« Center for Art Law Case Law Updates | Main | "Extreme Vetting" or Extremely Unnecessary: Trump Administration Releases New Questionnaire Asking for Visa Applicants' Social Media Handles and Biographical Information »

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

House Passes Two Strict Immigration Bills

The House of Representatives voted to increase prison sentences for individuals illegally re-entering the country and also to pressure so-called sanctuary cities to comply with federal immigration officials by cutting federal funding. Although these are viewed as wins for President Trump, in order to pass the Senate, the bills would require at least 60 votes, which is unlikely to occur. The American Civil Liberties Union said that the bills violate the Fourth Amendment, as there must be due process and probable cause for immigration agents to take action.


Administration Moves to Carry Out Partial Travel Ban

The Supreme Court partly revived President Trump's travel ban as it relates to prohibiting most visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East. The administration sent cables to embassies around the world clarifying who can and cannot enter from each country: for example, grandparents, nieces and nephews cannot, but step-siblings and half-siblings can. Critics and civil rights groups vow to oppose the ban as nothing more than a renewed attempt to "keep Muslims out of the country". Analysts expect that more litigation will result.


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


Disputes Over Prince's Estate Throw the Future of His Vault Into Question

Prince's death in April 2016 prompted rampant speculation as to when there would be a release of the supposed vast collection of unreleased songs the artist recorded at his compound. Thus far, the question remains unanswered. Universal negotiated with the Bremer Trust, which managed the assets initially after his death, to rights for various unreleased songs, only to later learn that the artist had signed an agreement with Warner Brothers in 2014 giving Warner the rights to some of the songs that Universal believed it was acquiring. Universal appears likely to litigate the matter, and legal experts predict a protracted fight over the songs, given their value.


Theater Jobs Skew White and Male, Study Finds

An actors' union, Actors' Equity, announced the results of a study into the theater industry, revealing that women and people of color are not being given the same opportunities in the theater industry as white men. The union surveyed approximately 51,000 people across the country in Broadway shows, national tours, and Off Broadway productions, finding that the further up in the chain, the more white and male the industry becomes. In light of these results, the union is undertaking an effort in reforming the industry and implementing more progressive policies.


Cosby Team Says His Talks Will Not Be About Sexual Assault

Following Bill Cosby's publicists announcing this weekend on an Alabama television show that Cosby would host Town Halls discussing sexual assault, his publicists have now reversed course and blamed the media for misstating the purpose of the Town Halls. His publicists announced that instead of focusing on sexual assault, he will focus on his legacy as an entertainer.



Court Orders Exhumation of Salvador Dali's Body in Paternity Case

Pilar Abel, a Spanish Tarot card reader, filed suit in Spain 2015 requesting to exhume Dali's body to prove that she was Salvador Sali's biological daughter. This week, a Spanish court granted her request as there is no other surviving relative that could provide a DNA sample. The foundation that manages Dali's museum and estate plans to appeal the order.


Supreme Court to Hear Dispute Over Seizing Iran Artifacts

Americans that were victims of a 1997 terrorist attack in Jerusalem obtained a default judgment against Iran for its role in supporting Hamas in conducting the attack. With their judgment, they filed a lawsuit to seize Iranian artifacts from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago to pay for the default judgment. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied the seizure, holding that some of the artwork was immune to seizure under U.S. law, and others were not owned by Iran, and thus could not be seized. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case this fall.


China Will Not Allow Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Laureate, to Receive Cancer Treatment Abroad

Chinese authorities have refused Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace laureate, to be paroled from prison for cancer treatment abroad. Authorities have not announced the reason for the refusal, but he remains under police guard in a hospital. There have been appeals to President Xi Jinping for Xiaobo to be permitted to treat abroad, including by Freedom Now, a Washington organization, which had 154 Nobel laureates sign onto the request. Given his involvement with the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, it is unlikely that the Chinese authorities will allow him to leave the country.



South Korea Leader Hopes for a Unified Korean Olympic Team

South Korea's president Moon Jae-in proposed that North Korea and South Korea compete as one country in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, which are to be held in South Korea's city of Pyeongchang. This would be a revolutionary development for the two countries, who are bitter enemies in sports and otherwise. North Korea has not yet announced whether it will attend the Winter Olympics, however, when South Korea hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics, North Korea boycotted it.


Report on Sexual Abuse in U.S.A. Gymnastics Urges 'Culture Change'

The national governing body of gymnastics, U.S.A. Gymnastics, announced that it will begin implementing policy changes throughout its organization. Many of the policy changes come from a recent 100-page report, which detailed sexual abuse that occurred over a period of years in the organization. The report recommends having more separation between coaches and athletes, including barring them from being in the same sleeping quarters or engaging in communication by email, text, or social media. Further, it recommended that reports of abuse be more thoroughly investigated to catch predators before they can target more victims.


New Jersey's Appeal of Sports Betting Ban Heads to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court justices decided to hear a case stemming from sports betting in New Jersey. When Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Participation Act in 1992, it outlawed betting on amateur and professional sports. In 2014, New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie signed a law permitting sports betting in the state. It was challenged and wound up in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where the federal ban was upheld. There is a strong lobbying effort to legalize sports betting, as it is a $5 billion industry in Nevada, and some anticipate that New Jersey's casinos could be revitalized by the law.


Baylor Confirms NCAA Investigation After Sex Abuse Scandal

Baylor University, under fire for a pervasive environment of sexual harassment, confirmed that it is facing an investigation from the NCAA, as well as defending itself against accusations from women who claim they were ignored when reporting instances of sexual abuse. Representatives for Baylor and the NCAA have declined to comment on the situation.


In Long-Secret FIFA Report, More Details but No Smoking Gun

After a German newspaper reported that it had acquired a copy of a massive FIFA internal report and would start leaking unsavory details, FIFA preemptively released the 430-page report itself. Known as the Garcia report, it details the questionable ethics employed by top-ranking FIFA officials in a variety of circumstances, but particularly focused on the 2010 vote to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup and Russia the 2018 World Cup. While there is no smoking gun in terms of evidence of clear wrongdoing, there are many instances of rule-bending, questionable transactions, and sly dealings.


Venus Williams at Fault in Fatal Car Crash

The police department in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida announced that tennis star Venus Williams was at fault for an automobile accident on June 9, 2017, which led to the death of a 78-year-old man two weeks after the accident. She has not been cited or charged, but has expressed condolences to the family of the decedent.



Attorneys' Fees and Sanctions Denied for Copyright Infringement of Birth Video

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York ruled that attorneys' fees and sanctions will not be granted after a plaintiff filed suit for copyright infringement after a man publicly live-streamed a video on Facebook of his partner giving birth at a hospital. Several defendants, including NBC, ABC, and Yahoo, used the video and defended its use of the video as fair uses pursuant to the Copyright Act. The court agreed with the defendants, but stopped short of awarding attorneys' fees or sanctions, as the effect would be to deter weak plaintiffs from proceeding with litigation while encouraging those with strong positions to stand their ground. The court noted that sanctions were not justified, but defendants could pursue a claim under Copyright Act Section 505, which would allow for compensation from the plaintiff without having to produce evidence of bad faith.


ABC Settles with Meat Producer in 'Pink Slime' Defamation Case

ABC reached a settlement agreement with Beef Products Inc., a meat producer that was the subject of an ABC news report in 2012, which concluded that the company produced so-called pink slime at its factory. The company sued ABC seeking $1.9 billion in damages for its report, which characterized a "lean finely textured beef" as pink slime, affecting the sales of the company and causing it to close three plants, laying off approximately 700 workers. The details of the settlement agreement have not been disclosed.


Wall Street Journal Scrutinizes Articles by Fired Reporter

The chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Jay Solomon, was fired by the newspaper after it came to light that he may have had improper ties to one of his sources: an Iranian businessman named Farhad Azima. It was well known that Azima was one of Solomon's top leads for stories in the Middle East, as they had been documented together at events many times. Blogs had emerged in recent days claiming to have proof of fraud between Azima and Solomon, but the nature and extent of their ties are not publicly known.


Three CNN Journalists Resign After Retracted Story

CNN retracted and apologized for a story on its website that linked a close ally of President Donald Trump and a Russian bank. President Trump and his supporters quickly attacked the news network, as it has come under fire for being "fake news" from the administration. News organizations regularly issue corrections and occasionally retractions, depending on the inaccuracy of their stories as published. President Trump and his supporters claimed that CNN has falsely tried to paint the President as having links to the Russian government, but even some in the network are concerned that this latest story will affect whether CNN can maintain a positive reputation among more neutral viewers.


Sarah Palin Sues the New York Times for Defamation

Former vice presidential candidate and governor of Alaska Sarah Palin filed a defamation suit against the New York Times for an opinion piece that linked her and a 2011 mass shooting. The New York Times issued a correction, clarifying that there was no known link to Palin to the circulation of a map. Palin's suit alleged that this was not sufficient to rectify the error.


Google Faced with Massive Antitrust Fine in European Union

European antitrust officials fined Google a record $2.7 billion for unfairly favoring its services as opposed to those of its rivals. Regulators were aggressive by more than doubling the previous largest penalty in this type of antitrust case, despite the risk of appearing to target American companies with fines. Previously, European authorities fined Apple $14.5 billion for back taxes owed, and allegedly opened an investigation into Amazon's tax practices in Europe. Considering the fact that Google earns approximately $90 billion in annual revenue, although the fine is hardly going to be debilitating for the company, it serves as a warning for it and others in the industry.


Turmoil Continues at Pandora Media as Chief Executive Resigns

One of Pandora Radio's co-founders and the chief executive for approximately 15 months, Tim Westergren, resigned, leaving the company in more disarray not long after it received a significant investment from SiriusXM radio. Pandora's shareholders have long been dissatisfied with the direction of the company, given its focus on acquiring Ticketfly, a ticketing service, and its ceding to the competition: Spotify and Apple. After selling Ticketfly to Eventbrite, another ticketing startup, and giving three seats on the Board (including the Chair) to its new investor, SiriusXM, shareholders are hoping to take the company in a new direction.


What's at Stake in Discussions Among Comcast, Charter, and Sprint

Comcast, Charter, and Sprint entered into negotiations for a form of partnership that would allow for the cable companies to extend wireless services to cable customers. Some analysts speculate that while this may be good for investment bankers, consumers would not benefit from further consolidation of the market. Nonetheless, it has not stopped companies like AT&T from acquiring DirecTV in 2015, and now attempting to acquire Time Warner.


President Trump Mocks Mika Brzezinski

President Trump took to Twitter to attack Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, renewing the debate over the President's views toward women. He called her "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" and claimed that she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift", at a social gathering several months ago. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said that while it does not directly affect legislative priorities, like the negotiation of the health care bill, it is an undignified act by the president.


Setback for Rupert Murdoch in $15 Billion Sky Takeover

Rupert Murdoch suffered a setback in expanding his media empire, as the British authorities asked regulators (the Office of Communications and the Competition and Markets Authority) to examine whether his takeover of Sky, a "European satellite giant", would give the Murdoch family too large of a share of Britain's media. Authorities ruled that the Murdoch family was "fit and proper" to hold licenses to broadcast in Britain, which was welcome new,s given the revelations surrounding Fox News and its head, Roger Ailes, in recent months. However, the family will be disappointed, as it will mean a significant delay in the acquisition of Sky.


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 July 2, 2017 5:04 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Center for Art Law Case Law Updates.

The next post in this blog is "Extreme Vetting" or Extremely Unnecessary: Trump Administration Releases New Questionnaire Asking for Visa Applicants' Social Media Handles and Biographical Information.

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