« Week in Review | Main | Cert. Denied in Dancing Baby DMCA case »

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."


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 24, 2017 1:57 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Week in Review.

The next post in this blog is Cert. Denied in Dancing Baby DMCA case.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.