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October 1, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

Supreme Court Cancels Hearing on Previous Trump Travel Ban

The Supreme Court cancelled its hearing of the Trump administration's revised travel ban, which targeted seven majority Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa and severely limited immigration from those countries. President Trump announced a third revised travel ban, which also includes two countries that do not have majority Muslim countries, and is therefore more likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court if it is challenged on the basis of religious discrimination, as expected. The Supreme Court's decision to cancel the hearing is likely to lead to a decision deeming the case moot as a result of the revisions.


Twitter Seen as Key Battlefield in Russian Influence Campaign

Following Facebook coming under scrutiny both in the public eye and behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Twitter is now under the microscope. Given the platform's historical problem with eliminating bots from its site, as well as the fact that accounts can be created with near-total anonymity, it was an appealing platform for Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. Analysts have observed what appear to be continued use of the bots through the latest controversies, including that of National Football League (NFL) players taking a knee during the national anthem. It is expected that Twitter will disclose documents to the Congressional committees investigating the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.


Attorney General Sessions Joins War Over Free Speech

Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Georgetown University Law Center and spoke about free speech at universities. Sessions called for a re-commitment to having free speech on campuses. He lamented that universities have transformed "into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos." He cited examples of conservative commentators having to cancel their speaking engagements because of protests.


Egyptian Concertgoers Wave Flag, are Jailed

Egyptian police arrested seven concertgoers for promoting homosexuality after the audience members waved rainbow-colored flags at a concert in Cairo last week. A popular Lebanese band, Mashrou' Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay, was performing in Cairo at a time when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been cracking down on free speech and gay rights. The seven individuals were charged with "promoting sexual deviancy," leaving one to remark that he would have been in half the trouble if he had waved an ISIS flag.


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


Pharrell Williams 'Takes a Knee' as Artists Join Anthem Protest

Singer and producer Pharrell Williams, while at a charity concert in Charlottesville, Virginia, dropped to both knees in a show of solidarity with the NFL players who have knelt or locked arms during the national anthem as a show of defiance against the Trump administration, and to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice. This debate was inflamed when President Trump tweeted that players who do not stand during the national anthem should be fired. Several other performers have taken a knee like Williams, including Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews, John Legend, and Eddie Vedder.



Billionaires, Bruised Egos and the Death of a Grand Project

Barry Diller's dream of opening Pier 55, a floating park in the Hudson River near 14th Street, was dashed after months of resistance from those in the community who did not want the park. They challenged him in federal court, causing a judge to revoke the permit to build, and Diller arranged a meeting with the people who had waged a war against him. When confronted with the minutiae of building the park and addressing their concerns, he agreed to abandon the project. With that, the six-year saga that had cost $40 million ended, putting Diller into company with David Rockefeller, another billionaire who tried and failed to develop the West Side's waterfront.


The Guggenheim Bows to Animal Rights Activists

The Guggenheim came under pressure from animal rights activists for an exhibition that showed dogs struggling to fight each other, pigs mating, and hundreds of insects, lizards, and snakes under an overhead lamp. Each piece was meant to be symbolic of oppression in China, but activists did not sympathize. The Guggenheim has since removed the works from exhibition, prompting the artist and activist Ai Weiwei to say in a telephone interview: "Pressuring museums to pull down artwork shows a narrow understanding about not only animal rights but also human rights."




In College Basketball Scandal, Follow the Money and the Shoes

At major colleges and universities, there have been quid pro quos among companies, like Adidas, and staff, such as associate head coaches. Nearly $100,000 changed hands as bribes to bring top prospects to the best programs in college sports. These allegations and more were revealed in a series of complaints that federal investigators made public on Tuesday. The complaints show a black market surrounding teenage athletes, where executives at shoe companies like Adidas paid families of potential star athletes tens of thousands of dollars to influence their decisions in selecting programs. Louisville's men's basketball program is the latest to be caught in this type of scandal, causing Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to be fired, a disgrace for the two-time national champion. While he denied any knowledge of wrongdoing, the recent revelations paint the picture that it was so pervasive as to be difficult to ignore.



Nine Florida Football Players Face Fraud Charges

Nine players for the University of Florida are now facing felony charges for transferring money from a stolen credit card to their campus bookstore accounts, using the funds to buy electronics. All of the players were suspended from the team, but are still enrolled at the university.


Tom Brady: 'I Certainly Disagree' With What Trump Said

Tom Brady, the five-time Super Bowl winner and quarterback of the New England Patriots, has a documented friendship with President Trump. Brady, on a morning radio show, commented that he "certainly disagree[d]" with President Trump's statements as they were divisive. Notably, Brady chose to lock arms with one of his teammates and put his other hand over his heart during the national anthem during their last game.


NFL Owners' Unity With Players Might Be Short-Lived

NFL owners are predominantly white, conservative billionaires, and several were top donors to Donald Trump's campaign. However, following the debate surrounding kneeling during the national anthem, many owners find themselves in harmony with their players. Analysts expect that the display of unity will likely be short-lived, as the kneeling issue fades and labor disputes flare up again.


Trump's NFL Critique Calculated to Shore Up His Base

Those close to President Donald Trump have noted that he was pleased at the response of his base to his attacks on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Kellyanne Conway, a White House advisor, called him "intuitive" for his ability to discern what his base wants and to act based on those wants. Others have noted that Trump's shoring up his base inevitably pulls him away from the center, and makes it more difficult to accomplish his legislative agenda, as Congress is not likely to broadly agree with his brand of politics.


Trump Attacks Warriors' Curry. LeBron James' Retort: 'U Bum.'

On Twitter, President Trump withdrew Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry's invitation to the White House, which was extended after the Warriors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship earlier this year. This prompted other NBA stars to come defend their colleague. LeBron James tweeted back to President Trump: "U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" This development is the latest in athletes commenting on race and social justice, to which President Trump has increasingly reacted.


A Big College Sports Business is About to Get Bigger

Learfield Communications began as a small company selling rights to radio broadcasts, corporate sponsorships, and in-stadium signage for the University of Missouri. It expanded in the last 40 years and mergeed with a competitor, IMG College, to control multimedia rights for approximately 55 of 65 colleges and universities in major conferences. Learfield hopes to continue acquiring rights, such as naming rights, ticketing, and associated licensing with all the major programs to further grow the business and to increase the scale of businesses supporting college sports.



68 Things You Cannot Say on China's Internet

Writers have to be remarkably careful in China in what they seek to publish. A writer cannot describe explicit sexual acts, leaving romance novels to be vague in their descriptions. China released a directive identifying 68 categories of materials that are censored on the internet, also including political commentary, material that depicts excessive drinking or gambling, material that publicizes a life of luxury, or any ridicule of China's historical revolutionary heroes.


October 9, 2017

Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media. First, of general interest:

Vegas Shooter Kills 58

During the last night of the "Route 91" country music festival in Las Vegas, a 64-year-old white male fired repeatedly into the crowd from a suite in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where he had more than 20 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He also had explosives and chemicals used for bomb-making in his car. Investigations are ongoing.


High Court Hears Argument on Workplace Arbitration

The Supreme Court heard argument in three cases consolidated to present the issue of whether employment agreements could include arbitration clauses with class-action waivers. The Justices' comments and questions suggest no clear outcome.


France Moves Closer to Stricter Counterterrorism Laws

The lower house of the French Parliament has passed, by a wide margin, a bill that would put into the hands of security personnel decisions typically reserved for, or overseen by, the judiciary. The legislation would permit search and seizure and house arrest without judicial review, expands the areas where police can establish checkpoints, and permits the restriction of access to public areas for up to a month without judicial review. The bill, which still must be reconciled with the upper house's version, is intended to codify measures that would allow the president to lift the state of emergency that has been in place for two years.


U.S. Shuts Door on Cuban Immigrants, Mystery Ailments

The U.S. State Department sharply reduced its staff at the U.S. embassy in Cuba, and indefinitely suspended processing of visas at that embassy. The U.S. also has halted its "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which permitted Cubans to stay if they made it to U.S. soil, but required those halted short of the shore to turn around. President Trump also expelled 15 Cuban diplomats. All of these steps appear to be in response to mysterious symptoms reported by U.S. consular staff, which some think may be the result of a direct attack on those personnel.



Japanese Journalist Dies of Overwork

31-year-old journalist Miwa Sado died of congestive heart failure caused by overwork. Sado rarely took weekends off, and in one month worked 159 hours of overtime. Death by overwork is so common in Japan that there is a name for it: karoshi.


Trump Administration Asks High Court to Dismiss Travel Ban Suits

The U.S. Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to dismiss two cases challenging the Trump administration's revised travel ban, arguing that they are moot in light of recent changes to the travel restrictions. The Court took the case off the argument calendar last month, after the administration announced the changes.


Attorney General Rolls Back Transgender Workplace Protections

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans workplace discrimination based on sex, does not protect transgender people. This is a reversal of former attorney general Eric Holder's order instructing the DOJ to define "sex" in that statute to include gender identity.


Concert in Egypt Leads to Crackdowns on Gay and Transgender People

Since fans waved a rainbow flag at a rock concert in Egypt last month, at least 34 people have been arrested, apparently for "trying to promote homosexual ideas," and at least one detainee has been convicted of "committing debauchery" and sentenced to 6 years in prison.



Weinstein Company in Distress after Harassment Allegations

In the wake of reports that co-chairman Harvey Weinstein had been engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment for over three decades, the Weinstein Company is in disarray. On Thursday, Weinstein announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence. On Saturday, Weinstein's attorney, Lisa Bloom, resigned. At least three board members reportedly have resigned, and the remaining members have hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. On Sunday evening, the directors announced that Harvey Weinstein was "terminated, effective immediately."



Country Music Artists Have Mixed Reactions to Vegas Shooting

The mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas has highlighted divisions--and fears--in the country music community. Long associated with pro-gun rights sentiment, the country music industry historically has had a very close relationship with the NRA, including a "lifestyle brand" called "NRA Country." Some musicians, like Jennifer Nettles and Sheryl Crowhave, called for stricter gun control in the wake of the massacre, while others, like country duo Big and Rich, see no connection between gun laws and what happened in Vegas. For the most part, however, country artists seem to be keeping mum, afraid of being "Dixie Chick-ed" for expressing a view that may be unpopular among fans.


Actress Accuses Polanski of Rape

No, a different one. Renate Langer, a former actress, recently told Swiss Police that director Roman Polanski raped her when she was 15, in 1972. Langer is the fourth woman to publicly accuse Polanski of sexually assaulting her as a teenager.


Television Directors More Diverse

The Directors Guild of America released the results of a study it says shows that women and "ethnic minorities" are being hired as first time directors at higher rates than in 2009. Others criticize the results as incomplete and unduly self-congratulatory.



"Street-style" Photographers Protest Unauthorized Use

Dozens of photographers promoted the hashtag #NoFreePhotos to protest the uncompensated use of their photos in the promotion of fashion brands. "The Photographers," as they call themselves, are among the paparazzi-like street photographers who vie for snaps of so-called "influencers"--Internet personalities known for their styles. The influencers and the fashion brands with whom they often have synergistic, cross-promotional relationships, increasingly are using these copyrighted photos in their own promotions, without paying the photographers.


Critic Accuses Poet of Plagiarism

In his review of Jill Bialosky's memoir, "Poetry Will Save Your Life," literary critic William Logan accused the poet of plagiarizing Wikipedia and the websites of the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation. Bialosky, who is a vice president and executive editor at W. W. Norton, said Logan "extracted a few ancillary and limited phrases...that inadvertently include fragments of prior common biographical sources and tropes after a multiyear writing process."


"Fearless Girl" Firm Failed Females Financially, Forfeits Five Million

State Street Corporation, the financial services firm that sponsored the "Fearless Girl" statue that now stands in front of the iconic Wall Street bull, agreed to pay $5 million to settle an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor that State Street paid female executives less than similarly situated males. The $5 million will go into a fund for female and minority executives who were paid less than white males in the same positions. .


Seuss Museum to Replace Offensive Mural

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts, will be replacing a mural depicting "the Chinaman," a character from Seuss's first book, "And to think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street." Several authors complained, calling the image a "jarring racial stereotype," and refused to attend an event at the museum. The museum announced that it would take down the image, then canceled the event.


Guggenheim Pulls Works After "Ominous Threats"

The Guggenheim Museum removed three works from its new exhibit, "Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World," after receiving threats directed at its employees. All three pieces involved animals (the basis for the threats and protests). The most notorious piece, "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other," featured two fighting dogs on treadmills facing each other.


Louvre Pulls "Sexually Explicit" Installation

The Louvre announced that "Domestikator," a piece by the collective Atelier Van Lieshout, will not be on view at the Louvre's Tuileries Gardens on October 19th as originally planned. The 40-foot high sculpture is a semi-abstract representation of copulation, and the Louvre's director cited concerns that the work "risks being misunderstood by visitors to the garden," and that it is situated near a children's playground.


Lincoln Center Abandons $500 Million Renovation

A $500 million plan to gut renovate the home of the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center was scrapped. Media mogul David Geffen pledged $100 million to the effort in 2015, and Avery Fisher Hall was renamed David Geffen Hall. Citing various construction issues and concerns for delay, the project leaders went back to the drawing board to devise a more modest renovation. In reaction to the news, Geffen called out New York's wealthiest for not giving more. "New York deserves to have the best concert hall for the Philharmonic. New York should have the best of everything," said Geffen on the day the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced that Geffen was donating $150 million.



Miranda Releases Charity Single for Hurricane Relief

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash musical "Hamilton", released a single called "Almost Like Praying," which features a lineup of famous Latino artists like Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, John Leguizamo, and Rita Moreno to raise funds and awareness for victims of Hurricane Maria.


Ishiguro Wins Nobel

Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese novelist best known for "The Remains of The Day," has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.



Russia Orders Doping Whistle-Blower's Arrest

A Russian court issued an order calling for the arrest of Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Anti-Doping Center in Moscow, who publicly disclosed that urine samples were tampered with during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Rodchenkov's revelations led to investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee, and the banning of several Russian athletes.


Silver Says Hoopsters Should Stand for Anthem

National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking after the NBA's Board of Governors meeting, said that he expected players to follow the league rule requiring standing during the national anthem. He said they have other avenues through which to make their voices heard.


National Football League to Investigate Pryor Claims of Racial Taunting

National Football League officials are investigating Washington Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor's report that racial slurs were shouted at him from the crowd during last Monday night's game at Kansas City. TMZ published a video that catches the tail end of a heated exchange between Pryor and some fans; reportedly no racial slurs are clearly audible in the video.


Head of Brazil's Olympic Committee Arrested in Bribery Investigation

On Thursday, federal police detained Carlos Arthur Nuzman, head of Brazil's Olympic Committee. Nuzman is accused of failing to declare assets (including 16 bars of gold) held abroad, and is implicated in emails that appear to discuss payment of bribes in connection with Brazil's successful bid to host the Olympic games.


Major League Baseball Clears Coach of Cheating with Apple Watch

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced its conclusion, after investigation, that Arizona Diamondbacks coach Ariel Prieto did not use his Apple Watch for improper purposes during a recent game against the Colorado Rockies. Prieto and the Diamondbacks were fined for violating the MLB's rules against using electronic communications during games.


Newton Apologizes for Sexist Remark

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton apologized for a sexist remark he made to reporter Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer. The apology came after Dannon withdrew its sponsorship of Newton.


Devils to be First National Hockey League Team to Own Women's Franchise

The New Jersey Devils agreed to a three-year partnership with the Metropolitan Riveters (nee New York Riveters), which includes providing the women's team with rent-free facilities, and assisting in sponsorships, ticket sales, and marketing.


Youngstown Settles with Convicted Rapist

Several months after Youngstown State university accepted Ma'lik Richmond to the football team, the university told Richmond that he couldn't play. That decision was made after a student circulated a petition to keep Richmond off the team, because Richmond previously had been convicted of rape. Richmond sued the school and obtained a TRO allowing him to play. The parties settled, and Richmond will remain on the active roster.


Barcelona Joins Catalan Protest

The Barcelona football club joined a country-wide strike to protest government efforts to stop Sunday's referendum on Catalonian independence.


French Bank Implicated in Olympics Bribery Scheme

French prosecutors are looking into the role of Société Générale, one of France's largest banks, in a $2 million transfer officials believe was a bribe intended to secure Brazil's chances of hosting the Olympics in 2016.


String of Arrests in Basketball Bribery Investigation

A three-year investigation into bribes given to basketball recruits led to the arrest of 10 people, including four assistant coaches, an Adidas marketing executive, and a tailor who made suits for NBA stars. At the University of Louisville, which is alleged to have paid a player to attend the school, coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on administrative leave, and the school began the process of firing Pitino.


Contact Sports Cause 600,000 Injuries a Year

Researchers at Yale University calculated that contact sports may be responsible for 650,000 injuries among male high school and college athletes. Making those sports non-contact could save over $20 billion in medical costs and time lost.



Top Lawyer Leaves Fox News

Fox News announced Friday that its executive vice president of legal and business affairs, Dianne Brandi, has taken a voluntary leave of absence. Brandi is reportedly a subject of the U.S. Attorney's investigation into Fox News' handling of sexual harassment complaints. The plaintiffs in several lawsuits alleged that Brandi concealed inappropriate behavior or dismissed employees' concerns.


AIM is 404 as of 12/15/17

On December 15, 2017, the 20-year-old messaging platform AOL Instant Messenger will transmit its last message.


Los Angeles Times Newsroom Looking to Unionize

Newsroom employees at The Los Angeles Times have been organizing in favor of a union they hope would help them improve working conditions, pay, benefits, and employee protections. A majority reportedly support representation by the NewsGuild, a national organization. The push for unionization is a reaction to recent unilateral and unwelcome actions by the Times' parent company, Tronc.


Yahoo Breach Hit All Three Billion Accounts

Yahoo previously disclosed that a cyberattack in 2013 had affected 1 billion user accounts. Verizon, which bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion in June, announced that all of Yahoo's user accounts--about 3 billion--were affected.


Russian Collusion Investigation Continues, Targets Social Media

The Senate Intelligence Committee has now been investigating whether Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 elections for roughly nine months. It has interviewed over 100 witnesses, reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents, and the investigation continues. Facebook gave Congressional investigators over 3,000 Russian ads it said had been viewed by about 10 million individuals in the U.S. According to the social media giant, "[m]ost of the ads appear to focus on divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum...." Twitter has agreed to appear for a public hearing on November 1st to answer questions about fake Russian accounts. Facebook has said it also will appear.




Facebook to Manually Review Sensitive Ads

Facebook announced that it will implement "human review" for ads that target certain politically sensitive groups or issues, and that this may cause delays in approval of ads.


Google Finds Russian-financed YouTube Ads

Google determined that some YouTube ad spending--less than $100,000--was potentially linked to Russian operatives.


Facebook Blocks Critic of China

Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire living in New York, is known for publicizing accusations of corruption among China's leaders. Facebook blocked Guo's profile and took down another page associated with him, stating that the pages included a third party's personal identifiable information in violation of the Facebook terms of service.


October 12, 2017

FCC Grants Experimental License for Project Loon to Operate in Puerto Rico

By Barry Skidelsky

On October 7th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted an experimental license for Project Loon, led by Google's parent company Alphabet, to help provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico. As FCC Chairman Pai explained: "More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without access to much-needed communications services. That's why we need to take innovative approaches to help restore connectivity on the island. Project Loon is one such approach."

Project Loon is a network of high altitude balloons that provides connectivity to users on the ground. This novel approach, which requires the cooperation of local incumbent wireless carriers en la isla del encanto, could help provide the people of Puerto Rico with access to cellular service enabling them to connect with loved ones and to access life-saving information.

Project Loon potentially could bring voice and internet access services not only to additional areas impacted by natural disaster caused emergencies, but also to rural or remote regions that generally lack the same communications connectivity large urban areas in the United States regularly enjoy. A brief video explanation from Project Loon is at https://x.company/loon/#video:MiEZfRh-h-s.

Barry Skidelsky is a NYC based attorney whose private practice involves entertainment, media, telecommunications and technology. A frequent author and speaker, member of EASL's Executive Committee and co-chair of EASL's TV & Radio Committee, se habla espańol tambien. Barry can be reached at 212-832-4800 or bskidelsky@mindspring.com.

October 16, 2017

Week in Review

By Tiombe Tallie Carter

President Renews Attack on National Football League, and Then Criticizes a Host on ESPN

Players kneeling in protest during the national anthem led President Trump to threaten to eliminate a federal tax law that allows the National Football League (NFL) to avoid paying taxes as a nonprofit organization. The tax law applies only to the NFL central office, since the teams are for-profit and already pay taxes. President Trump also called for firing ESPN SportsCenter host Jemele Hill on Twitter for her criticisms of him. Tax breaks for sports franchises have been controversial, as many businesses have benefited from tax subsidies, including the financing of stadiums with tax-exempt municipal bonds. The White House later backed away from President Trump's comments, stating that he was only making a point, as the federal tax law does not actually apply in this instance.


NBC Nuclear Arsenal Story Prompts a Threat by Trump

On Wednesday, NBC reported on-air and online that President Trump stated during a July meeting that he wanted to increase the national nuclear arsenal by 10 percent. Afterwards, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a "moron." In retaliation, on Twitter, President Trump threatened NBC's federal license to broadcast television. Many immediately reacted, concerned "that he was undermining the First Amendment." Senator Edward J. Markey from Massachusetts wrote to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai to protect the First Amendment. The NBC report did not identify the three officials in the meeting. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a written statement calling the report "absolutely false." President Trump's attacks on the NBC suggested an unfamiliarity with how broadcast licensing works. Television networks like NBC, ABC, and CBS do not license spectrum; individual television stations do.


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


The Fall of Harvey Weinstein

Film producer Harvey Weinstein of Miramax and the Weinstein Company was accused by actresses and models of sexual assault stemming back to the 1980s. Big-name actresses, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Dawn Dunning, Judith Godreche, and Katherine Kendall reported to the New York Times and the New Yorker Magazine that Weinstein had a history of sexual harassment, including sexual assault entailing forced oral and vaginal sex. The fallout from the exposés has been deep and swift. The Weinstein Company terminated him almost immediately, even though he made a failed last-ditch attempt to dissuade its board from voting to fire him. He is currently under criminal investigation in several jurisdictions, spanning from New York to London. The London Metropolitan Police Service confirmed that it is investigating allegations against the disgraced filmmaker that date back to the 1980s. New York police are investigating claims by actress Lucia Evans for a 2004 sexual assault on her in his then Miramax office. Following due diligence, the New York police are researching other complaints as well. There is one as recent as 2015, when Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez claimed that he groped her in his Tribeca office. According to Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., the sex crime prosecutors determined that that case was not provable. It is unclear to what degree the Weinstein Company was aware of the sexual allegations. His brother and co-founder Bob Weinstein, along with the company president David Glasser, held a video conference call with employees. They stated that they were shocked and unaware of the allegations and any settlement payments. Hervey Weinstein, during his final hours of employment, emailed the board, and stated that they were aware of the settlement payments to several women. One board member, Lance Maerov, admitted his knowledge of the payoffs, but thought they were for consensual affairs. Several members left the board since the allegations were made public, but said that they would cooperate with the criminal investigation.

As a result of these allegations, the Hatchett Book Group announced that it is shuttering Weinstein Books, a Weinstein Company publishing imprint. Weinstein was also condemned for his actions by former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Companies continue to distance themselves from his spotlight. The Walt Disney Company, which once owned Miramax Studios and employed Weinstein before he left to found the Weinstein Company with his brother Bob Weinstein, stated that it was unaware of the complaints and that the Weinstein brothers operated autonomously. His wife, Georgina Chapman, stated publicly her intention to divorce him, and educational institutions and entertainment organizations are denouncing him as well. The University of Southern California has gone as far as to reject Weinstein's $5 million pledge to its School of Cinematic Arts. Finally, the Motion Picture Academy expelled him over the weekend.







Rose McGowan Calls Ben Affleck a Liar

Actress Rose McGowan said that she told Ben Affleck that Harvey Weinstein had behaved inappropriately with her. Affleck's response, "GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT," suggested that he had apparently chastised Weinstein about his behavior in the past. However, when questioned, Affleck gave no indication of being aware of the incidents. McGowan took to Twitter: "You lie." Affleck did not respond.


Nelly Arrested on Rape Accusation

Cornell Haynes Jr., better known as "Nelly," was arrested on October 7th for sexual assault. A young woman accused the St. Louis-born rapper of rape while on his tour bus after a performance at the White River Amphitheater in Seattle. He was released from custody the same day and has not been charged. The investigation is ongoing. The woman now wants to recant her story.




Couple Drops Lawsuit over Disputed Antiquity

Lynda and William Beierwaltes, a Colorado couple with a penchant for antiquities, decided to drop their federal lawsuit to stop the repatriation of a 2,300-year-old sculpture to Lebanon. The Beierwaltes purchased the marble sculpture of a bull's head for more than $1 million in 1996. The Republic of Lebanon reported the artifact as being looted during its civil war. It was discovered by a curator when it was on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Michael H. Steinhardt, a New York collector, who had purchased the work from the Beierwalteses in 2015. He has since asked the couple to take back the work and return his money. The Beierwalteses sued the Manhattan district attorney and the Lebanese government, claiming that they had a clear title. However, they recently released a statement of "incontrovertible evidence that the bull's head had in fact been stolen from Lebanon." There are no criminal charges against the Beierwalteses. However, investigations continue, as there is a second antiquity, "an archaic marble torso of a calf bearer," that was also stolen from Lebanon. Interestingly, the second work was also sold by the same gentleman who sold the Beierwalteses the first piece, and the Beierwalteses later sold it also to Steinhardt.


Publishing's Unfair Gray Market

When an Amazon customer hits the main buy button, he or she expects to get a brand-new book. Previously reserved for Amazon's inventory, that spot has now changed. Amazon now allows third-party sellers to be featured above the primary book purchase button for new books. Therefore, a customer now may not receive a "new" book, as third-party sellers often purchase books in bulk that were review copies sent freely to media outlets or overstocks returned from brick and mortar bookstores. The problem, other than being unethical, is that the author often receives nothing for these types of sales. The Independent Book Publishers Association is investigating this gray market on Amazon. Publishers receive some revenue from overstocks sales. However, authors receive little, if any, income. Amazon clarified its definition of "new," stating that remainders and overstocks do not qualify. The Authors Guild asked publishers to keep better records, but the cost to police this gray market is prohibitive. Amazon, through a spokesperson, said: "We move quickly to address any violations." Perhaps it would be easier if it simply returned to disallowing third-party sellers access to the main buy button.


U.S. Will Withdraw from Cultural Agency, Citing "Anti-Israel" Bias

The Trump administration has announced that it is withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It cited UNESCO's "anti-Israel" bias as its reason to withdraw, as UNESCO continues to recognize Palestine as a full member since 2011. In addition, the U.S. is $550 million in arrears to the organization. The withdrawal becomes effective at the end of 2018, at which point the U.S. will become a nonmember observer allowed to continue to provide expertise and perspective. American cultural organizations criticize the decision. Metropolitan Museum of Art chief executive Daniel H. Weiss said that "UNESCO may be imperfect," but it has been an important leader in preserving vital cultural heritage worldwide. UNESCO criticized Israel in 2015 for "aggressions and illegal measures against freedoms of worship" in Jerusalem. This summer, it declared the West Bank's ancient Hebron as an endangered Palestinian Heritage site.


The Guggenheim Censors Itself

"Art and China after 1989", a new show at the Guggenheim Museum, is causing quite a stir. Animal rights activists protested several works that entailed pigs mating, pit bulls on treadmills, and insects trapped with reptiles. A New York Times preview of the show stated that "some creatures will be devoured; others may die of fatigue." The museum received threats of violence. Richard Armstrong, the museum's director, removed the animal works in response to the protest, reasoning that he had to consider the safety of the museum's staff, visitors, and participating artists.



NFL Unity on Anthem Is Vanishing

Two weeks ago, the NFL was locked in unity, literally, many arm in arm or kneeling in protest mostly against President Trump's calls for firing players who do not stand for the national anthem. That united front is crumbling as the President re-frames the focus of the protest away from police brutality and social injustice to a statement on the flag and supporting the military. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench any player who does not stand for the anthem. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, who has been empathetic with his players, is now telling them that by not standing they are hurting their cause. For the owners, it comes down to money, according to Frank Zaccanelli, a former part owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "If any business took a 10-12% business hit, red lights would be going off." The players union is standing with the players, by issuing a statement defending its members' right to free expression. Current players voiced their opinions, ranging from continuing to kneel to staying in the locker room until after the anthem. Some former players are not aware of the issues. Hall of Famer Mike Ditka did not quite get all the fuss, stating, "All of a sudden, it's become a big deal now, about oppression." The NFL's rule that "players must be on the sideline for the anthem and should stand while it is being played" has not been enforced. That may change after the owners meet to discuss what actions to take.


NFL Players Who Protest Have an Ally in Labor Law

While players, owners, cheerleaders, and fans from the national and international shores continue to kneel, lock arms, and wait in locker rooms during the national anthem, the question remains: "How far can workers go in banding together to address problems related to their employment?" Federal labor law protects any "concerted activities" that "employees engage in to support one another in the workplace." Such activity has been broadly defined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and courts, where rulings have allowed a myriad of activities bearing on one's work life. "To be protected under federal labor law, an employee's action must be conducted in concert with co-workers, it must address an issue of relevance to their job, and it must be carried out using appropriate means." Referring to a 1978 Supreme Court case, where it was determined that "workers have a right to engage in political advocacy as long as the political theme relates to their job," many experts believe that the recent protests, at least some of them, meet the federal law's conditions. With the Trump administration's assault on workers' rights--as noted in its directed reversal of the government's position in a recent Supreme Court worker rights case, National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, No. 16-307, (Arg. 10.02.2017), and a Republican majority on the NLRB board, a narrowing of the interpretation of what constitutes "protected concerted activity" is expected.


NFL Player Calls for Unity on a Strategy for Protests

Russell Okung, lineman with the Los Angeles Chargers, urged all 1,700 NFL players to take a unified stand against NFL owners' pressure to stand during the national anthem. The anthem demonstrations were intended to draw attention to racial inequality and police shootings of African-Americans. President Trump blurred that initial message by tweeting that "players who kneel or sit during the national anthem are disrespecting the flag and the military" and chastising the team owners for not disciplining the players for protesting. In an interview, Okung said that "he wrote the letter as a way to move players' focus away from the president's agenda and back toward their own goals of addressing inequity." He posted his letter on The Players' Tribune in an attempt to reach all players across the players' association who may want to do more as a group, but did not have a vehicle to do so, as "the system is designed to keep us divided and stifle our attempts to collaborate." Team owners are meeting next week to discuss the anthem demonstrations. Some owners have threatened to bench players who do not stand. Okung invited players to contact him on Twitter to facilitate a conversation on "important decisions" made without players' input.


NCAA Declines to Punish North Carolina for Academic Fraud

The fact that the University of North Carolina is guilty of running an academic fraud scheme is undisputed. However, the NCAA will not issue penalties because technically no rules were broken, according to its recent ruling. It is uncanny that, for almost two decades, North Carolina had offered approximately 200 "paper" classes that were "laxly administered and graded" and geared towards student athletes, particularly in the football and basketball programs. The classes were predominantly offered through the African and Afro-American Studies Department, administered by a staff member, barely required attendance, and at best required one paper. The university was put on probation temporarily, and its accreditation was in jeopardy. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions determined that because non-athlete students had access to the "shadow curriculum," it "could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules." The fact that the University of North Carolina is satisfied with this standard of academic curriculum quality actually protected it from punishment. The panel concluded that it could not establish that the courses were "solely created, offered and maintained as an orchestrated effort to benefit student-athletes." If the NCAA's membership, which consists of more than 1,000 colleges and universities, wants its athletes to be adequately educated, regardless of the educational standard at an individual school, then it will have to establish rules to that effect.


In Scandal's Aftermath, NCAA Plans a Commission to Reform Men's Basketball

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it was forming a college basketball commission to make substantial changes to the way it operates. This decision is in response to the federal charges against 10 men for a scheme among the sneaker giant Adidas, assistant coaches, agents, and money managers to funnel money to players and coaches. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will chair the commission, and it will include members such as Ohio State's athletic director, Gene Smith; president of the Association of American Universities, Mary Sue Coleman; and Jeremy Foley, Florida's former athletic director. The commission will examine the NCAA's fundamental regulatory arrangements, the rules regarding interrelated institutions such as apparel companies, nonscholastic basketball programs, and agents, and the NCAA's relationship with the National Basketball Association.


Elliott's Suspension Is Reinstated by Court

The NFL will be able to impose a suspension on Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys running back accused of domestic violence, according to a recent ruling by a federal district court. Elliott was initially suspended for six games. The NFL Players Association defended Elliott in district court, and that court issued an injunction blocking the suspension. The NFL appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where it found on Thursday that the lawsuit "was 'premature' because the NFL and the players' union had not exhausted all available procedures in the league's collective bargaining agreement."


PSG Chairman Faces Claims of Bribing FIFA

Nasser al-Khelaifi, chairman of Paris St. Germain soccer team and chief executive of beIN Media Group, was accused by the Swiss attorney general of bribing Jerome Valcke, former FIFA general secretary for World Cup soccer broadcasting contracts. Valcke is currently serving a 10-year ban from soccer. In a written statement, the Swiss authorities said that it suspected Valcke of accepting "undue advantages" from al-Khelaifi regarding the award of media rights for certain countries at FIFA World Cups 2026 and 2030. beIN, the Doha-based television network that has been on a spending spree for media rights, refutes all accusations. The Swiss investigation stems from a U.S. indictment made in May 2015, charging a two-decade-long corruption scheme with the largest power brokers in the world of soccer. With 25 soccer-related investigations still open, al-Khelaifi is one of the first Qatari to be formally charged.


Aaron Hernandez's Family Drops CTE Suit against NFL, for Now

Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots tight end, committed suicide while in jail this past April. At the time, he was serving a life sentence for the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd. That conviction was vacated because his appeals had not been exhausted before his death. In September, his family sued the NFL for not adequately protecting him from concussions. It was determined from Hernandez's autopsy that he had an "advanced form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head hits." The family dropped the suit against the NFL so that it can refile in state court, where more claims can be filed, than in federal court. There will still be significant hurdles when the family refiles in Suffolk County Supreme Court: there is a high bar to overcome for athletes who played football in childhood and college, in addition to overcoming the argument that the proper forum is by the collective bargaining agreement with an arbitrator, and not in court with a judge.


Game Forfeited over Racist Posts

South Dakota high school Sturgis Brown canceled its annual homecoming celebrations due to photos shown on social media of students destroying a car with "Go back to the Rez" painted on the side. Sturgis Brown was due to play Pine Ridge School from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at the homecoming festivities. The school board voted unanimously to cancel all homecoming activities, which included the football game, dance, and parade, to avoid any potential danger to the students.


Hall of Famer Says Warn Parents of Risks

NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson testified at a Congressional hearing that parents should be warned when signing up their children to play football, as the sport can cause long-term neurological damage. Carson is a former linebacker who was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in 1990. The 13-year veteran of the New York Giants will not allow his 8-year old grandson to play the sport that yielded him nine Pro Bowl wins and a Super Bowl ring. He now spends his time devoted to raising awareness of the risks associated with playing the sport.



ESPN Host Barred for Urging Boycott to Rebuke Jerry Jones

ESPN enforces its social media guidelines with the suspension of Jemele Hill, its SportsCenter host, for a second Twitter outburst. In response to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones's statement that he would bench all players who "disrespect the flag," Hill tweeted, "If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers." She called President Trump a white supremacist last month. Although she later clarified that she was not calling for a boycott of the NFL, ESPN implemented a two-week suspension. Jones's threat that the Cowboys will not play if they disrespect the flag was met with opposition from the NFL Players Association, which "issued a statement that defended its members' right to free expression."


Google Inquiry Connects Election Ads to Russians

Google's internal investigation revealed how Russia used social networks and technology services to influence the 2016 presidential election. The social media giant discovered thousands of dollars' worth of ads purchased by Russian agents. The ads spanned the political spectrum, from Donald Trump building a golf course in Scotland, to asking whether President Obama needed to resign. Microsoft is also investigating whether Russia infiltrated its Bing search engine. Facebook already discovered that Russia had placed over 3,000 ads during the election campaign. Representatives from Google have been called in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on November 1st.


Lawmakers Will Release Facebook Ads from Russia

The thousands of Facebook ads used by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election will be released to the public according to the House Intelligence Committee. Hearings will be held on November 1st to investigate the role of social media in Russia's election tampering. Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has been meeting with federal officials in a public relations effort to diffuse the political pressure surrounding the media giant. She has agreed to provide additional fake news and inflammatory content from the social media platform. According to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the ads will have to be scrubbed of personally identifiable information before being released to the public.


Russians Spun Americans' Rage on Facebook into a Weapon

The New York Times investigated hundreds of posts written by Americans that were re-posted on Russian social media pages. The posts took "descriptions and videos of police beatings from genuine YouTube and Facebook accounts," and re-posted them on Russian pages entitled "Being Patriotic," "Blacktivist," and others resembling American angst. They used the social media platform's system for engagement to feed outrage. Jonathan Albright from Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism calls it "cultural hacking." The Being Patriotic page added the statement: "the national can't trust the federal government. What a disgrace!" to a statement copied from the American site InfoWars that said, "the federal government had taken property from private land owners at pennies on the dollar." According to Graphika, a commercial analytics company, the Russians used platforms from white nationalists to Bernie Sanders supporters to manipulate them. Unlike "astroturfing," a public relations strategy that constructs fake grassroots support behind an idea, the Russians threw seeds and fertilizer onto social media to cultivate a political movement.


Turkish Court Convicts American Reporter in Absentia

Journalist Ayla Albayrak, a dual citizen of Turkey and Finland, was convicted of terrorism by Turkey and sentenced to two years and one month in prison. Ranked by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the highest jailer of journalists, Turkey has implemented a crackdown on media news members. Albayrak was charged with violating Turkey's Article 7/2 Antiterror Law for her 2015 Wall Street Journal article entitled, "Urban Welfare Escalates in Turkey's Kurdish-Majority Southeast," which described clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists. Wall Street Journal executives Gerard Baker and William Lewis condemn the ruling. The newspaper will appeal.


Blind Man's Lawsuits Seek Access to College Websites

Emanuel Delacruz, who is blind, filed several lawsuits against area colleges, charging them with violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Manhattan against Fordham University, Manhattan College, Long Island University, Iona College, and Hofstra University, because their websites are inaccessible to Delacruz. Attorneys are arguing that the federal law requiring public spaces to be accessible to those with disabilities also applies to websites. Over 750 lawsuits have been filed since 2015, mostly against retailers and restaurants. Colleges and universities have only recently faced lawsuits. In 2015, MIT and Harvard were sued by advocates for the deaf, and the Department of Justice's civil rights division found that the University of California, Berkeley, violated the disability law. Failing to caption online lectures and not providing accommodations for video lectures and podcasts are argued to be noncompliance. The 1990's Americans With Disabilities Act does not include the internet, so it is unclear whether the lawsuits will prevail. The Justice Department has issued guidelines, but considering that "web regulations" have been placed on the federal government's "inactive" agenda items, it is unlikely that formal regulations will be adopted.

There is no nationwide consensus of enforcement. A Californian judge earlier this year dismissed a suit by a blind man against Domino's Pizza, "because the chain offered an option to order by telephone." A Florida judge ruled that Winn-Dixie "had to offer the same accommodations on its website as it did in stores." Then in July, a Brooklyn judge ruled that "Blick Art Material's website had to be readily available to a blind man." Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, said the rulings result in a legal gray area for "either significant civil rights advances or exploitation by lawyers looking to make a quick buck through settlements." There have been cases where identical lawsuits have been filed against several businesses or colleges. Sometimes, the unintended consequences can be dire. The Berkeley suit resulted in the university taking down over 20,000 video and audio files.


Amazon Suspends Executive Accused of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment allegations continue to fly in the entertainment and media industries. Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, was suspended resulting from accusations that he made unwanted sexual advances towards Isa Dick Hackett. Hackett, executive producer of "The Man in the High Castle," said in a Hollywood Reporter article that Price propositioned her in July 2015 after a dinner at San Diego Comic-Con. Reportedly, he made use of vulgar genitalia terms. Her claims were first made public in an article in The Information, a tech news website. Hackett told the Hollywood Reporter that she had found inspiration to go public after the recent articles in the New York Times and the New Yorker Magazine regarding the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. "I feel inspired by the other women who have been far braver than I am, who have come forward," she said.


Investor Presses for Change in 21st Century Fox Board

CtW Investment Group, an organization that "advises several union pension funds invested in Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox," called for an overhaul of the 21st Century Fox board and a comprehensive review of its workplace culture. In a letter from CtW's executive director, Dieter Waizenegger, to Viet D. Dinh, chairman of 21st Century's nominating and corporate governance committee, the organization accuses the directors of failing to ensure that the proper corporate controls were in place when it was aware of the settlements, and "refused to investigate and mitigate the risk . . . and facilitated a tone at the top that permits unethical behavior by high performers." 21st Century Fox stated that it will "respond accordingly," as it takes CtW's communications seriously. Although 21st Century Fox is currently under investigation by the U.S. attorney's office, CtW said it does not need to wait for the results of that investigation. It has called for the resignation of Roderick Eddington, the company's lead director who is also chairman of the audit committee, for failing in his "risk oversight responsibilities." In addition, CtW called for adding directors with human resources experience, increasing the number of women directors, and creating a new committee of independent directors to focus on "organizational culture, workplace safety and health, work force diversity and pay equality, and employment engagement and development." This urging for corporate governance reform should be of no surprise to 21st Century Fox, as shareholders called for similar changes six years ago after its phone-hacking scandal. 21st Century Fox's dual-class share structure continues to present a problem to implement reform. The Murdoch family controls 40 percent of the class of stock with voting rights, compared to other owners with a second class of stock with no voting rights. Even if more independent directors are added to the board, it is unlikely that they will have voting privileges. There is a proposal to the shareholders that would eliminate the dual-class share structure. The 21st Century Fox board is opposed to changing the share structure.


October 21, 2017

Center For Art Law Case Law Updates

The following case selection first appeared in this week's Center for Art Law newsletter:

Apperson v. City of St. Louis, Case No. 17-cv-2461, (E. D. Missouri, Sep. 22, 2017). This fall, MacArthur Justice Center filed a lawsuit alleging that St. Louis officials are improperly arresting, jailing, and prosecuting protesters. The suit claims that the arrests violate First Amendment rights of free speech, the detentions violate the Fourth and Eighth Amendments, and a general due process violation. The suit also brings analogous state-law claims. It seeks monetary damages and an injunction against the continuance of these alleged practices. The ACLU filed a parallel lawsuit alleging police misconduct (using chemical weapons, interfering with video of police activity, and violating due process).

Sotheby's v. Nature Morte LLC and Anatole Shagalov, 655636/2017, (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 2017, Aug. 31, 2017). Sotheby's filed a complaint in New York State Court seeking to recover $ 6 million dollars from a winning bidder of an artwork at a recent Sotheby's auction. Anatole Shagalov signed a personal guarantee obligating him to an immediate payment for any piece of artwork on which Nature Morte LLC placed the highest bid. Nature Morte placed the winning bid of $ 6 million dollars, but allegedly failed to pay for the artwork. Sotheby's seeks to recover the $6 million dollars plus interest and fees from Nature Morte LLC and Anatole Shagalov, arising out of the breach of the personal guarantee. The Answer was filed on October 11th.

Bouvier v. Adelson, cv 16-3655, (2d Cir. 2017 Aug. 28, 2017) - On August, 28, 2017, a panel for the Second Circuit held that Section 1782 discovery is available for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal, even when the applicant is not making a claim for damages. The court also held that once an applicant has obtained discovery under Section 1782 for one foreign proceeding, the applicant may use that discovery in other foreign proceedings. The case arose out of the ongoing dispute between Russian Oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, and Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier.

Thome v. The Alexander & Louisa Calder Found'n, 152721/2017, (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Aug. 22, 2017) - Joel Thome, owner of a theatrical stage set that is allegedly the last artwork by Alexander Calder, filed a new lawsuit against the Calder Foundation, seeing $2 million dollars in damages, based on three causes of action: (1) tortious interference, (2) interference with prospective advantage, (3) product disparagement.

Aboutaam v. Dow Jones & Co., (Supreme Court of the State of New York) On July 17, 2017, Hicham Aboutaam, filed a libel suit against the Wall Street Journal for an article that reported that countries were investigating him for allegedly trafficking in artifacts looted by ISIS.

Moi v. Chihuly Studio, Inc., 17-2-14150-0 SEA, (Sup. Ct. WA, King County, Jun. 17, 2017) While Chihuly's glass sculptures are on display at the New York Botanical Garden, Michael Moi sued his former employer, Chihuly Studio, seeking a declaratory judgment of co-authorship and co-ownership of some of the paintings produced by Dale Chihuly. Other causes of action are accounting of revenue and imposition of constructive trust, as well as injunctive relief under VARA.


Weber v. Haerle, [Switzerland, 2017], Ger., Heidi Weber, long-time friend and collaborator of Le Corbusier, is suing Peter Haerle, Culture Director of Zurich, for defamation. In 1964, Weber assisted Le Corbusier in the co-founding of his lakefront museum in Zurich. The construction permit required that 50 years later, the property must be turned over to the city of Zurich. Just two years past the expiration of the original building permit, the city changed the name of the institution from the Centre Le Corbusier Heidi Weber Museum to Pavillon Le Corbusier. Weber and her son have spoken out on the grave injustice they believe is being perpetuated by the local government. Weber is so enraged that she removed her collection of Le Corbusier artifacts that she had loaned to the city. On July 5th, the Court authorized the case to proceed.

Simon de Pury v. Ruedi Staechlin, High Court, UK, 2017, Eng. Recorded as the most expensive work of art ever sold, Paul Gauguin's "Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?)" (1892) was actually sold for $210 million, placing it behind de Kooning's "Interchanged" (1955) and Cezanne's "The Card Players" (1890-5) as the third most expensive artwork ever known to be sold. This revelation came to light on June 29th, at the United Kingdom High Court, when Simon de Pury sued to collect a hefty commission--$10 million--he argues is owed to him and his wife Michaela under a "gentleman's agreement." De Pury claims that he and his wife acted as middlemen in negotiating the sale of the painting from childhood friend Ruedi Staechlin to the Emir of Qatar. The de Purys and Staechlin argue conflicting accounts of the nature of Simon and Michaela's involvement in this transaction. Staechlin's attorney alleges that the de Purys engaged in a breach of fiduciary duty by misrepresenting prices and "pestering" Staechlin, which de Pury denies.

T. v. T., v. 6 Ob 145/16s, Austria, 2017, On June 27th, the Regional Court for Civil Law in Vienna found the 2012 contracts establishing the Franz West Private Foundation--initiated by those non-family members with a financial stake in West's sales and signed by West on his deathbed--to be improperly executed and incapable of being upheld. The Foundation alleged that it was the rightful owner of West's assets and royalties, rather than his now-deceased wife and their two children. The Court's argument turned on the finding that the Foundation's paperwork was so sloppily drafted that material elements of the agreement--including a formal acceptance--were absent. In line with the Court's ruling, the remaining unsold artwork will now be given to West's children and their guardian... so long as the Foundation does not appeal the Court's decision.

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.

Week in Review

By Michael Smith

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media. First, of general interest:

Federal Judge Blocks Newest Travel Ban

District of Hawaii judge Derrick Watson has converted the temporary restraining order he issued last week preventing Trump's new travel ban from being enforced into a preliminary injunction.


Trump Taps Paul Weiss Partner to Lead Federal Trade Commission

President Trump is expected to nominate Joseph Simons, an antitrust lawyer at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, to head the Federal Trade Commission, along with two new commissioners, Noah Phillips and Rohit Chopra.


Emoluments Clause Lawsuit Tested

On Wednesday, the parties in a lawsuit against President Trump alleging violations of the "emoluments clause" of the U.S. Constitution argued for and against the Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion to dismiss before U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan. The decision is expected in a month or two.


University of Florida Protesters Shout Down White Nationalist

When white nationalist Richard Spencer spoke at the University of Florida last week, protestors inside and outside the auditorium protested with signs and chants. There were isolated instances of violence, including one incident involving a gunman who fired at a bus stop but did not hit anyone.


Famous Actors Share Stories of Harassment

Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Lady Gaga, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, and Evan Rachel Wood are among the stars in the entertainment industry speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, and sharing their own experiences.



Motion Picture Academy Expels Weinstein

On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to immediately expel Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein is only the second member to be permanently ousted. The first was a character actor expelled for leaking "screener" copies of films contending for the Oscars. Some are anticipating a call for additional expulsions based on similar issues.


Producers Guild, Television Academy Move to Expel Weinstein

The Producers Guild of America voted unanimously to terminate Harvey Weinstein's membership in the organization. Weinstein will have a chance to respond before a final decision is made on November 6th. The Television Academy also set a disciplinary hearing for November.



Weinstein Resigns from Board, Affiliates Distance Themselves

Harvey Weinstein resigned from the board of directors of the Weinstein Company in the face of mounting allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Toyota is considering withdrawing Lexus as a sponsor of Weinstein's "Project Runway," and Lifetime (which airs the show) removed Weinstein's executive producer credit and his company's logo from the show.


Weinstein Finds Investor

On Monday the Weinstein Company announced that private equity firm Colony Capital had agreed to provide a cash infusion to the ailing company. A board member also said that Colony was in negotiations to purchase the company.


Tatum Breaks Ties with Weinstein

Channing Tatum announced that he will no longer be working with the Weinstein Company to develop a film about a boy dealing with sexual abuse.


Harvard Takes Back Weinstein's Medal

In 2014, Harvard University honored Harvey Weinstein with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal for contributions to African American culture. Last week the school's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research decided to revoke the award.


Los Angeles Police Department Investigating Rape Claim Against Weinstein

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating allegations that Harvey Weinstein raped a woman in 2013 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.


Bob Weinstein Accused of Sexual Harassment

A former executive producer of the Spike TV series, "The Mist," accused Harvey Weinstein's brother, Bob Weinstein, of sexually harassing her. The Spike network is investigating those allegations, which Weinstein denies.


Amazon Studios Boss Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Roy Price, former head of Amazon Studios, has resigned. He was accused of harassing a producer and doing nothing after an actress told him she was assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. His resignation prompted discussions inside and outside the company about the lack of women in a position to dictate policy.



Canadian Comedy Festival Founder Resigns Amid Allegations of Abuse

Gilbert Rozon, founder of Canadian comedy festival "Just for Laughs," resigned after being accused of sexual harassment or abuse by nine women.


Young Comedians Navigate Censorship to Build Careers in Stand-Up

Stand-up comedy, long standard fare in the West, is just starting to bloom in more authoritarian countries like China and Singapore. Comedians are required to obtain permits, and submit their jokes to censors in advance, but many young comedians are--with the help of more lucrative corporate gigs--making a career out of comedy.


Sean Penn Claims That Netflix El Chapo Documentary Will Put Him in Danger

Netflix's documentary series, "The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story," centers around a meeting between actor Sean Penn and infamous drug dealer Joaquín Guzmán Loera, a/k/a "El Chapo". Penn, represented by Ted Boutros Jr., claims that the series misrepresents that Penn cooperated with the DOJ in El Chapo's capture, and therefore puts Penn in danger.


New York Bans Elephant Shows

On Thursday, Governor Cuomo signed a bill outlawing the use of elephants as entertainment (e.g., circuses and parades) in New York State. Mayor de Blasio signed a similar bill earlier this year.



Graffiti Lawsuit Trial Begins

Over 20 artists sued developer Jerry Wolkoff for whitewashing murals on a building that had become a "mecca" for graffiti artists. The artists claimed that the works at 5Pointz, the name by which the building became known, were protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects artists' "moral rights" (e.g., attribution, or the right to prevent destruction of the work) independent of copyright or physical ownership. Wolkoff, who allowed graffiti artists to paint his buildings for decades before he whitewashed and then tore down 5Pointz, argued that the work was inherently transient, and the artists always knew he would eventually tear down the building. The jury trial began on Tuesday in Brooklyn.


Mosaic from Caligula's Pleasure Ship Returned to Italy

A 4x4 piece of mosaic flooring from one of the ceremonial ships built for Roman Emperor Caligula to host parties on Lake Nemi served as a coffee table in an antique dealer's Manhattan apartment for 45 years. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office seized the coffee table last month, and on Thursday returned it to the Italian government, having determined that it was taken from an Italian museum before World War II.


Dutch Museum's Director Steps Down Amid Controversy

Beatris Ruf, director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, resigned after news reports suggested the she may have serious conflicts of interest.


Performance Artist Charged in France

Pyotr Pavlensky, a Russian performance artist who was granted political asylum in France, was arrested and charged with property damage after he apparently (intentionally) started a fire in front of the Banque de France building in Paris.



Gymnast Accuses Team Doctor of Sexual Abuse

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, 21, tweeted allegations that former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar abused her sexually for years, starting when she was 13 years old. Nassar was previously convicted of possession of child pornography, and sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse.



Hernandez Family Refiles CTE Lawsuit

The family of former new England Patriots tight end Aaron Henrandez filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts state court against the National Football League (NFL) and helmet maker Ridell. Hernandez, who committed suicide while in prison, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a result of repetitive brain trauma. The Hernandez family original filed suit in federal court, and had named the New England Patriots as a co-defendant.


Sports Official Calls Corruption Claims "Biggest Lie in the World of Sports"

Papa Massata Diack, who worked for years as a consultant for the I.A.A.F. (track and field's governing body), contends that he is innocent of the accusations of corruption that continue to pile up. Diack is accused of, among other things, covering up failed doping tests, helping to buy votes for the hosting of major sporting events, and funneling bribes. Diack claims that he is being persecuted because of his race, and that the allegations constitute "the biggest lie in the world of sports."


NFL Decides not to Crack Down on Kneeling

At a recent meeting of NFL team owners, players, and union leaders, the NFL announced that it will not crack down on players who kneel during the national anthem. Instead, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the NFL is committed to working with players to address the issues players are protesting.


Europeans Investigating Formula One Corruption

French and British financial corruption investigators are looking into whether the Federation Internationale de l'Autmobile (FIA) had a conflict of interest when it approved the sale of Formula One to American cable conglomerate Liberty Media. The FIA owns a 1% share in Formula One that it cannot sell until Formula One is sold.


Sandusky Denied New Trial

Former Penn State assistant football coach was denied a new jury trial on child abuse charges.


North Carolina Governor Settles Bathroom Law Lawsuit

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that he reached a settlement with transgender rights advocates who sued the state over laws preventing transgender people from using public restrooms. The proposed consent decree must be approved by the state's legislature before it is certified by a judge.


Brazil Charges Former Trump Hotel Partner

Arthur César de Menezes Soares Filho is charged with being part of a kickback scheme to help Brazil win its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Soares, whom Brazilian prosecutors are trying to extradite from the United States, was a partner in the former Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro.



Twitter to Toughen Anti-Harassment Rules

Twitter Inc. announced its intentention to impose tougher penalties for sexual harassment, bullying, and other misconduct on the social media platform. Among the new rules are immediate permanent suspension of original posters or sources of non-consensual nudity, which definition is expanded to include "upskirt imagery, creep shots and hidden camera content."


Bill O'Reilly Settled Sexual Harassment Claim for $32 Million

The New York Times reports that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly agreed to pay a network analyst $32 million to settle sexual harassment allegations. One month later, Fox renewed O'Reilly's contract for four years at $25 million per year.


Investigative Journalist Killed by Car Bomb in Malta

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed by a car bomb. She was an investigative journalist whose blog posts exposed corruption in the Maltese government, including Malta's prime minister. The Prime minister strongly condemned the killing and, on Saturday, Malta's government offered a reward of 1 million euros for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.




Google Serving Fake-News Ads on Fact-Checking Sites

Google has been placing ads on fact-checking sites, like PolitiFact and Snopes, that use false headlines to lead users to fake versions of websites for publications like Vogue and Us Weekly. These ads are served through Google's automated tools, and there is little the Snopes and PolitiFact can do to restrict the ads that appear on their sites.


October 29, 2017

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter

The Environmental Protection Agency Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is headed by Scott Pruitt, a skeptic of climate change. The EPA canceled the appearance of three scientists at a climate change conference this week, which a spokesman confirmed without any further comment. Some analysts have viewed the cancellation as confirmation that the EPA, under Pruitt's direction, denies the existence of climate change and to engage in "scientific censorship."


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


The Former Weinstein Company Empire Continues to Unravel

The New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, opened an inquiry into the Weinstein Company as to whether sexual misconduct and harassment of its co-founder Harvey Weinstein was part of a broader environment of gender discrimination and other unlawful activity. The Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau served the company with subpoenas for information and documents that are expected to show whether there is a history of discrimination within the company.

Harvey Weinstein's friend and colleague, Fabrizio Lombardo, is also under scrutiny for potentially being an accomplice to Weinstein's sexual escapades for the past several decades. Lombardo headed Miramax's Italian division, but was known to be a close contact with Weinstein. The nature of their relationship, says one accuser, was that Lombardo brought women to Weinstein under the pretense that he was bringing them to a party with Weinstein, only to find that Weinstein was alone and forced himself on them. Lombardo, at his attorney's office in Rome, denied the allegations and the characterizations that the accusers have outlined.

The Weinstein Company sought financial help. It secured a preliminary agreement with Colony Capital, which deal, however, fell apart this week. Colony is a private equity firm that is experienced in acquiring and renewing distressed Hollywood assets. The Weinstein Company still has other suitors, such as Fortress Investment Group, which has been working to provide an offer of $35 million that would keep the studio operating for several months. It is unclear what exposure the company may face in the coming months and years, as the accusations against Harvey Weinstein may manifest in further payouts or litigation.

Weinstein is also suing the company he co-founded in an effort to obtain access to records and emails that he said are necessary to defend himself against the more than 50 women who have accused him of sexual harassment or rape in recent weeks. The complaint, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, indicates that his email account and personnel records will exonerate him from wrongdoing, and also help him prosecute a case against the company for wrongful termination.





The Turtles Lose Battle Over Pre-1972 Copyrights

The Turtles band lost its battle over the right to collect royalties from pre-1972 recordings, when Florida's Supreme Court ruled that Florida common law does not recognize that right.

The decision is available here: sc16-1161.pd.pdf

Eminem's Publisher Triumphs in New Zealand Copyright Battle

The National Party of New Zealand is required to pay Eminem's music publisher $413,000 for infringement of copyright. Eminem's hit song "Lose Yourself" was the subject of the copyright infringement, as the defendant used a suspiciously similar song it called "Eminem Esque" in its campaign advertisements in 2014. While the defendant's lawyers contended that it did not substantially copy the song, Justice Helen Cull found it to be strikingly similar and "with minimal discernible differences" between the two songs.



Rockwell's Children Sue Berkshire Museum to Stop Sale of His Works

The Berkshire Museum, in an effort to reinvent itself and to improve its finances, placed two Norman Rockwell paintings up for auction, causing Rockwell's children to file suit to stop the sale. The plaintiffs argue that Rockwell donated the paintings to the institution, and the museum has "grossly exaggerated" its financial difficulties to create an appearance of necessity for selling the works that amounts to a breach of the board of director's fiduciary duty. They also argue that the selling would violate the statute that created the museum, which requires gifts to be for "the people of Berkshire County and the general public." Attorneys for the museum insist that the lawsuit is "factually and legally flawed."


Communism's Answer to Mickey Mouse is Thrust Into a Very Capitalist Dispute

A popular cartoon mole that was meant to be the Eastern Bloc's equivalent of Mickey Mouse, a forbidden symbol in that region, caused a controversy after its creator, Zdenek Miler, died in 2011. Miler left his company to five direct relatives, and his granddaughter Karolina Milerova has since contended that he gave her full control of all copyrights he owned while on his deathbed. She used this supposed control to establish her own company, but a court has rejected the claim, stating that the contract signed on his deathbed was too vague. Milerova indicated she will take the case to a higher court and continue her fight.


Leon Wieseltier Admits Offenses Against Female Colleagues

A prominent editor of The New Republic for three decades, Leon Wieseltier, has apologized for offenses against his female colleagues in his years of work, as several women came forward accusing him of sexual harassment and inappropriate advances. This apology came as Wieseltier was working to create a new magazine, called Idea, in collaboration with Emerson Collective.


Women Accuse Knight Landesman of Sexual Harassment

Hours after a lawsuit was filed in New York against him accusing him of sexual harassment of nine women, Knight Landesman, a publisher of Artforum magazine and a well-known broker in the community, resigned this week. The revelations surrounding his sexual harassment and resignation are just the latest example of women vocalizing the sexual harassment of a man long known to have a propensity for the behavior and causing their resignation or firing.


Ex-Theater Agent Sentenced for Fake Play

A former theater agent, Roland Scahill, confessed to a scheme in 2014 and 2015 where he bilked investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars to back a nonexistent Broadway play headed by popular actress Lupita Nyong'o and streamed on Netflix. He confessed in court to fabricating the entire story and defrauding 10 investors of $205,000, leading to a sentence of six months in jail.


Panel Finds That Cancer Did Not Kill Pablo Neruda

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was supposed to have died of cancer in 1973, which was the cause of death reported in his death certificate. However, his former driver, Manuel Araya, reported in 2011 that Neruda in fact was poisoned when he had an injection of an unknown substance at a private clinic in Chile. This caused a judge to order in 2013 that his remains be exhumed and sent to forensic genetics experts. The experts have found a potentially deadly bacteria in a sample and have also found it impossible that Neruda died from cancer. The panel of experts has been asked by the judge to now determine the origin of the bacteria that they found, as it may indicate whether he was killed or died of natural causes other than cancer.


'Diller Island' is Back From the Dead

Approximately a month and a half ago, Barry Diller admitted defeat on his effort to build a pier in the Hudson River that was a park and a performing arts center. Governor Andrew Cuomo has now intervened, and Diller agreed to revive the project, while his opponents also agreed to stop the legal battle against Diller's. Cuomo promised to complete the 4.5-mile-long Hudson River Park, which stretches from Battery Park City to 59th Street and includes the site where Diller is to develop the pier, and he has promised to protect the estuary, which was a prime concern of opponents to the development. While others have questioned placing a performing arts center on a pier in the Hudson River, Diller is now prepared to move forward with his experiment.



Iditarod Doping Mystery: Who Slipped Tramadol to the Dogs?

Doping has now made its way to an unexpected event: the Iditarod. Dallas Seavey's team of four dogs have brought him to be a four-time champion of the 1,000-mile trek across Alaska, but his dogs tested positive for an opioid pain reliever, Tramadol. He claimed in a video posted on YouTube that he was likely sabotaged by a competitor. While many others involved in doping have taken to coming up with unreasonable, unrealistic excuses for the doping, his competitors believe his excuse, calling him "an honest and upstanding Iditarod competitor." The Iditarod Trail Committee has not disciplined Seavey or asked him to return his prize money.


Former Player Blasts National Football League for Hiding CTE Risks

A former National Football League (NFL) player, Chris Borland, became well-known for leaving the NFL after his rookie season, calling the long-term health risks "not worth it." He has now appeared in a public service announcement denouncing the NFL for hiding the risks of brain damage resulting from playing the game. While the NFL has not returned a New York Times' call for comment, it has touted its rule changes to the game that are designed to maximize safety for the players.


Guatemalan Soccer Executive Gets Eight Months in FIFA Corruption Case

In the Eastern District of New York, Judge Pamela Chen sentenced a former Guatemalan judge, Hector Trujillo, to eight months in prison for accepting and laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. He also was required to pay $415,000 as restitution for the victims. His sentencing is part of a broader corruption case in global soccer implicating more than 40 people four years ago. Trujillo's sentence is likely to inform the sentences of the more than 20 defendants who are waiting resolution of their own cases.


Israeli Judoka Wins Gold but Not Under Israeli Flag

At a judo competition in Abu Dhabi, an Israeli judoka, Tal Flicker, competed and won a gold medal this week. The United Arab Emirates has banned Israeli athletes from wearing their country's symbols on uniforms and has not permitted the displaying of its flag or the playing of its national anthem during the tournament. At the award ceremony, he mouthed the words to the Israeli national anthem while the Judo federation flag flew above him.


Teen Golfer Denied Trophy

A Massachusetts high schooler finished first in a regional golf tournament, but was denied a trophy and the opportunity to play at the state high school golf championships solely because she is a female. She expressed her disappointment to a local media outlet, but the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which promulgates the rules that apparently bar the teenager from competing, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Figures Show Rise in Positive Doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency announced that there has been a rise in doping in sports from 2015 to 2016. The report indicates that positive results rose from 1.26% of tests in 2015 to 1.6% in 2016.



Federal Communications Commission to Loosen Rules on Local Media Ownership

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), headed by Ajit Pai, announced that it is planning to eliminate its decades-old rules regarding media ownership that are designed to protect local coverage and diversity in the media. It is scheduled to vote in November to roll back the rules. This is part of a pattern of the FCC since Pai was appointed by President Trump in January, the result of which has been to deregulate the industry.


O'Reilly Settled Claim, Then Renewed Fox Contract

In January 2017, Bill O'Reilly entered into a $32 million agreement with an accuser, six months after the organization ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal. Then, in February, Fox News renewed O'Reilly's contract, granting him a four-year extension with $25 million a year. These revelations come as Fox News is attempting to show its board, employees, and the public that it has cleaned up the organization and excised those who took to unlawful activity. The chief executive of 21st Century Fox said that he did not know the size of O'Reilly's $32 million settlement until recently, as it was not a private settlement.



A Long-Delayed Reckoning of the Cost of Silence on Abuse

As revelations of sexual harassment and abuse come to the surface from influential figures like Bill O'Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, and John Besh, it is clear that many came to know of their behavior, but were silenced with money or nondisclosure agreements that were part of settlements. Investigative journalists uncovered the revelations and publicized them, which permitted other women to come forward to the media and add to the lists of revelations. Some analysts see the mounting revelations as a national reckoning that is changing the culture of the industry, and more broadly the country, to hold accountable those who commit sexual assault. To further that cause, the New York State legislature is "considering legislation that would void contract provisions that keep employees from bringing harassment and discrimination claims."



Mark Halperin, Top Political Journalist, Faces Multiple Claims of Harassment

A prominent political journalist, Mark Halperin, was accused of sexually harassing multiple women while working as the director of political coverage at ABC News. Five unidentified women described his unwanted and aggressive sexual advances, and the fallout has been swift since the revelations. While he had television appearances on MSNBC and HBO, those and an upcoming book tour were canceled in light of the revelations.


Russia's Favored Outlet is an Online News Giant that YouTube Helped

The world's most visited video site, YouTube, has had a cozy relationship with Russian news channel RT, which became the first news organization to surpass one billion views on YouTube in 2013. The relationship is now being scrutinized, as investigators in Washington examine the "scope and reach of Russian interference in United States politics." During the 2016 election campaign, RT was a prominent critic of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, reporting that she was involved with corruption and in poor physical and mental health. YouTube's community guidelines ban nudity or copyright violations but not propaganda, which many analysts say best describe RT's content, as it is an arm of the Russian government.


Russian Journalist Stabbed, Renewing Fears of Attacks on Media

On Monday, a man wielding a knife broke into the Moscow talk radio station Echo of Moscow and stabbed an announcer in the throat, raising concerns about the safety of journalists in Russia. The station reports on a range of political views and has been known to host liberal commentators and politicians when they are in Moscow. The victim, Tatyana Felgenhauer, was in critical condition at a Moscow hospital, but her life was not at risk. Police have not announced the assailant's motive.


UK Lawmakers Ask Facebook About Russian Influence in Brexit Vote

Britain's Parliament has raised inquiries with Facebook, Twitter, and other internet companies to determine whether Russians had used social media to influence Britain's vote to leave the European Union, often called Brexit. The vote to leave, cast in 2016, continues to be a point of contention for Britain as the approach for leaving the European Union is far from clear, and Russian interference with the vote would only further complicate the process. Facebook's spokesman has vowed to respond to Parliament's request once it has been reviewed.


Russia Fanned Flames with Twitter, Which Faces a Blowback, Causing Twitter to Ban Two News Outlets from Advertising

One Twitter account, @TEN_GOP, was able to reach more than 130,000 followers in Tennessee throughout the course of the campaign for the election in 2016, which was more than 10 times the followers for the Republican Party's Twitter handle for the state. The account was a Russian troll account designed to stoke division in the country, and its content was filled with "inflammatory misinformation." Twitter came under fire for allowing the account to spread misinformation, and, in an effort to prevent an appearance of supporting Russian propaganda, announced that it will ban RT and Sputnik, two Kremlin-backed international news outlets, from advertising on the site. The company announced that these steps are to "help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter."



Reddit Bans Nazi Groups and Others in Crackdown on Violent Content

The online internet forum Reddit implemented a new policy of banning content that glorifies violence, eliminating its forums for Nazi, racist, and white supremacy groups from the site's forums. Its administrators had previously flagged posts, but its policy was "too vague" to reliably eliminate posts that could even lead to "mild violence." Now, if content is considered "borderline," it will be tagged with a warning.


Keitel v E*TRADE Fin. Corp., 2017 NY Slip Op 06624, (September 26, 2017 App. Div. 1st Dept.)

By Marc Jacobson

The Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, and Co-President of The Actor's Studio, Harvey Keitel, sought to enforce an offer made to him to appear in what seems to be a commercial for E*Trade. Although Keitel's agent required that whatever offer was submitted to them for Keitel's services had to be "firm and binding," the defendant's offer, which had additional conditions attached to it, was held to be not "firm and binding" so therefore no agreement was reached and judgement for the defendant/respondent was affirmed.

The agent requested that any offer made for his services be "firm and binding." The defendant acknowledged this request to the agent. Internal communications on the defendant's side showed that he intended to make a "firm offer." The defendant's cover email stated the offer was "firm and binding," but also that the offer was contingent on the parties agreeing to compensation as well as the script. The term sheet attached to that email stated that it "sets forth the general intent of the parties to discuss in good faith the terms and conditions" of the deal, and that "neither party shall be bound until the parties execute a more formal written agreement."

The Appellate Division affirmed Justice Ramos' decision in the lower court that no agreement was formed, because the term sheet by its very terms suggested that it was not binding without execution of a formal written agreement. The court determined that Keitel's reliance on the email, while effectively ignoring the term sheet itself, was not reasonable. As no binding agreement existed, the court affirmed the decision below.

The court refused to consider evidence with respect to the defendant's offer to pay a common "kill fee" after the dispute arose, because such a payment was in the nature of a settlement offer, and was not admissible.

For me, the process is analogous to the "battle of the forms" embodied in Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, governing the sale of goods. UCC Section 2-207 states:

(1) A definite and seasonable expression of acceptance ... sent within a reasonable time operates as an acceptance even though it states terms additional to or different from those offered or agreed upon, unless acceptance is expressly made conditional on assent to the additional or different terms.
(2) The additional terms are to be construed as proposals for addition to the contract.  Between merchants such terms become part of the contract unless:
(a) the offer expressly limits acceptance to the terms of the offer;
(b) they materially alter it;  or
(c) notification of objection to them has already been given or is given within a reasonable time after notice of them is received.
(3) Conduct by both parties which recognizes the existence of a contract is sufficient to establish a contract for sale although the writings of the parties do not otherwise establish a contract.  In such case the terms of the particular contract consist of those terms on which the writings of the parties agree, together with any supplementary terms incorporated under any other provisions of this Act.

Practitioners should recognize that emails accompanied by term sheets may create confusion with regard to the parties' intention. However, it is good to know that at least in the First Department, the words of a term sheet are more important (dare I say trump?) an email.

About October 2017

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in October 2017. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2017 is the previous archive.

November 2017 is the next archive.

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