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April 2018 Archives

April 1, 2018

Week in Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Lawsuit Seeking to Preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Moves Forward

Citing Present Trump's "racially charged language," Judge Garaufis of the District Court in Brooklyn ruled that a lawsuit seeking to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") could continue. The suit was brought by a coalition of immigration lawyers and a group of Democratic state attorneys general. Justice Department lawyers had filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiffs had filed to make a persuasive case that DACA was rolled back because of a racial animus toward Latinos.

In rejecting the motion, Judge Garaufis pointed to Trump's numerous "racial slurs" and "epithets," both as President and candidate, stating that they had created a "plausible inference" that the decision to end DACA violated the equal protection clause.

The lawsuit's Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") claims were also allowed to proceed. The decision to rescind DACA was found to have violated the APA, a federal law that bars the government from repealing policies arbitrarily, capriciously or without a rational basis.


States to Challenge Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question

At least 12 states, including New York, have signaled that they would sue to block the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. They argue that the question would violate the Constitution, which requires that all residents of the U.S. be counted in a decennial census, whether or not they are citizens. Opponents have also expressed concern about the impact of this move on planning decisions, including redrawing of political boundaries and the allocation of federal funding for states and cities.

The administration has said that the decision to gather citizenship data through the census was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.


Environmental Protection Agency to Roll Back Pollution Rules for Automakers

The Trump administration is slated to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, rolling back one of President Obama's signature efforts to combat climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to frame the initiative as eliminating a regulatory burden on automakers.

In California, state lawyers are expected to challenge the proposed federal standards by relying on a special waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act. The waiver was a holdover from California's history of setting its own air pollution regulations before federal rules came into force, and it would allow the state to enforce stronger air pollution standards than those set by the federal government. Twelve other states, including New York, have historically followed California's lead.


Emoluments Case against President Trump to Proceed

A lawsuit filed by Washington, D.C. and the State of Maryland accuses President Trump of violating the emolument clause by failing to divorce himself from his businesses.

A federal judge in Maryland rejected the federal government's claims that the plaintiffs had not shown that they had suffered injuries. Judge Messitte limited the scope of the suit to the Trump International Hotel and Trump-owned businesses related to it. He also found that local governments "have alleged sufficient facts to show that the president's ownership in the hotel has had and almost certainly will continue to have an unlawful effect on competition."


Defense Team for President: Army of One

As the Mueller investigation enters its second phase and focuses on the question of a presidential interview, reports have surfaced that President Trump is having difficulties bringing lawyers on board. Discussions about the President's thinly staffed legal team continue when the head of his personal legal team, John Dowd, quit after determining that his client was not listening to his advice.


Trump Aide Spoke to Associate Tied to Russian Intelligence

According to a document released by Special Counsel Mueller, Trump campaign aide Rick Gates had repeated communications with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence. The associate is reportedly an individual who also worked for Paul Manafort. Both Manafort and Gates were indicted last year for money laundering and other financial crimes.


Visitors to U.S. Face Social Media Screening

The State Department proposed new rules that would require visa applicants to submit their social media user names for the previous five years. An estimated 14.7 million people will be impacted, including individuals who apply for nonimmigrant visas. The proposal covers 20 social media platforms.


Facebook Faces Pressure from Regulators and Law Enforcement over Privacy Policies; Centralizes Privacy Settings

The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has confirmed its investigation into how Facebook handles information about its users. The fallout continues after it was discovered that data collection firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked on the 2016 Trump campaign, gained access to the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users.

The FTC wants to determine whether Facebook violated a consent decree it signed in 2011 to protect users' privacy. The decree required Facebook to notify and receive explicit permission from users before sharing their personal information beyond the limits dictated by their privacy settings. Each violation carries a penalty of up to $40,000 a day.

Facebook announced that it will roll out a centralized system for its users to control their privacy and security settings, rather than have users go to roughly 20 separate sections across the platform to change their settings.



Fair Housing Groups File Lawsuit against Facebook

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, fair housing groups claim that Facebook continues to discriminate against certain groups in the way that it allows advertisers to target the audience for their ads. Advertisers can customize their messages and who sees them, choosing from preset lists of demographics. Facebook had promised to crack down on advertisers who took advantage of those tools to show housing and employment ads to whites only. The groups want the court to require Facebook to develop a plan to remove any ability for advertisers to exclude certain groups from their housing-related ads.


China's State-Backed Technology Most Divisive Trade Issue

China's core industrial policy, known as "Made in China 2025," could be at the root of the looming trade fight between it and the U.S. The plan aims to make China globally competitive in industries like robotics, driverless cars, and advanced microchips, but U.S. officials strongly object to the prospect of having Chinese companies dominate these industries. The Trump administration announced tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese imports, and it has already threatened tariffs on imports from many of the industries being developed under the plan.


U.S Close to Trade Deal with South Korea

The Trump administration announced that a new trade deal with South Korea is nearing completion as it unveiled new tariffs targeting China. Trump has leveraged the threat of tariffs to gain concessions from South Korea on some of the biggest concerns for the U.S., including an agreement to lower trade barriers to vehicles imported from the U.S., with the number of vehicles that can be exported without meeting local safety requirements doubling to 50,000. In return, South Korea would be exempt from the steel tariffs.

Some labor groups have said the increased auto import numbers did not guarantee that automakers would be able to crack the notoriously hostile Korean market.


Trump's Negotiation Tactics on Trade Agreements

The White House has taken a contentious approach to negotiations, threatening harsh sanctions in an effort to extract concessions from trading partners and secure agreements quickly. President Trump and his chief trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, have set a series of crucial deadlines that will impact upcoming discussions. For instance, temporary exemptions on imports of steel and aluminum from U.S. allies are set to expire in May. The Trump administration is also demanding that the NAFTA rewrite be completed in a matter of weeks.

In the case of South Korea, the tactics returned results, although it is unclear how South Korea's concessions will materialize for American workers. Hastily drafted trade pacts also carry legal risks, and countries have already planned to challenge American trade actions at the World Trade Organization.


U.S. Expels Russian Diplomats over U.K Poisoning

In the largest mass expulsion of Russian personnel stationed in the U.S., President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats as a part of a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. The U.S. has also ordered the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle.

Russia has responded to what it described as an anti-Russian campaign orchestrated by the U.S. and Britain by announcing that it will expel 60 American diplomats while also ordering the closing of the American consulate in St. Petersburg.



Trump Administration's Judicial Selection Process Aims to Shrink "Administrative State"

The White House has laid out a plan to nominate judges devoted to a legal doctrine that shrinks "the administrative state," and challenges the broad power that federal agencies have to interpret laws and enforce regulations. The architect of the administration's selection process, Donald F. McGahn II, noted that previous presidents had used "single-issue litmus tests" as part of their criteria. That approach has since changed. The new plan pairs the administration's deregulation orders with judicial nominees who are skeptical of the authority vested in executive agencies.


Years of Harassment Claims in Justice Department

Leadership at the Justice Department's death penalty unit promoted gender bias and a "sexualized environment," according to court records and internal documents. Employee complaints were filed with Justice officials, the inspector general and the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, though some allegations went unaddressed for years.

The unit was created in 1998 to help the attorney general decide when to apply capital punishment. A defendant in Indiana has asked for the government to drop the death penalty recommendation in his case, given the unit's conduct issues.


Albany Strikes Budget Deal

The $168 billion budget deal would grant New Yorkers some protection from the federal tax plan, pour an addition $250 million into public housing projects, and enact new sexual harassment policies. Governor Cuomo remarked that his priority going forward would be to overturn the federal cap on deductions of state, local, and property taxes. In the meantime, the budget provides for an optional employer-side payroll tax to replace an employee-side state income tax, and the creation of two state charitable funds for health and education, with New Yorkers' donations deducted from their federal and state tax returns.

Financial considerations seemed to have driven much of the closed door budget discussions, deferring action on contentious policy issues like gun policy and bail reform.


New York State Revises Sexual Harassment Laws

New York will ban most nondisclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration clauses in sexual harassment complaints, extending the ban to both the public and private sectors. In addition, government employees found responsible of committing harassment will have to refund any taxpayer-funded payouts within 90 days. The bill also requires employers to develop anti-harassment policies and training, and bars the state from awarding bids to non-compliant companies. It also extends protections to independent contractors.

Despite acknowledging the bill's benefits, critics have pointed to its failure to actually define sexual harassment, warning that the policies could be narrowly interpreted. The bill has passed both the Assembly and the Senate and is expected to be signed into law soon.


Governor Cuomo Provides New Interpretations of Campaign Contribution Rules

Governor Cuomo's office has offered new interpretations of a directive that banned appointees to state boards and commissions from donating to or fundraising for his campaign. New disclaimer language on Cuomo's campaign website states that the executive order applies only to board members who could be fired by the governor. Secondly, in order to come under the ban, individuals also have to hold positions that require them to file financial disclosure statements.

The new interpretation would exclude appointees to the New York Power Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, among others.

It is also at odds with the ethics guidelines of some state boards, which prohibit appointed board members from donating.


Criminal Defense Lawyer Taken Off Cases for Spending Too Much Time

A Texas criminal defense lawyer filed suit against the judge who appoints lawyers for indigent defendants in his courtroom. The attorney claims that the judge pulled him off cases because he spent too much time on them, and refused to assign new ones, because "he sought to provide a vigorous legal and factual defense for his clients." The lawyer asks to be reinstated.

The case exposes an important issue - indigent defense lawyers often receive their assignments from the judges in whose courtrooms they appear. Experts say that this discourages a robust defense. A 2011 study found that "judges have incentives to appoint counsel who file fewer pretrial motions, ask fewer questions during voir dire, raise fewer objections, and present fewer witnesses." Clients also fared better when they were represented by an independent public defender organization rather than a lawyer appointed by a judge.


Connecticut Rejects Chief Justice Nominee

In an extremely acrimonious confirmation process, Connecticut's Senate rejected Justice Andrew J. McDonald's nomination with a 19 to 16 vote. Justice McDonald faced Republican opposition stemming from his role in a Supreme Court decision on the repeal of the death penalty, as well as his close ties to Governor Malloy. As associate justice, he was part of the majority ruling that held that the state's law abolishing capital punishment also applied to inmates sentences before the law went into effect. Justice McDonald's supporters suggested that some of the opposition may have also been motivated by his sexual orientation.


Adnan Syed of Podcast "Serial" Granted New Trial by Appeals Court

Upholding a lower court's 2016 ruling, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ordered a new trial for Adnan Syed, pointing to his defense lawyer's failure to question a potential alibi witness at his trial. Syed was convicted of murdering his high-school girlfriend in 2000. His case captured national attention when it became the subject of the first season of "Serial".


Woman Imprisoned in South Africa for Racist Speech

A woman was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison pursuant to a statute barring verbal racial abuse directed at another person. She was caught repeatedly insulting a black police officer and making threats in a racist rant captured on video in 2016. This is a landmark decision, as it is the first time a person has been sent to prison under the "crimen injuria" statute; previous prosecutions had only led to fines.


Ecuador Suspends Internet Access for Assange

Ecuador's suspension of Julian Assange's internet comes out of concern that Assange was harming Ecuador's relationship with the U.K. and other European nations through his social media messages. Although Ecuador did not point to specific posts, it is believed that the messages in question relate to tweets in which Assange criticized Western nations for expelling Russian diplomats.


Below are categories divided into Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media


FX Prevails in 'Feud' Defamation Suit

A California appellate court dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by Olivia de Havilland over her portrayal in the 2017 docuseries "Feud: Better and Joan". Among her objections were that she did not consent to the use of her likeness in the show and that her portrayal is inaccurate.

FX previously argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed on the ground of California's anti-Slapp (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute, applicable to lawsuits that may have a chilling effect on free speech. The Motion Picture Association of America and Netflix, the latter of which signed Feud's producer to a production deal, filed an amicus brief in support of FX.


Investigation into Motion Picture Academy President Finds No Merit in Accusations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ("the Academy")concluded that an allegation of sexual harassment against its president, John Bailey, had no merit.

After voting to expel Harvey Weinstein, the Academy decided to establish a code of conduct and procedures for investigating allegations of misconduct against its members. In the first test of this new system, Bailey himself pointed out that the Academy had failed to adhere to some of its procedures, including ensuring anonymity for both accuser and accused.


Photographer Nicholas Nixon Retires from Massachusetts College of Art and Design Following Allegations

Nicholas Nixon retired from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design midsemester, following allegations of inappropriate behavior. College President David Nelson announced that the school will be investigating whether Nixon violated Title IX in making inappropriate comments in the classroom. Nixon is best known for "The Brown Sisters," a series of portraits documenting four sisters for a period of 40 consecutive years.


Russell Simmons Faces New $10 Million Lawsuit Alleging Rape

A lawsuit accuses Russell Simmons of rape and severe emotional distress. The accusations stem from an incident in a Sacramento hotel room. Simmons once again denied the allegations in a statement where he also refers to the multiple lie detector tests he has passed. This is the second multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against Simmons in recent months.


Cosby Trial Judge Rejects Claim of Bias

A Pennsylvania judge rejected a defense motion in which Cosby's lawyers argued that the judge should recuse himself because his wife's support
of sexual assault victims had created an appearance of bias. Deborah O'Neill is a therapist at the University of Pennsylvania center, where she counsels students who have been sexually assaulted.

According to Cosby's lawyers, the judge's recent rulings, such as admitting additional female accusers to testify at the trial, were evidence that he was influenced by his wife's views. The defense argued that Ms. O'Neill had also donated "marital assets" to a campus group that donates to another organization that plans to demonstrate outside the courthouse when the retrial begins. University documents showed that the school, and not the judge's wife, had made the donation.


DMX Defense Team Plays Rapper's Recording at Sentencing

Rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion. Simmons' defense lawyer asked for leniency, referencing his client's difficult upbringing, and played a recording of DMX's "Slippin'," an audio presentation meant to give the court a sense of "raw Earl".


Record Executive Charlie Walk is Out of the Republic Group

Charlie Walk, the president of the Republic Group, and the company have parted ways, following an investigation into allegations of persistent harassment and inappropriate touching. Walk also appeared as a judge on Fox's singing competition show "The Four".



"Carousel" Revival Will Credit Original Choreographer, Agnes de Mille

Agnes de Mille will now be credited for her original choreography in the revised Playbill of Broadway's "Carousel" revival. De Mille was known for advancing the use and integration of narrative dance into a show's storytelling, which was considered an important development in musical theatre.

Prior to her death, De Mille had reached an agreement with the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization ("R&H"), which owns the rights to her work on "Carousel" and "Oklahoma!," to have her authorship acknowledged in future productions. The show's producer, Scott Rudin, said he was initially unaware of any commitment to de Mille, while R & H characterized this as an inadvertent and accidental omission of its credit obligation to her.


Book Praising Hitler Removed from Publisher's Website

A book equating Hitler with influential world leaders was removed from the publisher's online store after a global human rights organization criticized the decision to include Hitler in the book. The book spotlights 11 world leaders praised for their devotion to their respective countries and people, and is published by the Pegasus imprint of B. Jain Publishing Group of India.


Cancelled Deals and Pulped Books as Publishers Deal with Sexual Misconduct

As allegations of sexual harassment sweep through the publishing industry, publishing companies are facing painful trade-offs as they cut ties with accused authors. Charlesbridge, for instance, decided to postpone a picture book's publication in response to sexual harassment accusations against the book's illustrator. The author of Mario and the Hole in the Sky, a picture book about Mexico-born chemist and Nobel Prize winner Mario Molina, supported the decision to postpone publication until a new illustrator is hired to complete the work.

Other publishers have cancelled book deals altogether, much like Penguin Press did in scrapping a forthcoming book co-authored by Mark Halperin after it emerged that Halperin had sexually harassed multiple women at ABC News. Some publishing houses are expanding the use of morals clauses and author conduct clauses in book contracts, which allow publishers to cancel book deals if an author is credibly accused of unethical behavior.



National Football League Cheerleader Files Discrimination Complaint Against New Orleans Saints

A former National Football League ("NFL") cheerleader filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). She was fired by the New Orleans Saints for violating a social media policy that she says did not apply to the team's male players.

At issue is the Saints' anti-fraternization policy that requires cheerleaders to avoid contact with players, in person or online. According to the team, the rules are designed to protect cheerleaders, but the onus is on the women to block players on social media and avoid with them. An arbitration hearing is expected next.

The case raises important questions for the NFL. In past cases focusing on unfair pay for cheerleaders, it successfully argued that cheerleaders were team, and not its, employees. The recent complaint before the EEOC argues that cheerleaders qualify as NFL personnel and warrant protection under its personal conduct policy.


Spending Bill Provision Will Strip Minor League Players of Federal Minimum Wage Protection

The "Save America's Pastime Act," included in the $1.3 trillion spending bill, would exempt minor leagues from federal minimum and overtime wage law, taking away minimum wage rights for minor-league baseball players, thereby making them "apprentices".

The idea was introduced in a 2016 House bill that aimed to protect minor league baseball by shielding teams from devastating cost increases that could imperil both teams and local economies, even though major league teams are responsible for the salaries of their minor leagues. The provision also appears to preempt a class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco by three players who allege that the MLB and its teams violate the Fair Labor Standards Act and state minimum and overtime requirements for a work week they estimated at 50 to 60 hours. Monthly minimum salaries for most players on minor league rosters are low: $1,100 at rookie ball and Class A; $1,500 at Double-A and $2,150 at Triple-A.



Ticket Brokers Sue Dodgers over Team's Deal with Eventellect

Connecticut-based Prestige Entertainment is among a group of ticket brokers suing the Dodgers and owner Guggenheim Baseball Management for breach of contract and promissory fraud relating to the team's recent partnership with ticket distribution company Eventellect.

The plaintiffs claim that they propped up Dodgers ticket sales for years with the expectation that they would have a right to those tickets and would be able to recoup profits from them once the team turned things around. Though the group does not specify an amount for damages, the brokers are aiming for an injunction to get their seats back.


Yankees Receive Cease-and-Desist From Major League Baseball Over Player Images in Beer

The "cease-and-desist" order from Major League Baseball ("MLB") came after imprints of players' faces started appearing in beer at a media event. MLB does not specifically prohibit players from alcohol-related advertising, but a spokesman added that "if [an activity] involves sales, the player, team and potentially MLB would have to sign off." A Yankees spokesperson said the event was a chance to test the image machine and that the organization has no current plans to use it at Yankee Stadium. The machine capable of imprinting players' faces on beer foam is called Beer Ripples, and its company has denied involvement.


NCAA to Face Trial over Athlete Compensation Lawsuits

Following a ruling by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, the same judge who oversaw the O'Bannon antitrust trial, the NCAA will have to return to court in December to defend its new limits on the compensation college athletes receive.

The plaintiffs seek to prevent the NCAA and 11 major conferences from collectively confining athletes to receiving scholarships covering tuition, fees, room, board, books and incidental costs of attending college. In turn, they have proposed that limits on athletes' compensation be set on a conference-by-conference basis. They have also suggested that "athletes be allowed to receive benefits above the cost of attendance that are related to education and/or are incidental to their participation in their sports."


Appeals Court Ruling Expected in the Era of Extended Safety Netting in Baseball

All 30 MLB teams are now in compliance with a 2015 memo from Commissioner Rob Manfred recommending extended netting to make the experience safer for fans.

Injured fans are continuing to challenge the "baseball rule" that has shielded clubs from liability if a fan is injured by a ball or a bat "prior to, during, or subsequent to, the actual playing of the game." In fact, a disclaimer has been printed on the back of every MLB ticket since 1913. Of the approximately 1,750 fans who are injured at major league games each year, only a few have successfully sued. The Missouri, Idaho, and Indiana Supreme Courts are among those that have refused to enforce the baseball rule, although it is still unclear whether this indicates a broader shift in legal attitudes towards it.

The New York State Court of Appeals is expected to rule soon on whether a lawsuit against the Yankees and the MLB can proceed. The plaintiff was injured by a foul ball in a 2011 game, and his original lawsuit was dismissed in 2015.


Sources Point to Changes to MLB Players Association Leadership

According to The Athletic, a number of MLB players and agents are "upset by the difficulties many free agents experienced in the open market" this offseason, and some are allegedly agitating to remove MLB Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark. Concerns have been raised about the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which included modest increases in the luxury-tax thresholds and failed to address what has been referred to as the "race to the bottom" by rebuilding clubs.


Alvarez Accused of Doping; Signs Point to Canelo-GGG Cancellation

The Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission ("NSAC") has filed a formal complaint against boxer Canelo Alvarez for doping violations. Alvarez tested positive twice for clenbuterol in random urine tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in Guadalajara, Mexico. Clenbuterol is classified as a prohibited anabolic agent, which Alvarez claims he was exposed to after eating contaminated beef in Mexico.

The complaint comes after the NSAC had already issued Alvarez a temporary suspension and required him to appear at a commission hearing on April 10, a date only a few weeks removed from the much-anticipated May 5th rematch between he and Golovkin. With the filing of the complaint, the disciplinary hearing will now be held during the NSAC's meeting on April 18th. Alvarez faces a minimum one-year suspension for a first-time offense, but the NSAC could cut it to six months if he cooperates. The suspension would be retroactive to the date of the first positive test, which means that even a six-month suspension would not make Alvarez eligible to box again until August.


New NFL Rule Against Illegal Hits

The NFL is making it a 15-yard penalty for any player to lower his head to initiate a hit with his helmet. A decision is pending on whether the rule will be included in replay reviews.


Union Files Grievance with Canadian Football League for Failing to Protect Players

In recent comments to Canadian media, Canadian Football League ("CFL") Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said that it is not important for him to have a position on the connection between football-related head injuries and CTE, but that the CFL continues to focus on the safety of the game. The comments are particularly relevant, given that the CFL Players Association recently filed a grievance against the CFL and its nine teams on behalf of all current and former players. The union claims that the CFL "failed to protect players from injuries, failed to warn them of the risks and dangers of injuries and failed to compensate players who sustain injuries."

The grievance comes after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on March 15th that it will not hear the case of former CFL-er Arland Bruce, who wanted to sue the CFL over concussion trauma. The British Columbia Court of Appeal had previously dismissed that lawsuit, ruling that unionized employees must use labour arbitration to resolve disputes that are part of the collective bargaining agreement.



Russia Accuses U.S. of Trying to Bar Wrestlers

Russian Foreign Ministry officials accuse the U.S. of trying to bar Russian wrestlers from entering the U.S. for the upcoming freestyle wrestling World Cup in Iowa. They claim that the U.S. embassy in Moscow refused to arrange visa interviews for the Russian team.


Would European States Boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

Following reports that certain member states had decided to boycott the FIFA World Cup in Russia, the European Commission issued what can best be described as neither a confirmation nor a denial of the rumors. A spokesperson said that representatives were not ready to announce whether they would be in attendance. The 2018 World Cup will take place in 11 cities across Russia.


Australian Cricket Team Captain Admits to Ball-Tampering

Steve Smith issued a public apology after admitting to having concocted a plot with teammates to doctor the cricket ball by scuffing it with sandpaper during a match in South Africa. Scuffing can make the ball act unpredictably, compromising a batsman's ability to hit. The cheating was caught on video. Cricket Australia, the sport's governing body, barred Smith and his vice captain from play for a year. A third player was barred for nine months, and the team's head coach has since resigned, although he was not implicated in the scandal.



Proposed Federal Communications Commission Rule Limits China's Telecom Reach

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has proposed a rule to tighten restrictions on companies building internet infrastructure in the United States. The rule would prohibit carriers from using money from the Universal Service Fund to buy gear from telecom suppliers or subcontractors deemed to pose national security risks.

The FCC has not yet determined how it would identify companies that pose a risk to telecom systems, but many view this as targeting Huawei, China's giant telecommunications equipment maker. The $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund subsidizes phone, wireless and broadband service to poor and remote communities. As a result, the move may impact Huawei's deals with small and rural carriers. An initial vote on the proposed rule is schedule for April 17th.

With respect to military spending authorization, Congress has already prohibited the Pentagon from buying network equipment from either Huawei or ZTE, both Chinese equipment makers.


Turner Executive Testifies in Support of AT&T/Time Warner Merger

Turner's chief executive disputed the government's position that the AT&T and Time Warner merger would give AT&T the incentive to use Turner
Broadcasting as a negotiating weapon against cable, satellite, and online streaming providers.

The Justice Department maintains that Turner owns "must-have" channels like CNN and TNT, and that it would expect the merged company to use them as leverage in negotiations. The Justice Department has also zeroed in on the importance of Turner's exclusive sports rights, which include professional basketball games for which Turner pays $1 billion each year.

Testimony by AT&T rivals so far has supported the government's claim that the merger would unfairly harm businesses that offer Turner's channels.


Advertisers Drop Laura Ingraham's Show on Fox

Companies like TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Hulu, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle pulled their advertising after Laura Ingraham mocked Parkland student David Hogg over his college rejections in a tweet earlier this week. In February, Ingraham also drew criticism after her "shut up and dribble" comments aimed at socially active basketball players.


April 3, 2018


Sponsored by the Committee on Continuing Legal Education and by the Fashion Law Committee of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Live CLE Program, Networking Reception, and Stylist Presentation

Dorsey & Whitney LLP
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

2.0 MCLE Credits: 2.0 Areas of Professional Practice

5:00 - 5:30 Cocktails/Networking
5:30 - 5:40 Introductory Remarks/Introduction of moderator/panelists
5:40 - 6:30 Social Media Influencers Panel
1.0 MCLE Credit in Areas of Professional Practice
6:30 - 6:40 Q&A
6:40 - 6:50 Break/2nd Panel Set-up
6:50 - 7:40 Sexual Harassment Panel
1.0 MCLE Credit in Areas of Professional Practice
7:40 - 7:50 Q&A
7:50 - 8:30 Stylist Presentation/Cocktails

Panel I - Social Media Influencers
Social media influencer marketing has become an integral component of many fashion brands' overall marketing strategy. While the power of influencer marketing is undeniable, brands must still be mindful of the potential legal and PR pitfalls involved with using influencers. How can brands and influencers create authentic and effective content while complying with applicable laws and regulations and maintaining consumer trust?

NYSBA's Fashion Law Committee invites you to attend its annual panel for a lively discussion with industry attorneys and influencers as they discuss a range of topics surrounding influencer marketing, including best practices, FTC regulations and enforcement, contract negotiations and recent cases.

Moderator: Sarah Robertson, Esq., Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Paula Barnes, Esq., Senior Counsel, Macy's, Inc.
Jamie Lieberman, Esq., Partner, Hashtag Legal
Julie Zerbo, Esq., Attorney and Founder/Editor-in-Chief, The Fashion Law
Influencer (TBD)

Panel II - Sexual Harassment/Assault
In this #MeToo era, the fashion industry continues to grapple with issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault that some argue have long plagued the industry. Please join the Fashion Law Committee for a timely and engaging discussion that will explore the ways industry stakeholders are tackling these issues from a legal, policy and organizational perspective. Hear industry insiders, attorneys and advocates discuss employer obligations and best practices, legal protections available to employees and independent contractors, recent legislative and policy initiatives and the impact the recent scandals have had on the fashion industry.

Moderator: TBD
Sara Ziff, Model and Founder/Executive Director, Model Alliance
Andrew W. Singer, Esq., Partner, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
Mirande Valbrune, Esq., Author, #MeToo: A Practical Guide to Navigating Today's Cultural Workplace Revolution
Sil Lai Abrams, Activist and Writer

To register, visit: https://www.nysba.org/login/login.aspx?RETURL=%2fstore%2fevents%2fregistration.aspx%3fevent%3d0FJ34

NYSBA Member: $75 | Non-Member: $150

EASL Section Member: $35

Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section Chair:
Barry Skidelsky, Esq. | New York City

Committee and Program Chairs:
Kristin Gabrielle Garris, Esq., Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse Hirschtritt LLP
Erika Maurice, Esq., ALM Media, LLC
Lisa Marie Willis, Esq., Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Learn more about the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section! http://www.nysba.org/EASLHomePage/

Newly Admitted Attorneys: To receive skills credit, newly admitted attorneys must take accredited transitional CLE courses in traditional live classroom settings that have been approved by the CLE Board for use by newly admitted attorneys. For more information about the CLE Rules, please go to www.nycourts.gov/Attorneys/CLE.

Out of State Accreditation: This program has also been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California, the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board and the Board of Continuing Legal Education of the State of New Jersey. If you require MCLE credit in other states, we can provide you a Uniform MCLE Form.

Partial Credit for Program Segments Not Allowed: Under the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board Regulations and Guidelines, attendees at CLE programs cannot get MCLE credit for a program segment (typically, a lecture or panel, of which there are usually several in a program) unless they are present for the entire segment. Those who arrive late, depart early, or are absent for any portion of the program WILL NOT receive credit for that program segment.

April 8, 2018

Week in Review

By Jana Slavina Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Ninth Circuit's Judge Passes Away

Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit passed away this week; President Trump has the opportunity to seat a conservative judge on this liberal-leaning court.


China Imposes Tariffs on 128 U.S. Products, Including Wine; Trump Considers Imposing Further Tariffs

American companies frequently complained about China's actions in blocking them from entering markets such as technology and media in China, requiring them to share technology with Chinese partners, and even stealing technologies through cyberwarfare. In response, the White House devised a series of trade measures, including steel and aluminum tariffs. China retaliated with imposing its own set of tariffs on American products. U.S. technology, investment and other companies are now concerned that the administration's efforts to help American businesses will do more harm then good. Trump is considering tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods.





Trump Is Indeed Changing Libel Laws, But as a Defendant

President Trump pledged to change the country's defamation laws as one of his campaign promises. He has now done so as a libel defendant after a judge allowed the case of the alleged victims of sexual misconduct claiming that they are called liars to proceed. Prior to the #MeToo movement, suits by people accused of being liars were in decline.


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Chief Believes That Less Is More

Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, called for legislation curbing the Bureau's power and independence. This included funding through congressional appropriations, direct presidential oversight and authority over the Bureau's director. The proposed measures are expected to meet with vehement opposition from Democrats.


Thousands At Google Protest Involvement in a Pentagon A.I. Project

Over 3,000 Google employees signed a letter protesting Google's involvement with the Pentagon's artificial intelligence program, Project Maven, and stating that "Google should not be in the business of war." Other technology giants are meanwhile publicizing their own work on defense projects.


New York To Introduce Retirement Plan Options For Private Sector Employees Without 401(k)

New York is poised to join a growing list of states with legislation enabling businesses to provide workers with access to Roth individual retirement accounts overseen by the state.


India is Set To Purchase a Missile Defense System From Russia

The sale will violate U.S. sanctions against Russia and leave the U.S. with a choice of whether to punish India, whom it is cultivating as an ally, or to grant an exemption.


The Federal Government Clashes with California, Again

Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed suit on Monday against the State of California, alleging interference with the sale of federal lands. Last week, Sessions sued California to block three laws seeking to protect unauthorized immigrants. Meanwhile, California filed 29 lawsuits against the federal government since January 2017 on the issues of immigration, the environment and voting rights.


Cities and States Mount Constitutional Challenge Over Census' Citizenship Question

Seventeen state attorneys general and seven cities filed suit to block the Trump administration from including the question as to responders' U.S. citizenship status in the 2020 census. The dispute is predicted to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Lawyer Sentenced to 30 Days In Prison for Lying to Mueller's Team of Investigators

Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch citizen, son of a Russian billionaire, and former lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, admitted to lying to investigators about his communications with former Trump campaign officials. Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that a fine alone might not be a strong enough deterrent to others, and accordingly issued a 30-day prison sentence.


Mueller Uses Trump Appointee's Oversight Over his Investigation To Defend Against Paul Manafort's Claim That Mueller Overstepped His Bounds

Questions as to the scope of authority and independence of special counsel from the executive branch have been raised during the Watergate, Iran-contra, Whitewater, and Valerie Plame leak investigations. Now, Paul Manafort asked the court to dismiss his indictment on the grounds that Mueller exceeded the limits of the special counsel's assigned jurisdiction or that he had been improperly given leave to prosecute anything. In an unusual move, Mueller's legal team pointed to its subordination to Rod J. Rosenstein, the acting attorney general for the Russia investigation, who has specifically confirmed that the allegations that form the basis of Manafort's prosecution are within Mueller's purview.


Democrats Increase Participation Of Women In Politics; Make Strides In Unity

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reports that in 2018, 40% of the campaign managers for Democratic candidates running for Congress are women. In comparison, according to Kelly Dittmar of Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics, in 2010 the number of women managing a race was too small to be statistically reliable.


Rebecca Dallet, Backed by Liberals, Was Elected on Tuesday to the Wisconsin Supreme Court


Rival Democratic Factions in New York State Senate Unite Following Seven Years of Infighting


Proposed Immigration Reform Causes Uncertainty Among Families of Skilled Workers

The Trump administration announced last fall that, as part of a the proposed immigration reform, it plans to rescind the program that allowed spouses of skilled workers on the H-1B program to work. Thousands of women are potentially affected. Meanwhile, the administration has begun a new push for legislation on illegal immigration and immigration of refugees.



U.S. Imposes Further Sanctions on Russia

The U.S. imposed new sanctions on seven of Russia's richest men and 17 top government officials as further punishment for interference in the 2016 election and other transgressions.


Saudi Crown Prince Meets American Luminaries As Part of His Transformative Agenda for Saudi Arabia

During his three-week-long trip to the United States, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had dinner with Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Dwayne Johnson; met with Oprah Winfrey; discussed space travel with Richard Branson, philanthropy with Bill Gates, and technology with Jeff Bezos. The crown prince seeks to change the perception of Saudi Arabia and transform it into a modernist desert oasis; diversify its economy into industries other than petroleum; and to attract American investors.


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


Bill Cosby's Retrial: Jury Selection Complete; Testimony That The Accuser Was Scheming Allowed

Seven men and five women were impaneled to sit on the jury at the retrial of Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges. The previous trial ended in the Summer of 2017 with a hung jury. During jury selection, the jury pool members were asked whether they were overly influenced by the #MeToo movement or whether their close family members had been victims of a sexual assault. Testimony that Cosby's central accuser, Andrea Constand, allegedly told a witness that she could profit financially by falsely claiming that she had been molested by a prominent person will be allowed; this testimony was barred during the first trial.




Bill O'Reilly's Confidential Settlement Agreements with His Accusers Made Public

The newly-revealed settlement agreements reportedly show that two women who accused Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment, Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond, were required to turn over all evidence and to disclaim it as fake if it ever became public. Furthermore, as part of the Mackris settlement, her attorneys allegedly agreed to provide legal advice to O'Reilly in sexual harassment matters, a provision that some say may have legal ethics implications.


Spotify Goes Public; Sony Sells The Same Day

Spotify began trading on the New York Stock Exchange this past Tuesday, finishing with a market valuation of $26.5 billion. Many record companies have previously acquired shares in Spotify as a condition of granting licenses for their music. Sony sold about 17% of its position in the company the day Spotify went public, promising to share any net gains from the sale with Sony's artists and distributed labels.



Roger Corman's Sons Sue Him Over Sale of His Film Library

Roger Corman, 91, is a director of over 50 films, producer of many others, and recipient of a 2009 honorary Academy Award. He is presently embroiled in a legal battle with his sons over an irrevocable trust established in late 1970s. The sons claim that 270 films that Corman recently sold to a China-based company belongs to the trust.


Netflix Series Causes Controversy in Brazil

"The Mechanism", a new Netflix series, depicts a corruption investigation into Brazil's politics. Meanwhile, Brazil's leftist former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is planning a comeback. His supporters claim that his depiction in the series is unfair and has intimated a threat of legal action.


Eddie Izzard Joins Labour Party's National Executive Committee

Mr. Izzard, a stand up comedian and a transgender activist, replaces Christine Shawcroft on Labour's governing body after her resignation following her opposition to suspending of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.



Kim Jong-un's Appearance at Pop Music Concert

North Korea's leader attended a pop music concert of South Korean musicians. He clapped, smiled, and posed for photographs with the band in an unusual departure from his government's policy to prevent infiltration of the South's pop culture.



Berkshire Museum Can Sell Its Rockwell and Other Artworks After All

Justice David A. Lowy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court approved the controversial sale by the Berkshire Museum of a significant number of works, including an important painting by Norman Rockwell that the artist donated to the institution. Justice Lowy acknowledged that the sale presented "serious concerns", but held that the museum had demonstrated that selling the works was vital to its survival.


Arts Foundation Derailed In the Wake of Allegations Against Co-Founder

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which helped pay for art and dance classes for children, and opened galleries showcasing the work of young artists of color, is having trouble raising money after its co-founder, Russell Simmons, was accused of rape. Charity officials reportedly stated that it may need to close its New York operations. Separately, the Kevin Spacey Foundation, which mentored and trained young performers, shut down at the end of February when its trustees reportedly deemed it "no longer viable." While the #MeToo movement has exposed the human suffering from systematic harassment and abuse that was rampant in many industries, philanthropic efforts of the accused public figures have become collateral damage.


Claimants Win Nazi Looted Art Case

The heirs of an Austrian Jewish entertainer, Fritz Grunbaum, are to get back two valuable artworks by Egon Schiele -- "Woman in a Black Pinafore" (1911) and "Woman Hiding her Face" (1912) - which were stolen during World War II. Judge Charles J. Ramos applied the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery, or HEAR, Act, passed by Congress in 2016, which is designed to ease statute of limitations restrictions for plaintiffs seeking to recover Nazi-looted art.


A Russian Avant-garde Art Lawsuit Ends in Germany

An art forgery court case in Germany reached its conclusion after prosecutors withdrew indictments against a dealer and his partner on all charges of forgery and criminal conspiracy. They were convicted of falsifying the provenance of art works. The New York Times explains the challenges with the provenance of most of Russian avant-garde art.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/06/arts/design/russian-avant-garde-art-forgery-disputes.html; https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/russian-avant-garde-forgery-ring

Boston Museum of Fine Arts Turns to FBI to Solve a Mummy Mystery

A mummified, severed head from an Egyptian tomb was sent to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1921. After decades in storage, the head was exhibited by the museum in 2009. Yet to whom did it belong? The FBI's lab helped to solve the mystery, casting further light on the debated origins of the ancient Egyptians in the process.


London's Victoria and Albert Museum Offers to Return Artifacts to Ethiopia, But As a Loan

Artifacts reportedly looted by the British during the 1868 Battle of Maqdala are to be offered as a long-term loan to Ethiopia, but will still be owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, as Ethiopia's 2007 restitution claim had been refused. The loan solution was offered as the fastest way to get the artifacts on display in Ethopia, and was welcomed by the Ethiopian state.



FIFA Vice President Resigns Following Audit

David Chung, president of one of FIFA's six confederations, resigned, citing personal reasons after an audit raised questions about a multimillion-dollar construction project.


Rule Books for National Football League Cheerleaders Appear Tone Deaf Amid the National Discourse On Gender Equality

Some cheerleader handbooks include body weight requirements, personal hygiene tips, and restrictions on social media participation. Bailey Davis, the former Saints' cheerleader dismissed in January, recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging unfair treatment.


Conor McGregor Released on Bail Following Alleged Assault on A Bus Carrying Fighters

UFC fighter Conor McGregor was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after allegedly attacking a bus carrying fighters and staffers at a UFC event on April 5th. He was released on bail at $50,000 and is due to return to court on June 14th.


California Water Polo Coach Accused of Molesting Girls

Bahram Hojreh, 42, a water polo coach, was charged with the sexual abuse of seven underage female water polo players between 2014 and 2018, during one-on-one coaching sessions. He pled not guilty. Authorities are searching for additional possible victims.



Women Trying To Save a Life Asked To Leave A Sumo Ring

During an exhibition match in Kyoto this past Wednesday, a politician delivering a speech collapsed inside a Sumo ring. Several women rushed in to offer lifesaving measures. In a viral video circulated on Thursday, a referee could be heard over the loudspeaker repeatedly asking women to leave the ring.



President Trump Accuses The Washington Post of Being a Lobbyist For Amazon

In a series of Tweets, President Trump referred to The Washington Post as the "Amazon Washington Post" and accused it of being used as a "scam" and "lobbyist" to reduce Amazon's taxes.


Facebook Works To Improve User Privacy; Removes Over 270 Accounts Suspected Of Being Russian Trolls; Requires Verified Identity for Political Ads

According to Facebook, the data of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm involved in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook announced that it will now offer all of its users the same tools as are mandated under the European privacy rules, which go into effect next month; will start telling users whether their data may have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica; will limit the types of data that can be shared with outside businesses; and will stop using data from companies such as Experian and Acxiom to supplement its data for ad targeting, among other measures. Meanwhile, Facebook removed over 270 accounts and pages controlled by Russia's Internet Research Agency, which posted inflammatory content on the platform during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook will also require verified identities for future political ads.




Sinclair Chairman Defends "Must-Runs" Segments

Sinclair Broadcast Group, already reported to be the country's largest broadcaster and poised to expand by further by merging with Tribune Media, faced criticism recently when a viral video showed many of its anchors reciting the same scripted speech about media bias. Sinclair's Chairman, David D. Smith, reportedly stated that the speech was a "must-run", promotional content that is a standard practice in the industry.



FBI Seizes Backpage

The FBI seized Backpage.com and affiliated websites, known for controversial classified ads and sex-related postings. The website has been at the center of criticism directed at websites allegedly turning a blind eye to sex trafficking.


Malaysia: Who Will Judge What Constitutes "Fake News"?

This past week, the lower house of Malaysian Parliament passed a bill outlawing fake news. The bill is expected to also pass the Senate. The proposal contemplates imprisonment for publishing or circulating misleading information. Online service providers would be responsible for third-party content. Members of Malaysia's political opposition are concerned that the new law will be used to stifle free speech.


India's Decree Targeting "Fake News" is Short Lived

This past Monday, India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that it would punish journalists who spread "fake news", a term made popular by President Trump and picked up by politicians around the world. On Tuesday, the decree was annulled without explanation.


Pakistan's Largest Television Network Forced Off Air

Last month, Geo News was shut down in Pakistan's cantonment areas and residential neighborhoods administered by the military. This month, all Geo channels started being blocked in about 80% of the country by cable operators. The move is said to be a message from the country's generals that negative reporting will not be tolerated.


April 11, 2018

Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

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

Viktor v. Lamar, No. 18-cv-1554 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 20, 2018). Visual artist Lina Iris Viktor sued musical artists Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Top Dawg Entertainment, for allegedly using Viktor's art to create a scene in the music video for "All the Stars," the lead single for the Black Panther soundtrack. Viktor further alleges that she was approached by representatives two times for the use of her art in and promotion for the movie. However, she turned them down both times. Viktor alleged copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, and vicarious contributory infringement against the defendants, and demanded a declaration that defendants violated the Copyright Act, a permanent injunction on defendant's use of her works, and damages. The Complaint can be read at: https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=https://itsartlaw.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u%3D78692bfa901c588ea1fe5e801%26id%3D976b48793f%26e%3D8a2eda70d8&source=gmail&ust=1523553058991000&usg=AFQjCNEbdlgWRPJVezoIQX8YzQQcdn4h0g.

Rentmeester v. Nike, Inc., No. 15-35509 (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2018). The Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of plaintiff photojournalist's copyright infringement suit against defendant Nike. The plaintiff alleged that Nike's "Jumpman" logo infringed on a photograph he took of Michael Jordan mid-dunk with the ball raised above his head. The court held that while the plaintiff had a copyright for the photograph and the way the pose was expressed in it, the pose itself was not subject to copyright protection. The court further held that the logo was not substantially similar to the photograph, and thus Nike had not copied enough of the plaintiff's work to constitute unlawful appropriation. The full decision can be read at: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/02/27/15-35509.pdf?mc_cid=b08d62be6a&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8.

Reif, Fraenkel, and Vavra v. Nagy, No. 161799/2015 (N.Y. App. Div, April 5, 2018). The New York Superior Court awarded title of two Egon Schiele paintings (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/richard-nagy-ordered-to-return-egon-schiele-watercolours-to-heirs-of-holocaust-victims?mc_cid=b08d62be6a&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8) to the heirs of Holocaust victim Franz Friedrich, in application of the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act 2016, which expands federal statute of limitation for Nazi-era looted art to six years. The full decision can be found at: https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=ArwgFNvrArm9vdnLCoM5nw==&system=prod&mc_cid=b08d62be6a&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8.

Beale v. Wallace Gallery et al, No. 2:2018cv00871 (E.D.N.Y, Feb. 8, 2018). The cousin of Jackie Onassis Kennedy
filed a lawsuit against the owners of a portrait of the First Lady in her teenage years, alleging that it was stolen from the East Hampton family estate in the course of a theft in the 1970s that was never reported. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/nyregion/jackie-kennedy-onassis-painting-lawsuit.html?mc_cid=b08d62be6a&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8

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

April 12, 2018

ABKCO Music Inc. et al. v. William Sagan et al.

By Barry Werbin

In a closely watched case, Judge Ramos ruled on April 9th that the concert archive's streaming of archival concert footage and music constituted copyright infringement, and that Section 115 of the Copyright Act did not include audiovisual recordings within its compulsory mechanical license provisions (the latter requiring synchronization licenses). The court also found that Wolfgang's Vault, operated by Bill Graham Archives LLC, which owned legal title to the recordings, did not produce evidence that it held valid licenses or other rights from the artists themselves to stream the live concert performances. Summary judgment of infringement was therefore granted for the plaintiffs.

The action was filed in 2015 by a group of music publishers, alleging that approximately 200 concert recordings, of which about 146 were audiovisual works, were not licensed for streaming, consisting collectively of "more than 1,175 recordings of Plaintiffs'." Injunctive relief, however, was not granted, because money damages were found to be adequate and, as Judge Ramos concluded: "Licensing issues notwithstanding, the Court finds that the public's interest in having access to these recordings counsels against the imposition of a permanent injunction."

A copy of the lengthy opinion is attached (with confidential facts blackened out). ABKCO Music Inc. et al. v. William Sagan et al., No. 1:15-cv-04025 (S.D.N.Y. April 9, 2018).ABKCO Music Inc. et al. v. William Sagan.pdf

April 16, 2018

Ninth Circuit Shuts Down PETA in the "Monkey Selfie" Appeal

By Barry Werbin

A skeptical three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit grilled PETA at oral argument over the appeal of the previously settled and unusual re-awakening of the "Monkey Selfie" case.

While PETA discontinued its case on stipulation, it did so only after losing on standing and then filing an appeal. The Ninth Circuit has now used its discretion to deny the parties' joint motion to dismiss the appeal as moot, finding that under Fed. Appellate Rule 42, appellate courts, "an appeal may be dismissed on the appellant's motion on terms agreed to by the parties or fixed by the court," but may chose not to where important policy or other significant matters deserve a court's ruling, including the need for a ruling "to curtail strategic behavior" and where "the investment of public resources already devoted to this litigation will have some return."

The Ninth Circuit found that such circumstances were present here, as to whether animals have standing (to bring a copyright claim) and strategic behavior to avoid a ruling on appeal, observing that "'courts must be particularly wary of abetting 'strategic behavior' on the part of institutional litigants whose continuing interest in the development in the law may transcend their immediate interest in the outcome of a particular case.'"

A copy of the Ninth Circuit's Order filed April 13 is here:E.C.F. 9th Cir. 16-15469.pdf

Week in Review

Bby Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


U.S., Britain, and France Strike Syria Over Suspected Chemical Weapons Attack

The United States and European allies launched airstrikes on Friday night against Syrian research, storage, and military targets as President Trump sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people. Britain and France joined the United States in the strikes in a coordinated operation that was intended to show Western resolve in the face of what the leaders of the three nations called persistent violations of international law. Trump characterized it as the beginning of a sustained effort to force Assad to stop using banned weapons, but only ordered a limited, one-night operation that hit three targets.


Trump Proposes Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Trump, in a sharp reversal, told a gathering of farm-state lawmakers and governors that the United States was looking into rejoining a multi-country trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he pulled out of days after assuming the presidency. Trump's reconsideration of an agreement he once denounced as a "rape of our country" caught even his closest advisers by surprise, and came as his administration faces stiff pushback from Republican lawmakers, farmers, and other businesses concerned that the president's threat of tariffs and other trade barriers will hurt them economically.


Victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi Scheme to Receive Millions More

Victims of Bernard L. Madoff, the architect of one of Wall Street's largest frauds, will receive another $504 million, proceeds from assets that the government seized after Madoff's financial firm collapsed a decade ago. With this distribution, the second in a series of payouts, about 21,000 victims will have received a total of more than $1.2 billion. Payments were made by the Madoff Victim Fund, a government entity created to help people who lost money when Madoff's long-running Ponzi scheme unraveled. The government said that it could return more than $4 billion to victims who lost their savings to Madoff and his firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, but that number is still small compared with the imaginary profits the firm had promised investors and the real losses it incurred.


Trump Pardons "Scooter" Libby, Former Iraq War-Era Cheney Aide

President Trump pardoned former George W. Bush administration official Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who years ago was convicted of lying in an investigation of the unmasking of a CIA agent. Democrats immediately criticized the president's move, drawing an arc running from the Iraq war to today and linking the Libby pardon to Trump's bitter feud with James Comey, who Trump fired as FBI director last year. The Libby pardon came just hours after Trump's morning Twitter attack against Comey. The president called the ex-FBI chief a "weak and untruthful slime ball."



Justice Department Cannot Tie Police Funding to Help on Immigration, Judge Rules

The Justice Department cannot require that local police departments help immigration agents in order to receive federal funding, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling is a significant victory for local governments that have opposed the Trump administration's stance on immigration and vowed to stay out of enforcement efforts. United States District Judge Manuel Real in Los Angeles issued a permanent, national injunction against the federal funding rules, giving the city an important win in a long-running legal battle with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the White House.


Trump Signs Bill Amid Momentum to Crack Down on Trafficking

Federal authorities seized the classified advertising website Backpage.com last week, then unsealed a 93-count indictment, charging several of its top officials with facilitating prostitution and revealing details about victims, including minors as young as 14. President Trump also signed new anti-sex-trafficking legislation into law. The law, which passed Congress with near unanimous bipartisan support, will give prosecutors stronger tools to go after similar sites in the future and to suspend liability protections for internet companies for the content on their sites.


F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump's Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It 'Disgraceful'

The F.B.I. raided the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room of President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to a pornographic film actress. Mr. Trump, in an extraordinarily angry response, lashed out hours later at what a person briefed on the matter said was an investigation into possible bank fraud by Mr. Cohen.


Trump Sees Inquiry Into Cohen as Greater Threat Than Mueller

President Trump's advisers have concluded that a wide-ranging corruption investigation into his personal lawyer poses a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the special counsel's investigation. As his lawyers went to court in New York to try to block prosecutors from reading files that were seized from Michael D. Cohen, Trump found himself increasingly isolated in mounting a response. He continued to struggle to hire a new criminal lawyer, and some of his own aides were reluctant to advise him about a response for fear of being dragged into a criminal investigation themselves.


Raid on Trump's Lawyer Sought Records on "Access Hollywood" Tape

The F.B.I. agents who raided the office and hotel of Michael D. Cohen were seeking details about his relationship with the Trump campaign and his efforts to suppress negative information about Trump, according to three people briefed on the matter. Prosecutors are interested in whether Cohen, who had no official role in the 2016 campaign, coordinated with it to quash the release of anything detrimental to it and whether that violated campaign finance laws -- a new front in the investigation into Cohen.


Trump's Personal Lawyer Attacked by U.S. Prosecutor Over Privacy Claim

A U.S. prosecutor attacked a claim by President Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen that many of the materials seized this week in FBI raids on Cohen's office and home as part of a criminal investigation should remain private. Prosecutors also confirmed in a court filing on Friday that they have been investigating Cohen for months, largely over his business dealings, rather than his legal work. Uncertainty over exactly what FBI agents seized from Cohen comes as Trump faces an intensifying probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russia. The raids were partly a referral by Mueller's office.


Raids on Trump's Lawyer Sought Records of Payments to Women

The F.B.I. agents who raided the office of President Trump's personal lawyer were looking for records about payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump, as well as information related to the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in silencing one of the women. The search warrant carried out by the public corruption unit of the United States attorney's office in Manhattan sought information about Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, who claims that she carried on a nearly yearlong affair with Trump shortly after the birth of his youngest son in 2006, and for information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress, who also said she had sex with Trump while he was married.


Michael D. Cohen, "Ultimate Trump Loyalist," Now in the Sights of the F.B.I.

Cohen, whose role as personal lawyer and fixer for President Trump has been firmly rooted in the transactional world of his boss, emailed an old friend who had been talking about seeking Kremlin support to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen's efforts put him under scrutiny in the Trump-Russia inquiries and hinted at the somewhat murky space he occupied in the Trump Organization, where his precise duties were unclear. Since then, a series of disclosures have revealed the unusual range of Cohen's portfolio.


What Could Happen if Trump Fired Rosenstein

As President Trump continued to seethe over F.B.I. raids on the office and hotel room of his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, a chorus of his supporters have been publicly urging him to fire Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who signed off on the move. The clear idea behind the suggestion -- which Trump is also said to be weighing -- is that ousting Rosenstein would enable the White House to put the criminal investigations encircling the president's associates on a tighter leash, or even to shut them down.


Former F.B.I. Deputy Director Is Faulted in Scathing Inspector General Report

The Justice Department inspector general delivered to Congress on Friday a scathing report that accused Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director, of violating the federal law enforcement agency's media policy and then repeatedly misleading investigators about his actions.


Mueller Investigating Ukrainian's $150,000 Payment for a Trump Appearance

Special counsel Mueller is investigating a payment made to President Trump's foundation by Ukrainian steel magnate Victor Pinchuk for a 20-minute video-link conference talk made by, Trump during his presidential campaign. Michael D. Cohen, the president's personal lawyer whose office and hotel room were raided on Monday in an apparently unrelated case, solicited the donation. The contribution from Pinchuk, who has sought closer ties for Ukraine to the West, was the largest the foundation received in 2015 from anyone besides Trump himself.


Paul Ryan Upends Republican Hopes and Plans for Midterm Elections

Fifteen months after Republicans took full control of Washington, the man long seen as central to the party's future is abandoning one of the most powerful jobs in the capital, imperiling the G.O.P. grip on the House and signaling that the political convulsions of the Trump era are taking a grave toll on the right months before Election Day. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's retirement announcement blindsided many House Republican candidates and their campaign leaders who were counting on him to lead them to victory in the November midterm elections.


Thomas Bossert, Trump's Chief Adviser on Homeland Security, Is Forced Out

John R. Bolton, a hard-line former ambassador to the United Nations, is determined to put his own stamp on the National Security Council in his new role as national security adviser. He began shaking up the Trump administration's national security ranks by ousting the President's chief adviser on homeland security, Thomas P. Bossert. Bossert's sudden departure was the latest in an exodus of senior officials, and it leaves the White House short-handed in counterterrorism and cybersecurity operations.


Trump Company Lawyers Asked Panama President for Help in Hotel Dispute

Lawyers representing the Trump Organization in a bitter dispute over management control of a luxury hotel in Panama City appealed directly to President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama to intercede. At the time, the Trump Organization's hotel management team had been evicted from the hotel, but was still fighting to regain control. Several days after the letter was sent, an arbitrator ruled against the Trump Organization's request that its management be reinstated.


Economists Say That U.S. Tariffs Are Wrong Move on a Valid Issue

President Trump's advisers insist that the economics profession is solidly behind the administration's threat to impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports. Many top economists say however, that no, they're not. Across the ideological spectrum, trade experts and former top economic advisers to presidents say that Trump is right to highlight issues on which China is widely viewed as an offender, such as intellectual property theft and access to its domestic market. Yet many of those experts say that Trump's planned tariffs would backfire -- by raising costs to American businesses and consumers, and by inviting retaliation against American exporters.


Lawyers Walk Out to Protest Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Court Objects

Since last year, immigration agents have been making arrests far more frequently in New York City's courthouses, sparking outrage from lawyers, district attorneys, and activists. Their fight has been with the federal authorities. Now, however, a rift has erupted along local lines. It started when agents for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") detained two undocumented immigrants who had come to Queens Criminal Court on minor charges. In protest, lawyers for the Legal Aid Society of New York and Queens Law Associates staged a walkout. The Office of Court Administration, which oversees the courts in New York State, responded that if the public defenders walked out on the job while court was still in session, cases would be reassigned to private defense lawyers under contract to represent the poor. Ten cases were reassigned.


Hungary Election Was Free but Not Entirely Fair, Observers Say

One day after Viktor Orban and his governing Fidesz party and its allies won a sweeping election victory, independent election monitors said that the party had used the resources of the state on a very large scale to bolster its chances of winning, including intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias, and opaque campaign financing that constricted the space for genuine political debate.



Bill Cosby Paid His Sex Assault Accuser $3.38 Million in Settlement

Bill Cosby paid Andrea Constand $3.38 million to settle the sexual assault lawsuit she brought against him in 2005. That sum was part of a confidential settlement between the two. Constand was a former employee of Temple University who had accused the entertainer of first befriending her, then drugging and molesting her during a visit to his home outside Philadelphia in 2004. One key defense witness, a Temple University academic adviser, is expected to testify that Constand once told her she could make money by falsely claiming she had been molested by a prominent person.


Bill Cosby's Lawyer Calls Sex Assault Accuser a Con Artist

Bill Cosby's lawyers began a combative defense of the entertainer at his retrial on sexual assault charges, portraying Cosby as the lonely
victim of a desperate "con artist" with financial problems who was steadily working her famous mark for a big payday, and presented Cosby's accuser, Andrea Constand, as a willful, greedy woman who ran a "pyramid scheme" and took advantage of a man who had lost a son.


Janice Dickinson at Cosby Trial: "Here Was America's Dad on Top of Me"

The former model Janice Dickinson told a jury that she could still remember Bill Cosby's smell from an encounter with him in a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 1982. She had gone there to meet him, she said, but was feeling woozy from a pill he gave her for menstrual cramps. Dickinson said that the pill paralyzed her, and Cosby seized the opportunity to sexually assault her. "Here was America's Dad on top of me," she said, "a happily married man with five children, on top of me." Cosby is not charged with raping Dickinson, but her account was one of five the prosecution presented from women who say they believe he drugged and sexually assaulted them. The jury is considering whether Cosby is guilty of assaulting a sixth woman, Andrea Constand.


T.J. Miller, Former "Silicon Valley" Star, Charged With False Bomb Report

T. J. Miller, the comedian and former star of the HBO series "Silicon Valley," was arrested and charged by federal law enforcement authorities with calling in a false bomb threat from an Amtrak train. The charge stems from a call to 911 that Miller made, saying that a female passenger was hiding a bomb in her bag on Amtrak Train 2256, on which he claimed to be a passenger, and which was headed north from Washington. The train had reached Connecticut before the alert could be handled. Passengers were ordered to evacuate while bomb squads searched the train and found no evidence of any explosive materials. Miller was actually on a different train.


James Toback Will Not Face Sex Crime Charges in Los Angeles

Prosecutors will not file criminal charges against the director and screenwriter James Toback in five cases in which he has been accused of sexual abuse, because their statutes of limitations have expired. Toback was accused by five women of crimes ranging from misdemeanor indecent exposure to felony sexual battery, alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 2008.



George Lucas Gives Rockwell Fans New Hope With Acquisition of "Shuffleton's Barbershop"

The mystery institutional buyer of Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton's Barbershop (1950), which was given by the artist to the Berkshire Museum and sold off to fund a major renovation, has been revealed to be the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. The acquisition was part of a deal brokered with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office that would allow the Berkshire Museum to deaccession around 40 works from its collection. Norman Rockwell's sons were among those who opposed the sale, but they dropped their lawsuit against the museum after the agreement spared "Shuffleton's Barbershop" from the auction block, where it was estimated to make $20 to $30 million.


Sex Abuse Scandal Casts Shadow Over Nobel Prize for Literature

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that 18 women have accused Jean-Claude Arnault of sexual assault and harassment - a scandal that has caused a schism in the Swedish Academy, which is the body that has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901. Arnault is a major cultural figure with close ties to the Academy, as he is married to the poet Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Academy, and together they run a private cultural club, called the Forum, that has received money from the Academy. The king of Sweden and the foundation that finances the prize warned that the scandal risked tarnishing one of the world's most important cultural accolades.


In Nobel Scandal, a Man Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct. A Woman Takes the Fall.

The literary scholar Sara Danius, the first woman to lead the Swedish Academy that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, was ousted from her role as its permanent secretary, as part of a feud that has bitterly divided the Academy's board, which has been dealing with a sexual abuse and harassment scandal that has threatened to sully one of the world's most acclaimed cultural honors.


Twisted Tale of Stolen Chagall Nears Ending

A team of sophisticated art thieves with ties to Bulgarian organized crime bypassed a burglar alarm nearly three decades ago and selected with gloved hands more than a dozen paintings by Chagall, Renoir, Picasso, Léger, and Hopper, among others, along with antiquities from Peru and Costa Rica, jewelry, and even rugs. The elderly couple who had amassed the artworks over a lifetime of international travel were stunned to find their collection plundered when they returned from their annual two month summer vacation. The crime remained unsolved since it occurred in 1988. However, federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C. have now filed a complaint seeking authority to return one of the paintings, Marc Chagall's 1911 "Othello and Desdemona" that was recently discovered, to the estate of its late owners. The oil-on-canvas depicting had languished for years in a Maryland attic.


Victoria and Albert Museum's Director Rules Out Macron-Style Return of Africa's Looted Treasure

The director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Tristram Hunt, made waves when he announced that he would be willing to lend Ethiopian treasures back to the country from which the British army looted them after the bloody battle of Maqdala in 1868. The controversial artifacts, including an ornate gold crown and solid gold chalice, go on view in an exhibition that tells the story of their seizure. It could be the first step in their return to Africa, but Hunt says that outright restitution is not on the table; nor is a President Macron-style gesture that would include the hundreds of Ethiopian artifacts in other UK public collections, including the British Museum, British Library, and the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.


Bronze Looted From Summer Palace Sells For £410,000 Despite Protest From China

Despite China's attempts to stop the sale, the "Tiger Ying," an archaic bronze water vessel taken by a British soldier from the Old Summer Palace in 1860, was sold in the UK for £410,000 (plus fees) to an anonymous buyer. Its sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries proceeded in the face of outcry in China, including calls by its State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the China Association of Auctioneers to boycott the sale. The vessel, which dates to the Western Zhou (1027-771 BC) period, was rediscovered only last month in the attic of a bungalow in a seaside town in Kent by the dealer Alastair Gibson, the auction house's consultant in Chinese art, along with three other later Qing Dynasty bronzes.



National Football League Says That Fraud Plagues the Concussion Settlement

The estimated $1 billion concussion settlement that the National Football League (NFL) reached with retired players is plagued by deception, causing delays in payments of potentially millions of dollars to hundreds of players, according to court papers. To fix the problem, the NFL asked the federal judge overseeing the settlement to appoint a special investigator to stop "widespread fraud infecting" the settlement program, which provides up to $5 million to retired players with serious neurological and cognitive issues.


Another Former NFL Cheerleader Files a Complaint

A former cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins filed a complaint against the NFL and the team on Thursday, alleging that she was discriminated against because of her religion and gender. In a complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, the cheerleader said that she was subjected to a hostile work environment for her expressions of faith in Christianity.


Kansas and North Carolina State Named in New Federal Charges

Federal prosecutors handed up a new indictment Tuesday further detailing how an Adidas executive arranged to pay star basketball players to persuade them to attend universities sponsored by the apparel giant. The superseding indictment includes not only Louisville and Miami, which
had already been implicated, but also North Carolina State and Kansas, the latter being one of college basketball's most prominent teams.


Madison Brengle Sues the International Tennis Federation and Women's Tennis Association Over Injury From Blood Testing

Tennis player Madison Brengle filed a lawsuit in Manatee County, Florida, circuit court against the Women's Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation, seeking damages for battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from blood testing procedures that she said permanently damaged her right arm.


Tony Stewart and Ward Family Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tony Stewart and the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family against the former NASCAR champion for his role in the death of their son on a dirt track in New York more than three years ago.


In the National Basketball Association, the Court and the Canvas Are Increasingly Intertwined

National Basketball Association players have grown more interested in art in recent years, creating a new market of consumers and enthusiasts. Former Knick Amar'e Stoudemire has amassed a notable art collection and served as a league tastemaker. Grant Hill's African-American art collection has been exhibited at museums. Former Suns guard Elliot Perry is known league-wide for his impressive trove.


In Austria, Police Raids Stemming From Russian Sports Corruption Inquiries

Authorities in Austria raided the headquarters of biathlon's global governing body following a tip from the World Anti-Doping Agency that its leaders may have been involved with the vast Russian doping scandal that continues to roil international sports. The Salzburg-based International Biathlon Union (IBU), which has long had close links to Russian sports, announced that its longtime secretary general, Nicole Resch, had requested a leave of absence. The IBU said that the investigation focused on Resch -- who had publicly questioned sports regulators' conclusions about Russia's systematic cheating -- and the group's president, Anders Besseberg, a former biathlete and cross-country skier who is also a board member of the anti-doping agency. The raid in Austria signals that the investigation has extended to other sports' governing bodies and could raise additional questions about possible bribery in other federations.


European Authorities Raid Offices of 21st Century Fox Unit

European authorities raided the London offices of a unit of 21st Century Fox as part of an antitrust investigation into the distribution of sports programming. The search at Fox Networks Group was one of several the European Commission said it had conducted across Europe as part of an investigation into potential violations of rules prohibiting price-fixing cartels. The investigation adds to the regulatory challenges that 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch's media giant, is facing in Europe, where officials have held up its bid to take full control of the British satellite broadcaster Sky.



St. Louis Commentator Loses TV and Radio Shows After Threatening David Hogg

A conservative commentator in the St. Louis area lost his television and radio shows after saying on Twitter that he was preparing to use a "hot poker" to assault a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. In the crude tweet, Jamie Allman, the commentator, said that he was "hanging out getting ready" to assault David Hogg, one of the outspoken survivors of the shooting in which 17 people were killed.


Mark Zuckerberg Testifies on Facebook Before Skeptical Lawmakers

Mark Zuckerberg's appearance, his first before Congress, turned into something of a pointed gripe session, with both Democratic and Republican senators attacking Facebook for failing to protect users' data and stop Russian election interference, and raising questions about whether Facebook should be more heavily regulated. Of specific interest were the revelations that sensitive data of as many as 87 million Facebook users were harvested without explicit permission by a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, which was connected to the Trump campaign.


St. Louis Commentator Loses TV and Radio Shows After Threatening David Hogg

A conservative commentator in the St. Louis area has lost his television and radio shows after saying on Twitter that he was preparing to use a "hot poker" to assault a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. In the crude tweet, Jamie Allman, the commentator, said that he was "hanging out getting ready" to assault David Hogg, one of the outspoken survivors of the shooting in which 17 people were killed. "Busy working; preparing," Mr. Allman added. (Mr. Allman has since made his Twitter account private.)


YouTube Is Improperly Collecting Children's Data, Consumer Groups Say

A coalition of more than 20 consumer advocacy groups is expected to file a complaint with federal officials claiming that YouTube has been violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law that requires companies to obtain consent from parents before collecting data on children younger than 13. The complaint contends that YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, has been collecting and profiting from the personal information of young children on its main site, although the company says the platform is meant only for users 13 and older. The groups are asking for an investigation and penalties from the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the law.


Syrian Forces Aimed to Kill Journalists, U.S. Court Is Told

A Skype call captured the artillery barrage that killed an American war reporter, Marie Colvin, on February 22, 2012. The call is among a trove of materials that lawyers for Colvin's family have presented to a judge in Washington in a wrongful-death suit they filed in 2016 against the Syrian government and nine Syrian security officials. The judge, Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court, partly unsealed the filings. The lawyers say that the records provide the strongest evidence to date that Syrian forces led by President Bashar al-Assad targeted foreign journalists who were chronicling the mounting horrors in Syria, and Syrian civilians helping the reporters to gather information.


They Documented a Massacre. Their Prize Is a Prison Cell in Myanmar.

U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo, Myanmar journalists who were investigating a massacre of 10 Muslim Rohingya men in Rakhine State, face up to 14 years in prison under the British colonial-era Myanmar Official Secrets Act, for reporting on a massacre in Inn Din village of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar's military and local Buddhist mobs, which drive hundreds of thousands of refugees into Bangladesh in what is broadly seen as calculated ethnic cleansing.


April 21, 2018

New York Employers Must Conduct Sexual Harassment Training On or Before October 9th

By Kristine A. Sova

A new law requires all New York employers to conduct mandatory sexual harassment training beginning October 9, 2018.

The law requires employers to provide sexual harassment training every year. At a minimum, the training program must:

Be interactive
Explain what constitutes sexual harassment
Provide examples of conduct constituting unlawful sexual harassment
Provide information on remedies available to victims under federal and state laws concerning sexual harassment
Provide information on employees' rights and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints
By the October 9th deadline, employers must also implement a policy on sexual harassment, which must meet certain minimum requirements outlined in the new law.

The law also contains several other measures to combat sexual harassment, including:

Effective immediately, expanding the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL") to provide for employer liability for sexual harassment of non-employees, such as contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or other individuals providing services under a contract in the workplace. This is a significant expansion of the NYSHRL, which previously protected only employees.

Effective July 11, 2018, prohibiting nondisclosure or confidentiality provisions in agreements that seek to settle claims relating to sexual harassment, unless it is the complaining party who seeks confidentiality and provided that the complaining party has 21 days to consider the nondisclosure provision and 7 days to revoke his/her acceptance of the nondisclosure provision.

Effective July 11, 2018, prohibiting mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment claims, unless such arbitration clauses are contained in collective bargaining agreements.

New York employers who operate in New York City are also expected to comply with the Stop Sexual Harassment in New York City Act, which was passed by the New York City Council on April 11, 2018 and is expected to be signed by Mayor de Blasio. The law contains its own training requirements aimed at sexual harassment prevention and applies to employers with at least 15 employees.

April 23, 2018

Week in Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

U.S. and Britain Issue Russian Cyberattack Warning

The U.S. and British government issued a joint warning about Russian cyberattacks against government and private organizations and individual homes and offices. The warning said that the Russians were seeking to exploit internet connected devices around homes and businesses to support espionage, extract intellectual property, and lay the foundation for future offensive operations.


CIA Director Pompeo Secretly Met With Kim Jong-un In North Korea

President Trump sent CIA Director Mike Pompeo to North Korea to lay the groundwork for upcoming meetings with the reclusive countries leader Kim Jong-un. Pompeo has been dealing with North Korea through back-channels ever since Trump agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un last month.


Independent-Minded New York Prosecutors Pose Risk For President Trump

Career prosecutors in the Southern District of New York's public corruption unit pose a risk for President Trump in the investigation of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen. The Southern District, which has a reputation for being independent, poses a greater threat to Trump than others. The unit, which has a track record of convicting politicians on both sides of the aisle, is even more unrestrained in its investigation as the Attorney General for the Southern District, Geoffrey Berman, recused himself from it.


Cohen Judge Yet to Decide Who Can View Raided Documents

The judge overseeing the battle over what to do with the documents seized from attorney Michael Cohen's office has not decided on who will get access to the documents and when. Judge Kimba Wood did not grant President's Trump attorney's request to review the documents, but has also not given access to the prosecutors.


Lawyer Apologizes for Leaving the World Early Then Set Himself on Fire

Nationally known civil rights lawyer David Buckel, who killed himself in Prospect Park, sent text messages and emails to friends and family apologizing for leaving the world early and leaving big challenges to tackle for those who remained. Buckel said in his suicide letter that he set himself on fire to make a statement about people protecting the environment.


Trump Declines Further Russian Sanctions

President Trump rejected any further sanctions on Russia for its involved with the chemical weapons program in Syria. The decision came after United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. would place sanctions on Russian companies helping with Syria's weapons program.


Sean Hannity Named as Michael Cohen's Client

Michael Cohen, President Trump's lawyer, named Fox News host Sean Hannity as one of his clients in a court hearing regarding an FBI raid on Cohen's office. Hannity was put on the defensive after this revelation because of his ardent support for Trump. Some critics of Hannity and media watchdogs believe that he should have been open with his viewers and disclosed his relationship with Cohen.


Chemical Weapons Inspectors Block from Syrian Site

Chemical weapons inspectors sent to the site of Syria's alleged chemical weapons attack were blocked from entering the site by the Syrian government, raising suspicions that the Syrians and Russians were cleaning the area of any evidence of an attack.


Tech Companies Set Principles For Cyberattacks

Major technology companies, including Microsoft and Facebook, announced a set of principles that the companies would follow in the event of a cyberattack on a country or its individuals. The principles include not helping any government mount a cyberattack against innocent civilians and enterprises and a commitment to come to the aid of any nation being attacked, whether the motive is criminal or geopolitical. Google, Apple, and Amazon have not signed the principles, and none of the signatories come from countries most responsible for cyberattacks, like Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China.


New York A.G. Seeks Power to Punish Those Pardoned By President

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged Governor Cuomo and state legislative leaders to close a loophole in New York's double jeopardy law that shields recipients of a presidential pardon from state prosecution. Schneiderman claims that New York's current law allows defendants pardoned for serious federal crimes to be free from all accountability under state criminal law.


Supreme Court Divided on Online Sales Taxes

It is unclear whether the Supreme Court will reach the five votes necessary to overturn a 1992 decision Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which barred states from collecting sales taxes from companies that do not have a substantial connection to the state. The Court is considering a case that challenges the ban on sales tax collection.


U.S. Limit Chinese Tech Firms

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously on a rule that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security. The decision takes direct aim at Chinese tech companies and intensifies the already testy relationship between China and the U.S.


Guiliani Joins Trump Legal Team

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani will join President Trump's personal legal team. Trump has had problems recruiting and keeping top legal talent to help defend him in the Mueller investigation.


Men Arrested at Starbucks Hope to Ignite Race Discussion

The two black men arrested for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks hope to ensure that the situation doesn't happen again. Donte Robison and Rashon Nelson told ABC's Good Morning America that they hope that the incident would spur dialogue about race.


AT&T Chief Attacks Justice Department's Lawsuit Blocking Time Warner Merger

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson attacked the Justice Department's lawsuit seeking to block the company's merger with Time Warner, saying that the
merger was a "vision deal" that the company needed to compete against tech companies.


Baby Makes History on Senate Floor

10-day old Maile Pearl Bowlsbey become the first infant to ever be brought onto the Senate floor, when her mother, Senator Tammy Duckworth, brought her to work. The Senate voted unanimously to change its rules to allow both male and female senators to bring babies up to one year old onto the Senate floor.


Audit Firm Approved Facebook's Policy

Auditing firm PWC, which was put in charge of monitoring Facebook's privacy protections for federal regulators, told the FCC that the company had sufficient privacy protections in place, ever after the firm lost control of a huge amount of user data to firm Cambridge Analytica. The report effectively gave Facebook approval for its policies.


Justice Department Refers Former FBI Director to Federal Prosecutors

The Justice Department's inspector general asked federal prosecutors to review finding that former FBI deputy directors Andrew McCabe misled investigators about his role in providing information to the media before the 2016 election.


Hundreds of Children Taken From Parents at U.S. Border

A New York Times report claims that more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents at the U.S. border. Homeland security officials said that they separate the children from the adults to "protect the best interests of minor children...if we cannot ascertain the parental relationship."


Wells Fargo Settles with Feds for $1 Billion

Wells Fargo will pay federal regulators $1 billion to settle investigations into its mortgage and auto-lending practices. The bank was accused of forcing customers into buying products and paying fees that were either unnecessary or caused by the banks own failures.


Justice Department Investigating Wireless Collusion Claim

The Justice Department is investigating AT&T and Verizon to determine whether they colluded to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers.


Russia and China Are Threats Says U.S. State Department

The State Department labeled Russia and China threats to global stability for their poor human rights records. The label comes in a mandated report cataloging human rights problems around the world.


The Democratic National Party Sues Russia, Trump, and Wikileaks

The Democratic National Party sued the Russian government, Trump campaign, and Wikileaks alleging far-reaching conspiracy theories to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign. The complaint alleges that top Trump officials conspired with Russia to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign.


North Korea to Stop Nuclear Tests and Scrap Test Sites

The North Korean government said that it would immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site and pursue economic growth and peace ahead of summits with South Korea and the United States.


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


Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer

Rapper Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his album "Damn". Lamar is the first rapper to win the Pulitzer, and "Damn" is the first non-jazz or classical work to win the award. The Pulitzer committee called the album "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life."


Judge Allows Quaalude Testimony in Cosby Trial

The judge in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial will allow jurors to hear Cosby's previous statements about obtaining Quaaludes as part of his efforts to have sex with women. Cosby is accused of molesting Andrea Constand in 2004, and made the statement in a deposition related to the 2005 civil suit filed by Constand. Cosby's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that his statement that he used Quaaludes in the 1970's doesn't have any relevance to an incident that occurred in 2004.


Cosby Witness Testifies That Accuser Discussed Plans to Frame a Celebrity

A star witness for Bill Cosby testified that Cosby accuser Constand once remarked about how easy it would be to fabricate charges against a celebrity to get money. Marguerite Jackson, who was once the director of operations for Temple University's women's basketball team, said Constand made the comments while they were watching television in a hotel room on a road trip. Two toxicologists also offered competing testimony as to whether Constand was given Benadryl by Cosby, as is claimed. The defense also showed the jury documents claiming that Cosby was traveling at the time of the alleged assault.




Meek Mill Gets Prosecutors Support

The Philadelphia district attorney's office supported Imprisoned rapper Meek Mill's request for a new trial. The DA's office said that Mill's 2008 conviction on drug and weapons charges should be vacated because the arresting officer's credibility was in question. Mill is serving two to four years in prison for violating his parole, which included an arrest for reckless driving in New York City.


No Charges in Prince's Death

Prosecutors declined to file any criminal charges in Prince's overdose death cause by the drug fentanyl, saying that there was no evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit pills found in his system.


"Smallville" Actress Charged with Sex Trafficking

Actress Allison Mack was arrested and charged with recruiting women into a secret society in which they were forced to have sex with self-help guru Keith Raniere. Mack allegedly recruited the women by saying they were joining a female mentorship group, which turned out to be a secret society run by Raniere, where the women were required to provide information about family and friends, nude photos, and rights to their assets as collateral in case they left the group.


Germany Rap Due with Anti-Jewish Lyrics Causes Fury After Winning Award

Popular German rap due Farid Bang and Kollegah's receipt of Germany's Echo Music Award has caused an uproar in Germany because of the duo's anti-Jewish lyrics. The rapper's lyrics include boasting about how their bodies are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners" and vowing to "make another Holocaust, show up with a Molotov."


Video Music Awards Returning to New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration reached an agreement with MTV to bring its Video Music Awards (VMAs) back to New York City this summer. The last time the VMA's were staged in New York was 2016, after being held in Los Angeles.



Contested Mockingbird Producer Offers to Stage Performance for the Judge

Scott Rudin, the producer of Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird", offered to stage a single performance for the judge hearing the case that pits novelist Harper Lee's estate against Sorkin. Lee's estate claims that Sorkin's version of the play deviates too much from the original novel. Rudin filed a $10 million counter suit claiming that Lee's estate has damaged his ability to produce the show and questions the conduct, qualifications, and motivations of the executor of the estate, Tonja B. Carter.


rudinplay memo.pdf

Top Art Collector Sues Over Failed Delivery of Sculptors

Steven Tananbaum sued art star Jeff Koons and his dealer Gagosian Gallery for improper business practice in New York for their failure to deliver three sculptures, even after Tananbaum paid millions of dollars. Koons's work takes years to create, so he takes money up front from collectors. The suit claims that this practice is unethical and littered with corruption.


"Fearless Girl" Statue Being Moved to Stock Exchange

The popular statue of a little girl staring down the iconic "Charging Bull" statue in downtown Manhattan will be moved to the front of the New York Stock Exchange. The "Fearless Girl" statue by sculptor Kristen Visbal and commissioned by State Street Global Advisors was installed in front of the Bull in 2017 on the eve of International Women's Day, and was accompanied by calls for companies to increase the number of women on corporate boards. The artist behind the "Charging Bull" statue complained that it infringed on his work.


Noble Panel Found Unacceptable Behavior By Panelist But No Illegal Conduct

The panel for the Noble Prize found "unacceptable behavior" by one of its panelists, but nothing illegal. Photographer and married member of the academy Jean-Claude Arnault was accused of sexual assault and harassment.


Sims Statue Removed From Central Park

The statue of Dr. James Sims, a pioneer in the practice of gynecology, has been removed from Central Park. The decision to remove the statue came from the city's Public Design Commission, which was created to review all public monuments in the city following protests across the country over Confederate statues. Sims was a 19th century surgeon who conducted experiments on women, usually enslaved women of color.


New Washington D.C. Police Training Requires Tours of African American Museum

The Washington D.C. Police Department is requiring all officers to spend a day at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, hoping to educate police officers about black history, and teach them about historical interactions between law enforcement and communities of color.


Chinese Antiquities Stolen From Bath Museum

Four masked men broke into the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, England, and stole precious jade and gold artifacts, as well as many other items. The men smashed a first-floor window and broke into display cases and removed the objects. The break in comes six years after three men tried to steal items while visiting the museum.


Landmarks Chairwoman Steps Down

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan announced that she would resign after nearly four years at the post. Srinivasan had faced opposition to her proposed rule changes, including removing some landmark decisions from public view, that critics said would weaken protections for historic buildings.


German and French Culture Ministers Meet to Discuss Common Projects, Concerns

The German and French culture ministers met to discuss common projects and concerns, including the collection of African art from the colonial era. Germany has been under increased pressure to display and recognize African art, after French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to put African art in French museums on display in African cities.


German Theater Offers Free Tickets for Swastika Wearing Audience Members

A German theater doing a satirical production of Hitler's Mein Kampf is giving away free tickets to audience members if they show up and wear clothing bearing a swastika for the entire productions. Paying members are encouraged to wear a Star of David. Author-director Serdar Somuncu said he wanted the performance to begin the moment tickets were purchased. About a dozen audience members have worn swastikas.



Fallout from Acquittal in Irish Rugby Rape Case Continues

The fallout from the March rape acquittal of two professional rugby players in Ireland continues. The players, Paddy Jackson and Ulster Olding had their rugby contracts canceled, thus ending their professional careers in Ireland. Supports of the players are adamant that the players should be allowed to continue to play since they were clear of the assault. Critics say the acquittal, and the evidence produced at trial, raised questions about the attitude of sex and consent among Irish men.


FIFA Charges Russia With Fan Racism

FIFA charged World Cup host Russia with fan racism, less than two months before the tournament starts, after monkey chants were aimed at black French players during a match last month in St. Petersburg. FIFA said disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Russian Football Union.


Armstrong Agrees to Settle Government Lawsuit

Lance Armstrong agree to pay $5 million to settle the government's civil fraud lawsuit against him. The government sought $100 million for his use of a banned substance when the United States Postal Service sponsored him.


Pair Pulls Off Upset In Boston Marathon

Desiree Linden became the first American female runner to win the Boston marathon in 33 years, and Yuki Kawauchi became the first Japanese man since 1987 to win the race. Both runners faced headwinds of about 10 miles per hour, cold temperatures, and rain to pull off the upset.


Famed Gymnastic Coaches Deny Knowing of Nassar Assaults

Bela and Martha Karolyi, who ran the Karolyi Ranch gymnastic training center where Larry Nassar abused young female gymnasts, both denied ever knowing what Nassar was doing. The Karolyis said on the "Today" show that if the parents of the girls, who were in the room at the time of the alleged assaults, didn't know what was going on, how could they.



Comey Launches All-Out War With Trump

In an interview with ABC News publicizing his new book, former F.B.I. director James Comey called President Trump a serial liar who treated women like meat and that he was "morally unfit to be president." Trump responded to Comey, tweeting that the latter was a "slimeball" and "the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"


Former Playboy Model Allowed to Discuss Alleged Trump Affair

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with President Trump, was freed to discuss her story after she was released from a contract she signed prohibiting her from talking about the affair. The National Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for her story in 2016, but never ran it. McDougal filed a lawsuit to invalidate the contract.


Chinese Residents Protest Gay-Themed Social Media Censoring

Chinese citizens protested Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, after it announced that it would "clean up" gay, pornographic, and violent content from the site. With hashtags like "I am gay, not a pervert," protesters were able to force Sina Weibo to change its decision to include gay content in its clean up.


April 30, 2018

Week in Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Kim Prepared to Cede Nuclear Weapons if U.S. Pledges Not to Invade

The South Korean government said that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country's only known underground nuclear test site.


Trump Signals Openness to a 'New Deal' to Constrain Iran

President Trump signaled that he was open to a new arrangement with European allies that would preserve the Iran nuclear agreement by expanding and extending its terms to constrain Tehran's development of missiles and other destabilizing activities in the Middle East. Hosting President Emmanuel Macron of France at the White House, Trump again assailed the agreement made by the Obama administration as insane and ridiculous, but said he could agree to a new deal negotiated by American and European officials if it was strong enough.


Lawyer Who Was Said to Have Dirt on Clinton Had Closer Ties to Kremlin Than She Let On

The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, and not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election. However, newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia's chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well connected Russian firm. She also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties, now acknowledging that she was not merely a private lawyer, but also a source of information for a top Kremlin official, Yuri Y. Chaika, the prosecutor general.


Michael D. Cohen to Take Fifth Amendment in Stormy Daniels Lawsuit

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, will invoke his Fifth Amendment right in a lawsuit filed against the president by Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star better known as Stormy Daniels. Cohen's decision, disclosed last week in a court filing in California where the suit was filed, came a day before a federal judge in Manhattan was set to hold a hearing regarding materials seized from
Cohen during an F.B.I. raid earlier this month.


Stormy Daniels Lawsuit Delayed as Judge Cites 'Likely' Indictment of Michael Cohen

A federal judge in California ordered a three-month delay in the lawsuit brought by Stephanie Clifford against President Trump, citing what he called the likelihood that Michael D. Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer, will be indicted. In granting a defense request for the postponement, Judge S. James Otero of United States District Court in Los Angeles sided with the president's legal team that the unusual circumstances of the case warranted the stay of action. Judge Otero acknowledged in his order that complications might arise from an overlap with a criminal investigation into Cohen.


Supreme Court Upholds Procedure That Is Said to Combat 'Patent Trolls'

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a procedure that makes it easier to challenge questionable patents. The procedure, created by Congress in 2011, resembles a trial in federal court, but is conducted by an executive branch agency. Supporters say that it helps combat "patent trolls," or companies that obtain patents not to use them, but to demand royalties and sue for damages. Opponents say that the procedure violates the Constitution by usurping the role of the federal courts, violating the separation of powers, and denying patent holders the right to a jury trial. By a 7-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the procedure was a permissible way for the agency that administers patents to fix its mistakes.


Supreme Court Bars Human Rights Suits Against Foreign Corporations

Foreign corporations may not be sued in American courts for complicity in human rights abuses abroad, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The vote was 5 to 4, with the Court's more conservative justices in the majority. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for a plurality of the justices, said such suits should not be allowed without explicit Congressional authorization. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the Supreme Court created a double standard for corporations.


Rod Rosenstein Makes a Timely Supreme Court Appearance

The Supreme Court heard an argument that touched on the president's power to fire subordinates. That same afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has been the subject of reports that President Trump wants to fire him, argued before the Court. The morning argument examined how to balance independence against accountability within the executive branch. The specific question for the Court was whether in-house judges at the Securities and Exchange Commission had decided cases without constitutional authorization. Several justices acknowledged that their ruling in the case could have broad implications.


After Late Vote Switch, Senate Panel Approves Pompeo for Secretary of State

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to be the next Secretary of State, after Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, bowed to pressure from President Trump and dropped his opposition.


With No Nomination From Trump, Judges Choose U.S. Attorney for Manhattan

Exercising a seldom-used power, the judges of the Federal District Court in Manhattan voted unanimously to appoint Geoffrey S. Berman as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman was appointed interim United States attorney in January, and his 120-day term was due to expire. With no one yet nominated by Trump for the Southern District position, the judges acted to fill it. Under federal law, he will now serve until the Senate confirms a nominee by President Trump, whose administration has been slow to fill many posts in the executive and judicial branches.


For Politicians Scraping Bottom, a Scarce Resource: Impeachment Lawyers

Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri finds himself the newest member of a small, unenviable club: governors so embattled that they risk being expelled from office. So it was hardly surprising when Greitens's office brought in Ross H. Garber, a professed "Watergate nerd" who, after representing besieged governors in Alabama, Connecticut, and South Carolina, has arguably become the nation's leading practitioner of a subspecialty whose relevance can be a barometer of political rancor. Despite the high stakes and bright lights, the nation's statehouse impeachment bar is made of up just a few battle-tested lawyers who have improvised legal strategies largely on history and hunches.


Scott Pruitt Before the E.P.A.: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money

At the E.P.A., Scott Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with lobbyists. An examination of Pruitt's political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.


F.D.A. Cracks Down on 'Juuling' Among Teenagers

The Food and Drug Administration announced a major crackdown on the vaping industry, particularly on the trendy Juul devices, aimed at curbing sales to young people.



Music Modernization Act Unanimously Passes House of Representatives

The Music Modernization Act, HR 5477, has passed the House of Representatives by unanimous vote. It combines the legislation introduced in December under the same name, as well as the Allocation for Music Producers Act, which provides royalties for music producers, and the CLASSICS Act, which provides royalties for songs created before 1972 from digital streaming services. The bill paves the way for improved royalty payments to songwriters, artists, and creatives in the digital era. The bill is overwhelmingly supported by the music industry, and has bipartisan support in the House, where it was introduced by co-sponsors Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Corresponding bills have been introduced in the Senate championed by Senator. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).


Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault in Retrial

At his second sexual assault trial, actor and comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of three counts of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home near Norristown, Pennsylvania 14 years ago. Constand was a Temple University employee at the time. Cosby's conviction offered a measure of satisfaction to the dozens of women who for years have accused him of similar assaults against them.


Gender Letter: The Culture Is Changing. Cosby is Proof.

The New York Times Gender Editor reflects on changes since the advent of the #MeToo movement, and its possible effects on the second Cosby trial, in which multiple victims were allowed to testify and a conviction was obtained.


Madonna Loses Legal Battle Over Tupac Shakur Breakup Letter

Madonna lost a legal battle to prevent the auction of her intimate memorabilia, including satin underwear and a letter from her former boyfriend, the rapper Tupac Shakur. In July 2017, New York Supreme Court Judge Gerald Lebovits granted Madonna a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of 22 items that she described as "extremely private and personally sensitive." Yet in a decision made public last week, Justice Lebovits dismissed the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations to recover the items had passed. The belongings, which also included intimate photographs, a hairbrush, and cassette tapes of unreleased recordings, were set to be sold by the online auction site GottaHaveRockandRoll.com last year.


Kenya Bans Film About 2 Girls in Love Because It Is "Too Hopeful"

The first Kenyan entry ever nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival will debut in France in two weeks -- but it is now illegal for Kenyans back home to watch it. The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the film, "Rafiki," a drama about two Kenyan girls who fall in love. Ezekiel Mutua, the board's chief executive officer, said the film "legitimizes homosexuality against the dominant values, cultures and beliefs of the people of Kenya." Mutua said that the film board's ruling did not represent a ban on homosexual content. "Homosexuality is a reality," he said. "What we are against is the endeavor to show that as a way of life in Kenya."



Decision Reached in "Monkey Selfie Case"

In a 41-page decision published on April 23rd, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit dismissed Naruto (the Crested Macaque)'s claims, and held that although the monkey had constitutional standing, it lacked statutory standing to sue for infringement of its copyright in its selfie photographs, because the Copyright Act does not expressly authorize animals to file copyright infringement lawsuits.

Naruto v. Slater, No. 16-15469 (9th Cir. 2018) is available at: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/04/23/16-15469.pdf

French Museum Discovers That More Than Half of Its Paintings Are Fake

More than half the paintings owned by a southern French museum are worthless fakes, and authorities fear that more forgeries may be on display at other public galleries. The small museum in Elne, dedicated to local artist Etienne Terrus, a contemporary of Henri Matisse, learned that 82 of its 140 works were fakes after art historian Eric Forcadea raised the alarm. Forcadea noticed while helping to prepare an exhibit that some of the paintings attributed to Terrus featured buildings built after his 1922 death.


Paris Opera Ballet Dancers Complain of Harassment and Bad Management

"The current director seems to have no managerial competence, and no desire to acquire any," and "We are no longer children!" were among the blistering remarks submitted in response to an anonymous internal questionnaire compiled by the Paris Opera Ballet company's Committee for Artistic Expression. Other complaints and charges by the respondents included sexual and verbal harassment, lack of support and care, and incompetence. These are just some of the accusations leveled at the Paris Opera Ballet management and at the company's artistic director, Aurélie Dupont. The responses were leaked to journalists last week, setting off a furor in the French media.


Why Won't We Learn from the Survivors of the Rana Plaza Disaster?

Bangladesh is among the cheapest places to produce clothes, along with Vietnam and India. More than 4.4 million people -- mostly women -- work in its 3,000 factories, where the minimum wage is currently 32 cents an hour, or $68 a month. Brands flock here to source $30 billion worth of "ready-made garments," or RMG, making Bangladesh the world's second largest apparel manufacturing center, after China. However, the Bangladesh apparel industry has also been rife with sweatshops and industrial accidents. Between 2006 and 2012, more than 500 Bangladeshi garment workers died in factory fires usually caused by faulty electrical wiring. After more than 1,100 people were killed in the horrific building collapse of Rana Plaza, hundreds of factories in Bangladesh were shuttered. Five years later, the garment industry looks set to return to business as usual.



Former National Football League Cheerleaders Offer to Settle for $1 and a Meeting With Goodell

The lawyer representing two former National Football League (NFL) cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims against the NFL has made a settlement proposal: If her clients can have a four-hour, "good faith" meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell and league lawyers, they will settle all claims for $1 each. The settlement proposal, sent to an NFL attorney, asks that league representatives meet with at least four cheerleaders to prepare a set of binding rules and regulations which apply to all NFL teams.


FIFA's Infantino Calls for Rare Emergency Meeting Amid $25 Billion Offer

FIFA's president, Gianni Infantino, called for an emergency meeting of the leading officials in international soccer to address a $25 billion rights offer from an investment group that could radically change some of the biggest competitions in the sport. Infantino called for a special meeting with leaders of soccer's six regional bodies to discuss details of the offer for control of a new quadrennial 24-team club tournament along the lines of the World Cup, FIFAs's $5 billion cash cow, and a proposed league for national teams.


N.C.A.A. Panel Proposes Reforms, Including End to 'One and Done'

N.C.A.A. leaders endorsed a series of broad recommendations they received from a commission chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the latest attempt to clean up men's college basketball and fix a system mired with corruption. The proposed changes would alter the texture of the sport, but stopped well short of challenging the longtime requirement that the college athletes remain amateurs, uncompensated beyond a scholarship and a stipend for their talents and efforts.


Review Finds 'Tsunami' of Fixed Matches in Lower Levels of Tennis

Professional tennis has created an environment ripe for corruption at the sport's lowest levels, and needs reform to combat the problem, an independent task force reported after a two-year investigation. The review panel of three prominent lawyers found that there was a "tsunami" of fixed matches at the lower levels of the game, but also that there was no conspiracy or collusion among the sport's governing bodies to cover it up.


Track's New Gender Rules Could Exclude Some Female Athletes

In an effort to address questions about fair play, track and field's world governing body will publish regulations that could force some elite female athletes with naturally elevated testosterone levels to lower the hormone with medication, compete against men in certain Olympic events, or effectively give up their international careers. Female track athletes with elevated levels of testosterone, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, will be required to lower the amount of the hormone circulating in their blood for six months before being allowed to compete from the quarter-mile to the mile in major international events like the Olympics and the world championships. The rules, scheduled to take effect in November, will initially be enforced in middle distance races of 400 meters to one mile. These distances, which synthesize the need for speed, power and endurance, are events in which raised testosterone levels can have the most profound influence on performances.


Baseball Document, Thought Worth Millions, Spurs Court Fight

One of the most valuable pieces of baseball memorabilia -- a copy of the 1876 National League Constitution, which established business practices that remain the norm today -- is at the center of a legal dispute between the family of a late baseball executive and an auction house the family claims is holding it hostage. The two sides were working together last May to sell the papers that had been among Fred Fleig's belongings when he died in 1979, a year after he retired as the National League's secretary and treasurer. After ads and an Associated Press story appeared about the auction, Major League Baseball claimed it was the rightful owner, and the sale was stopped.



Prosecutor of Patz's Killer Takes Over Weinstein Inquiry

A senior prosecutor known for winning a murder conviction in the killing of Etan Patz in now running the Manhattan district attorney's investigation into rape allegations against the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi, took over the case in early April, replacing a veteran sex crimes prosecutor who had been leading the inquiry since December, allegedly due to escalating tension between prosecutors and police investigating Weinstein's conduct.


Tom Brokaw, in Email, Angrily Denies Harassment Claim

Tom Brokaw, the longtime NBC News anchor, issued a pointed rebuke to a former colleague who accused him of groping and harassing her during the 1990s, describing himself as "angry, hurt and unmoored from what I thought would be the final passage of my life and career." In a lengthy email message, Brokaw angrily rejected the claims of the woman, Linda Vester, a former correspondent at NBC News and Fox News. "I was ambushed and then perp walked across the pages of The Washington Post and Variety," Brokaw wrote, referring to the news organizations that on Thursday night published Vester's account.


Professor Apologizes for Helping Cambridge Analytica Harvest Facebook Data

Aleksandr Kogan, the academic who was hired by Cambridge Analytica to harvest information from tens of millions of Facebook profiles, defended his role in the data collection, saying that he was upfront about how the information would be used, and that he never heard a word of objection from Facebook. Kogan, a psychology professor who has found himself cast as the villain by both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, expressed regret for his role in the data mining, which took place in 2014.


YouTube Says Computers Are Catching Problem Videos

The vast majority of videos removed from YouTube toward the end of last year for violating the site's content guidelines had first been detected by machines instead of humans. YouTube said that it took down 8.28 million videos during the fourth quarter of 2017, and about 80%
of those videos had initially been flagged by artificially intelligent computer systems.


Facebook Replaces Lobbying Executive Amid Regulatory Scrutiny

Facebook replaced its head of policy in the United States, Erin Egan, as the social network scrambles to respond to intense scrutiny from federal regulators and lawmakers. Egan, who is also Facebook's chief privacy officer, was responsible for lobbying and government relations as head of policy for the last two years. She will be replaced by Kevin Martin on an interim basis. Martin has been Facebook's vice president of mobile and global access policy, and is a former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Egan will remain chief privacy officer and focus on privacy policies across the globe.


Peter Madsen, Danish Inventor, Is Convicted of Killing Kim Wall

A Danish inventor who admitted to dismembering a journalist and discarding her body from the submarine he built was convicted of killing her, in one of the most gruesome and closely watched cases in Scandinavian history. A court in Copenhagen found the submarine inventor Peter Madsen, 47, guilty of premeditated killing -- equivalent to murder -- in the death of Kim Wall, 30, whom prosecutors said he bound, tortured, sexually assaulted and stabbed repeatedly after she went on his submarine, the UC3 Nautilus, to interview him.


In Berlin, a Show of Solidarity Does Little to Dampen Jewish Fears

After an attack on a young man wearing a kipa (yarmulke, skullcap) in a trendy Berlin neighborhood, the leader of Germany's largest Jewish organization urged Jews to wear baseball caps instead. It was just too dangerous, he said, to walk around openly with a kipa, a sign of devotion. In response, Berliners, including the mayor and other Jewish groups, participated in demonstrations on Wednesday in which people of all faiths donned skullcaps in solidarity. Despite the demonstrations, however, many among the more than 100,000 Jews who now call Berlin home worry that the outward display of solidarity will remain largely symbolic. They do not expect it to change the threats they face daily, in a political climate in which the far-right has been resurgent and incidents of antisemitism and racism have increased, even in a city that celebrates diversity as key to its modern identity.


Apple's Deal for Shazam Is Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns

At what point does a company have so much data that it becomes unfair? Antitrust cases, particularly in the United States, are typically argued over the impact a deal will have on consumers, such as the price of a product or service. Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's top antitrust official, has argued data should become more of a factor. She argues that with free services, customers pay with their data, and are not always getting a fair deal. This broader interpretation of antitrust law would have important consequences for future acquisitions made by companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.


About April 2018

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in April 2018. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2018 is the previous archive.

May 2018 is the next archive.

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