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June 5, 2018

What Is the Status of New York Sports Gambling?

By Bennett Liebman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

I. Current New York State Constitutional Provisions involving Sports Gambling

In a Constitutional provision that dates from 1894, the New York State Constitution (the Constitution) specifically makes gambling illegal. No form of gambling "shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state." (New York State Constitution, Article 1, §9.1. Very few states have specific provisions in their constitutions that make all gambling illegal, except for certain exceptions. These states would include Delaware, (Del. Const. art II, § 17) Idaho, (Idaho Const. Art. III, § 20) New Jersey (N.J. Const., Art. IV, Sec. VII, Para. 2), and Wisconsin (Wis. Const. Art. IV, § 24.))

In the years since 1894, the Constitution has permitted certain exceptions to the general prohibition on gambling. These include pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, bingo, a state-operated lottery and games of chance. The exceptions for bingo and games of chance are only for the benefit of certain "bona fide religious, charitable or non-profit organizations", and the exception is intended to "prevent commercialized gambling," (New York State Constitution, Article 1, §9.2.)

Over the years, efforts in New York have been made to authorize sports gambling; basically, the use of parlay cards. In 1984, after Governor Mario Cuomo advocated for the lottery's use of parlay cards in the state budget, Attorney General Robert Abrams issued an advisory opinion finding that sports parlay card betting was not authorized as a lottery. (1984 N.Y. Op. Att'y Gen. 1.) The Attorney General stated: "We find that the Constitution, both through its specific bans on bookmaking and pool-selling and through its general ban on all forms of gambling not expressly authorized, forbids the kind of gambling involved in the proposed sports betting game."

In 1991, a proposed sports lottery came very close to being passed by the state legislature. The plan was thwarted when Senator Majority leader Ralph Marino, who had earlier agreed to the sports lottery, withdrew his support.

In 2013, the Constitution was amended to include an exception for "casino gambling at no more than seven facilities as authorized and prescribed by the legislature." The question has become whether casino gambling is sufficiently broad to encompass sports gambling. Certainly, in the state of Nevada, casino gambling facilities have long been able to offer sports wagering. The New York State legislature in the 2013 legislation, designed to implement the casino gambling amendment, contained a provision specifically providing an opportunity for the casinos to have sports wagering. (Chs. 174 and 175, L. 2013.)

II. Current New York Statutory Provision on Sports Gambling

Outside of Nevada and the grandfathering of limited sports wagering in several other states, 1992's Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) banned sports gambling throughout the U.S. When the Supreme Court on May 14th decided in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional (Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association 138 S.Ct. 146 (2018).), §1367 of the Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law (Racing Law) went into effect.

Section 1367 was the provision in the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013 (UNYGEDA) that dealt specifically with the issue of sports gambling in New York State. The UNYGEDA was designed to be the implementing statute that would provide the regulatory framework for New York's constitutional approval of casino gambling.

Section 1367 was based on New Jersey's law signed by Governor Chris Christie in January of 2012 that authorized sports wagering in that state. (N.J.P.L.2011, c.231.) Unlike New Jersey, which directly legalized sports gambling and challenged PASPA, New York's law was only intended to provide an indirect challenge to PASPA. The New York law was designed to go into effect only at "such time as there has been a change in federal law authorizing such or upon a ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction that such activity is lawful." The sports gambling provision was basically an attempt to prevent New Jersey from establishing a monopoly on Mideast sports gambling. If PASPA were ever found unconstitutional or amended, New York, as well as New Jersey, would have legalized sports gambling.

Section 1367 allows sports gambling only in person at the state's four private upstate casinos. Bettors need to be age 21 or older. Betting is not allowed on collegiate sports played in New York State, and similarly not ever permitted on games - regardless of the location - in which New York colleges are playing.

The State Gaming Commission is given significant power not only to license sports wagering operators, but also to establish the rules under which sports wagering is to be operated. According to recent newspaper accounts, the State Gaming Commission is currently in the process of drafting these regulations. Ron Ochrym, its interim director, has stated that draft rules will be available for "review in the near term." (Jon Campbell. "Rules Being Crafted for Sports Betting in New York," Westchester Journal News, May 22, 2018.)

III. Legislative Developments after Murphy

The existing New York sports wagering provision in §1367 is obviously not beneficial to much of the gambling industry in New York State. It only benefits the current four private upstate casinos, which are located in Monticello, Schenectady, Tioga and Waterloo. None of these locations are particularly close to metropolitan New York. Thus, the in-person sports wagering business at these locations does not figure to be overwhelming.

As only these four casinos can offer sports gambling, the other parts of the gambling industry in New York are shut out; including the nine video lottery (VLT) facilities, the state's horse racing industry, including the racetracks, horsemen and breeders, the off-track betting (OTB) corporations, and the fantasy sports corporations. While not technically excluded, the major corporations outside New York that offer sports gambling in Nevada and in Europe obviously do not see a huge market for in-person wagering at four upstate casinos.

In New York, there is also a long tradition of trying to craft gambling legislation that tries to benefit all participants in the gambling industry. Everyone gets a carrot in the omnibus goulash that constitutes the world of New York State gambling legislation.

In order to increase the betting market and to make the other elements of the New York gambling industry full participants in sports gambling, Senator John Bonacic, who chairs the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, introduced legislation to expand the existing scope of sports wagering. His initial bill (Senate Bill No. 7900) was introduced in March of 2018 before the decision in Murphy. Minor amendments were made to the bill after Murphy. (Senate Bill No.7900 A.) The purpose of the bill, per Senator Bonacic, is "to update the existing provisions of law which allow the four upstate casino gaming resorts to conduct sports betting in the event of a change in the federal law which currently prohibits it." (New York State Senate Introducer's Memorandum in Support S7900A.) This bill is an attempt to bring all players into the big tent of sports wagering.

IV. Questions on the Bonacic Bill

The best way to analyze the bill is to respond to certain questions on its effect.

A. With whom can a sports wager be placed?
The four casinos control this process. Individuals can wager at the casinos, through affiliates with whom they contract through self-service wagering kiosks. Affiliates are the VLT operators, OTB branch offices and the New York Racing Association. In addition, each casino can offer mobile sports wagering platforms through no more than three independent entities. Mobile sports wagering means that a bet can be placed through a computer or a similar device anywhere in New York State.

This is certain to raise significant constitutional questions. What is the purpose of having a limited number of casino facilities (a maximum of seven is authorized in the Constitution.) if people can bet away from the facilities of the casino? Do the mobile betting platforms make the constitutional facility limitation meaningless? Surely, the casinos can take a roulette bet or a baccarat wager from a mobile platform just as easily as they can take sports wagers. Would anyone think that a roulette wager placed via a phone in Suffolk County into Tioga Downs would constitute a wager lawfully placed at Tioga Downs? Simply trying to claim in legislation that the situs of a bet is considered to be placed at the casino misses the reality that the bet is actually being made away from the casino. Would any court agree to this fiction?

B. Where can one fund or establish an account?
One can fund or establish an account at the casinos, the offices of the affiliates and on the Internet through mobile sports wagering platforms.

C. On what can be bet?
Bets can be placed on almost every sporting event, except for high school events. Unlike current law, one can bet on New York college sports teams and college events played inside New York. Bets can include straight bets, propositions, over-under bets, parlays, exchange wagers and in-game wagers. Bets cannot include horse racing wagers, which are only authorized via traditional pari-mutuel wagering. (This might prove harmful in the long run to horse racing, since it prevents fixed odds wagering and exchange wagering. It would likely prevent most future books on major races, proposition wagers, and in-race wagers. It is short-sighted for a sport that has been suffering from a long slide in popularity to shut itself off from future types of wagers.)

D. Who can wager?
Bettors must be age 21 or older. They must be physically in New York. The proposal has an extremely detailed list of individuals who are barred from wagering. The list of banned individuals includes people with access to non-public confidential information and amateur athletes where the wager is based on an event overseen by that athlete's governing body. (That would mean that a collegiate water polo athlete could not wager on a collegiate lacrosse game since both sports are governed by the NCAA. Similarly, how during a collegiate sport's off-season would one make a determination that the potential bettor is still classified as an athlete? Can a college field hockey player, when school is out of session in the summer, place a bet on the Bowl Championship Series in football?) It may be that this is a subject handled far better by regulation than by legislation.

E. Who will regulate sports wagering?
Sports wagering will be regulated by the State Gaming Commission, but the Gaming Commission is to designate the State Police to have primary responsibility for conducting investigations into abnormal wagering activity and the possibility of corruption in the sport.

F. What role will the sports leagues have in sports wagering?
There is considerable involvement with the sports leagues. The sports governing body is to receive an integrity fee of "up to one-quarter of one percent of the amount wagered on sports events, however, in no case shall the integrity fee be greater than two percent of the casino's sports wagering gross revenue." The proposal defines a sports governing body to be "the organization that prescribes final rules and enforces codes of conduct with respect to a sporting event and participants therein." This is a potentially problematic definition. For Mixed Martial Arts fights in New York, who is the governing body: the promoter, or the State Athletic Commission that establishes the rules? The same holds true for boxing? Individual sports, such as tennis and golf, have major tournaments that are run by different organizations. The PGA Tour runs the PGA Championship, Augusta National runs the Masters, and the United State Golf Association runs the US Open. How is it determined what is the sports governing body when a casino takes a wager on individuals trying to win the grand slam in golf? What is the governing body in the Davis Cup? When there are European soccer matches between teams in the Premier League and the Bundesliga, what is the governing body? What is the sports governing body when a casino takes a parlay wager on two different sports?

In-play wagering is only permissible if the casinos operate and their agents use "official league data" and the league "possesses a feed of official league data." The leagues are supposed to provide the data at a commercially reasonable rate.

Sports governing bodies are able to petition the Gaming Commission to force the casinos to use official league data for "tier three wagers", which are neither in-play events nor wagers determined by the final score or outcome. A sports governing body may also apply to the Gaming Commission "to restrict, limit, or exclude wagering on its sporting events." No standards are set for how the Commission is to make this decision.

G. Where does the money go from sports gambling?
Typically, the Nevada gambling establishments have gross gaming revenues of between 4-5% of handle, which is the actual amount wagered. (In Nevada in 2017, this hold percentage was 5.11%.) From this amount, they pay a federal tax based on .25% of handle. Assuming a 5% gambling hold, this represents a tax of 5% on gambling revenue. The Bonacic bill adds an 8.5% State tax on this gambling revenue. On top of that, the casinos are to pay an integrity fee of a maximum of 2% of gaming revenue. Thus, assuming a 5% gambling hold rate, the casinos would be subject to an effective tax rate (including the integrity fee) of 15.5%. That does not include any amounts that the casinos would pay the sports leagues for "official league data." Assuredly, the casinos would also need to pay their affiliates and mobile agents for taking the wagers. At what point does the tax imposed on the casinos become too high?

The money from the taxes paid to the state is to be distributed as follows: 85% to the commercial gaming fund - much of which goes to education, 5% to problem gambling education and treatment, 5% to the Gaming Commission for its costs, and 5% to the racing industry. Given the estimates that Senator Bonacic has made for revenue from sports gambling - $10 million to $30 million, it is unlikely that a 5% allocation to all of the racing industry will provide much assistance. That would mean that a maximum amount of $1.5 million would be shared by all racetracks, their horsemen, and the OTB's.

V. Is There Sports Wagering Legislation in the Assembly?

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who chairs the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, had promised has own bill on sports wagering for several months. While no bill has yet been formally introduced yet, in the last week of May, Assemblyman Pretlow released a draft of his bill. It is a somewhat underwhelming copy of Senator Bonacic's amended bill with the nomenclature of the "integrity fee" changed to a "sports wagering royalty." (https://www.legalsportsreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Pretlow-sports-betting-draft-1.pdf)

VI. The Effect on New York's Native American Tribes

New York has eight federally recognized tribes. Three of these, the Oneidas, Senecas, and St. Regis Mohawks, run gambling operations and have gambling compacts with the state. The Senecas appear to be monitoring the situation. There has been little word from the St. Regis Mohawks. The Oneida Nation has said that it will pursue sports wagering. The exact details of how this would occur are uncertain. Can the Oneida Nation's compact with the State be read to authorize sports gambling, or is there a need for a new compact? The Oneida Nation surely would not be bound by the state's requirement of any integrity fee payment.

Secondly, if mobile sports wagering is authorized throughout all locations within the state, will this break the exclusivity arrangements that New York State has with the three gambling tribes? Based on giving the tribes gambling exclusivity in the counties near their casinos, New York is paid exclusivity fees by the tribes. (New York and the Seneca Nation are currently in arbitration over the exclusivity payment, and the Nation has stopped making its payments.) For the 2017 fiscal year, the tribal exclusivity payments amounted to $206.8 million. That is far more revenue to New York than the $10 to $30 million that sports gaming could be expected to bring in. Can the state and the local governments that share in these payments risk losing them?

Finally, strong geo-fencing of the tribal reservations would be needed to make sure that bets on sports gambling were not accepted inside tribal reservation lands. Otherwise, New York State would likely be violating the terms authorizing class III gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

VII. What is the likelihood of passage?

There would appear to be an excellent chance that the sports wagering bill would pass the Senate. The Bonacic bill has generated little opposition thus far from inside the Senate. The unamended initial version was included and technically passed in the Senate as part of its one-house budget bill in March. There is an ongoing dispute in the Senate over which party controls the leadership of the chamber, but if this is resolved, the Bonacic bill is likely to pass.

The fate of sports gambling is uncertain in the Assembly, as Speaker Carl Heastie, who controls the Assembly, has expressed doubts and reservations over whether the bill's issues can be resolved. In his statements last week, the Speaker, however, indicated that he will let his colleagues decide the issue.

Governor Cuomo has also added that the issue is too complicated to decide in the current legislative term. Yet if the legislature passes a sports wagering bill, will the Governor veto a very popular bill in an election year?

VIII. Other Concerns

It has been surprising that nobody in the legislature has introduced a Constitutional amendment that would clearly authorize sports gambling. An amendment, if given first passage this year could be on the books by January 1, 2020. Passage of this amendment would give the legislature cover and assure that sports wagers placed by bettors outside the physical confines of the casinos could be considered valid sports wagering bets. Furthermore, if there is a constitutional challenge to expanded sports wagering, this amendment might be in place before the courts actually ruled on the legalities of sports wagering

There is only a limited leakage to other states if New York State fails to authorize further sports wagering. Federal law would prevent New Yorkers from betting electronically into other states. New Yorkers would need to physically cross the border and wager in a state like New Jersey. This places Tioga Downs owner Jeffrey Gural in an odd position. Gural is the owner of the Meadowlands in New Jersey, which would most likely be the spot where New Yorkers would place sports bets.

If sports wagers in New York can only be made within the confines of a casino, will this hasten the process to have casinos in downstate New York? Currently, casinos could not be operational downstate until 2023.

NYC Employees Permitted to Make Temporary Scheduling Changes Beginning July 18

By Kristine A. Sova

A new law requires New York City employers to allow employees to make two temporary scheduling changes per year for certain personal events. The new law is effective July 18, 2018.

Personal events which trigger the right to a temporary schedule change include:

-To provide care to a minor child or to a person with a disability who lives in the employee's household and who relies on the employee for medical care or the needs of daily living;
-To attend a legal proceeding or hearing for subsistence benefits to which the employee, a family member or the employee's care recipient is a party; or
-To attend to any circumstance that would constitute a basis for permissible use of safe time or sick time under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act.

Under the new law, temporary changes include "a limited alteration in the hours or times that or locations where an employee is expected to work, including, but not limited to, using paid time off, working remotely, swapping or shifting work hours and using short-term unpaid leave."

The new law addresses: when and how an employee must notify his/her employer of the need for temporary scheduling changes; when and how an employer must respond to the employee's request; the frequency and length of the scheduling changes; the circumstances under which an employer may deny a request; and the new law's interaction with the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act.

The new law exempts certain categories of workers from its requirements. Specifically exempted are employees:

-Who have been employed by the employer for fewer than 120 days;
-Who work fewer than 80 hours in NYC in a calendar year;
-Covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that waives the provisions of the new law and addresses temporary changes to work schedules; and
-Employed by an employer whose primary business for which those employees work is the development, creation or distribution of theatrical motion pictures, televised motion pictures, television programs or live entertainment presentations, except for "an employee whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers and except for an employee whose primary duty is performing routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work in connection with the care and maintenance of an existing building or location used by the employer."

Week in Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited By Elissa D. Hecker


U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Police Need Warrants for Driveway Searches

The Supreme Court ruled that police officers must generally have warrants to enter a home's driveway in search of stolen vehicles. The case arose from a search for a Virginia motorcyclist who twice committed traffic offenses while riding a distinctive orange and black motorcycle with an extended frame. The question for the Justices was whether the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches, allowed this one.


Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Strict Arkansas Abortion Law

In a setback to abortion rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for Republican-backed restrictions on medication-induced abortions to take effect in Arkansas that could lead to the shuttering of two of the state's three abortion clinics. The nine Justices, with no noted dissents, declined to hear an appeal by Planned Parenthood of a lower court ruling that had revived the 2015 state law, which set regulations regarding the RU-486 "abortion pill," after it was earlier struck down by a federal judge. The law had remained blocked pending the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court.


White House to Impose Metal Tariffs on E.U., Canada and Mexico

The Trump administration said that it would impose steep tariffs on metals imported from its closest allies, provoking retaliation against American businesses and consumers and further straining diplomatic ties tested by the president's combative approach. The European Union, Canada and Mexico, which will face 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum, quickly denounced the action and drew up lists of tit-for-tat measures, many aimed at parts of the United States where President Trump enjoys his strongest political support.


Trump, Stung by Being Attacked as Soft on China, Pushes Ahead on Tariffs

President Trump, stung by criticism that he has gone soft on China and less worried about Beijing's ability to disrupt a potential summit meeting with North Korea, reversed course and declared that the United States would impose tariffs and other punitive measures on China barely a week after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war was "on hold" and that tariffs would be suspended as negotiations continued.


Trump Announces Summit Meeting With Kim Jong-un Is Back On

President Trump will fly to Singapore this month after all for a landmark summit meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un. However, Trump now anticipates a more drawn-out negotiation than once envisioned, and indicated that he will stop increasing pressure on the regime while talks proceed.


Trump Had Power to Attack Syria Without Congress, Justice Dept. Memo Says

More than a year after President Trump first ordered the American military to bomb Syrian government forces as punishment for using chemical weapons, the Justice Department has claimed that he wields broad constitutional power to order such limited acts of warfare without Congressional approval. In a 22-page legal opinion, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel declared that Trump could lawfully and unilaterally direct airstrikes targeting Syria installations because he determined that doing so would be in the national interest, and because the attack would carry little risk of escalation.


Trump Takes Steps to Ease Firing of Federal Workers

President Trump signed a trio of executive orders to overhaul the federal bureaucracy by making it easier to fire federal workers for poor performance and misconduct, requiring that departments and agencies negotiate better union contracts, and limiting the amount of time certain federal workers can spend on union business.


Trump Wields Pardon Pen to Confront Justice System

For more than a year, President Trump has struggled to control the United States' law enforcement apparatus, frustrated that it remains at least partly out of his grasp. He is increasingly turning to a tool that allows him to push back against a justice system that he calls unfair. In a burst of action and words, Trump demonstrated that, in some instances, he still has the last word. He pardoned Dinesh D'Souza, a conservative commentator convicted of campaign finance violations, and said he may extend clemency to former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and Martha Stewart, the lifestyle mogul.


Trump Asked Sessions to Retain Control of Russia Inquiry After His Recusal

A confrontation between President Trump and Jeff Sessions over Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation is being investigated by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as are the president's public and private attacks on Sessions, and the President's efforts to get Sessions to resign. Trump fixated on the recusal for months, according to confidants and current and former administration officials, who described his behavior toward the attorney general.


The Environmental Protection Agency Takes a Major Step to Roll Back Clean Car Rules

The Environmental Protection Agency submitted its proposal to roll back climate change rules that required automakers to nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The rules, which would have significantly lowered the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, were opposed by automakers who said they were overly burdensome.


With Legislation Stalled, DeVos Moves to Wield Deregulatory Power

The top Republican on the Senate Education Committee effectively killed all hope for a highly anticipated overhaul this year of the law governing the nation's 4,000 colleges and universities, paving the way for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to wield her deregulatory power.


New York Public Housing Set to Get Federal Monitor and $1 Billion in Repairs

New York City would be forced to spend at least $1 billion and accept a federal monitor to oversee its dilapidated public housing system, as part of a settlement being finalized with the United States attorney's office in Manhattan. Federal intervention would mark a turning point in the efforts to salvage NYCHA, as the housing authority is known, which slid into a state of disrepair after the federal government began to disinvest in the authority's 325 housing developments two decades ago.


Lawyers in Cohen Case to Appear in Court to Negotiate Disputes

Five sets of lawyers in the case against President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen are expected to appear in Federal District Court in Manhattan to work toward resolving arguments about whether any of the paperwork or data swept up in the raids on Cohen's office and hotel room may be protected by the lawyer-client privilege that Cohen shared with Trump.


Kirkland & Ellis Partner Sandra Goldstein May Be Highest Paid Female Attorney in Big Law

Sandra Goldstein may be the most well-paid female attorney in Big Law. According to Law.com, she is expected to bring in $11 million dollars a year for the next five years at Kirkland & Ellis. This does not include her sign-on bonus.


Starbucks's Tall Order: Tackle Systemic Racism in 4 Hours

For Starbucks, the scope of companywide anti-bias training was easy to measure. Roughly 175,000 employees at 8,000 locations pored over nearly 23,000 iPads, learning about the processing power of unconscious brains and the roots of unconscious bias. The training -- part social justice crash course and part self-reflection exercise -- is at the core of a well-choreographed effort by Starbucks to improve its corporate image after a backlash over the arrests of two African-Americans at a Starbucks in Philadelphia last month. Since then, the company has apologized, most recently in full-page newspaper ads. It has changed its guest policy, allowing people to sit without buying anything. It also enlisted a full complement of social justice activists and policy advocates for guidance.


Ireland Votes to End Abortion Ban, in Rebuke to Catholic Conservatism

Ireland voted decisively to repeal one of the world's more restrictive abortion bans, sweeping aside generations of conservative patriarchy and dealing the latest in a series of stinging rebukes to the Roman Catholic Church. The surprising landslide reflected in the results cemented the nation's liberal shift at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise in Europe and the Trump administration is imposing curbs on abortion rights in the United States. In the past three years alone, Ireland has installed a gay man as prime minister and voted in another referendum to allow same-sex marriage.


Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, Is Ousted in No-Confidence Vote

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy withstood electoral defeats, a banking bailout and mass street protests over his austerity cuts. He led Spain out of financial crisis and back to growth. However, Rajoy became the first Spanish leader in modern history to be unseated by a parliamentary revolt. He was ousted over a corruption scandal that will leave the country with a fragile and possibly short-lived government. His removal was part of a broader upheaval at Europe's core. It came on the same day that a new government led by anti-establishment, populist parties took control in Italy. In addition, Britain is abandoning the EU, Poland and Hungary are rolling back democracy, and the United States is waging a trade war on its European allies. The chaos ushered in by these changes has already unsettled financial markets and European Union leaders in Brussels.


Italy's Populist Parties Win Approval to Form Government

After 88 days of impasses and negotiations, two Italian populist parties with a history of antagonism toward the EU received approval to create a government that has already unsettled the Continent's political order.


Lithuania and Romania Complicit in C.I.A. Prisons, European Court Says

The European Court of Human Rights censured Lithuania and Romania on Thursday for their complicity in the C.I.A.'s torture program, saying the two European nations had hosted secret prisons where the C.I.A. held and interrogated terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11th attacks.


Myanmar and U.N. Agree to Aim for Repatriation of Rohingya

Myanmar's government announced that it had reached an agreement with the United Nations that would be a first step toward the possible return of Rohingya Muslims to the country. Beginning in August last year, about 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine State in far western Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh in the most urgent exodus of humanity in a generation. The Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, were escaping a coordinated military campaign of slaughter, rape and the burning of their villages that some United Nations officials have said may amount to genocide.



Harvey Weinstein Indicted on Rape and Criminal Sexual Act Charges

A grand jury voted to indict Harvey Weinstein on charges that he forced one woman to perform oral sex in his office and that he raped a second woman at a hotel. The indictment, which was expected, was handed up less than a week after his arrest. It followed several months of investigation by prosecutors and the police into numerous sex-crime allegations against the movie producer.


Three Women Accuse Weinstein of Sexual Assault in Federal Suit

More than 80 women, some of them famous actresses, accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing or assaulting them. Now three named women are seeking class action status to sue on behalf of all women to whom Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances over the years.


Three Women Who Had Encounters With Harvey Weinstein Question Lawyer's Motives

A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein approached women who believed he was offering to represent them in a lawsuit against Weinstein. Then they learned for whom he was working.


Shari Redstone Fires Fresh Volley in Legal Battle for Control of CBS

Shari Redstone, the CBS Corporation's main shareholder, moved to quell a rebellion at the media company, filing a lawsuit that accused the CBS board of directors of improperly trying to strip her of control. The suit, filed in Delaware's Court of Chancery by CBS's parent company, National Amusements, came in response to a surprise legal offensive by Leslie Moonves, CBS's chief executive.


ABC cancels 'Roseanne' after its star, Roseanne Barr, went on a vitriolic and racist Twitter rant

ABC canceled "Roseanne" after the show's star, Roseanne Barr, went on a vitriolic Twitter rant. Barr was also dropped by her talent agency, ICM Partners, who announced that her "disgraceful and unacceptable tweet" was "antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her." The cancellation capped a day of online furor over a Twitter rant by Barr in which the actress/comedian spewed false conspiracy theories, went after former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and attacked Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Obama, with a racist insult. After intense backlash and calls for ABC to fire the comedian and cancel her show, Barr issued a blanket apology and said she was giving up the social media platform.



Melissa McCarthy Movie Wins a Round in 'Sesame Street' Lawsuit

The creators of a raunchy, R-rated comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and a cast of puppets can continue marketing the movie by playing off the "Sesame Street" name in a tagline for now, a judge has ruled. The makers of "Sesame Street" sued STX Entertainment last month over the movie, "The Happytime Murders," which is being advertised with the phrase "No Sesame. All Street" ahead of its August 17th release.


Kesha Again Blocked From Breaking Contracts With Dr. Luke

The pop singer and songwriter Kesha, who has for years battled in court to be freed from her recording contracts, cannot pursue a countersuit against her longtime producer Dr. Luke that would void their business relationship, ruled a New York appeals court.


A Crackdown on Film Props Angers Hong Kong's Cinephiles

Counterfeit money is hidden. Police uncover the stash. Justice is served. It may sound like a film noir plot, but the fake bills had been used as props in an award-winning crime thriller filmed in Hong Kong. The two suspects -- who received suspended four-month sentences last Thursday -- were not hardened criminal counterfeiters, but members of a film production crew. The question, local cinephiles say, is why the police even bothered to seek charges.


Visa Stops Morgan Freeman Commercials After Sexual Harassment Report

Visa, the credit card company that has used Morgan Freeman's voice in commercials for several years, announced that it would stop broadcasting those advertisements after a report that Freeman had sexually harassed several women.


Spotify Cancels 'Hateful Conduct' Policy After an Industry Uproar

Spotify will rescind a new policy on "hateful conduct" by artists after an uproar among people in the music industry who say that the ill-defined guidelines represented a form of censorship, the company announced in a blog post. While Spotify says that it remains committed to removing what it called hate content -- music meant to incite hatred or violence, like neo-Nazi songs -- the company said it was "moving away" from the second part of its policy, which addressed the behavior of artists beyond their music.


Amid London's Crime Surge, Authorities Take Aim at 'Drill,' a Bleak Style of Rap Music

Dean Pascal-Modeste, a 22-year-old music producer, was on his way to a recording session one day last year when a group of men approached him on mopeds, brandishing a handgun. He tried to escape through a side street, but the group caught up, ambushing him "like a pack of wolves," a witness said, before they stabbed Pascal-Modeste 14 times in broad daylight and left him for dead. When two young men were convicted of his murder last month, the judge, Nicholas Cooke, called it "yet another dreadful example of London's knife crime." Then he named another culprit: a series of taunting videos by rival "drill" music groups that included threats about stabbing.


Neil Portnow, Embattled Head of Grammys, to Step Down in 2019

Neil Portnow, the embattled head of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammy Awards, will step down in July 2019 at the end of his current contract. After the 60th annual Grammy ceremony in January, at which only one woman won a major award in one of the televised categories, Portnow told reporters backstage that women in the industry should "step up" to advance their careers. A swift backlash followed, with some prominent women in the business calling for his resignation.



Once Delayed, Nobel Prize for Literature No Sure Thing in 2019

Following on the heels of the sexual abuse and harassment scandal and the ousting of the first woman to lead the academy, Sara Danius, a literary scholar, then faced with accusations of financial wrongdoing and hints of a cover-up, the Swedish academy announced that it would postpone awarding the literature prize for the first time in 69 years, and instead name two winners in 2019. Now, Lars Heikensten, director of the Nobel Foundation, said that there might not be a Nobel Prize in Literature awarded in 2019 either, deepening the crisis at the 232-year-old cultural organization.


'Monkey selfie' case may hang around in 9th Circuit

The Ninth Circuit may reconsider an April decision that held that animals cannot sue for copyright infringement, a ruling that was supposed to settle the "monkey selfie" debacle. At least one member of the three-judge panel that decided the copyright case is asking the court to reconsider the ruling en banc. Lawyers for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, photographer David Slater, and publisher Blurb Inc. were asked on May 25th to file briefs within 21 days.


MoMA Sees a Problem in a Cafe's Name. The Cafe Sees None.

MoMaCha, a cafe and exhibition space in New York that opened this year, displays modern and contemporary works of art, and appears to have become known mainly for being sued by MoMA. A dispute between the two began late last year when a company related to the cafe submitted a "MOMACHA" trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, then followed up with an application for "MOMA." Then, in April, the MoMaCha cafe opened on the Bowery, serving matcha tea and exhibiting artworks. The cafe's logo, in its font and graphic presentation, was similar to the one used by the museum, at least as far as MoMA officials were concerned. The museum sent a letter to the cafe demanding changes, to no avail.


Sanctions Are Imposed on Berkshire Museum for Sale of Artworks

The Association of Art Museum Directors (A.A.M.D.), a professional museum organization, announced that its board of trustees had voted to impose sanctions on the Berkshire Museum, which recently sold artworks to support an expansion initiative. The A.A.M.D. said that the sanctions would be effective immediately, and they would include a request that each of A.A.M.D.'s 243 members refrain from lending works to the Berkshire Museum or collaborating with it on exhibitions.


'Ivan the Terrible' Painting Damaged in Russia in Vodka-Fueled Attack

One of Russia's most famous paintings, which depicts the czar Ivan the Terrible cradling his dying son, has been badly damaged in a Moscow gallery after a man drank vodka and attacked it with a metal pole. The 1885 canvas, "Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581," by the Russian realist Ilya Repin, portrays a grief-stricken Ivan holding his son after dealing him a mortal blow, an event whose veracity some Russian nationalists dispute.



Ex-Officials in Gymnastics Sex Abuse Scandal Subpoenaed by U.S. Senate

U.S. marshals served a subpoena on former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon to compel her to appear before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on June 5th on efforts to protect athletes from abuse. Simon, who resigned from Michigan State in January, and Steve Penny from USA Gymnastics, were criticized for not doing enough to halt abuse by former doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted last year of molesting gymnasts and was sentenced to an effective life term in prison.


Triple Jeopardy in College Sexual Assault Case Ends an National Football League Career

Keith Mumphery was twice cleared of an alleged sexual assault. Then he was tried a third time, without even knowing it, after which his life collapsed.


Five More Former National Football League Cheerleaders File Suit, Claiming Mistreatment

Five former National Football League (N.F.L.) cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans, claiming that the team failed to fully compensate them as required by law and subjected them to a hostile work environment in which they were harassed and intimidated. The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Houston, accuses the franchise of paying the women less than the $7.25 per hour they were promised, not compensating them for making public appearances or performing other tasks related to their jobs, and creating a workplace where the women were threatened with being fired for voicing any complaints.


N.F.L.'s Alternate 'Cheerleaders' Do Not Cheer or Dance

Several N.F.L. teams determined that cheerleading programs had a scarcity problem on game days. If cheerleaders were on the sideline dancing, none were available to serve as scantily clad hostesses who could mingle with fans high up in the cheap seats or in the luxury suites, where teams catered to big-money customers. In interviews with a dozen women who have worked for N.F.L. teams as noncheering cheerleaders, and six others who had direct knowledge of the noncheering squads, they described minimum-wage jobs in which harassment and groping were common, particularly because the women were required to be on the front lines of partying fans.


Court of Arbitration of Sport Ruling in Olympic Doping Case Takes Bolt's Ninth Medal

Usain Bolt will not be getting back his ninth Olympic gold medal. A Court of Arbitration for Sport judging panel on Thursday dismissed Jamaican sprinter teammate Nesta Carter's appeal against disqualification from the 2008 Beijing Olympics for a positive doping test discovered eight years later.


The Equestrian Coach Who Minted Olympians, and Left a Trail of Child Molestation

There is no trace of Jimmy A. Williams, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame trainer, at the equestrian club where he was an instructor for nearly four decades, cultivating young riders, some of whom went on to Olympic fame. Images of Williams, who died in 1993, have vanished without a word, along with the sterling trophies he won. Last month, the club removed his name from the grand show jumping stadium at the heart of the sprawling property at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, once the Jimmy A. Williams Oval. Today it is just Ring 1. All of this following allegations by former pupils that Williams molested them when they were children.


Peru's Paolo Guerrero Vows to Fight Doping Ban: 'This Is About My Honor'

Peru, after a 36-year absence, will be at soccer's World Cup in Russia next month, and Paolo Guerrero, in the twilight of a peripatetic career, was to be there to lead the team out as its captain and star striker. Instead, the 34-year-old Guerrero is consumed with angst. A six-month drug suspension he thought he had completed was instead extended to 14 months this week, dashing his dreams but also those of a nation whose adoration for him had only grown during his exile.
Guerrero vowed to appeal the new, longer ban.



U.S. News Outlets Block European Readers Over New Privacy Rules

American news outlets including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and The Arizona Daily Star abruptly blocked access to their websites from Europe, choosing to black out readers rather than comply with a strict new data privacy law in the EU that limits what information can be collected about people online. The new rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), strike at a core element of businesses that offer free content online but that make money by collecting and sharing user data to sell targeted advertising. The shutdowns came as a surprise to readers of the publications, because companies had two years to prepare for the new regulations.


The Privacy Lawyer Giving Big Tech an $8.8 Billion Headache

Forty-eight minutes after the GDPR went into effect, Facebook and Google got their first taste of how troublesome the new European privacy regime could be. At 12:48 a.m. Brussels time, an Austrian privacy advocacy group filed the first of its four complaints against the tech companies. The nonprofit organization NOYB -- short for "none of your business" -- claimed that Google and Facebook, along with two of Facebook's subsidiaries, WhatsApp and Instagram, failed to give European users specific control over the use of their data, in violation of the new rules.


Trump Falsely Says New York Times Made Up Source in Report on Korea Summit Meeting

President Trump falsely accused The New York Times of making up a source in an article about North Korea, even though the source was in fact a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room.


Morgan Freeman's Team Demands Retraction From CNN Over Sexual Harassment Report

A law firm representing Morgan Freeman sent a 10-page letter to CNN protesting a report in which several women, mostly anonymous, said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment from the actor. The letter said the network's reporting was a "product of malicious intent, falsehoods" and reflected "an absence of editorial control, and journalistic malpractice." The letter also said "it is clear that CNN has defamed Mr. Freeman." Freeman's team demanded a retraction and a public apology.


Google Will Not Renew Pentagon Contract That Upset Employees

Google, hoping to head off a rebellion by employees upset that the technology they were working on could be used for lethal purposes, will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work when a current deal expires next year.


Armed with Propaganda, and Pushing All Buttons, Russia and Ukraine print fake news about a Russian journalist

The headlines read "Arkady Babchenko, Russian Journalist, Shot and Killed in Kiev." First they said he was killed, then they learned he was alive. Now both sides claim the other is using this story to discredit the other.


Kremlin Says Allegation It Killed Russian Journalist in Ukraine an Anti-Russian Smear


Russian Says Ukraine Used Journalist for Propaganda


Ukraine President Says Will Protect Russian Journalist After Plot


June 11, 2018

Week in Review

By Jana S. Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Colorado Baker But Reaffirmed Protection For Gay Rights

The Supreme Court ruled that Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, was improperly treated with hostility to his religious beliefs by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which originally ruled against the baker. Phillips claimed that he had a right to decline to use his artistic creativity to create a work at odds with his religious beliefs based on the grounds of freedom of speech. Justice Kennedy, in writing the majority opinion, did not discuss the issue of free speech in any depth. He did, however, state that the outcome of similar cases in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts "without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market". Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Elena Kagan, and Neil M. Gorsuch joined Justice Kennedy's majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas voted with the majority but noted that he would have ruled in favor of Phillips on free speech grounds. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dissented, but wrote that she agreed with several passages of the majority opinion reaffirming protections for gay rights.


SCOTUS Denies Request To Discipline American Civil Liberties Union's Lawyers

The Supreme Court denied a request from the Justice Department to discipline lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union for assisting an undocumented teenager to obtain an abortion.


General News

Regan A. Smith Is the New General Counsel of The United States Copyright Office

Regan Smith was appointed the General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights for the United States Copyright Office effective May 27, 2018. Smith joined the Copyright Office in 2014 and advanced to deputy general counsel in 2016.


The Environmental Protection Agency Scales Back The Rules For Determining Risks From Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) narrowed the requirements for evaluating health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market. In most cases, the EPA decided to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances' presence in the air, ground, or water.


Trump Takes Aggressive Stance At The G-7 Summit

President Trump called for Russia's readmission to the Group of 7 nations and refused to ease his assault on the global trading system. His stance earned angry rebukes from the leaders of the other member nations. Trump arrived to the Summit late and left early, before the scheduled sessions on climate change, clean energy, and oceans. He also retracted his endorsement of the final statement from the Summit. Canada's Prime Minister announced that Canada will institute retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. effective July 1, 2018.




Trump's Lawyers Claim In Letter To Mueller That the President Cannot Be Compelled To Testify

The New York Times obtained a copy of a 20-page letter, sent by President Trump's lawyers to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The letter broadly interprets the executive authority, implying that Trump does not need to talk to the investigators and asserting that he may terminate the investigation and even exercise his power to pardon. Trump also declared by tweet that he had "the absolute right" to pardon himself for any crime and that the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller was unconstitutional, but he did not elaborate on the legal basis for his claim.





Ryan Contradicts Trump On FBI's Use Of Confidential Informants, Self-Pardon

Speaker Paul D. Ryan dismissed President Trump's "Spygate" conspiracy theory, agreeing with Representative Trey Gowdy, who stated that FBI's use of informants to investigate potential Russian meddling in Trump's campaign was appropriate. Speaker Ryan also expressed his preference that President Trump should not try to pardon himself, as such a move may spark a constitutional crisis.



Letter To Mueller Also Contradicts Trump Team's Storyline On Son's Meeting

President Trump's lawyers acknowledged that he had dictated the statement from Donald Trump Jr. about meeting a Russian lawyer, contradicting his team's prior statements that he was not involved in the drafting of that statement.


Special Counsel's Team Accuses Paul Manafort Of Witness Tampering; Files Charges Against Manafort's Associate

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's office asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia to revoke or revise the conditions of Paul Manafort's bail because they had found probable cause to believe that he sought to tamper with witnesses. Additional charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice were filed against Manafort. Similar charges were also filed against his associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a Russian Army-trained linguist with purported ties to Russian intelligence.



Consumer Bureau Purges Its Consumer Advisory Board

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, dissolved its volunteer consumer advisory board, which is a board of outside experts consisting of consumer activists, academics, entrepreneurs and industry representatives. The board will be reconstituted next fall, but the current members will not be eligible to apply.



Special Master Finds That Most Materials Seized In Cohen Case Are Not Privileged

Special master Barbara S. Jones, in a report submitted to Kimba M. Wood, the federal judge presiding over Michael Cohen's case in Manhattan, recommended that only 14 paper documents out of the 639, and only 148 of 291,770 electronic files that she had looked at, should be found to be privileged or partly privileged, and therefore should be withheld from the prosecutors' inquiry. The President's lawyers asked to file an objection under seal directly to Judge Wood, arguing in favor of keeping the documents secret. Judge Wood required that the objections be filed publicly "except for those portions that divulge 'the substance of the contested documents.'"




Ambassador Grenell Causes Outrage In Germany

Richard Grenell, the new United States ambassador in Berlin, reportedly expressed to Breitbart London his desire to empower other conservatives throughout Europe. As this sentiment appears to be a direct threat to Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition, Germany's Foreign Ministry asked for a clarification. In the U.S., some argued that ambassadors making political statements should be relieved from their duties. The State Department spokeswoman, on the other hand, stated in a briefing on Tuesday that ambassadors have a right to express their opinions.



Mexico Imposes Tariffs On US; China Offers To Buy $70 Billion In Products In Order to Suspend US Tariffs On Chinese Products; ZTE Reaches Deal With Trump

Mexico imposed tariffs on US imports, including bourbon, apples, potatoes, cheese, and pork in retaliation to the Trump administration's levies on steel and aluminium. Meanwhile, China offered to buy $70 billion of energy, agricultural and manufactured products from the US to suspend tariffs on Chinese products. At the same time, President Trump agreed to lift sanctions from the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE in exchange for a $1 billion fine and a leadership and compliance team overhaul.





Google Says It Will Not Use Its Artificial Intellegence For Weapons But Will Continue Working With The Military

Following an outbreak of employee protests, Google promised that it would not use its artificial intelligence program for weapons or for surveillance that violates human rights, but stated that it will continue working with governments and the military.


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


Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Assault Charges

Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from two alleged sexual assaults in New York City.


Stormy Daniels Sues Cohen And Own Former Counsel For Collusion Against Her

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, sued Michael Cohen, President Trump's "fixer", of helping and encouraging Keith M. Davidson, her former attorney, of violating attorney-client privilege and withholding relevant communications from her and her current lawyer, Michael Avenatti.


Court Orders Deposition Of The President In Ex-"Apprentice" Contestant's Defamation Case

Justice Jennifer Schecter, a New York judge, ordered President Trump to be deposed by the end of January in a defamation lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice." The President's lawyers argued that this lawsuit should not be heard while the he is in office. Justice Schecter ruled earlier that the case should not have to accommodate a sitting president.


Settlement In Principle Reached In The Case Of Toddler Dancing To Prince Song

In 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted on YouTube a video of her 18-month-old child dancing to the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy." The posting resulted in a legal battle over alleged copyright infringement claim and a counterclaim of alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by knowingly misrepresenting said copyright. In 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that copyright owners must consider fair use when sending takedown notices, but that a copyright holder's subjective good faith belief that allegedly infringing material does not constitute fair use was a sufficient shield from misrepresentation liability. Left to try were the questions of fact as to the copyright holder's subjective beliefs about the video in question. The parties announced that they reached a settlement in principle, but the terms of the settlement have not been made public.


Chris Farley's Family Settles Fat-Tired Bike Suit

Comedian Chris Farley's family settled their federal lawsuit against Trek Bicycle, which named its fat-tired bikes Farley. The lawsuit alleged that Trek misappropriated Farley's name and "fat guy" brand of comedy.


Stars Of The "Fixer Upper" Show Settle With E.P.A.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, who star in HGTV show "Fixer Upper," have agreed to pay the EPA a civil fine of $40,000 for alleged violations of rules for the safe handling of lead paint during home renovations. The also agreed to inform their audience about the dangers of lead-based paint.


New Jersey Judge Could Not Contain His Mirth In The "Bananapalooza" Case

Judge Noel Hillman of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, who issued a decision earlier this week in a copyright infringement lawsuit between two rival costume manufacturers concerning selling lookalike banana costumes, used terms like "bananafest" and "bananapalooza" at a hearing, mused "whether the founding fathers had banana costumes in mind" when they drafted the Constitution, and declared that the costumes in question were "unlikely to end up in the Philadelphia Museum of Art." The defense lawyer brought a sample real banana into the courtroom, while the plaintiff's attorney acknowledged that the case was "ripe" for giggles.


Pixar Co-Founder Leaves Amid Unwanted Workplace Hugging Allegations

John Lasseter, a co-founder of Pixar, will leave the Walt Disney Company following complaints about unwanted workplace hugging.


Top Authors Bypass Print And Opt For Audiobooks

A-list authors, including Michael Lewis, Robert Caro and Jeffery Deaver, are bypassing printed books and releasing stand-alone audiobook originals, hoping to take advantage of the exploding audiobook market.


Arts and Cultural Heritage

Buyer Of A Sisley Landscape With Nazi-Tainted Provenance Asks Christie's For a Refund Plus Interest

Alain Dreyfus, an art dealer in Switzerland, bought Alfred Sisley's painting titled "First Day of Spring in Moret" at a Christie's auction in New York City in 2008. He now claims that Christie's did not sufficiently examine the work's provenance before putting it up for sale and failed to identify that this work was plundered by Nazis in 1940 from a Jewish collector in Paris, Alfred Lindon. A Lindon descendant has filed a claim related to the painting in a court in Paris. Dreyfus expressed his willingness to return the work to the Lindon heirs. He also demanded that Christie's reimburse him the $338,500 that he paid for the painting in 2008, plus an annual interest rate of 8%. Christie's responded that its actions were appropriate and that it had checked all available databases, catalogues, and resources prior to the sale and found nothing at that time to indicate the painting was ever in Lindon's collection.


U.S. Foundation Under Pressure To Return Ancient Chinese Manuscript

A new 440-page study traces the provenance of the Chu Silk Manuscript, a 2,300-year-old document presently in possession of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation (the Foundation) in Washington, D.C., from tomb raiders who discovered it during World War II, to American spies who smuggled it out of China, to several museums and foundations in the United States. The Foundation is now under pressure to return the manuscript and is reportedly in discussions with Beijing over possible terms of such return.


Daughter Sues Father Over Failed Attempt To Block Sale Of A Basquiat Work

Belinda Neumann-Donnelly sued her father, Hubert Neumann, a major art collector, claiming that by suing to block the sale by the Estate of her mother, he intentionally depressed the price of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece, "Flesh and Spirit", which sold at auction last month for $30.7 million. Neumann had unsuccessfully sued to block the sale, claiming that it violated his agreement with Sotheby's, which purportedly gave him the right to approve all matters concerning the marketing of works from the "Family Collection."


The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Announces A Mega-Gift To The Whitney Museum Of American Art

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation (RLF) announced that it is giving 400 of the artist's artworks, or about half of its holdings, to the Whitney Museum of American Art. The move marks a beginning of RLF's process of winding itself down. Smaller gifts will be going to other institutions.


Street Artists Receive Public Commission In Lower Manhattan

Silverstein Properties, a developer, in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, commissioned street artists to create eight murals on the sheds housing mechanical equipment that will one day service 2 World Trade Center. Six of the murals are now complete. All works will be on display for at least a year.



Former President Of USA Gymnastics Pleads the Fifth Amendment

Steve Penny, the former president of USA Gymnastics, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination several times at a Senate subcommittee hearing last week. He was being questioned about his knowledge of the abuses committed by Lawrence G. Nassar, a former Olympic national team doctor, who was convicted earlier this year for molesting gymnasts.


New Video Of Sterling Brown's Arrest Leads To New Vows To Sue

Sterling Brown, a Milwaukee Bucks player, was arrested and subdued by the police with a stun gun following an alleged parking violation this past January. Following release of new video footage of Brown's arrest, during which one of the police officers appears to be purposefully stepping on Brown's ankle, his lawyer stated that he intends to file a federal civil rights lawsuit on Brown's behalf.


Trump Disinvites The Eagles; James And Curry Boycott White House

Cleveland's LeBron James and Golden State's Stephen Curry stated that their teams would not participate in any sort of ceremony at the White House after President Trump cancelled the Philadelphia Eagles' White House victory ceremony at the last minute. Nearly all of the players and coaches of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles team said they would boycott the visit after the President voiced his position that players should stand during the national anthem at games. White House visits by sports teams have historically been nonpolitical celebrations under prior administrations.




Delaware And New Jersey Allow Sports Betting

Delaware and New Jersey began offering full-scale sports betting this week following the Supreme Court's decision last month to strike down the provision prohibiting state authorization of sports gambling schemes in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).






White House Unblocks Twitter Users But Promises Appeal

Last month, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that President Trump and his team violated the constitutional rights of seven Twitter users who were blocked from viewing or responding to President Trump's tweets based on their expressed political opinions. The White House has now unblocked these users, but promised to appeal Judge Buchwald's decision.


Reporter May Be Compelled To Testify At A Murder Trial

New York's Court of Appeals is considering whether Frances Robles, a New York Times reporter, may be compelled to testify about her interview of Conrado Juárez after his arrest in connection with the death of "Baby Hope". Robles invoked New York's shield law, which allows journalists to be compelled to take the stand or turn over notes only if prosecutors can show the information is "highly material and relevant" and "critical or necessary" to proving their case. She also maintains that being forced to testify would adversely impact her journalistic credibility and effectively prevent her from conducting sensitive interviews with others accused of crimes.


Former Senate Aide Is Charged With Lying To The Investigators; Journalist's Records Seized

James A. Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide, was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters in an investigation of classified information leaks. The prosecutors also seized several years of a New York Times reporter's phone and email records. News media advocates objected to the latter as an intrusion on the journalistic First Amendment freedoms.


French Parliament To Review "Fake News" Bill

France's Parliament began to debate a bill that would allow judges to block content deemed false during a three-month period preceding an
election. The bill, championed by President Emmanuel Macron, faces criticism that it poses a potential threat to the freedom of the press.


The New Yorker Magazine Forms Union

The editorial staff of the New Yorker magazine joined the growing trend among magazines and news publications and formed a union. Employees of the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, among many others, are already represented by unions.


Cambridge Analytica's Former Leader Fights Back

Alexander Nix, former chief executive officer of Cambridge Analytica, told British lawmakers during a contentious hearing before Parliament's media committee that he was being subjected to "frankly ridiculous accusations based on the most tenuous connections that simply aren't supported by evidence". Cambridge Analytica is accused of abusing information pulled from Facebook, engaging in unethical business practices, and playing a role in the British vote to leave the European Union.


Facebook Finds Itself In The Midst Of Continuing Controversy Over User Privacy

Facebook revealed that it has a data-sharing partnership with Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company with alleged close ties with China's government. Huawei was flagged by the U.S. intelligence officials as a national security threat. Facebook committed to winding down the Huawei deal. Meanwhile, the social media giant is facing a new wave of criticism from the US and European lawmakers and regulators after disclosures that it had allowed dozens of hardware manufacturers access to personal user data. To add insult to injury, a software bug this week made public the private posts of as many as 14 million Facebook users in yet another failure to keep the information of millions of users private.




Hungarian Right's Media Strategy Abroad

In Hungary, allies of the right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban control most of the domestic media and promote sensationalist, anti-immigration articles. Orban's allies are now investing in Slovenian media to give him a voice in support of Slovenia's right-wing leader Janez Jansa, who finished first in the country's national elections last week and who is now working to piece together a governing coalition.


Military Crackdown In Pre-Election Pakistan

With the national elections just six weeks away, Pakistan's military establishment is mounting a campaign of intimidation against its critics in the news media, on social media, and in mainstream political movements. Several journalists were abducted or threatened; major news outlets were blocked; and those expressing support for the civilian governing party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, were censored or punished.


U.K. Regulator Clears Way For Battle Over Satellite Broadcaster Sky

Comcast and the Walt Disney Company are fighting for control of the British satellite broadcaster and internet service provider Sky, which has 23 million customers in five countries, and owns valuable broadcasting rights to English Premier League games, Formula One races, and other sporting events. Britain's culture secretary, Matthew Hancock, ruled that 21st Century Fox, whom Disney offered to buy and which already owns part of Sky, may proceed with its bid to buy out the rest of Sky. This application was previously held in regulatory limbo over concerns that it would give Fox's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, too much control over the country's media.


Matt Lauer Can Keep His New Zealand Ranch, At Least For Now

New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office announced that it did not have sufficient evidence that Matt Lauer had breached a good-character test for foreign property buyers when he bought the lease to the Hunter Valley Station ranch in February of last year, months before he was fired from the "Today" show over sexual misconduct allegations. The agency noted, however, that it will continue monitoring the matter and could revisit the case "should further information come to light." New Zealand's definition of good character is broad and "offenses or contraventions of the law" that fall short of a crime may be evidence of a breach of the good-character test.


A Russia-Hating Priest Played A Role In The Case Of Faked Assassination Of A Putin Critic

Arkady Babchenko, a dissident Russian journalist, agreed to fake his death, believing his life to be at risk. He was found in a pool of his own blood by his wife and was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital. He subsequently apologized for the stunt at a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine. The Ukraine Security Service claimed that this was a sting operation aimed at stopping a real assassination plot against Babchenko, further complicating the tortured relations between Ukraine and Russia. In a latest twist, a Russia-hating right-wing priest claimed that he was hired to carry out the hit and that he was working for Ukraine's intelligence services. Ukrainian officials admitted that he had played a role.



June 18, 2018

Week in Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Historic Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore Ends with Mounting Questions About What Has Been Achieved

President Trump hailed his meeting with Kim Jong-Un as a "big step back from nuclear catastrophe", but critics say he made too many concessions without receiving any specific commitment to denuclearization. Kim has reportedly agreed only to a "step-by-step" denuclearization. Trump also offered to suspend joint U.S.-South Korean military drills to appease Kim, a move that reportedly came as a shock to both the Pentagon and South Korean officials, who are now working in tandem to scale back on such drills.


Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules and How They Could Affect You

The end of net neutrality took effect this week. The rules enacted by the Obama administration in 2015 prohibited internet providers from charging more for certain content or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

Among a wide range of arguments, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that it repealed the rules because they restrained broadband providers from experimenting with new business models and investing in new technology. Those opposing the repeal argued that it would open the door for service providers to censor content online or charge additional fees for better service, something that could hurt small companies who cannot afford to "pay-to-play" to access internet "fast lanes." Twenty-nine state legislatures have so far introduced bills to ensure net neutrality, and some have used executive orders to enforce the previous rules.



Attorney General Sessions Removes Domestic and Gang Violence as Grounds of Asylum

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to most victims of "private violence," like domestic abuse and gang violence. Sessions' decision overturns a precedent set during the Obama administration that allowed more women to claim credible fears of domestic abuse, a precedent that Sessions says created "powerful incentives" for people to "come here illegally and claim a fear of return."

The ruling drew immediate condemnation from immigrants' rights groups, who view it as a return to a time when domestic violence was considered a private matter, and not the responsibility of government to intervene. The National Association of Immigration Judges pointed to Sessions' authority to exercise veto power in these cases as a reason of why the immigration courts need true independence. Immigration courts are housed under the Justice Department, not the judicial branch of government.



Treasury Department Imposes New Sanctions on Russia in Response to Hacking

The sanctions target five Russian companies and three individuals, some of whom are accused of directly supporting Russia's intelligence agency in its efforts to carry out cyberattacks. The sanctions were in response to "malign and destabilizing" activities in Ukraine, intrusions into America's energy grid, and efforts to compromise global digital infrastructure. There have also been Russian efforts to track underwater communications cables that transmit much of the world's data.


China Matches U.S. Tariffs as Trade War Escalates

The United States moved ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. China's response was swift and focused on $50 billion worth of American goods including beef, poultry, tobacco, and cars.


Supreme Court Upholds Purge of Ohio Voting Rolls

The Supreme Court sided with the Republican position in the partisan battle of how far states can go in imposing voting restrictions. Republicans argue that restrictions are needed to combat alleged widespread voter fraud.

Federal laws prohibit states from removing voters from state rolls due to failures to vote, but they do allow election officials who suspect that a voter has moved to send a confirmation notice. Ohio has been more aggressive than any other state in purging its voter rolls as it begins the process based on someone's failure to vote in a single federal election cycle. If a voter fails to respond to a notice and does not vote in the next four years, that voter's name is purged from the rolls.

Justice Alito recognized that federal law forbids the use of nonvoting as the sole criterion for removing a registrant, but distinguished Ohio's practice from that. Justice Breyer wrote that the goal of ensuring accuracy of voting rolls did not justify erecting obstacles to prevent eligible people from casting ballots.



Supreme Court Strikes Down Minnesota's Voter Clothing Law

The law prohibits voters from wearing clothing, hats, and buttons expressing political views at polling places on election days. The law bans even general political messages, like support for gun rights or labor unions, as well as materials "designed to influence or impact voting." The Court acknowledged the value of decorum and solemn deliberation as voters prepare to cast their ballots. Chief Justice Roberts even cited with approval more focused laws aimed at limiting classic electioneering. However, this law was too broad, violating the free speech clause of the First Amendment.


Judge in Emoluments Case Questions Defense of Trump's Hotel Profits

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, argue that Trump's profits from his D.C. hotel violate anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution that restrict government-bestowed financial benefits. The issue of what constitutes an illegal emolument has never been litigated. The Justice Department contends that the framers meant only to bar federal officials from providing a service to a foreign government and receiving compensation in return. In this case, foreign diplomats allow Trump to profit financially, but there is "no allegation that in exchange, [Trump] took some official action."

Justice Messitte repeatedly challenged that interpretation, asking whether the framers meant merely to rule out outright bribery or to ward off situations that could give rise to corruption as well. He will decide by the end of July whether to allow the plaintiffs to proceed, at which point they could demand financial records from the hotel or other evidence from the president.


Lawyer for Ex-FBI Deputy Director McCabe Sues the Government for Allegedly Withholding Documents Related to McCabe's Firing

The lawsuit alleges that the Justice Department, the FBI, and its inspector general refused to turn over documents related to McCabe's disciplinary process. The plaintiff is demanding the information under the Freedom of Information Act, arguing that the documents could help build a larger case against the Justice Department for wrongful termination and due process violations. McCabe was dismissed in March only hours before his planned retirement over his "lack of candor" about his interactions with a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2016.


Aides Say That Scott Pruitt Enlisted Staff Members to Help with Personal Matters and Obtain Favors for His Family

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt is in the news again, following reports that he used his office and connections in the energy industry to curry personal favors. Aides say that they were asked to approach donors for assistance in finding his wife a job and help his daughter obtain a summer internship at the White House. According to his former aides, there was an expectation that they would help boost his and his family's standing, while constantly fielding requests that had nothing to do with running the EPA.


Report Criticizes James Comey and Other FBI Employees But Finds no Political Bias in FBI Decision on Clinton

The Justice Department's inspector general issued a report that was unsparingly critical of former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey for breaking with longstanding policy and publicly discussing the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. The inspector general did not, however, challenge the conclusion that Clinton should not be prosecuted. Investigators uncovered no proof that political opinions at the FBI influenced the outcome of the presidential campaign.


Michael Cohen Calls for an End to the "Media Circus" and Seeks Gag Order on Michael Avenatti, Stephanie Clifford's Lawyer

Cohen filed a motion in Federal District Court in Los Angeles requesting a restraining order against Avenatti, barring him from publicly discussing his breach-of-contract lawsuit he had filed against Cohen and Trump for breaking the nondisclosure deal with Clifford. Cohen claims that Avenatti's publicity tour and denigrating comments about him are contrary to the California Rules of Professional Conduct and likely to result in Cohen being deprived of his right to a fair trial.


Paul Manafort is Sent to Jail to Await Trial Following New Obstruction Charges

A federal judge revoked Manafort's bail and sent him to jail, citing new charges that he had tried to influence the testimony of two government witnesses after having been granted a temporary release. Manafort had posted a $10 million bond and was under house arrest while awaiting his September trial on charges that include money laundering and making false statements.


Steve King's Inflammatory Behavior and Racially Charged Language is Met with Silence from G.O.P.

The House Republican leadership kept silent this week after Rep. Steve King, Republican of Iowa, retweeted a British white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer. King appears unapologetic in subsequent interviews, saying that his intention was to highlight an article warning about the dangers of immigration in Europe. There has been no statement from other Republicans in the Iowa congressional delegation. King has a history of racist comments during his eight terms in Congress.


New York State Sues Trump Foundation after Two-Year Investigation

The New York State Attorney General's Office is accusing the Trump Foundation and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing, and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign. It seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar President Trump and his three children from serving on nonprofit organizations.


New York Limits Damages Measures by "Avoided Costs"

New York's Court of Appeals has curtailed "avoided costs" damage claims brought in New York in particular causes of action, including claims for common law misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment claims. In its unfair competition analysis, the Court found that damages should be based on "the loss of plaintiff's commercial advantage, which may not correspond to what the defendant has wrongfully gained." However, the Court stopped short of saying that an avoided costs theory was never viable, especially in cases of unfair competition and misappropriation when there is a connection between the defendant's gain and the plaintiff's loss. How close a connection will be required remains to be seen.


Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down After the National Institutes of Health Concluded the Study Was Tainted by Ties to the Alcohol Industry

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave scientists $100 million to fund a global study on alcohol and cardiovascular health. The New York Times reported earlier this year that officials associated with the study had solicited that funding from alcohol manufacturers, a violation of federal policy. An advisory panel to the director of the NIH has now recommended that the trial be terminated altogether. Investigators found that there was frequent email correspondence among staff, outside scientists, and alcohol industry representatives, and that the interactions "appear to intentionally bias the framing of the scientific premise in a direction of showing a beneficial health effect of moderate alcohol consumption."



National Advisory Panel Report Says That Universities Fail to Stop Harassment

The report was issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, independent agencies that advise government and the public. It offered 15 recommendations, including that schools should overhaul their academic advising systems so that students and junior researchers are not dependent on a single senior researcher for advancement or grants. It also urged legislators to pass laws so that people can file harassment lawsuits directly against faculty and not just the university, so that employees who settle complaints cannot keep them confidential from prospective academic employers.


Group Suing Harvard Says Admission Officials Discriminated Against Asian-American Applicants by Rating Them Lower on Personality Traits

A lawsuit by Students for Fair Admissions alleges that Harvard ranked prospective Asian American students lower than other races on characteristics like personality, likability, and courage. The lawsuit accuses Harvard of "racial balancing" and keeping the Asian-American student rate low in favor of "less qualified" Latino, black, and white students. The group is led by conservative lawyer Edward Blum, who represented Abigail Fisher in her 2016 Supreme Court case alleging discrimination against white applicants at the University of Texas. Harvard warned that the analysis of over 160,000 records paints a dangerously inaccurate picture of its admissions process.


Apple Will Plug iPhone Port That Police Use to Crack Devices

Apple is closing the technological loophole that let authorities hack into iPhones. Whenever Apple refuses to help open locked iPhones, law enforcement usually turn to third parties for help. A software update will now disable the phone's charging and data port - the opening used to plug in headphones, power cables, and adapters, an hour after the phone is locked. Users can still charge the phone, but will need to enter their passwords to transfer data to or from the devices using the ports. This will hinder law enforcement who have used ports to connect phones to other devices running special software.


Leading Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Arrested in Iran

Nasrin Sotoudeh's activism has landed her in prison numerous times. Most recently, she defended women arrested for having taken off their compulsory head scarves during public protests. Last week she was taken from her home in Tehran and sent to the notorious Evin Prison. Iran hardliners have been empowered since the judiciary decided that only a pool of 20 pre-selected lawyers could represent accused in political cases. Sotoudeh was not among them.


Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Exiled in the United States Criticizes China's Coercion of Western Companies

Teng Biao, one of China's preeminent civil rights lawyers, is drawing attention to the behavior of Western companies trying to stay in China's good graces. He is outspoken about China's "influence operations", and how it coerces foreigners to bend to its point of view or to self-censor in return for favors or access to the Chinese consumer market. Companies like Marriott International and Gap Inc. recently apologized to the Chinese government for communications in which they identified Taiwan, among others, as separate territories, a violation of the Communist Party canon. Teng left China in 2012 after increasing harassment by Chinese authorities. In 2016, he clashed publicly with the American Bar Association (ABA) over its decision to rescind an offer to publish his book on the history of the lawyer-led rights movement in China. He accused the ABA of not wanting to jeopardize its operations in Beijing.


Below, for your convenience, are blurbs for Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Blue Man Group Will Pay More Than $3 Million to End Royalty Dispute

In his suit in 2016, Ian Pai sued Blue Man Group for $150 million in both punitive and compensatory damages. Pai had worked with the avant-garde performance ensemble in its early days, serving as its music director and helping to compose some of its music. After the group's success, Pai claimed that the payments he was receiving for his contributions of "musical compositions and creative work" were not up to what he deserved. The suit has now been settled for $3 million. While the specific figure or other terms of the agreement were not disclosed, a reference to the payout was included in a separate lawsuit filed by Blue Man Group against its insurance company.


Fyre Festival Organizer is Facing New Charges for Running a Ticket-Selling Scam While Out on Bail

Billy McFarland, the promoter of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, has now been charged with wire fraud and money laundering for running a company that sold fake tickets to exclusive events, like the Met Gala and Coachella. He defrauded about 15 customers out of $100,000. McFarland was out on bail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to defrauding investors and vendors of the Fyre festival.


Second Circuit Decision in Wilson v Dynatone Publishing Company

The Second Circuit ruled on a copyright suit brought by the writers of a 1970s song that was sampled in a Justin Timberlake hit. It found that the district court erred when it concluded the songwriters had given up their rights years ago and that the claims had been filed to late. The Court found that under section 304(a), the abandonment by the plaintiff of a claim of authorship in the initial term did not affect his claim of authorship for the renewal term. It also found that the defendant's registration of a renewal term copyright was not the repudiation required for the three year statute of limitations to accrue for a claim of authorship, reasoning that mere registration of a copyright did not put a reasonably diligent plaintiff on inquiry notice of the adverse claim of authorship.


Restraining Order Issued against Stan Lee's Supposed Guardian Who Has Been Accused of "Unduly Influencing" Him

A Los Angeles court issued a temporary restraining order against a man who claimed to be a caregiver for Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee. Police had charged the man with filing a false report in connection with Lee. The man had called 911, reporting unidentified people in the home, when police were actually conducting a welfare check on Lee and had refused him entry. According to his lawyers, Lee suffers from hearing, vision, and memory impairments, and was unable to "resist undue influence." At 95 and with an estate worth over $50 million, they say that he is vulnerable to financial predators.



Frieze Fair is Being Sued by Galleries for Failing to Manage Extreme Temperatures

Shane Campbell Gallery, one of the participants in Frieze New York, has sued the event organizer, asserting that the Frieze Fair was negligent in not preparing for the heat wave that caused extreme temperatures in the main tent structure of the art fair on Randalls Island in May. The gallery is seeking full reimbursement for all fees associated with participation. Frieze executives recently offered compensation to affected galleries equal to 10% of the cost of a booth, with a minimum of $1,000. The prices of booths vary, with emerging galleries paying around $8,000 for a spot.


New York Philharmonic is Revisiting its No-Pants Dress Code for Female Musicians

The New York Philharmonic is the only major American orchestra that does not allow its female players to wear pants for formal evening concerts; floor-length skirts or gowns are the only option. The orchestra's management is now discussing modernizing the dress code for women to allow for more options. The dress restrictions are both unfair and could hinder female musicians' abilities to play comfortably. Management is also re-examining its rule requiring men to wear white ties and tails, over worries that the old-fashioned formal wear can be off-putting to newcomers as it struggles to attract new audiences.


Italian Court Rules That Greek Statue in Los Angeles' Getty Villa Should Be Returned to Italy

The bronze "Statue of a Victorious Youth" has been part of an extended legal battle since the 1960s. The work was accidentally discovered in 1964 by an Italian fisherman in the Adriatic Sea. After the fisherman sold it, it was shipped out of the country and the Getty Trust purchased it in 1977 for $3.95 million from a German dealer. The legal conflict stems from a 1939 Italian law that says Italy owns any antiquity discovered on its territory and that any ancient work to be shipped out of the country requires a government export license. However, the Getty argues that the work's discovery in the sea puts it outside of Italy's jurisdiction. Italy's culture minister said the next step is to request that the U.S. government seize the statue, but there is still hope that the parties can come to an agreement on returning the item.


Rape Charges Filed Against Man at the Center of Scandal Tied to Nobel Literature Prize

A furor that has badly damaged the reputation of the Swedish Academy has culminated in charges of two counts of rape against Jean-Claude Arnault. Arnault was the head of a prominent cultural center that received financial support from the academy. A number of women accuse him of leveraging his position in the arts world to pressure women into sex, with some of the offenses allegedly taking place at academy-owned properties. After several high level resignations, the panel announced in May that it would not award a literature prize in 2018.


Canadian Court Orders Toronto Woman to Pay Musician Ex C$370,000 in Damages and Legal Fees for Sabotaging His Future at a Prestigious Music Program

Court records show that Eric Abramovitz's ex-girlfriend had intercepted his acceptance letter, impersonated him, and turned down the offer because she did not want him to leave Canada. He had been invited to study under Yehuda Gilad, a distinguished professor who only accepts one or two students a year. His students fill a large majority of North American orchestra positions. It was not until a second audition with the professor that the rejection came up and the story began to unravel. The award reflects the value of the lost scholarship and income, legal fees, and compensation for having a "dream snatched from him by a person he trusted."



St. Louis Rams Ordered to Pay Reggie Bush $12.5 Million for 2015 Injury

A jury has ordered the now-Los Angeles Rams to pay former National Football League (NFL) running back Reggie Bush around $12.5 million after finding the team 100% liable for an injury Bush suffered at the Rams' stadium in St. Louis in 2015. Bush ran out of bounds at the end of a play and slipped on a concrete surface between the outer perimeter of the field and the walls of the stadium seats. He suffered a torn meniscus that cost him his season.


The National Football League Players Association is Exploring Legal Action over New Anthem Policy

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has retained multiple law firms to research the options for fighting the NFL's new anthem policy. The policy mandates all players in the playing area to stand for the anthem. Players who protest the anthem are required to remain in the locker room. One potential challenge is a "non-injury grievance" under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, where the union could argue that the NFL failed to engage in good-faith bargaining before taking away a right the NFL had previously given to the players. The right to protest comes from a 2009 policy that required players to be on the sideline for the anthem, but made standing optional. The deadline for filing that grievance is in late July. Other legal challenges are possible, including an action premised on First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.


National Collegiate Athletic Association Settles First Concussion-Related Lawsuit to Reach Trial

Ploetz v. NCAA was the first of many concussion-related lawsuits by former college football players to reach trial. Greg Ploetz's wife sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for negligence and wrongful death, alleging that it did not do enough to protect Ploetz from the long-term effects of concussions while he played NCAA football. Lawyers argued that those effects ultimately contributed to his death. Ploetz was a former University of Texas defensive lineman who died in 2015 at the age of 66. After his death, researchers at Boston University concluded that he had a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which could only be diagnosed posthumously. NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement that "the NCAA does not admit liability as part of the settlement. [...] It is our hope that other plaintiffs' lawyers recognize this is one settlement in one case."



Italian Prosecutors Imply That Sexual Harassment Has Age Limit in a Case Against the Former Leader of the Italian Soccer Federation

Italian prosecutors have dropped a sexual harassment case against Carlo Tavecchio after concluding that the woman he allegedly groped was too old to be distressed by his advances. His accuser is 53-year-old Elisabetta Cortani, the president of the female division of the Lazio soccer club. Prosecutors wrote that harassment was "incompatible" with the accusation, because she was too old to have been intimidated by the accused, had reported it too late, and knew him too well. Italian law gives private citizens six months to report sexual harassment, and up to six years if they are harassed by a public official, which Cortani argues that her harasser was. She also had evidence of an encounter when Tavecchio unknowingly stopped a miniature camera she hung from her necklace while trying to grope, her but the device had continued to record his vulgar remarks.


Yankees Consider Buying Back the YES Network if Fox Sells Assets

The New York Yankees are considering buying back YES after ceding control of the regional sports network four years ago to Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc. That agreement included a clause that gives the team a buyback option in the event of sale. Comcast bid $65 billion for Fox's assets, including YES. Both Comcast and earlier bidder Disney have said that they would be willing to divest Fox's regional sports networks if it helps them win government approval for a Fox deal. YES is the most-watched regional sports network in the U.S. It was started in 2002 by the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.


U.S., Mexico, and Canada Win Joint Bid for 2026 World Cup, Beating Out Morocco in FIFA Vote

FIFA delegates in Moscow voted 134 to 65 to pick the North American bid over a rival pitch from Morocco. The U.S. previously hosted the tournament in 1994, while Mexico has held it twice, in 1970 and 1986. The bid proposed that the U.S. will host 60 matches, while Canada and Mexico will host 10 each.


Three Letters from President Trump Ease Fears about U.S. Playing World Cup Host

Officials who led the winning North American bid for the 2026 World Cup said that letters from President Trump reassured FIFA voters that the United States will allow entry to teams, officials, and fans from any country. Trump had provided U.S. Soccer officials with letters addressed to Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, soccer's global governing body. In effect, the letters assured officials voting on the event that the administration's hard-line stance on visas would not apply to the World Cup. A second Trump term would end in 2025, a fact the United Bid officials had pointed out to voters. However, U.S. soccer president Carlos Cordeiro maintains that the mere existence of the letters eased the minds of some. The White House began an interagency review to craft the letter, with Jared Kushner reportedly leveraging his relationship with the Saudi royal family to get it to publicly announce its support for the North American bid.


World Cup Underway in Russia as the Country Tries to Tame Xenophobic Behavior

Russia has launched an effort to curb xenophobia in anticipation of 500,000 soccer fans descending on the country for the World Cup. For instance, railroad employees working on special trains between host cities have had classes on smiling. In an effort to keep hooligans at bay, it has also instituted a system where ticket holders must get identification cards proving they have been vetted by security services. Fans implicated in things like racist chanting in the past have been denied them. However, some lawmakers continue to make eyebrow raising and downright offensive comments about foreigners, including warnings against sex with foreign men as a way to protect the family, saying that such liaisons often produce single-parent homes.


United States Olympic Committee Issues New Reporting Requirements for Governing Bodies Related to Sexual Abuse Cases

National governing bodies (NGBs) must now provide the United States Olympic Committee information for four new reporting requirements. Those include a list of all ongoing or unresolved investigations, grievances or complaints, as well as a list of suspended members, reason for suspension, and length (except those suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency). The move is meant to bring more accountability and uniformity to how NGBs handle sexual abuse cases.


Court Orders Records Unsealed in Penn State Administrators' Case Surrounding Sandusky Scandal

A Pennsylvania appeals court ordered the release of documents sealed in the criminal case against former Penn State administrators over their handling of child sex abuse complaints against assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The judges said that the basic information in many of the documents has previously been made public and should be released. The Associated Press had argued that the records were a matter of great public interest and the blanket sealing order was too broad and did not explain what documents had been denied and why.


New Jersey Legalizes Sports Betting in Time for World Cup

New Jersey governor Murphy signed the bill and gambling was set to start on Thursday to coincide with the start of the World Cup. The licensing process was being expedited to get betting operations up and running, including Monmouth Park, that helped lead the charge to make sports betting legal. The CEO of British bookmaker William Hill says the company is inundated by U.S. sports teams seeking sponsorship. Back in 2013, William Hill agreed to spend $1 million, an amount more than doubled by now, to build out a sports book at Monmouth Park Racetrack.



Boris Becker Claims Diplomatic Immunity in an Attempt to Thwart Ongoing Bankruptcy Proceedings

Lawyers for Becker told the High Court of Justice in London that British courts could not touch Becker because the Central African Republic named him as its attaché to the European Union for sports, culture, and humanitarian affairs. As a result, they argue that he cannot be made subject to any legal process without the express consent of that country; and legal claims can only be served on him through diplomatic channels. Becker won six Grand Slam singles titles. He was recently declared bankrupt over substantial long-standing debts.


Former French Open Finalist Sara Errani's Doping Suspension Increased to 10 Months

On appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport increased Errani's suspension to 10 months from the original two-month ban. The Italian tennis player tested positive for the banned substance letrozole in an out-of-competition drug test in February 2017. The court ruled that the letrozole came from medicine taken by Errani's mother "that found its way into the family meal prepared by the athlete`s mother and eaten by the entire family". However, the court said that Errani needed to be more careful and that her mother's fault "is imputed to her." The two-month suspension she has already served will count toward her new suspension.



The Battle for the Future of Media: Disney, Fox and Comcast

The $85.4 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal is likely the first in a series of mergers of news and entertainment companies built in the era of cable primacy as they try to compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Mergers will allow companies to compete for costlier rights to professional sports that some say have the potential to keep viewers from cutting the cord. All eyes are currently on the pending clash between Comcast and Disney as each seeks to own the bulk of 21st Century Fox. Last December, Disney struck a $52.4 billion all-stock deal to buy much of Fox's assets, but Comcast recently announced its own $65 billion all-cash offer for Fox.


Justice Department's Actions Back Trump's Anti-Press Rhetoric

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently briefed journalists about the government's policies on obtaining information from reporters. The Obama-era guidelines will remain in effect - reporters would be told in advance of any attempt to obtain their records and will be given a chance to negotiate the scope of the request or to challenge it in court. Twenty-four hours later, news surfaced that the Justice Department had seized years of phone and email records from a New York Times journalist, raising concerns that the Trump administration was adopting a highly aggressive approach. Prosecutors seized the records as part of an investigation into whether a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide had given classified materials to reporters. Jeff Sessions has also stated in the past that this administration would vastly expand leak-related prosecutions.


The New York Times is Reviewing Journalist's Work History and Potential Involvement in Leak Case

Washington-based reporter Ali Watkins's email and phone records were seized by prosecutors in a leak investigation case that implicated Senate Intelligence Committee aide James A. Wolfe, with whom Watkins had a personal relationship. Now the New York Times is reviewing Watkins's involvement in the case, including the nature of her relationship with Wolfe, and what she disclosed about it to her prior employers, Politico, BuzzFeed News and The Huffington Post, among others.


American Media Inc., Tabloid Giant and Trump Ally, Expands its Reach by Adding to its Celebrity-News Portfolio

American Media Inc., the country's largest tabloid publisher, acquired In Touch, Life & Style, and 11 other titles from Bauer Media, expanding a portfolio that already included The National Inquirer and Us Weekly. Its flagship, The National Enquirer, has devoted covers to Donald Trump, aggressively attacking his rivals, and making its first-ever presidential endorsement. The company has currently come under public and legal scrutiny after the Federal Election Commission started looking into whether it violated campaign finance laws when it bought the silence of a former Playboy Model who said she had an affair with Trump. Investigators with the Southern District of New York are also looking into that arrangement as part of their investigation into Michael Cohen.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Cartoonist Has Been Fired as Paper Shifts Right

Rob Rogers had been with the paper since 1993 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1999. Following the arrival of a new editorial team earlier this year, many of his cartoons were killed, and he was presented with a set of guidelines that included setting certain conditions on his work and an approval process for his cartoons. The editor says that he finds characterizations of him as "a right-wing yahoo" inaccurate, and that his goal is make sure the paper is "independent and thoughtful" in its approach, without any ideological intent.


Facebook Directs Congress Back to Terms of Service

Congress has released Facebook's follow-up responses to questions Mark Zuckerberg could not answer during his appearance before it in April. Much of the information, however, refers members of Congress back to the company's terms of service and community standards when addressing questions about its policies on user data, privacy, and security. Facebook also says that it is actively looking for other companies that might have improperly harvested people's personal data.


Ireland to Vote on Removing Blasphemy From the Constitution

Ireland's constitution can be amended only by a majority vote in a popular referendum. Irish citizens will vote in October on whether the blasphemy clause should be stripped from the constitution. There is also a corresponding law on the books, with a top fine of almost $30,000. As recently as last year, English actor Stephen Fry was reported to the Irish police for blasphemy after he made comments disparaging God in an interview on a religious affairs television program. Prosecutors declined to pursue the case, and government officials claim that they have written the law to be essentially unenforceable. Critics say that it still has a chilling effect, and news organizations are self-censoring to avoid the cost of a complaint.


June 22, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Local Governments May Collect Sales Tax From Internet Retailers

By Barry Skidelsky, Esq.*

On June 20, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court released an opinion of wide ranging importance not only to those who make retail sales over the Internet, but also to state and local governments who wish to impose related sales taxes. The opinion in South Dakota v. Wayfair is available at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/17-494_j4el.pdf.

This case overruled a well-known 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Quill v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298), which had held that the Constitution's Commerce Clause bars any state from collecting sales taxes from retailers who lack a brick-and-mortar presence in that state. In Wayfair, the court held that "the physical presence rule of Quill is unsound and incorrect."

Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy explained that when Quill was decided "the court could not have envisioned a world in which the world's largest retailer would be a remote seller." Think Amazon, and consider that less than 2% of Americans had internet access in 1992, as compared to about 89% today. Further, U.S. mail order sales in 1992 totaled approximately $180 billion, while e-commerce retail sales alone last year reached an estimated $453.5 billion.

Kennedy also said the rule in Quill had created an unfair system favoring online retailers, in effect serving as a judicially created tax shelter for sellers that decide to limit their physical presence -- which also caused local governments to lose up to a total of $33 billion a year in sales tax revenue. At issue in the Wayfair case was the constitutionality of a South Dakota law that requires out-of-state retailers to pay sales taxes, provided they make at least 200 sales or at least $100,000 in sales in that state.

A dissenting opinion in Wayfair written by Justice Roberts opposes discarding the physical presence rule, because the internet economy has grown up in reliance on it. Any change to rules with the potential to disrupt such a critical segment of the economy should be left to Congress, he said. Collecting taxes on all e-commerce sales "will likely prove baffling for many retailers."

Currently, more than 10,000 state and local jurisdictions collect sales taxes, each with differing rules and rates. "This is neither the first, nor the second, but the third time this court has been asked whether a state may obligate sellers with no physical presence within its borders to collect tax on sales to residents," Roberts wrote. "Whatever salience the adage 'third time's a charm' has in daily life, it is a poor guide to Supreme Court decision-making."

This decision should be of immediate concern to anyone (not just major players like Amazon) who makes or who contemplates making retail sales online or via mobile devices -- taking into account not only location of the seller, but also location of the seller's buyers, customers, fans or audience. The Wayfair decision is part of a broader and emerging trend to increasingly transpose a variety of laws and regulations from the analog or real world into today's digital ecosystem, affecting the sale of entertainment, arts, and sports related merchandise - and much more.

*Barry Skidelsky is Chair of the NYS Bar Association's Entertainment Arts and Sports Law (EASL) section, former Chair of its TV and Radio Committee, and former Chair of the NY chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association (whose members' practices in part involve work before the FCC in Washington DC). He also successfully served as an in-house General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for inter alia a publicly traded digital media company and a venture capital backed internet service provider, as well as a bankruptcy trustee (following nomination by a large financial institution he had consulted), and as a business broker. Barry provides diverse legal and consulting services to lawyers, other individuals, companies and local governments, offering particular value to those directly or indirectly involved with entertainment, media, technology and telecommunications. Contact Barry at bskidelsky@mindspring.com or 212-832-4800.

June 24, 2018

Week in Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

Republicans Join Democrats in Pushing Trump to Halt Family Separations

As the extent of the Trump administration's policy of separating children from parents at the border pending immigration proceedings, the outrage grew this week into a fever pitch. Mayors from cities around the country and First Lady Melania Trump visited the border, but Republicans joined Democrats in denouncing the policy and resulting in President Trump issuing an executive order stopping the practice. However, by the time the order was issued, thousands of children had already been separated and placed into facilities throughout the country stretching the capacity of those facilities to the point that the federal government has explored keeping children unused military bases.


Trump Administration Plans to Overhaul Government

The Trump administration has put forth a proposal to rehaul the structure of the federal government. It plans to merge the Department of Education and Department of Labor in an effort to consolidate workforce programs but may have a "profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans." The proposal is music to the ears of "small government" conservatives who resent the expansion of the federal government in the past several decades. President Trump, speaking to the media on Thursday, joked that the plan was "extraordinarily boring."


Supreme Court Widens Reach of Sales Tax for Online Retailers

The Supreme Court held this week that internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes even in states where those retailers do not have a physical presence. This decision is a victory for the brick-and-mortar businesses that have taken a hit in the Amazon era of retailing, and it is also a victory for states that claim to be missing out on billions of dollars in tax revenues. This decision is essentially a full reversal of the Court's previous decision in 1992 in the case Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which held that businesses could not collect sales tax unless there was a substantial connection to the state.


Securities and Exchange Commission Judges Were Appointed Unlawfully, Justices Rule

The Supreme Court held that administrative law judges working within the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were not properly appointed and were deciding cases without constitutional authorization. Staff members appointed the administrative law judges, and the Court held in a 7-to-2 decision that the judges must have been appointed by the five-member SEC for them to be lawfully deciding cases. This was true even though the decisions by the administrative law judges were reviewed by the SEC itself.


Supreme Court Rules on Digital Privacy

The Supreme Court has held that the government must have a warrant to collect location data from customers of cellphone companies. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority that there is no right for the state to have unrestricted access to the database of physical location information, which contain "deeply revealing" records for 400 million devices. There are a handful of exceptions to the rule, however, such as bomb threats or child abductions.


Supreme Court Avoids Answering Issue of Partisan Gerrymandering

The legislature in Wisconsin had its redistricting plan challenged, and the Supreme Court ruled on the challenge this week, declining to answer the issues of gerrymandering. In Justice Kennedy's concurring opinion in a similar case in 2004, he explained that there is no clear standard on how to deal with the issue of gerrymandering, and accordingly, the Court would not make any determination on the standard. In its decision this week, the Supreme Court continued to punt the issue, finding that it "is not responsible for vindicating generalized partisan preferences" and instead only decided the issue of standing.


New Charges in Huge C.I.A. Breach

A software engineer is at the center of a breach and has been accused of stealing classified information and government property, and then lying to the F.B.I. about the theft. If the allegations are true, it would be one of the worst losses of classified documents in the C.I.A.'s history, and there is the potential for the stolen information to be published, as it is suspected that the engineer, Joshua Schulte, provided the information to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization. His case is set to be prosecuted in New York, although the crimes are alleged to have occurred in Virginia, where the C.I.A. is based.


Trump Threatens Further Tariffs on Chinese and European Goods

President Trump has escalated the confrontation with China and Europe by threatening to impose tariffs on additional products worth hundreds of billions of dollars. It is a gamble by the White House, as China and Europe may retaliate by imposing additional tariffs on American goods and increasing the likelihood of a full-scale trade war, which may disrupt markets. Markets toward the end of the week dropped on the news of additional tariffs, and members of Congress raised concerns over the administration's stance, as those tariffs may affect agriculture and businesses in the middle of the country; a section that was crucial to Trump's victory in 2016.


Senate Votes to Reinstate Penalties on ZTE, Setting Up Clash with White House

A showdown between the Senate and President Trump looks likely on the issue of penalties against ZTE, a Chinese telecom company. President Trump agreed that it would allow ZTE to remain in business in exchange for paying a $1 billion fine after the company was found to violate American sanctions, but the Senate voted 85 to 10 to reinstate the penalties against ZTE partly because President Trump's decision would put national security at risk. The White House has announced that it will not allow the bill to become law.


Trump Administration Withdraws U.S. From U.N. Human Rights Council

This week, the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council, joining Iran, North Korea, and Eritrea as the only countries in the United Nations that refuse to participate in the Council's meetings and deliberations. Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, explained that the U.S. withdrew because of hostility toward Israel with the Council having passed five resolutions against it evidencing motivations "by political bias, not by human rights."


Disability Applications Plunge as Economy Strengthens

New evidence shows the strength of the current economy, as the number of Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits has dramatically dropped. The extent of the drop has caused the Social Security Administration to revise its forecast as to how long the program could be funded: from 2028 to 2032. While some say that this drop is attributable only to the strength of the economy, some scholars and advocates say that the Social Security Administration has made it more difficult to qualify for benefits.


Cohen Said to Hire Former Prosecutor as New Lawyer as Executive Subpoenaed

Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney and longtime fixer, has hired Guy Petrillo, an attorney that previously was senior in the federal prosecutors' office that has been investigating Cohen. The move is not uncommon, as it provides a defendant insight into how the case may be prosecuted and allow the defense to better formulate its strategy. However, prosecutors have tightened the pressure on the case, as they have subpoenaed the executive of The National Enquirer, David Pecker, who is expected to have knowledge about the money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. To the media, Pecker has denied any wrongdoing.


With Voting Deadlock, Few Signs of Legislative Action

The end of the legislative session has come for Albany, leaving much unresolved. The low-hanging fruit were thought to be reauthorization of speed safety cameras at New York City schools and extending some local governments' tax collection abilities, but the legislature showed it was not able to get the bills passed and on Governor Cuomo's desk. For that matter, while he expressed support for the speed cameras, he was remarkably quiet as the end of the session came as the gubernatorial primary comes in the next week.


Junot Diaz Cleared of Misconduct by M.I.T.

In May, writer Zinzi Clemmons accused Junot Diaz of "forcibly kissing her when she was a graduate student," causing Diaz to withdraw from public appearances and step down as the chairman of the Pulitzer Prize board. However, he remains part of M.I.T.'s faculty. The university concluded that there was no evidence of misconduct and thus no reason to restrict his role or stop him from teaching in the next academic year. Critics have called the decision a setback for the #MeToo movement that may discourage others from speaking out about sexual harassment.


Migrants Arrive in Spain After Being Shunned by Italy

Three ships containing approximately 600 migrants from Africa were shunned from Italy and Malta ended up in the port of Valencia, Spain. Italy's turning away of the migrants was part of the anti-immigration policies of Italy's new populist government, and the Spanish government agreed to hold the migrants for 45 days pending the review of the asylum cases.


Hopes for New Era of Malaysian Free Speech are High

In Malaysia, the ouster of former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his replacement, Mahathir Mohamad, has raised hopes that the country will be a bastion of civil rights in the area. One artist, Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, had nine sedition charges and was prohibited from leaving the country after he published cartoons targeting Malaysia's political elite, but he discovered that he is was free to travel. While there are laws that have been used to restrain criticism of the government or elite Malaysians, there are indications that Prime Minister Mohamad may lighten up the use of these laws (despite him having earned a reputation when he was Prime Minister between 1981 and 2003 for jailing his opponents and critics).


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


Video Game Addiction Tries to Move from Basement to Doctor's Office

The World Health Organization has announced that "gaming disorder" is a medical condition being added to the organization's International Classification of Diseases. This addition comes at a time when many are concerned about the harm that technology may bring, and video game developers have been known to study ways to keep gamers hooked on their newest releases so much so that some medical professions have found addictions to games as strong as a cocaine disorder.


Chris Hardwick's Show Yanked After Abuse Allegations

Chloe Dykstra, Chris Hardwick's ex-girlfriend, came forward with an essay detailing emotional and sexual abuse by Hardwick over a period of years. AMC has announced that Hardwick's show, set to air today for a second season, will not be aired after all until the allegations have been vetted. Dykstra detailed the trauma that he inflicted and disclosed that he created rules such as prohibiting drinking alcohol or her spending too much time with her friends. Then, after the couple split, Hardwick allegedly contacted companies with which she regularly worked and tried to get her fired. Dykstra said the effort was successful, as she has been effectively blacklisted. Regardless, Hardwick has denied the allegations against him.


ABC Plans a 'Roseanne' Spinoff Without Roseanne Barr

Less than a month after the network ABC canceled "Roseanne" because of Roseanne Barr's racist tweet, the network has announced that it will proceed with a spinoff series that does not include Barr. It is scheduled to be aired this fall on ABC under the name, "The Connors," with all of the cast members of the revival minus Barr, and is part of a gamble that ABC can still get significantly high ratings despite not having Barr on screen. Other shows, such as Netflix's "House of Cards," continued without key cast members, but the nature of Barr's tweet (which targeted former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett in a rambling racist and prejudiced way) may prove to be too much for the show to overcome.



Public Art Campaign Will Commission Political Billboards Across Country

The organization For Freedoms has announced that in the weeks leading up to this fall's midterm elections, its artists will display public artwork, such as billboards and lawn signs, in an effort to foster debate and political activism. The organization, originally founded as a super political action committee, has maintained its purpose of not being partisan but fostering political discourse in town halls and displays of artworks throughout the country.


Glasgow Artists Mourn After Fire Rips Through City's Creative Heart

The Glasgow School of Art has been at the center of Glasgow's creative scene for decades, but near the end of its restoration from a fire four years ago, the building caught fire again and was left nearly destroyed. The restoration that was underway had cost approximately $46 million, and there is now an investigation beginning into the cause of the fire. Some have compared the building's importance to that of the Chrysler Building to New York or the Eiffel Tower to Paris.


'Billy Elliot' Musical Branded Gay Propaganda in Hungary; Cancellations Follow

The musical "Billy Elliot" has had dozens of performances canceled by the Hungarian State Opera after a newspaper columnist accused the production of being "gay propaganda." The Hungarian pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idok has "accused the production of corrupting young people", in that it encourages young people to take a direction in life and that they "would have taken this direction on their own." The Opera released a statement: "Just because something that is an undeniable part of life appears onstage at the opera, it doesn't mean we are promoting it."


Mass Shooting at New Jersey Arts Festival Leaves 22 Injured and 1 Dead

A New Jersey art festival in Trenton was the site of a shooting that left 22 people injured and one dead. Authorities have disclosed that the shooting appeared to be gang-related and occurred after several physical altercations in and out of the festival venue. There were also warnings of the shooting on social media. Regardless, the arts festival's disruption was unfortunate, as it serves as a centerpiece to revitalizing the Trenton area, which has had issues with crime and poverty.



Mexico's World Cup Captain Is on a U.S. Blacklist

The United States Treasury Department has Rafael Marquez, a prominent member of the Mexican World Cup soccer team, on its blacklist. Marquez has been suspected of laundering money for drug cartels, and his presence on the blacklist has led to him being separated from the rest of the roster. He does not stay at lodgings with American connections and has agreed to not receive wages, as it could complicate the bank's business dealings.


Semenya Will Challenge Testosterone Rule in Court

South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya has filed a legal challenge in the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a rule (promulgated by the International Association of Athletics Federations, track's governing body) that "seeks to limit the permitted testosterone levels in female athletes in races over certain distances." She has called the rule "discriminatory, irrational, unjustifiable" and a violation of the rules of sport as the rule would force some portion of women to receive hormone treatment to lower their natural testosterone levels.


Argentina Player Banned for Match-Fixing

Nicolas Kicker, a top 100 tennis player, is suspended for six years and fined $25,000 for fixing two matches. Last month, he was removed from the French Open when an anti-corruption hearing officer found that he fixed two matches in 2015, and he has since been found to be guilty of failing to cooperate with the Tennis Integrity Unit's investigation.


U.S. Open Will Revamp Seeding to Account for Pregnancy Leaves

The United States Open has announced it will change the approach for seeding players that are coming back from pregnancy leaves as critics were outspoken given Serena Williams' seeding in the French Open last month. In effect, the policies as they stand served as a penalty for those coming back from pregnancy. The U.S. Open organization has not made any specific promises in terms of seeding for Serena Williams, but it is expected that the U.S. Open's decision may influence other major tournaments' approaches to seeding for players coming back from pregnancy leaves. The critics have characterized the current seeding process as the equivalent in the business world of a top executive taking pregnancy leave and returning to an entry level position in the company.



The Los Angeles Times Names Norman Pearlstine Top Editor

On his first day, the new owner of The Los Angeles Times announced that the top editor would be Norman Pearlstine, a former member of Time Inc., Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal. Pearlstine's move comes as a surprise to some, as he has spent a significant amount of time away from daily journalism, but he is expected to develop a team with new talent capable of reviving the flailing newspaper's fortunes.


'Disastrous' Copyright Bill Approved

The European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs has approved a measure that would make major changes to European copyright law and change the nature of the internet, according to experts. The measure would put the burden of reviewing all material users upload to the websites that host those users, and the measure would also create a "link tax" that would require "online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content." A non-profit in the U.S., Creative Commons, has called the measure a "dark day for the open web." The measure is set to be debated and voted on in July by the European Parliament.


June 25, 2018

New York Right of Publicity Bill Passage Drama Ends With No Action by State Senate

By Judy Bass
Chair, Right of Publicity Bill Subcommittee
Member, EASL Executive Committee

A controversial New York right of publicity bill came very close to being enacted by the New York State legislature last week. The New York State Assembly passed the bill (A. 8155-B) by a vote of 131-9 on Monday night, June 18, 2018. The question then was whether the New York State Senate would vote on the companion bill (S.5857-B) before the legislative session ended on Wednesday, June 20th. The Senate adjourned, however, at 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning without taking up the bill. The bills would have dramatically modified New York Civil Right Law, Sections 50 and 51, which currently provide only for a right of privacy under New York law, not a descendible right of publicity as has been enacted in certain other states.

SAG-AFTRA led the effort to enact the legislation. After passage of the bill by the New York State Assembly, SAG-AFTRA posted on its website a statement saying the following: "Today's historic vote supports an incredibly important 34-year campaign by the performance community giving families the right to prevent unwanted commercial exploitation of their deceased loved ones. A.8155-B better protects individuals from unwanted image and voice manipulation and unauthorized advertisements, while prohibiting deepfake pornography, and clarifying the digital replica rights of entertainers. The bill extends rights to survivors 40 years past death."

The SAG-AFTRA statement went on to say that the proposed bill protects performers while "maintaining the free speech rights afforded to the media and content creators." https://www.sagaftra.org/sag-aftra-statement-passing-new-york-assembly-bill-a8155-b.

A large contingent of the media community, however, strongly disagrees with that assessment. Statements in opposition to the Assembly and Senate bills were submitted by a wide range of organizations and companies, including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Getty Images, the New York State Broadcasters Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Digital Media Licensing Association, the Entertainment Software Association, the Media Coalition, Disney, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Viacom.

Professor Jennifer Rothman of Loyola Law School, an expert on the right of publicity, on her blog post opposing the amended version of the bill introduced in early June, strongly criticized the "ill-thought-out right of publicity bill" being pushed through the Assembly without allowing for hearings and public debate. She further stated that the bill "jeopardizes a vast array of creative works and biographical works" and grants a "windfall to heirs of dead celebrities without ever justifying why they should receive one at the expense of the public." She also called out the "estate tax danger that can force the commercialization of the dead against both their and their families' wishes", and that the bill "opens the doors of New York courts to all plaintiffs regardless of their domicile." She concluded by saying the following: "New York need not revise its current law which is working just fine. Nevertheless, if New York State wishes to extend postmortem protection and to address concerns over the use of digital avatars to replace actors, it should propose distinct, narrower, and more carefully drafted statutes to address these issues." https://www.rightofpublicityroadmap.com/news-commentary/new-york-right-publicity-bill-resurrected-again.

The New York State Bar Association Committee on Media Law, chaired by Sandra Baron, submitted a detailed report on the bill, including a history of the current right of privacy in New York. It noted that New York Civil Rights Law Sections 50 and 51, on the books since 1903, "have been strictly construed in New York, favoring the right to freely publish about persons based on State Constitutional and First Amendment principles and only restricting the publication in clear cases where the use of the personality's image or likeness is for purposes of advertising or trade." It urged the state legislature not to make wholesale changes to the law "without significant public input" and to amend the current law only "with careful weighing of the costs to this historical legal structure." The report was approved by New York State Bar Association and submitted to the New York State legislature last week. It is available here (Media Memo #3): https://www.nysba.org/CustomTemplates/SecondaryStandard.aspx?id=73536.

It is not known whether the bills will be re-introduced next fall. If so, we should urge our state legislators in both houses to conduct a more open and complete discussion of the issues and evaluation of the impact of the legislation, including public hearings, and to implement additional necessary changes before moving forward again on this controversial legislation.

Dan Ingram, RIP

By Barry Skidelsy
EASL Chair, former Co-Chair EASL TV & Radio Committee

Legendary New York radio disc jockey and Long Island native Dan Ingram died at the age of 83. When inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007, Dan was named "the best Top 40 DJ of all time." I -- and many other members of EASL, I suspect -- who remember listening to Dan during the W-A-Beatles-C heydays or during his later time on-air in NYC at WCBS-FM, do not dispute that honor and are saddened by his passing.

If you don't know about any of this (or even of you do), take a few minutes to check out this Newsday obit (https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/celebrities/dan-ingram-death-1.19424059), this post from the National Radio Hall of Fame (http://nationalradiohalloffame.com/dan_ingram.htm); and, this "scoped" behind-the-scenes air-check from 1992 while Dan was then on-air at WCBS-FM in New York City (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBr308F3lIA&feature=youtu.be).

Tight, baby, tight. Man, I miss those days. RIP Dan.

About June 2018

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

May 2018 is the previous archive.

July 2018 is the next archive.

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