held that the digital radio giant (1) did not infringe on the plaintiff's common law copyrights in the plaintiffs' portfolio of pre-1972 sound recordings (under state common law copyright, the plaintiffs' voluntary sale of the sound recordings acted as "publication" of the works, and as such, the plaintiffs' lost their common law right to control public performances of the sound recordings); (2) did not misappropriate plaintiffs' property rights to the sound recordings under the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (iHeartMedia did not act deceptively when it broadcasted the recordings, as there is no common law right to limit the broadcast of a published work; and creating a digital copy of a sound recording solely for broadcast purposes does not violate the law); (3) did not commit conversion of the plaintiffs' sound recordings when it broadcast the sound recordings (the plaintiffs did not have a property right to preclude public performance of the sound recordings, therefore the sound recordings could not have been converted when broadcast by iHeartMedia); and (4) was not unjustly enriched, as such cause of action is not independent, and therefore failed with the previous three claims.

Read the full opinion here: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/illinois/ilndce/1:2015cv09229/316921/50/

Big Victory for the "Jersey Boys" Musical: Copyright Infringement Verdict Overturned

A federal judge in Nevada this week vacated a jury verdict that found that the hit musical "Jersey Boys" infringed on copyrighted material found in Jersey Boys member Tommy DeVito's autobiography. The judge instead found that the musical was a fair use of the material. The opinion walked through the four factor test for fair use, and found that (1) the play did not have an effect on the potential market for the book, as the book had no market value until after the play was written and produced, (2) only 2% of the words in the play also appear in the book - 145 words out of the 68,500 in the book, (3) that although the commercial purpose of the play weighs against fair use, that factor alone was not dispositive in the inquiry, and (4) the play was substantially transformative. The autobiography, co-authored by DeVito and Rex Woodard, was based on FIOA requests, newspaper articles and interviews, and told the story of DeVito from a singular perspective. The nature of the book was informational. The play, however, incorporated multiple new elements, including perspectives from all four members of the band and had elements of creative expression not found in the book. This finding of fair use follows a trend of recent cases, including the recent Drake sampling case and Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up case. If the decision is appealed, it will head to the Ninth Circuit.



Atlanta's Celebrated Murals Become the Center of a Legal Debate

Murals line city streets in Atlanta, and are a source of neighborhood pride. However, in recent years, "street art" has come under scrutiny and is potentially viewed as illegal. A rarely-invoked 2003 city ordinance requires murals on private property to have approvals from five sources - including the mayor, City Council, and the Urban Design Commission. The proposed art is evaluated to see if it conflicts with the city's public art program, and whether it constitutes a dangerous distraction to motorists or pedestrians. The city rolled out a retroactive amnesty program in April, streamlining the certification process and imposing a hard deadline for compliance. Several street artists joined in a federal lawsuit against the city, citing First Amendment protections and arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional. Atlanta's Mayor, Kasim Reed, supports revising the city code, while maintaining protections against harmful or offensive content. The parties recently entered into settlement negotiations.


Major Leadership Restructure Announced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Effective immediately, Metropolitan Museum acting Chief Daniel H. Weiss will assume the new role of President and Chief Executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). Weiss stepped in after the February resignation of the Met's Director, Thomas P. Campbell. Met Trustees voted unanimously to place Weiss in the new leadership role. The institution will undergo a search for a new Director, who will report to Weiss, and will focus on "core mission functions." This new structure shifts the focus of the Met's leader to the museum's financial health. Both the Chief and Director positions will serve on the Board and work collaboratively in shaping the Met's mission and priorities. With a background in academic leadership (Weiss is a medieval scholar and a former president of Haverford College), coupled with an MBA from Yale, Weiss is well-equipped to focus on the business aspects of running the Met - with its $316 million budget, 2,200 staff, and $3 billion endowment.


In a Rare Showing, Members of Venezuela's El Systema Movement Take to the Streets in Protest

Venezuela's El Systema program is celebrated worldwide as an incredible system that has transformed the country, and gave hundreds of thousands of children the opportunity to learn an instrument and become global ambassadors. Despite years of growing unrest in Venezuela, the program and its members maintain a neutral façade, and refrain from expressing political viewpoints. However, a young violist named Armando Cañizales was recently killed in the middle of a protest, and musicians trained in the program are speaking out en masse, instruments in hands, and denouncing the increasing violence. Many people protest under cover, but others bring their instruments and play amidst the fighting. El Systema has been Venezuela's pride and joy for four decades. After the 2013 death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the country faced serious inflation and lack of basic resources that are now affecting the program from drops in teacher salaries, to concert halls, and instruments that are not properly maintained. The death of Cañizales shocked the El Systema community, which now is showing a greater willingness to take a public stand against the current Venezualian government.


Philanthropist Agnes Gund Establishes a Criminal Justice Fund, Seed Funding From the Sale of a Lichtenstein

At an event this week at the Museum of Modern Art, the new Art for Justice Fund was announced by Agnes Gund. Gund, a prominent arts philanthropist and president emerita of MOMA, started the fund with $100 million of the proceeds from the January sale of Lichtenstein's "Masterpiece." The sale netted $165 million and was sold specifically to start this fund, which will be administered by the Ford Foundation. Gund is hoping that the fund will inspire other arts philanthropists to follow suit - and she has challenged the philanthropic community to match her $100 million over the course of the next several years. The idea of using art collections to "advance social justice" is new in arts philanthropic circles. Already committed to the cause are Laurie M. Tisch, Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault, Jo Carole Lauder, Daniel S. Loeb, and Brooke Neidich. The Art for Justice Fund will give grants to leaders and organizations that have an established record in criminal justice reform. The inspiration for the Fund came from within Gund's family - six of her grandchildren are African-American. Michelle Alexander's book on mass incarceration of African-Americans and Ava DuVernay's documentary, "13th", inspired Gund to take steps to impact change in the criminal justice system. Many people, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, hope this fund will "energize" support over criminal justice reform and the role philanthropists can play in effecting change.



National Football League Concussion Settlement Sees its First Two Claims

The National Football League (NFL) recently reached a billion-dollar settlement deal with former NFL players surrounding concussions and their long-term effect on player health. The settlement process is being overseen by the Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The first two claims in the settlement were disclosed this week; the first involving a $5 million payout, and the second a $4 million payout. Former NFL players who have been diagnosed with A.L.S., Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or dementia are eligible to participate in the settlement.


Guilty Plea in FIFA Money Laundering Case

Former managing director at Suiss bank Julius Baer, Jorge Luis Arzuaga plead guilty to money laundering this week. At the federal district court in Brooklyn, Arzuaga publicly admitted to arranging financial processing of $25 million in bribe payments and kickbacks as part of the international investigation into soccer's overseeing body, FIFA. He is the first banker to be convicted in the case, and is also under scrutiny by Swiss officials, who have helped extensively with the investigation and arrests of implicated defendants. Arzuaga agreed to pay $1 million to the government. Julius Baer is one of several financial institutions implicated in this case, and the investigation has revealed an extensive system of money channels for bribe payments through the international banking system. The investigation is the result of coordinated efforts among the Justice Department, FBI, and IRS criminal investigation division. Arzuaga's conviction signals a new stage in the investigation, where financial institutions and their associated bad actors are coming under increased scrutiny.


Mets Exceed Major League Baseball Recommendations for Protective Netting at Citi Field

The Mets this week announced that they will extend protective netting at Citi Field beyond the current Major League Baseball (MLB) recommendations in an effort to increase fan safety. City Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. introduced a bill a month ago requiring stadiums to increase safety measures, and although the bill has not been presented for a vote, the Mets volunteered advance compliance. The Yankees have yet to agree to enhanced measures, but have stated that they are considering the unique elements of Yankee Stadium in conjunction with architects, engineers, and the MLB.


Pitino and Louisville Face Further NCAA Sanctions

Basketball coaching legend Rick Pitino received a five-game suspension this week for his role in the Louisville Cardinal's basketball scandal. Additionally, the team was ordered to forfeit multiple victories, which may include the Cardinals' 2013 national championship, and the school was placed on a four-year probation. Two assistant coaches received show-cause orders, which will affect their ability to coach elsewhere in the NCAA system. These sanctions are in addition to the self-imposed sanctions Louisville announced in 2016. The University quickly announced that it will appeal the ruling, and Pitino said that he will personally appeal the decision. Coach Pitino was found by the NCAA to be ultimately responsible for the actions of his former director of basketball operations, who provided strippers and prostitutes to players and recruits in a campus dormitory as part of his recruitment efforts.


An Unusual Partnership Between the Seattle Storm and Planned Parenthood

This week, the WNBA team Seattle Storm announced a partnership with Planned Parenthood. The partnership, between an all-female owned sports franchise and the embattled health care agency, marks a departure from the norm for sports franchises, which often avoid the political arena when choosing causes to support. However, for the owners of the Storm, the choice was easy. The team will hold a "Stand with Planned Parenthood" Rally at its stadium, donating $5 from every ticket sold for that day to Planned Parenthood. The team will also host a fund-raising auction. Planned Parenthood is thrilled by the partnership, and hopes it will attract new donors and supporters of its mission. The team owners did not conduct market research to determine whether the efforts will be met with criticism, but believe strongly that they know their fan base and community, and that the support will come naturally.


Dennis Rodman Back in North Korea

Dennis Rodman this week returned to North Korea, where he has visited with North Korean President Kim Jong-un. Rodman is one of the first Americans to meet and interact with the North Korean leader, and has received criticism for his willingness to engage with the oppressive regime. Many people have speculated that he will convey a message from President Trump and are also noting that his visit coincides with the surprise release of American student Otto F. Warmbier, who was held by North Korea for over a year and released to the United States in a coma. Americans are warned not to travel to North Korea, and the Department of State maintains that Rodman is not traveling in an official capacity. Regardless of the nature of these visits, personal or as a private diplomat, Rodman has been able to provide a glimpse into the life of Kim Jong-un. Jong-un is an avid basketball fan. Both the Harlem Globetrotters and other former National Basketball Association (NBA) players have traveled to North Korea with Rodman, who enjoys a close relationship with President Trump. Rodman appeared twice on "Celebrity Apprentice", and several people believe it is highly unlikely that Rodman undertook this trip without communicating or coordinating with the President.


Former NBA Star Sebastian Telfair Arrested in Brooklyn on Gun Charges

Last weekend, former NBA point guard Sebastian Telfair was arrested in Brooklyn after police found four loaded guns and a bulletproof vest in his vehicle. A lit marijuana cigarette was also found in the center console of the truck. This not the first time Telfair has been caught with a loaded weapon - he was fined by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006 for concealing a loaded handgun in a pillowcase on the team's private plane, and was dropped from the Boston Celtic's roster after police found a loaded gun in his car during a routine stop in Yonkers. A basketball prodigy and Brooklyn wunderkind, Telfair went straight into the NBA draft after high school. He has not played in the NBA since 2014, and in recent years has been playing for the Chinese Basketball Association.


Court Poised to Decide Whether Paddleboarding is Canoeing or Surfing

The most recent Olympic controversy thankfully is not about doping - but rather the nature of standup Paddleboarding. The question is heading to mediation in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where both the International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation want to oversee the sport. Neither governing body has shown a willingness to compromise thus far. The sport is up for consideration for the Olympics, so the competition for control is fierce. Canoeing has been a part of the Olympic games since the 1930s, and Surfing is slated to be added at least for the 2020 games.


Pre-2005 World Records May Be in Jeopardy

In an attempt to bring credibility back to a sport that has been mired with doping scandals, European Athletics asked the track and field governing body to considering wiping out all pre-2005 track and field records. 2005 marks the year when blood and urine samples started to be stored for future testing. European Athletics has proposed that only world records made by athletes who have undergone strict testing for illegal substances be recognized. The record-holders themselves, however, feel that they will inaccurately be perceived as guilty by association. Included among the athletes who would be affected are those who lived behind the iron curtain, and had little or no choice but to compete for the state. Jarmila Kratochvilova, the famed Czech track star who blew the sport away with her incredible 1983 record 800 meter run, is an example of the issue's complexity. She adamantly denies taking banned substances, but her name has appeared in documents about a covert Czech doping program. Kratochvilova was highly scrutinized as an athlete, not only because of her astonishing speed, but also her incredibly muscular physique, which many believed must have been the result of some combination of hormones or other substances. Many athletes have already stepped up and said they would challenge any attempt to wipe away pre-2005 world records, including American Mike Powell and British athlete Paula Radcliffe. It is unlikely that these records would be cleared without just cause, and many wonder if former Eastern bloc countries will be willing to present concrete evidence, if found, about state-sponsored efforts to enhance athletic performance.


The Latest News in Sports Doping: Russian Pentathlete Barred and Russian Boxer's Appeal Dismissed

Russian Boxer Misha Aloian appealed the decision to strip him of his 2016 Olympic silver medal, but his appeal was denied. Mr. Aloian tested positive for tuaminoheptane, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that no discretion is allowed in doping cases, and therefore the disqualification was a "necessary consequence."

Another Russian athlete, Maxim Kustov, was barred for four year for participating in a doping cover-up. Kustov, a pentathlete, was barred from the Rio Olympics after he tested positive for three banned substances in 2014. His positive test results were recorded as negative by Russian officials. The four-year ban, handed down by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, is backdated to October 2016.


McDonalds Pulls out of Olympic Sponsorship

McDonalds has been a long-time sponsor of the Olympic Games, and this week announced that it planned to end its 41 year sponsorship three years early. The company stated that it was time to refocus its efforts on its core business, but also cited declining TV ratings and high sponsorship costs. The company will continue its sponsorship through the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


Michigan is Suing to Terminate the Parental Rights of Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team, is facing a lawsuit from the state of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has filed to terminate his parental rights. Nassar has been accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women and girls. His wife filed for divorce and sole custody of their children, and Nassar's lawyer maintains there is no evidence that he abused his own children. He faces federal lawsuits by dozens of women and girls who have accused him of sexual molestation while he was the team doctor for USA Gymnastics.



Manslaughter Verdict in Teen Texting Suicide Case

A Massachusetts juvenile court judge found Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. Both Carter and Roy were teenagers at the time of Roy's death. The verdict was a surprise to legal scholars and law enforcement officials alike, because the judge found that Carter's words alone "were reckless and essentially killed him." Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz will sentence Carter, who waived a jury trial, on August 3rd. Carter, then 17, corresponded with boyfriend Roy leading up to and during his suicide attempt. At one point she "ordered" him to get back into his car, which he had flooded with carbon monoxide. At no time was Carter physically present during Roy's suicide, but the judge ruled that Roy's exit of his vehicle during his attempt, broke "that chain of self-causation," and that Carter's insistence that he return to the vehicle "constituted wanton and reckless conduct." Carter's attorney's painted a picture of a pained young woman, who genuinely tried to help others. Her team relied upon the defense that she was "involuntarily intoxicated" by the antidepressants she was taking.

The evidence in the case hinged on an incredible number of text messages and online correspondence between the two. Legal scholars noted that this case could indicate a need for the law to "catch up" with new behavioral norms that have arisen with our society's increasing reliance on technology to communicate and interact. Even though this verdict will not likely set a wide reaching legal precedent, it is a social wakeup call to heed online behavior that moving forward could be construed as criminal.


Evaluating the Growth Trajectory of Spotify

Spotify's newly-released annual report highlighted the company's impressive growth over the last year, reporting a 52% increase in revenue from 2016. However, the company's losses increased significantly ($600 million, increased from $257 million in 2015) and its growth slowed. The company has continuously stated that it believes its model "supports profitability at scale," but has declined to explain what it means by "scale." The biggest budget item by far is licensing rights, which eats up around 85% of the company's revenue. On top of that, the company spends $900 million in other areas, including salaries, marketing, and product development. With plans to go public, the company's business model will come under greater scrutiny. Industry experts believe a more robust financial position would position Spotify to become an industry innovator - rather than acting as a response to Napster. The company boasts 140 million users, 50 million of which are monthly subscribers. For now, Spotify is focused on building its base of paid members and increasing its number of users across the globe, with the idea that an expanded user base and subscriber model will improve the company's margins.


Washington DC Circuit Strikes Down Cost Caps on Inmate Phone Calls

A federal appeals court in the Washington DC Circuit struck down Obama-era regulations that cap the costs of inmate phone calls from state prisons, ruling that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exceeded its authority when it created the rate caps. Inmate phone calls are typically placed through private telecommunications companies. Costs are exorbitant - sometimes up to $10/minute. The FCC had been mounting a defense to the rate caps prior to the appointment of its new Chair, Ajit Pai. Pai has been pushing to roll back FCC regulations, including media ownership rules and net neutrality regulations. He opposed the rate caps as a commissioner, and now has vowed to work with Congress and members of the FCC to address the inmate phone call cost issues "in a lawful manner." Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn strongly supports the rate caps and views the price of inmate phone calls as "the greatest form of regulatory injustice."


Verizon Acquisition of Yahoo is Complete - at a Final Price Tag of $4.48 Billion

Sayonara, Yahoo. This week Verizon completed its $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo, and rolled out a new division called Oath, that will combine Yahoo with AOL under the leadership of Tim Armstrong, AOL's chief executive. Oath currently has 1.3 billion users, and Verizon is hoping it can build its number of viewers by bringing its content and new advertising models to Oath. Yahoo's chief, Marissa Mayer, will step down. Yahoo stockholders will retain stock in a new company, Altaba, which will own investment interests in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.


Negative Impact of Technology in the Criminal Justice System

Automation efforts in the criminal justice system have been helpful to streamline and improve the system. From AI assistance in deploying police to probabilistic software programs used by forensic analysts to digital evidence, computers play a role in all aspects of criminal justice. However, people are noticing that the technological developments come with a hidden price, often paid by criminal defendants. The companies developing these new technologies are largely private, for-profit businesses that hold closely their technology, often refusing to share information about how it works with criminal defendants and their council. Defendants have been unable to challenge how code is used to identify and match DNA samples, rendering defendants unable to challenge the evidence. Other examples include an inmate who, despite an almost perfect rehabilitation record, was unable to obtain parole because of a glitch in a computer program that was used being used to weigh parole factors. Companies can rely on trade secret evidentiary privilege, to shield disclosure of proprietary information about how their technology works. This new privilege is troubling - as the Times stated, "property interests do not usually shield relevant evidence from the accused." Trade secret laws are in place to shield companies from business competitors, not withhold relevant evidentiary information in court. The Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case that will address this issue - whether reliance on trade secret privilege is a violation of due process.


Are Advertisers Weighing in Too Heavily on Content?

In today's social climate, advertisers are finding themselves under increased scrutiny over their ad placements. Consumers are quick to weigh in on anything they find offensive, and vocally criticize brands for their perceived support of controversial topics. This week, Delta and Bank of America withdrew their support for New York Public Theater's production of "Julius Caesar", after consumer outcry on social media forced them to retreat from the production. JPMorgan Chase also withdrew its ad spots from NBC News over Megyn Kelly's decision to interview controversial figure Alex Jones, the latter of whom has made a mark in right-wing circles for his outlandish conspiracy theories. Last month, advertisers fled from Breitbart News and "The O'Reilly Factor". This climate presents a unique challenge for brands and producers of content alike, and many are wary of this new trend. Brands may feel compelled to ask more questions about what they are supporting and weigh in on content - otherwise withdraw their support. JPMorgan has a company policy to not financially support fake news, which it believes Jones perpetuates with his theories. However, the question whether JPMorgan should use its ad buying power to decide what content is newsworthy has raised some eyebrows. While advertisers often "balk" at any appearance of engaging in editorial decisions, recent pressure on brands from all sides may cause some to weigh in or walk away.


Hotseat for Megyn Kelly and NBC

Just days into her tenure at NBC, Megyn Kelly (and NBC) has found herself in the hot seat for her decision to interview right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones is known for promoting the theory that the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado are vast hoaxes. Families and communities are outraged by the decision to air the interview, and several NBC affiliates have refused to broadcast the segment, citing "community concerns." NBC is standing strong behind Kelly, but the backlash about the interview has taken the network by surprise. The network has taken steps to "retool" the interview, and Kelly has personally reached out to many families of the victims from the Sandy Hook shooting, asking if they would be willing to publicly respond to Jones. Many have declined to participate in the interview, stating that their appearance would only give credibility to his opinion. To add to the fire, JPMorgan Chase has withdrawn its sponsorship of Sunday's show. This is a rocky start for Kelly and a network who has invested significant capital in what it hopes will be its "next flagship star."


June 24, 2017

Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Supreme Court Offensive Trademark Ruling Good News for Redskins

On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down the Lanham Act's "disparagement clause", which permits the United States Patent and Trademark Office to refuse to register trademarks that may "disparage...or bring...into contemp[t] or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead," as violating the First Amendment. Although the decision was unanimous, the justices were evenly split on their reasoning. Four (Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Breyer) said the law failed to survive even the intermediate scrutiny applied to commercial speech, so there was no need to decide what standard applies to trademarks more broadly. The other four (Gorusch had not yet joined the Court when the case was argued) found the disparagement clause was subject to--and failed--the strict scrutiny applied to cases of viewpoint discrimination (government laws that preclude one or more views or opinions). Regardless of the reasoning, the decision suggests that the Redskins will prevail in its fight to protect its name.


Russia Renewed Trump Trademarks

The New York Times reports that the Russian government renewed registrations for six trademarks held by the Trump Organization, but which have not been used in commerce in that country. The renewed terms will expire at the end of 2026.


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


Mistrial in Cosby Sexual Assault Case

After six days of deliberations, the jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial reported on Saturday they were hopelessly deadlocked, and the court declared a mistrial. The judge said he would set a date for a new trial within months. On Wednesday, the judge ordered the jurors' names be released to the media, but imposed strict limits on what they could say publicly, in particular about "what was said and done during deliberations...." ABC News reported that one juror, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the panel was leaning toward convicting Cosby. Meanwhile, Cosby has said he intends to hold a series of "town hall meetings" to educate men on how to avoid accusations of sexual assault, and Susan Chira of the New York Times looks at whether the criminal justice system is stacked against assaulted women, and why.





Bachelor in Paradise to Resume Taping after Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Two weeks ago, ABC stopped taping the latest season of ABC's "Bachelor in Paradise" to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Taping has now resumed, with Warner Bros. announcing that an investigation conducted by Munger, Toles & Olsen found no evidence of misconduct.


Fisher Tested Positive for Drugs before Death

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner released a toxicology report showing that Carrie Fisher tested positive for cocaine, methadone, ethanol, and opiates when she was admitted to the hospital four days before her death. It is not clear what role the drugs played in Fisher's death.



Boulder Museum Reels from Mass Exodus

Nearly every employee of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art resigned last week. The ex-employees say they had to leave after the museum failed to address systemic problems, including misdirection of funds, labor law violations, and a pattern of abusive behavior towards employees. The museum says it hired a former judge to investigate the allegations, and she found no wrongdoing. Whatever the reasons, the museum lost 14 employees on June 13th, and is struggling to stay open.


ISIS Destroys Mosul Mosque

On Wednesday, as the Islamic State fought a losing battle over control of Mosul, its fighters blew up the iconic Al Nuri Grand Mosque. The centuries-old mosque appears on Iraq's 10,000 dinar bank note, and is the latest in a string of cultural and historical landmarks ISIS has destroyed. ISIS initially blamed American forces for the destruction of the famous mosque.


Convicted Forger Was Back at it Days After Leaving Prison

Vincent Lopreto served five years in a California prison for art fraud and identity theft for selling $1.5 million in forged artwork. Lopreto was arrested on June 14th, and on Monday he pleaded not guilty in New York Supreme court to 11 counts of fraud and larceny. New York prosecutors say that Lopreto began selling fake artwork again only 15 days after he was released from prison.



Zumba Under Fire in Iran

The aerobics dance class, Zumba, has grown increasingly popular in Iran. However, the top sports and fitness official in that country issued a ban on Zumba as contrary to Shiite tenets against dancing and rhythmic movement. At the same time, Zumba Fitness has been revoking instructors' permits when it finds out they are in Iran, ostensibly fearing violation of U.S. sanctions. Instructors and students in Iran say they are determined to continue Zumbaing (Zumbing? Zumbacizing?), even if they have to call it something else.


Proposal Would Strike all Track Records Set Before 2005

European Athletics proposed that the International Association of Athletics Federations, track's global governing body, void all world records not set by athletes who have undergone strict drug testing. That would include all records set before 2005, when more sophisticated drug screenings began. Many have criticized this proposal as an overreaction, and an ineffective way of addressing doping: Drug screenings do not identify all cheaters, and athletes who did not cheat should not be robbed of their records because they were not tested.


PGA Tour Will Start Blood Tests in October

The PGA Tour announced that it expanded its antidoping policy to include blood testing, and is adding asthma medications, allergy and anti-inflammatory medications, and pseudoephedrine to its list of banned substances. These changes bring the PGA Tour in line with the standards set by the World Anti-Doping Agency.


International Olympic Committee Says That Russia's New Antidoping Efforts Don't Erase Past Violations

Although Russia has taken many recent steps to combat doping, including criminalizing the facilitation of doping, beefing up drug testing, and planning mandatory antidoping education classes, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said that Russia would not escape sanctions for its massive, government-sponsored doping program during the Sochi Olympics in 2014.


Michigan Asks Court to Terminate Gymnastic Doctor's Parental Rights

Attorneys for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services filed a petition against Larry Nassar, who was a doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, to have his parental rights terminated. Nassar has been accused by dozens of women and girls of sexually assaulting them. In December, an FBI agent testified that investigators found images and videos of child pornography on Nassar's property, and Nassar has been charged for allegedly abusing his three children.


Federal Trade Commission Challenges Daily Fantasy Sports Merger

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its intent to seek an injunction against the planned merger between daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel and Draft Kings. The FTC views the merger as the anticompetitive combination of the two largest competitors--even as smaller companies are shutting down at an increasing rate--whereas the two companies contend that the FTC is defining the market too narrowly, and they represent a small niche within the larger multibillion dollar fantasy sports market.



Murray Energy Wants More, Less Disclosure

Murray Energy Corporation, one of the largest coal mining companies in the country, sued a number of journalists (or putative journalists) recently. Earlier this year, Murray sued Reorg Research Inc., to compel Reorg to disclose the identities of its sources for two news alerts it sent to its subscribers about Murray. Murray contends, and the New York Supreme Court agreed, that Reorg's business model (it has fewer than 400 subscribers who pay five and six-figure subscription fees for information that comes with strict confidentiality provisions) does not "carry out the vital function of informing the public", and therefore Reorg's sources are not protected by New York's "Shield Law". That case is now on appeal. In May, Murray sued the New York Times for libel, after that organization asserted that Murray had violated federal regulations, and that Murray's founder, Robert Murray, lied about the cause of a deadly mine collapse in 2007, saying it was caused by an earthquake. On Wednesday, Murray sued HBO and host John Oliver after Oliver said Robert Murray looked like a "geriatric Dr. Evil" on his Sunday-night show, "Last Week Tonight". Murray says Oliver also made false statements about the 2007 mine collapse, ignored information Murray sent the show showing it was caused by an earthquake, and did not mention "the efforts Mr. Murray personally made to save the trapped miners."




YouTube Adds Limits to Extremist Videos

Google announced that it is taking a more aggressive approach towards offensive videos. It says it will devote more resources toward computer-based video analysis to help identify and remove videos that violate its community guidelines. Google says it will work with experts to identify videos that are violent propaganda aimed at radicalizing or recruiting extremists. Videos that do not specifically violate YouTube's guidelines, but are identified as offensive, will continue to be ineligible for advertising, but also will now be accompanied by a warning and cannot be recommended, commented on, or endorsed by users.


High Court Says Sex Offenders Can Use Facebook

On Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a North Carolina law that made it a crime for registered sex offenders to use certain websites, including Facebook. The Court found that social media has become "for many...the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge."


Cert. Denied in Dancing Baby DMCA case

By Barry Werbin

On June 19th, SCOTUS denied cert., refusing to hear the Dancing Baby DMCA case, Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp, leaving the Ninth Circuit's controversial decision intact. The U.S. Solicitor General, whose opinion the Court requested, took the position that while the Ninth Circuit's opinion reflected "significant legal error" the case was "not a suitable vehicle for correcting that mistake."



It now goes back to the District Court to now apply the Ninth Circuit's directive and assess whether there was a subjective good faith belief that there was no fair use defense.

June 27, 2017

The Copyright Alliance is Seeking Pro Bono Clients

The Copyright Alliance is again partnering with New York based Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP on a program to provide free legal representation to individual creators and small businesses in lawsuits involving cutting edge copyright issues. Through this initiative, Columbia Law School students, under the supervision of Cravath attorneys David Marriott and David Kappos, will provide pro bono legal counsel to individuals and small businesses on copyright cases.

We're currently looking for creators and small businesses who have a copyright dispute and may be interested in participating in the program. Please click here for more information: http://copyrightalliance.org/resources/creator-services/pro-bono-trial/

June 28, 2017

Special Gallery Visit with Davide Cantoni

Friday, July 7, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Cantoni Studio | 20 Jay Street #315 | Brooklyn NY 11201

EASL's International Law and Fine Arts Committees, together with Center for Art Law, are pleased to offer a special studio visit.

Our host, Davide Cantoni, will open his DUMBO studio for an intimate viewing of mixed-media artwork and a discussion of the issues of international copyright law and fair use. Davide Cantoni's artistic practice, which began in the late 1980s, has focused on the way our society presents images and how they are consumed. Cantoni's particular interest is in relation to new imagery published in the New York Times (he has lived and worked in NYC for the last 20 years).

At the upcoming event, Davide will show one of his recent projects, which uses images from international news sources detailing accounts of war, famine, and other tragic news from around the world.

Born in Italy, Cantoni completed his BA in Fine Arts at the Slade school in London, and completed an exchange year at the Hochschule Der Kunst in Berin in 1988. He attended the Royal College of Art and received an MA (RCA) in Painting in 1993. His work has been shown extensively in Europe and the USA, as well as South Korea, and is included in many public and private collections, some of which include the MoMA and the OSRAM.

After the viewing, guests are invited to join in a lively discussion on topics of fair use and copyright law, moderated by Irina Tarsis, a founding director of the Center for Art Law. Conversations themes are appropriation and licensing, as well as international copyright laws. The New York State Bar Association's EASL Section and the Center for Art Law are excited to join together to engage with this phenomenal artist, and to discuss the copyright and fair use issues that he, and many others, have faced. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Tickets are only $20.00! Spaces are limited so reserve now!
Register Now: http://www.nysba.org/store/events/registration.aspx?event=EA3900JL17

June 30, 2017

FBI Private Industry Notification (PIN) Alert

The following information is being provided by the FBI, with no guarantees or warranties, for potential use at the sole discretion of recipients in order to protect against cyber threats. This data is provided in order to help cyber security professionals and system administrators to guard against the persistent malicious actions of cyber criminals.

This PIN has been released TLP: GREEN: The information in this product is useful for the awareness of all participating organizations within their sector or community, but should not be shared via publicly accessible channels.

Individuals Threatening Distributed Denial of Service of Private-Sector Companies for Bitcoin


An individual or group claiming to be "Anonymous" or "Lizard Squad" sent extortion emails to private-sector companies threatening to conduct distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on their network unless they received an identified amount of Bitcoin. No victims to date have reported DDoS activity as a penalty for non-payment.


In April and May 2017, at least six companies received emails claiming to be from "Anonymous" and "Lizard Squad" threatening their companies with DDoS attacks within 24 hours unless the company sent an identified amount of Bitcoin to the email sender. The email stated the demanded amount of Bitcoin would increase each day the amount went unpaid. No victims to date have reported DDoS activity as a penalty for nonpayment.

Reporting on schemes of this nature go back at least three years.

In 2016, a group identifying itself as "Lizard Squad" sent extortion demands to at least twenty businesses in the United Kingdom, threatening DDoS attacks if they were not paid five Bitcoins (as of 14 June, each Bitcoin was valued at 2,698 USD). No victims reported actual DDoS activity as a penalty for non-payment.

Between 2014 and 2015, a cyber extortion group known as "DDoS '4' Bitcoin" (DD4BC) victimized hundreds of individuals and businesses globally. DD4BC would conduct an initial, demonstrative low-level DDoS attack on the victim company, followed by an
email message introducing themselves, demanding a ransom paid in Bitcoins, and threatening a higher level attack if the ransom was not paid within the stated time limit. While no significant disruption or DDoS activity was noted, it is probable companies paid the ransom to avoid the threat of DDoS activity.


Lizard Squad is a hacking group known for their DDoS attacks primarily targeting gaming-related services. On 25 December 2014, Lizard Squad was responsible for taking down the Xbox Live and PlayStation networks. Lizard Squad also successfully conducted DDoS attacks on the UK's National Crime Agency's (NCA) website in 2015.

Anonymous is a hacking collective known for several significant DDoS attacks on government, religious, and corporate websites conducted for ideological reasons.


The FBI suggests precautionary measures to mitigate DDoS threats to include, but not limited to:

Have a DDoS mitigation strategy ready ahead of time.
Implement an incident response plan that includes DDoS mitigation and practice this plan before an actual incident occurs. This plan may involve external organizations such as your Internet Service Provider, technology companies that offer DDoS mitigation services, and law enforcement.
Ensure your plan includes the appropriate contacts within these external organizations. Test activating your incident response team and third party contacts.
Implement a data back-up and recovery plan to maintain copies of sensitive or proprietary data in a separate and secure location. Backup copies of sensitive data should not be readily accessible from local networks.
Ensure upstream firewalls are in place to block incoming User Data Protocol (UDP) packets.
Ensure software or firmware updates are applied as soon as the device manufacturer releases them.

If you have received one of these demands:

-Do not make the demand payment.

-Retain the original emails with headers.

-If applicable, maintain a timeline of the attack, recording all times and content of the attack.

The FBI encourages recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to their local FBI field office or the FBI's 24/7 Cyber Watch (CyWatch). Field office contacts can be identified at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field. CyWatch can be contacted by phone at (855) 292-3937 or by e-mail at CyWatch@ic.fbi.gov. When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people, and type of equipment used for the activity, the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designated point of contact. Press inquiries should be directed to the FBI's national Press Office at npo@ic.fbi.gov or (202) 324-3691.

Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

Sotheby's Inc. v. R.W. Chandler, LLC et al., 1:16-cv-09043 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) In 2013, three New York art dealers arranged through Sotheby's an $80 million private sale of "Salvator Mundi", a rediscovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Shortly thereafter, they learned that the buyer, Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, resold the painting for $127.5 million to Russian art collector Dmitry Rybolovlev. The dealers, hoping to recover the difference, sought legal action against Sotheby's on the basis of fraud. Rybolovlev, represented by Daniel J. Kornstein, also reportedly questioned the role of Sotheby's in the valuation of the painting. The question at hand revolves around whether Sotheby's representative Samuel Valette knew about Rybolovlev's interest in the artwork. The complaint alleged that weeks before the Sotheby's sale, a meeting was organized by Samuel Valette for inspection of the painting at a Central Park apartment owned by a Rybolovlev family trust.

Sotheby's (represented by Marcus Asner and Arnold & Porter) filed a preemptive lawsuit explaining that the discrepancy in prices represents a distinction between fair market values and retail replacement values for insurance purposes, which are typically higher. The case was dismissed with prejudice in February 2017. Complaint is available at https://www.unitedstatescourts.org/federal/nysd/465541/1-0.html?mc_cid=6822f462dc&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8.

McKenzie et al v. Fishko et al, No. 1:12-cv-07297 (S.D.N.Y. 2015) Defendants' motions for summary judgment were granted in the case between Plaintiff, an art collector who alleged fraud and breach of contract, among other causes of action, against Defendants, Forum Gallery and its owners. According to the complaint, Forum Gallery was employed to represent Plaintiff and make purchases on his behalf. McKenzie "allege[d] that Defendants breached their obligations by manipulating or otherwise falsifying the prices to which the discounts were applied, thereby increasing Defendant's' profits". However, McKenzie failed to allege sufficient facts in support of these claims. After the court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on most claims, the case was voluntarily dismissed in 2015. Read Memorandum and Opinion and order at http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/new-york/nysdce/1:2012cv07297/402393/136/.

The State of Georgia v. William Lowe, d/b/a Lowe Galleries, Inc., The Lowe Gallery, or Bill Lowe Gallery, 123031191 (Ga. April 2017) Gallery owner Bill Lowe plead guilty to using money he should have paid to artists for his own needs. Lowe used the proceeds from consigned art sales for personal uses, such as making mortgage and property payments. The stolen funds amounted to over $500,000. In court, Lowe stated, "I acknowledge that artists relied upon me to receive payment from the proceeds of sales from the artwork." He went on to say that he was "glad" to make the artists "whole again". His sentence includes a 10-year probation to one count of felony theft by conversion, 750 hours of community service, and restitution to the amount of $256,514.92, which was placed in an escrow account to be paid out to the artists. Read Indictment at https://www.scribd.com/document/279817223/Fulton-County-grand-jury-indictment-of-Bill-Lowe?mc_cid=6822f462dc&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8.

MCH Swiss Exhibition Basel Ltd. et al v. Adidas America, Inc. et al, 1:17-cv-22002 (S.D.Fla. May 2017) Plaintiff Art Basel filed suit against Adidas for trademark infringement concerning the use of its mark ART BASEL® on at least 1,000 pairs of sneakers. Adidas produced and distributed a high volume of the infringing sneakers during the annual art fair organized and marketed by Plaintiff without asking for or receiving permission. Art Basel claims the infringement has damaged it by diminishing the value of its licensing partnerships, as well as the value of its incontestable trademark, and that Adidas' actions were intentional, committed with full knowledge of Art Basel's rights. Plaintiff looks to recover injunctive relief, Defendant's profits, damages, and reasonable attorney's fees.

Crile v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 9713-10, 29044-11 (US Tax Court, 2 Oct. 2014) The United States Tax Court ruled that art-related expenses, such as relevant travel, materials, and equipment, are tax-deductible as professional expenses. The IRS claimed that the artist and Hunter College professor Susan Crile owed $81,000 in unpaid taxes, arguing her art was "an activity not engaged in for profit." This Tax Court's ruling reaffirmed the artist's victory over the IRS, by finding that she was in "the trade or business" of being an artist. Read Memorandum of Fact and Opinion at https://www.ustaxcourt.gov/InOpHistoric/CrileMemo.Lauber.TCM.WPD.pdf?mc_cid=6822f462dc&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8.

The Center for Art Law strives to create a coherent community for all those interested in law and the arts. Positioned as a centralized resource for art and cultural heritage law, it serves as a portal to connect artists and students, academics and legal practitioners, collectors and dealers, government officials and others in the field. In addition to the weekly newsletter (http://cardozo.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=78692bfa901c588ea1fe5e801&id=022731d685), the Center for Art Law subscribers receive updates about art and law-related topics through its popular art law blog (http://itsartlaw.com/blog/)and calendar of events (http://itsartlaw.com/events/). The Center for Art Law welcomes inquiries and announcements from firms, universities and student organizations about recent publications, pending cases, upcoming events, current research and job and externship opportunities. To contact the Center for Art Law, visit our website at: www.itsartlaw.com or write to itsartlaw@gmail.com.

About June 2017

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