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November 5, 2018

Week In Review

By Jana S. Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Supreme Court Reviews Google Class Action Settlement Over Privacy

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments whether it should allow or limit class-action settlements in which class members receive nothing, whereas their lawyers recover millions of dollars.



Dawn Spacecraft Goes Quiet After Over A Decade In Space

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft, in orbit around asteroid Ceres, lost its radio signal. Ceres is one of the two largest asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn was launched in 2007 and lasted two years longer than originally planned. Dawn is also notable for previously orbiting the asteroid Vesta and then leaving its orbit for Ceres.



A Lawsuit Over a Teapot-Dome-Era Tax Provision Possible In Continuing Fight for the Release of the President's Tax Returns

An obscure tax provision dating back to the time of Warren G. Harding's administration may be used to demand the President's tax returns from the Treasury Department. Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of Treasury, said that his team would analyze any demands for the President's returns and fulfill them if required by law, but some believe that a legal clash over any such request is likely.



Bankers Face Money Laundering Charges

Federal prosecutors announced bribery and money laundering charges against a second Goldman Sachs employee following the guilty plea from one former Goldman Sachs banker as part of the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of billions of dollars from a state-run investment fund in Malaysia. The money was used to buy a Picasso painting, diamond necklaces, and Birkin bags, as well as to pay for the Hollywood blockbuster "The Wolf of Wall Street".


Special Counsel Mueller Asks FBI To Investigate Emails Offering Women Money To Fabricate Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Him

Two women claim that they were offered compensation to fabricate sexual misconduct stories about Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller's office asked the FBI to investigate the claims.



U.S. and Great Britain Step Up Pressure For a Cease Fire In the Yemen War

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt, urged Saudi Arabia to cease hostilities in Yemen as criticism of Saudi Arabia has surged over its recent bombing campaign and the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi. Previous calls to cease fire have been unsuccessful.


Justice Department Indicts Chinese Intelligence Officers For Stealing Aerospace Secrets

In the indictment unveiled last Tuesday, the Justice Department accused two intelligence officers who worked in the Jiangsu Province office of the Ministry of State Security, China's primary intelligence-gathering agency, of working with hackers to steal turbofan technology used in American and European commercial airliners.


Pakistani Court Acquits Death Row Inmate In Blasphemy Case

Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman, who was on death row for eight years after an accusation of speaking against the Prophet Muhammad, was freed this week. Her arrest and conviction in 2009 rallied international condemnation of a law that has inspired violence and of lack of evidence against her. Her freedom may come at a cost, however, both for her and the three justices of Pakistan's Supreme Court that acquitted her, as protests erupted in several cities.


Below, for your browsing convenience, are summaries of news reports in categories divided into Entertainment, Art, Sports, and Media


GLAAD Finds That LGBTQ Representation On Television Has Improved

GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) found that the LGBTQ community was better represented on television in 2018. Men and women were equally represented among L.G.B.T.Q. characters on TV.



French Movie Director Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

Abdellatif Kechiche, well known for his film "Blue Is the Warmest Color", was accused by an unnamed actress of sexually abusing her. The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation.



Art and Cultural Heritage

Cleveland Orchestra's Concertmaster Fired As a Result of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

William Preucil, the Cleveland Orchestra's concertmaster, was fired when an investigation concluded that he had engaged in "actions ranging from serious sexual misconduct to sexually harassing behavior" with a number of women. He will also be replaced as the violinist on Suzuki Method instructional materials amid the resulting backlash from music teachers and parents of violin students.


The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Swap Directors

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) announced the appointment of Thomas P. Campbell, the former director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York, as its new director and chief executive. He will be replacing Max Hollein, the former FAMSF director who took over Campbell's job at the Met earlier this year.



Director of Contemporary Arts Museum In Houston Resigns

Contemporary Arts Museum In Houston director Bill Arning resigned last Wednesday after nearly 10 years at the institution's helm, citing lack of progress and need for director rotation.


Former Owner's Family and a German Art Dealer At An Impasse Over Art Stolen By the Nazis

The family of Paul Rosenberg, a Paris art dealer, was successful in recovering over 400 works the Nazis looted from him. Some artworks, however, elude recovery efforts due to unfavorable national laws. One example is a pastel portrait by Edgar Degas, "Portrait of Mlle. Gabrielle Diot", created in 1890. The family knows that a German dealer tried to sell it several times, although the present possessor of the artwork is unknown. The intervention of the German officials on the Rosenbergs' behalf to find out the possessor's identity has not been successful. German law experts comment that the country's law is not conducive to recovery of looted artwork; although the law states that a good faith purchaser cannot pass good title to a stolen work, theft claims must be made within 30 years. Furthermore, after 10 years, the law recognizes the possession rights of the current holders unless it can be shown they knew the work had been stolen when it was purchased. Meanwhile, selling the portrait is difficult because it is listed on several international databases of looted art.


Venice Museums Reopen After The Flood

After the worst flood in 10 years, with water rising more than five feet, Venice's museums reopened last week. Piazza San Marco, home to the Basilica di San Marco and Doge's Palace, was submerged during the flood. Early reports indicated that the cultural institutes suffered no damage. The Architecture Biennale reopened as well, its venues not affected by the flooding. The floods came less than a month after a UNESCO report warned that the city was at a severe risk due to climate change. Venice hopes to prevent future flooding by building underwater barriers that would be raised when tides reach a certain level, but the project is behind schedule by several years.



Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro May Thwart Rio Museum's Reconstruction Efforts

Brazil's Newly-Elected President wants to remove the country's Ministry of Culture, which may have an impact on rebuilding the National Museum. Meanwhile, UNESCO launched an emergency mission to help the Rio Museum assess the damage and rebuild its collection after the devastating fire this summer as the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the embassies of several countries pledge their support.



University of Maryland In Upheaval Following Death of Football Player

The University of Maryland's president announced his retirement, the football coach, DJ Durkin, was fired, and the chairman of the university's governing board resigned following the death of a 19-year-old football player Jordan McNair. McNair died from heatstroke after practice in the sweltering heat in May.




WNBA Players' Union Opts Out of Its Labor Deal

The WNBA players' union announced last Thursday that it would opt out of the league's collective bargaining agreement after the 2019 season, seeking higher pay and financial transparency. Players and WNBA have long been at odds over the league's pay scale and allegedly poor working conditions.


FIFA Acknowledges Hacking, Braces For Possible Scandal From Anticipated Leaks

FIFA revealed that its computer systems were hacked again this year and that it may have suffered a data breach. A prior hacking incident led to the publication of a list of failed drug tests by soccer players, among other revelations. The group Football Leaks reportedly originally obtained the documents.



U.S. Officials Take a Wait and See Approach In the Investigation Into the Killing of Saudi Writer

U.S. officials are waiting to see the results of a Saudi investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that the administration was "reviewing putting sanctions on the individuals . . . engaged in that murder."



Social Site Gab Did Nothing To Control Hate Speech By the Man Who Became the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter

Gab, an alternative social media website, welcomed all speech, no matter how offensive. After revelations that Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter who was indicted on 44 counts, aired his hatred on the platform, the company's web hosting provider, Joyent, the domain name provider, GoDaddy, and payment processing platforms Stripe, and PayPal either cancelled Gab's accounts or suspended service. Bowers entered a plea of not guilty to all 44 counts against him and requested a jury trial.





"Not O.K., Google", Say Company's Workers Worldwide As They Protest Its Handling of Harassment

About 20% of Google's employees staged walkouts in 50 cities after the New York Times reported that Google paid Android co-founder, Andy Rubin, $90,000,000 as part of the exit package after he was accused of sexual harassment. The protesters demanded change in how Google handles sexual harassment, including ending its use of private arbitration in such cases.




Following Journalist's Effective Exclusion, Hong Kong's Future As A Civil Rights Haven In Asia Is In Question

Hong Kong declined to renew the visa of a journalist for The Financial Times, Victor Mallet, after the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong decided in late July to invite a political activist to speak at its event and Beijing demanded that the club cancel the speech. These developments raise questions about the city's future as a haven for rule of law and civil rights in Asia.


Petra Laszlo, Camerawoman Filmed Kicking Refugees, Was Cleared

Hungary's highest court overturned the conviction of Petra Laszlo, who was convicted of disorderly conduct for kicking refugees fleeing the war in Syria. The court acknowledged that Laszlo's conduct was "morally deplorable and against the law," but found that she should have been charged with "disturbance" instead, a regulatory offense usually punished by a fine. The statute of limitations for the lesser charge has expired, however.


November 12, 2018

Center for Art Law Case Law Updates

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

Pumpkin Season. The Gulbenkian family, one of the biggest names in the art market, is currently being sued before the High Court in London over the claim that it received almost $1.4 million for a Yayoi Kusama sculpture that never materialized.


Sotheby's v. de Saint Donat-Pourrieres, No. 1:17-cv-00326 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 6, 2018). A NY federal judge ordered the seller of a painting of Saint Jerome that had been attributed to Parmigianino to refund Sotheby's after an expert report "conclusively" found that the painting was a "modern forgery." Decision available upon request.


DeLorean v. Delorean Motor Co. (TEXAS), No. 2:18-cv-08212 (D.N.J. 2018). A federal judge rejected John DeLorean Estate's claim for "Back to the Future" royalties, as it found that the estate for the automobile executive signed over the rights to the proceeds of the contract with Universal when it settled an earlier lawsuit.


Viktor v. Top Dawg Entertainment LLC, No. 1:18-cv-01554 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 24, 2018). A New York federal judge refused to give hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar a partial win against a visual artist's claims that the musician copied her artwork for the soundtrack of the movie "Black Panther". The case will move forward to discovery.


Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. et al., No. 3:18-cv-00966 (S.D.Ill. Oct. 24, 2018). The defendant, a videogame company, moved to dismiss the case brought by a tattoo artist against it, where the artist complains that her work, a tribal tattoo placed on the skin of WWE wrestler Randy Orton, was illegally reproduced in the videogame. This is not the first suit concerning athletes' tattoos reproduced in video-games.


Meaders v. Helwaser et al., No. 1:18-cv-05039 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 8, 2018). This ongoing case is awaiting response from the court on whether a standing stabile by Alexander Calder was lawfully sold to Helwaser Gallery in 2016. A relative of Phyliss P. Meaders was given the Calder as a gift and she argues that her partial ownership of the work entitles her to damages when it was sold by her bother Paul Mead III without her knowledge. Complaint and answer available upon request.

Artemus USA LLC v. Paul Kasmin Gallery, Inc., No. 156295/2018 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.). The Paul Kasmin Gallery is currently being sued by Artemus, a company that allows collectors, art dealers, and other professionals to leverage and monetize artworks through sale-leaseback arrangements and art-secured loans. Artemus alleges that the gallery backdated and falsified invoice in striking a 2016 deal to purchase the piece. Amended complaint available upon request.


Barnet v. Greek Ministry of Culture, No. 1:18-cv-04963 (S.D.N.Y. June 5, 2018). In the case brought by Sotheby's against Greece, the defendants are moving to dismiss. Sotheby's had removed a bronze horse from sale, after a letter from the Greek government castdoubts on its provenance. It is now suing Greece for interference without lawful justification and seeking declaratory relief to declare the respective rights of the parties regarding the Bronze Horse. Complaint and motion to dismiss available upon request.


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

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited By Elissa D. Hecker


America Votes in the Midterms

The Democrats secured the House of Representatives and the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate, but there were nuances and there remain elections to be called. In the Senate, Democrat incumbents Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp of Missouri and North Dakota, respectively were unsuccessful in their re-election bids. In Georgia and Florida, the races for governor are still too close to call, and recounts are underway in Florida as required by law in such a close election result. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was re-elected and a record 117 women won office. With the House of Representatives shifting to Democratic control, it is likely that Nancy Pelosi will take the gavel of the Speaker of the House, and it is also expected that Democrats will begin using their investigative powers, including the subpoena power, soon after being sworn in.







Jeff Sessions Forced Out and Acting Attorney General Has Baggage

The day after the midterm elections, President Trump forced Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. Then he appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, a move that some have called illegal and unconstitutional without the Senate's consent. Whitaker comes into the position with baggage: He was on the board of a Florida company that a federal judge shut down last year and fined nearly $26 million after the government accused the company of scamming customers. Whitaker has also publicly disputed the need for an investigation. Before Sessions was forced to resign, he signed a memorandum "sharply curtailing the use of so-called consent decrees" that are between the Justice Department and local governments and foster changes in law enforcement and related institutions. The decrees were used during the Obama administration to combat police abuses.





Trump Suspends Some Asylum Rights, Calling Illegal Immigration 'A Crisis'

President Trump issued a proclamation suspending asylum rights for all immigrants who attempt to enter the United States illegally, which officials said was a policy aimed to prevent several thousand migrants traveling north through Mexico in caravans from entering illegally and then applying for asylum. Within hours of the proclamation being issued, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit urging a federal judge in San Francisco to prohibit Trump from moving ahead with enforcing the proclamation, as it would be "in direct violation of Congress's clear command that manner of entry cannot constitute a categorical asylum bar."



Appeals Court Rules Against Trump on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Immigrant Policy

The 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked President Trump from immediately ending an Obama-era program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, calling the administration's move one based on a flawed legal theory. While the federal government argued that the program was unlawful in that Obama did not have the authority to adopt it, the 9th Circuit panel disagreed, finding that there was a long history of the federal government using its discretion to not enforce immigration law against certain categories of people stretching back to the Eisenhower administration. The matter may ultimately end up being decided in the Supreme Court.


Inside the Trump Administration's Fight to Add a Citizenship Question to Census

The Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has pushed to add a question to the 2020 census asking whether respondents were American citizens. Backlash began immediately: state attorneys general, cities, and advocacy groups filed lawsuits, and Ross has had to explain how the decision came about. Initially, he said the question was added solely due to a Justice Department request for data to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but it turned out that he requested the Justice Department to add the question. While he has not had to testify (because the Supreme Court blocked the testimony), a trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, which could decide not only the existence of the question but impact how political districts are remapped after the census carrying consequences to the House of Representatives and the Electoral College.


Kentuckian Felons Fight to Restore Right to Vote

Across the country, approximately 6.2 million citizens cannot vote or hold office because they have felonies on their record. Kentucky, Iowa, and Florida impose lifetime bans, and Kentucky has one in 10 of its adults with a felony record. Among African-Americans in Kentucky, one in four have a felony, which prevents them from voting for the rest of their lives and is the highest rate of black disenfranchisement. This situation is due to the "tough-on-crime ethos" of the 1980s and 1990s as it resulted in nonviolent violations such as low-volume drug sales and failure to pay spousal support being the sole cause for disenfranchisement. Efforts are underway in Kentucky and Florida to change the law and reverse the lifetime ban.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized

After taking a fall in her office, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized with three broken ribs. At 85 years old, she is the court's oldest member and "the linchpin of the four-member liberal minority" on the court. The next session of the Supreme Court begins on November 26th, and given her history of returning soon after injuries or illness, it would not be a surprise to see her hearing cases on the first day.



Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 Between Long Island City and Arlington

Amazon appears set to announce that it will establish a second headquarters in two location on the East Coast: Long Island City in Queens and Crystal City near Arlington, Virginia. The two locations will house a total of 50,000 employees. It is rumored that New York State has offered hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to the company.


Industries Turn Freedom of Information Act Requests on Their Critics

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and its analogs in states, have long been tools for individuals and companies to hold government institutions accountable. Recently however, they have become used as weapons "in legal and business disputes". For example, when a law professor at the University of California, Davis, criticized H&R Block and Intuit about their making a deal with the Internal Revenue Service for free tax filing services, the companies filed requests with the university. They sought the professor's communications about the companies resulting in dozens of hours and 1,189 pages of documents sent to the companies, and a clear message sent to the professor. The tactic has spread to other industries as well, including activists and industry groups, who have used the requests to undermine the work of researchers in controversial fields.


The Girl Scouts Sue the Boy Scouts

The Girl Scouts organization has sued the Boy Scouts organization for infringing its trademark, engaging in unfair competition, and causing "an extraordinary level of confusion among the public." The cause for the allegations was the Boy Scouts announcing that it will drop "boy" from its program name and welcome girls into the ranks of the organization. The Boy Scouts released a statement, which explained the changes as responding to requests by parents over many years and simply an expansion of programs accommodating girls that have existed within the organization since the 1970s.


Schneiderman Will Not Face Criminal Charges

Prosecutors have announced that they will not charge former New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman. The potential for charges emerged when Schneiderman resigned amidst accusations that he had assaulted four women. The district attorney in Nassau County said that the accusations were credible but that there were legal hurdles to bringing charges against Schneiderman, but the district attorney did not explain the nature of the hurdles other than that the statute of limitations had expired for some of the charges.


Ex-Guard at Nazi Camp Tried in German Juvenile Court

A former guard in Hitler's SS, Johann Rehbogen, is facing trial on charges of assisting in the murder of hundreds of the 60,000 people at the Stutthof concentration camp. The 94-year-old is being tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison, and he has been charged with knowing of various methods of killing prisoners and working to enable those methods of killing. The trial is expected to last for the next couple of months, and Rehbogen's attorneys indicate that their client will testify at some point.


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


Cox Cannot Relocate Impending Music Piracy Showdown

Several major labels, including Sony and Warner Bros. Records, have sued Cox Communications, accusing it of deliberately refusing to disconnect persistent music pirates. A federal judge has issued a decision refusing to transfer the case from the Eastern District of Virginia. The case will move forward on the allegations, which include Cox having devised a system that never permanently bars any users from using its internet service to illegally download music, even after hundreds of infringements.


Pharrell Williams Sends Trump Legal Threat Letter for Playing "Happy"

The artist Pharrell Williams has sent a cease and desist letter through his lawyer to President Trump for the latter's playing Williams' song "Happy" at a rally just hours after the shooting at a Jewish congregation in Pittsburgh. In the letter, Williams' attorney confirms that Williams did not provide Trump with permission to publicly perform or disseminate his music, including "Happy", and Trump's actions constitute copyright and trademark infringement.


Led Zeppelin Urges 9th Circuit to Undo "Stairway" Ruling

The band Led Zeppelin is pressing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to undo a ruling last month that revived a copyright lawsuit over the intro of its hit song "Stairway to Heaven". An earlier case ended in a favorable decision for the band at trial, but on appeal, the court determined that the judge during the trial gave misleading information to jurors.


9th Circuit Denies CBS Rehearing on Pre-1972 Songs

On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it will not reconsider its decision that remastered versions of old recordings are not entitled to new copyright protections, despite CBS's vigorous arguments. The trial court in the case had sided with CBS in holding that music owners could enjoy perpetual copyright because each remastered version of a song was independently copyrightable. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision and opened up remastered versions of songs to not be copyrightable despite arguments by CBS that the older recordings were almost invariably distributed in vinyl format and would currently be in a remastered format and eligible for copyright protection.


Cloud Lingers Over Jan Fabre's Show Amid Sexual Harassment Complaints

Former members of Jan Fabre's company have accused him of "demanding sex for solos, asking a dancer to masturbate in front of him, and generally running a performing arts company where 'humiliation is a daily bread.'" Activists have demanded that New York University do more to address the allegations of sexual harassment as the company continues to prepare performances there. The university has stipulated with Fabre that he would not appear publicly in conjunction with the show and offered refunds to all who wished them.



The Supreme Court Will Not Hear Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor Case

The United States Supreme Court disclosed that it will not hear a controversial case dealing with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) "safe harbor" clause. The clause provides a safe harbor to Internet Service Providers for unlicensed user uploaded content, and in this case, the adult film industry sought to bring the DMCA to be reviewed by the Supreme Court for the first time in its 20-year existence. The industry argued that the lower courts had scattered results on applying the safe harbor clause.


Judge Refuses to Let Notorious Media Foe Redact 'Copyright Troll' From Ruling

Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York has denied a request by attorney Richard Liebowitz to redact the phrase "copyright troll" from a ruling issued earlier this year. The ruling came after Liebowitz filed a lawsuit and then withdrew it for lack of proof of jurisdiction over the defendant. The defendant moved for attorneys' fees and costs, which Judge Cote denied, but she cautioned Liebowitz against filing any other actions in the Southern District of New York with a frivolous basis for jurisdiction. She then labeled him a copyright troll.


Robert Indiana Estate to Sell Art Valued at Up to $4 Million

Two major pieces of art from the collection of artist Robert Indiana are scheduled to be offered at auction in New York this month. The proceeds will help pay for Indiana's estate's mounting legal fees and repairs to his home. The works to be sold are by Ed Ruscha and Ellsworth Kelly and are expected to bring in around $4 million, according to Christie's. There have been significant legal fees resulting from his business agent accusing a caretaker and publisher of isolating Indiana and selling fake artworks attributed to the artist.


The Satanic Temple Sues Over Statue

The Satanic Temple (ST) has filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Netflix alleging that the new "Sabrina" series infringes a copyright protected goat-headed statue belonging to ST. The plaintiff is claiming damages of at least $50 million for each alleged infraction and an injunction barring the companies from distributing the series with the image of the statue. ST is based in Massachusetts and defines its mission to "reject tyrannical authority" and to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people." The statue it is seeking to protect was designed approximately five years ago and was going to be publicly displayed at the Oklahoma Capitol to counter a Ten Commandments statue that ultimately was outlawed from being displayed.


Jeff Koons Again An Infringer

A Jeff Koons work known as "Fait d'hiver" is a sculpture that bears a striking resemblance to a 1985 advertisement for French clothing brand Naf Naf. The creator of the advertisement, Franck Davidovici, sued Koons in 2015 and attempted to have the work seized. He was not successful in having the work seized, but the court has agreed that there was copyright infringement and awarded Davidovici $170,000.


Chicago Pulls Painting From Auction Following Criticism

Kerry James Marshall's "Knowledge and Wonder" was scheduled to be sold in Chicago at Christie's on November 15th for between $10 million and $15 million. The mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced that the city of Chicago would sell the work with proceeds going to upgrading the library. The artist criticized the move, and public arts advocates unleashed fierce criticism. The city has cancelled the auction.


China Grants Ivanka Trump Initial Approval for New Trademarks

Ivanka Trump has recently received 16 preliminary trademark approvals from the Chinese government, renewing questions about the Trump family's business commingling with President Trump's public office. The trademarked items included shoes, shirts, and sunglasses, which would appear to be related to her fashion brand that closed in July after Trump announced that she would focus exclusively on her role in the White House. Last year, President Trump had dozens of trademarks preliminarily approved after he told Chinese leader Xi Jinping that he would maintain the United States' policy toward Taiwan.


Shadow and Support of Government Follows Hungarian Opera

The Hungarian State Opera and National Ballet brought hundreds of members to New York for six productions, but their arrival was tainted by their government's right-wing Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Hungary's ambassador to the United Nations, Katalin Bogyay, greeted the audience during the opening series with an attack on the Hungarian president but expressed thanks to Orban for his support of the opera and ballet companies. The government's funding and support of the productions comes from Orban's view of the pieces as a "means to achieve prestige and assert national identity."


Neighbors Take Tate Modern to Court Over Privacy

The Tate Modern's Blavatnik Building opened in London in 2016 and has been popular with visitors. One of the enclosed walkways in the building, however, looks into private homes of residents in luxury apartments. In 2017, four residents sued the museum, and a court has begun to hear their case for "relentless" invasion of privacy by the gallery. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would require the gallery to restrict access or erect a screen.


Writer's Invitation is Pulled, Causing Concern For Hong Kong as a Refuge

Exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian was scheduled to speak at the Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts in Hong Kong, but the organization abruptly canceled the event and released a statement: "We do not want Tai Kwun to become a platform to promote the political interests of any individual." They are now seeking "a more suitable alternative venue," but some see the actions as just the latest troubling sign of eroding freedoms in the city. Jian is a well-known author and critic of the Chinese government who just released a book that has been called a "biting satire of totalitarianism that reveals what happens to a nation when it is blinded by materialism and governed by violence and lies."


Scientists Discover Oldest Figurative Painting in the World in Borneo Cave

For over 40,000 years, in a cave nestled in the jungles of Borneo has sat a work of art depicting a "thick-bodied, spindly-legged animal, drawn in reddish ocher." It has recently been discovered and is presently the oldest figurative art known in the world. The findings shows that ancient humans had made a creative transition to art, demonstrating a shift in how humans saw and thought about the world surrounding them. Until now, the oldest figurative artworks were approximately 40,000-year-old ivory figurines. A new dating method was used in determining the age of the cave art: whereas radiocarbon dating is the standard, it has its limits. In the cave, water trickles down and leaves a translucent "curtain of minerals called a flowstone," which contains uranium, an element that decays at a predictable rate into thorium. The method provided precision into dating the art and confirming it as the oldest in the world.



2nd Circuit Delivers Blow to National Football League and Associated Press in Copyright Spat

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the National Football League's (NFL) request to reconsider a decision to revive a copyright suit by photographers with the Associated Press (AP). The case was dismissed for failure to state a claim, but the Second Circuit revived the claims as the NFL has used photographs without licenses from the photographers or AP including, in some cases, on promotional materials.


Documents Discovered at USA Gymnastics Headquarters

USA Gymnastics officials, in the wake of leadership changes, have found a trove of documents that are "central to a sexual abuse investigation and long sought by investigators." The United States Olympic Committee has moved to seize control of the organization, as there is growing alarm about the management. The recently discovered documents are expected to show the extent of knowledge in the organization of the pervasive sexual abuse by team doctor Lawrence Nassar.


PSG Confirms That It Used Racial Profiling in Recruiting Players

At the pinnacle of French soccer, Paris St.-Germain recruits some of the best players in the world, and it has acknowledged that for the previous five years, its scouts have used racial profiling in recruiting. The announcement was made just as an investigative journalism outlet, Mediapart, was preparing a report on the profiling of several top European soccer clubs. In the case of PSG, recruiters evaluated physical and technical skills and then checked a box noting the players' "origin," and the club has announced that it is beginning an internal investigation into the profiling.


Maryland Fires Two Trainers Who Treated Jordan McNair Before His Death

Two University of Maryland athletic trainers have been terminated by the university after their tending to the football player who died of a heat stroke during spring practice. This is only the latest development relating to the player Jordan McNair's death in the spring: last week, the university president fired the head football coach and the board's chairman resigned. An outside medical report regarding McNair's death found that cold-water immersion was not conducted, and more than an hour elapsed before anyone called for emergency personnel.


Thousands of Greyhounds May Need Homes as Florida Bans Racing

Florida voters passed a measure that ended greyhound racing by the end of 2020, after years of efforts by animal activists calling for an end to the sport. The greyhounds were said to be mistreated and subjected to harsh living conditions. Track owners and trainers argued that no such harsh conditions existed, but Florida voters still backed the measure with 69% of the vote. Regardless, there are thousands of greyhounds in Florida, and while many may become pets, it is expected that many will go race somewhere else.


National Hockey League (NHL) Concussion Lawsuit Reportedly Near Settlement

The lawsuit involving more than 100 former players suing the National Hockey League (NHL) with claims of negligence in dealing with head injuries appears to be near settlement totaling $18.9 million. The settlement would compensate each player approximately $22,000 each if the reported terms are consummated. The lawsuit has been pending since 2013, and in July 2018, the judge denied class-action certification for the players, prompting settlement negotiations between the parties. The substance of the allegations is similar to those NFL players have made: the league knew the danger of the conditions and concealed those dangers, which include concussions and the brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.



Facebook and Google to Drop Forced Arbitration in Harassment Cases

Facebook has announced that it will no longer force employees to settle sexual harassment claims in private arbitration just one day after Google announced similar plans. Approximately a year ago, Microsoft made a similar move, and Uber followed suit six months later. The use of arbitration clauses in contracts is pervasive as corporations strive to keep disputes, particularly inflammatory ones, away from public scrutiny.



Booksellers Protest Amazon's Move to Drop Stores From Certain Countries And Win

Amazon's subsidiary bookstore, AbeBooks, announced that it would drop all sellers from several nations, including South Korea, Hungary, and Russia. Within hours, hundreds of antiquarian book dealers in over two dozen countries removed their books from the website. The acrimony shows the power of Amazon but also the increasing attention that Amazon receives. The company's statement chalked up the scaling back to it no longer being viable "to operate in these countries due to increasing costs and complexities." It then changed its policy in light of the protest.



Media Giants Stop Running Trump Caravan Ad Criticized as Racist

Facebook, NBC, CNN, and Fox News refused to air one of President Trump's political ads characterizing the caravan of asylum seekers in Mexico as the ad came under fire for being a racist and misleading spot. Trump claimed to not know of the ad but said to reporters, "We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective, based on the numbers that we're seeing." Some saw its prohibition as getting it a larger audience simply because of the controversy. In the days leading up to the midterms, the ad was "spreading like wildfire - for free" on the internet as networks refused to air it.


Sean Hannity Erased a Line by Taking the Stage with Trump

Sean Hannity, a prime-time star on Fox News, posted on Twitter that he would not be on the stage campaigning with President Trump. Hours later, he was on stage campaigning with President Trump in Missouri. Trump welcomed Hannity onto the stage as someone who was "with us since the beginning" and pointed toward reporters in the back calling out, "By the way, all those people in the back are fake news." Hannity's decision to join a subject of news coverage on stage complicates the relationship between the news network and Trump's presidency.


Twitter Said It Was Ready for the Midterms, but Rogue Accounts Weren't Letting Up

Despite Twitter having a team dedicated to rooting out suspicious activity and working with the Department of Homeland Security, it still was not enough to stop false content from being spread on the site. Last week, researchers found that Twitter had 5% more false content than during the 2016 presidential election. While the correlation between false information on social media and the ballot box is difficult, if not impossible to discern, there remain significant numbers of accounts that are posing as state Republican officials and spreading false information to unknowing followers.


Russian Trolls Were at It Again Before Midterms, Facebook Says

Facebook announced that in the days leading up to the midterm elections, it blocked more than 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts for being linked to the Internet Research Agency, an arm of the Russian government that has had more than a dozen members indicted for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The agency has used social media platforms to spread false or misleading information in an effort to influence voters and election results.


Trump Administration Uses Misleading Video to Justify Barring CNN's Jim Acosta and Warns of More Retaliation to Reporters Who Don't Show 'Respect'

The Trump administration's attacks on the media continue. Jim Acosta, a CNN journalist, attempted to ask a question of President Trump at a press conference when a White House intern tried to take his microphone away from him and causing "brief, benign contact" between the two. He said, "Pardon me, ma'am." Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted a 15-second video clip that had been edited to zoom in and repeat several frames, having the effect of exaggerating the contact between the two. The White House has removed Acosta's credentials for "placing his hands on a young woman," and President Trump has warned other journalists: "You have to treat the presidency with respect."



World Leaders Echoing Trump's Words and Policies

From Nigeria to Syria to Brazil to Turkey and Europe more broadly, world leaders have adopted many of President Trump's techniques in dealing with the media and events in their countries. In Nigeria, for example, the army has justified deadly shootings on protesters when Trump said that if migrants threw rocks at members of the military, the military should consider those rocks to be rifles. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has said, "We are living in a fake-news era," after his government has been under attack for gassing its own citizens amidst a civil war.



Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar

While Facebook touts itself as a tool for bringing people together in an effort to make the world a better place, it has acknowledged that the site was used to "foment division and incite offline violence" in Myanmar. While its top-level management agrees the site "can and should do more" to prevent violence as a result of use of the site, human rights activists and analysts do not see the site making an earnest effort to do so. In Myanmar, the violence resulted in not just political and social divisions but ultimately ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority.


Husband of Freed Pakistani Christian Woman Pleads for Asylum

From Pakistan comes a plea from a husband of a Christian woman who was acquitted after spending eight years on death row facing blasphemy charges. The plea from Ashiq Masih is to President Trump for refuge given the danger to the family's lives. The Islamist party in Pakistan blocked major roads in the country's big cities for three days and called for the Supreme Court judges that acquitted Asia Bibi to be killed. The blasphemy charges stem from accusations that Bibi made derogatory remarks about Islam when "neighbors objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim."


November 19, 2018

Week In Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

Trump Hopes to Ease Sentencing Laws

President Trump supported a substantial revision of the nation's prison and sentencing laws, potentially opening a path to enacting the most significant changes to the criminal justice system in a generation. The bipartisan legislative package would begin to unwind some of the tough-on-crime federal policies of the 1980s and 1990s.



U.S., Others Decline to Sign Cyberattack Declaration

The United States and many other countries declined to sign a vaguely worded, non-binding declaration to protect civilians against cyberattacks and discourage digital meddling in elections. The agreement was championed by France's Macron.


Satellite Images Reveal Hidden North Korea Bases

Commercial satellite images appear to show more than a dozen undeclared North Korean missile operating bases. The network of undeclared sites has long been known to American intelligence agencies, but has not been publicly acknowledged.


Democrats Vow To Block Whitaker From Russia Inquiry Interference

Top congressional Democrats demanded that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation, and vowed to use their newfound powers as the incoming House majority to block him from interfering with it.


Supreme Court Asked to Decide Legality of Whitaker Pick

The Supreme Court was asked on to decide whether President Trump lawfully appointed Matthew Whitaker to be acting attorney general. The
request came in the unusual context of a pending Second Amendment challenge to a federal law banning gun ownership by people convicted of felonies.


Dead, Missing Continue to Rise in California Wildfires

At least 80 people were killed and hundreds are still missing in one of the deadliest and destructive fires in California history. Nearly 12,000 homes and buildings have burned. Californians are also dealing with air quality issues.



Sinema Wins Open Senate Seat in Arizona

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema defeated Republican Martha McSally to win an open Arizona Senate seat. She is the first Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Arizona since 1988.


Amazon Picks New York, Virginia for New Headquarters

New York City and Northern Virginia will be the homes for Amazon's second and third headquarters. The company plans to spend $5 billion on the two new developments in Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia, and will receive more than $2 billion in tax credits and incentives.


Judge Scraps NYC Housing Settlement

Federal judge William H. Pauley III rejected a settlement agreement that would have appointed a monitor to oversee the New York City Housing Authority and required the City to pump at least $1.2 billion into repairs, suggesting that the federal government should take over the authority instead. Judge Pauley deplored the "breathtaking scope" of the squalid living conditions in NYC's public housing complexes and rebuked it for its mismanagement of the agency.


McCarthy Selected to Lead Republicans in House

Rep. Kevin McCarthy was elected House minority leader replacing Paul Ryan who is set to retire at the end of his term.


No Copyrighting Taste, EU Rules

An EU court ruled that taste cannot be copyrighted. In its ruling, which pitted two similarly tasting cheese spreads against each other, the court noted that "the taste of a food product will be identified essentially on the basis of taste sensations and experiences, which are subjective and variable. They depend on, amongst other things, factors particular to the person tasting the product concerned, such as age, food preferences and consumption habits, as well as on the environment or context in which the product is consumed."


Prime Minister May Gets Backing for Brexit Plan

U.K. Prime Minister won backing for her Brexit plan and solidified support in her cabinet after reaching a tentative agreement with the EU over the U.K.'s exit from the union.


2 Khmer Rouge Leaders Convicted of Genocide

An international criminal tribunal convicted Nuon Chea, 92, and Khieu Samphan, 87, two former Khmer Rouge leaders, of genocide. The two defendants are among the last surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The regime decimated Cambodia from 1975-1979 in an effort to recreate a utopian agrarian society. An estimated 1.7 million people--or more than 20% of the population--died.


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


Another Lawsuit Against Harvey Weinstein

Actress Paz de la Huerta filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein accusing him of raping her in 2010 and trying to harm her career. The
lawsuit alleges that Weinstein raped de la Huerta twice in New York in December 2010, taunting her with phone calls between the two assaults. The New York Police Department said a year ago that it was investigating de la Huerta's allegations, but no charges have been filed.


Weinstein Police Commander Reassigned

The police commander who led the effort to arrest Harvey Weinstein was removed as the chief of New York City's special victims division. Deputy Chief Michael Osgood will take on a leadership role in Staten Island. Deputy Chief Judith Harrison takes over the special victims division. The case has been marred by allegations that a top detective had compromised it.



Diaz Stays on Pulitzer Board After Investigation Into Misconduct

Author Junot Díaz will stay on the Pulitzer Board after an investigation by a law firm "did not find evidence warranting removal." Diaz was accused by Los Angeles-based author and writer in residence at Occidental College Zinzi Clemmons of forcibly kissing her when she was a 26-year old graduate student. The investigation interviewed dozens of witnesses and looked at hundreds of pages of documents as well as audiotapes.


Artist Claims Man Extorted Him

Artist Ross Bleckner accused a man who worked for him of attempting to extort him. The man, Cody Gilman, allegedly threatened to portray their consensual sexual relationship as a case of sexual harassment.


Exiled Writer Appears at Hong Kong Literary Festival

Writer Ma Jian made an appearances at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival after his appearance had previously been canceled in what many saw as censorship. Ma's books have been banned in mainland China since 1987 and his new book, "China Dream", is a political allegory of the country's modern self. Ma, a British citizen, lives in exile in London.


Netherlands Renew Efforts to Identify WWII Stolen Art

During World War II, the Nazis set up an art clearing house in the Netherlands to sell the artworks it looted, mostly from its Jewish victims. Now the Netherlands is renewing efforts to identify those works. Researchers have so far discovered 172 artworks in Dutch museums with problematic histories.



U.S.A Gymnastics History of Failing Athletes

U.S.A. Gymnastics, the national governing body of the sport, has for years failed to protect its athletes and the leadership continues to let down its members. Damaged by its failure to protect its female athletes against Dr. Larry Nassar, the governing body then gave a powerful position to a defender of Nassar. The organization later appointed Mary Bono, a former congreswoman, as its chief executive, despite Bono's connections to a law firm that advised the organization to delay publicly revealing the reports of Nassar's abuse. U.S.A. Gymnastics' longtime chief operating officer Ron Galimore resigned as well.



National Hockey League, Players Reach Concussion Settlement

The National Hockey League (NHL) and 300 retired players reached a tentative $18.9 million settlement agreement after the players sued the NHL and accused it of failing to protect them from head injuries or warning them of the risks involved with playing.


Calgary Says No To Winter Games

A majority of Calgarians votes against the city bidding for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games. The non-binding vote most still be supported by the city council, who most likely kill the city's bid.



Facebook Failed to Monitor Its Partners

Facebook failed to closely monitor device makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of people. Details of those oversight practices were revealed in a letter Facebook sent to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. Facebook entered into dozens of data-sharing agreements with device makers but an external audit found "limited evidence" that the company monitored or checked the partner's compliance with its data use policies.


Judge Orders White House to Give Back Press Pass

CNN's Jim Acosta was given his White House press pass back after a court granted him a temporary restraining order. President Trump vowed to create "rules and regulations" for how White House reporters act and will strip the press pass from any reporter who fails to follow the rules.


U.S. Changes Stance on Assange

Reversing an Obama era view that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was a "journalist," the Trump administration now views Assange as a Russian agent and have been investigating his ties to Russia. This has culminated in the secret filing of charges in a federal court this summer.


Audio of Khashoggi Killing Given to U.S.

Turkey said that it gave the U.S. a recording of the last moments of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's life, as he was being killed inside the Saudi Consulate. The audio was also shared with Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and Germany. The CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of Khashoggi, despite the government's denials.



November 26, 2018

Week In Review

By Leslie Berman
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Despite Evidence on Khashoggi, Trump Sticks With the Crown Prince. Why?

Evidence pointing to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto leader of the Saudi kingdom, implicates him in the brutal killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, President Trump refuses to concede any possibility that the Prince was involved in the crime. Trump who once condemned Saudi leaders for perpetrating "the worst cover-up in history" has now praised Saudi Arabia as a "truly spectacular ally" even after the CIA concluded that the Prince ordered the murder.


In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing

President Trump defied the nation's intelligence agencies and a growing body of evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman authorized the killing of Washington Post journalist and Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi, to declare his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia, asserting that the Crown Prince's culpability for the killing of Khashoggi might never be known. The President's statement: "It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event -- maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" appeared calculated to end the debate over the American response to the killing of Khashoggi. "We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," Mr. Trump added. "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."


Trump Says No Penalty for Saudi Prince for Khashoggi Murder

Although he condemned the brutal slaying of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as a "horrible crime ... that our country does not condone," President Trump declared he would not further punish Saudi Arabia for the journalist's murder in an exclamation-filled statement that the benefits of good relations with the kingdom outweigh the possibility its crown prince ordered the killing. In making that statement, he rejected calls by many in Congress, including members of his own party, for a tougher response, and dismissed reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that the Crown Prince must have at least known about such an audacious and intricate plot.


Trump's Criticism of Architect of Bin Laden Raid Draws Fire

President Trump labelled the non-partisan Admiral William H. Mr. McRaven a "Hillary Clinton fan," impugning the highly regarded former Navy SEAL who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, thus raising the ire of Nicholas J. Rasmussen, a top counterterrorism official in the George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, who called the President's remarks wrong on every level.


Chief Justice Defends Judicial Independence After Trump Attacks 'Obama Judge'

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. defended the independence and integrity of the federal judiciary, rebuking President Trump for calling a judge who had ruled against his administration's asylum policy "an Obama judge." "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Justice Roberts said in a statement. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."


Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Proclamation Targeting Some Asylum Seekers

Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the United States. The temporary restraining order blocks the government from carrying out a new rule that denies protections to people who enter the country illegally. The order, which suspends the rule until the case is decided by the court, applies nationally: "Whatever the scope of the president's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden."


The Price Tag of Migrant Family Separation: $80 million and Rising

The federal government has already spent $80 million to care for and reunite migrant children who were separated from their parents by immigration authorities, and the cost continues to grow months after the policy ended because more than 140 children are still in custody. The cost comes to about $30,000 per child. That data was handed over by the Health and Human Services Department to members of Congress. "That is outrageous," said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that pays for the shelter program that houses the separated children.


Interpol Rejects Russian as President, Electing South Korean Instead

Interpol elected a South Korean police veteran as its next president, in the face of pressure from Western diplomats who said choosing a Russian candidate who had been considered the front-runner could jeopardize the independence of the world's largest international policing organization. South Korean Kim Jong-yang was elected by secret ballot at Interpol's annual conference in Dubai, where its top official downplayed the controversy surrounding the vote and offered assurances that the agency would remain independent. "No matter what the nationality of the president is, it is not affecting Interpol's neutrality and the independence of our organization."


Representative Mia Love, Once a Republican Star, Loses Re-election in Utah

Ben McAdams, the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, unseated Representative Mia Love, the first and only black Republican woman in Congress, whose bid for re-election in Utah failed by a narrow margin. After two drawn-out weeks of vote counting, McAdams won by about 700 votes, a feat that many viewed as unlikely in the Fourth District which has fewer than 15% registered Democrats.


Rick Scott Wins Florida Senate Recount as Bill Nelson Concedes

Republican Governor Rick Scott became Florida's next senator after a 12-day recount showed his Democratic opponent, Senator Bill Nelson, trailing by 10,033 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast, and leading Nelson to conceded the election.


Will Hurd Wins Re-election to Texas Congressional Seat

Gina Ortiz-Jones, the former Air Force intelligence officer and Democratic challenger, failed to unseat Representative Will Hurd, a two-term Republican congressman for the 23rd District in Texas's border region. Ortiz-Jones conceded the race, ending a nearly two-week dispute over the counting of provisional and other ballots in the tight race. Only 1,150 votes separating the two candidates, according to state elections officials.


Democratic Senators Challenge Whitaker Appointment in Court

Three Democratic senators - Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island - who sit on the Judiciary Committee, which conducts confirmation hearings for attorney general nominees, asked a Federal District Court judge to issue an injunction barring Matthew G. Whitaker from exercising the powers of head of the Justice Department. They argued that an official who had not been confirmed by the Senate could not run the Justice Department, even temporarily.


Amazon, Apple, and Facebook Once Led the Market. Now They Are Driving It Down.

Slowing growth, a trade war with China, and revelations about privacy lapses, security issues, and mismanagement have eroded investors faith in the tech sector, and helped drive the stock market down. Apple's stock was worth more than $1 trillion at the start of November but has dropped to $880 billion. Apple is just one of the tech giants who seemed invincible, but whose stocks are down between 10 and 20% since the market peaked. This could affect the remainder of the market, because the sheer size of the tech giants can push markets up or down in their wake.


Why Big Law Is Taking On Trump Over Immigration

About 75 corporate lawyers at Paul Weiss, a prestigious Manhattan law firm, have been trying to find more than 400 parents separated from their families at the southern border who were deported without their children. Paul Weiss is looking for these parents, pro bono, as part of a federal American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Trump administration over its family separation policy.


City's Watchdog Claims Intimidation. Mayor's Response: 'Delusions of Grandeur.'

A small power struggle between officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and New York City's investigations commissioner over a little-known office that handled inquiries into the school system has ballooned into a public relations crisis for the mayor, exposing him to lurid allegations that he or his administration had tried to cover up embarrassing inquiries, accused the commissioner of being disloyal and ultimately dismissed him in the interest of damage control.


New York State's Lawsuit Against Trump Foundation Can Proceed, Judge Rules

Justice Saliann Scarpulla ruled that New York State courts do have jurisdiction over President Trump and the Trump Foundation, and that a lawsuit by the Attorney General alleging misused charitable assets, self-dealing, and campaign finance violations during the 2016 presidential campaign could proceed.


U.S.-China Clash at Asian Summit Was Over More Than Words

At a major international gathering in Papua New Guinea, Chinese officials barged uninvited into the office of the New Guinean foreign minister, demanding changes in the official statement that was to be one of agreement and cooperation, marking a striking break with diplomatic decorum among countries that ring the Pacific Ocean. The dispute meant that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, forum attended by Vice President Mike Pence and China's leader, Xi Jinping, failed to issue a joint document for the first time since 1989.


'Like a Terror Movie': How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters

Global warming involving so many types of phenomena, is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time. A paper published in a respected academic journal shows the effects of climate change across a broad spectrum of problems, including heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, droughts, and shortages of clean water. Such problems are already coming in combination, as has been seen recently in Florida and California.


U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy

If significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the consequences of climate change damage will knock as much as 10% off the American economy by century's end. The report from 13 federal agencies, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump's agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth. In direct language, the assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health, and environment.


Democrats to Investigate Ivanka Trump's Private Email Use for Work

A Congressional committee will investigate Ivanka Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and a White House adviser, following reports that she repeatedly used a personal email account for government work. A White House review of Ivanka Trump's email found that she used her personal account up to 100 times last year to contact other Trump administration officials. Use of a personal account for government business potentially violates a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.


Federal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge

Judge Bernard Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan considering the first legal challenge to a 1996 statute criminalizing and outlawing female genital mutilation - an ancient practice that 200 women and girls around the world have undergone - found the law unconstitutional, greatly diminishing the chances of it being used by federal prosecutors around the country. Judge Friedman ruled that Congress did not have the authority to pass the law.


Trump Wanted to Order Justice Department to Prosecute Comey and Clinton

President Trump told Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey. McGahn told the president that he had no authority to order a prosecution which could prompt accusations of abuse of power. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.


Below are stories this week regarding Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and the Media:


Satanic Temple Settles Lawsuit Over Goat-Headed Statue in 'Sabrina'

The Satanic Temple announced a settlement in its federal lawsuit alleging copyright infringement and injury to the temple's reputation, accusing Warner Bros. and Netflix of copying the temple's goat-headed statue in their new "Sabrina" series. The temple will be acknowledged in the credits for episodes of "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" that have already been filmed. The rest of the settlement, including any possible financial details, is confidential, according to the temple's lawyer.


Rapper 6ix9ine Was Part of a Violent Street Gang, Prosecutors Say

The Brooklyn-based rapper and Instagram star known as 6ix9ine was part of a violent gang that sold drugs, robbed rivals, and shot at people who crossed them, according to a federal indictment. The rapper, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez, was charged along with five other men, some of whom were once part of his management team, including Kifano Jordan, known as Shottie. Hernandez and Jordan were part of a gang known as the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, who committed a series of violent crimes and drug-trafficking offenses, including attempted murder and armed robbery. Gang members robbed a man at gunpoint in Times Square in April, in an attack that prosecutors said was directed, and filmed, by
Hernandez himself.


Taylor Swift Announces New Record Deal With Universal Music

The pop star Taylor Swift became a free agent and after more than 12 years, six albums, and 10 Grammy Awards as the star of the Nashville-based Big Machine Records, has signed a multi-year, multi-album deal with Universal Music Group's Republic Records. As part of the deal, Swift will own her master recordings moving forward, and if the company sells any of its equity in the streaming service Spotify, which went public earlier this year, the money would be distributed to artists. "It's really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry," Swift said.


Jamaica Seeks to Add Reggae to a Unesco Cultural Heritage List

Jamaica has applied to put reggae on the Unesco list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. The musical style, which gave a voice to the oppressed and the hopeful, was born in Jamaica. Unesco will announce its decision whether or not to add reggae to its list this week.



How to Crush an Outlaw Biker Club: Seize Its ... Logo?

After a decade of trying to take down the Mongols, a biker group federal law enforcement authorities consider one of the most dangerous criminal enterprises in the country, they have failed to seize control of the Mongols' trademarked logo, a drawing of a brawny Genghis Khan-like figure sporting a queue and sunglasses, riding a chopper while brandishing a sword. Now, in a racketeering trial underway in Orange County, California, federal prosecutors believe they have a good chance to take the Mongols' intellectual property under asset forfeiture law, which allows the seizure of goods used in the commission of crimes.


Rich, Ancient City Is Unearthed in Greece

Archaeologists exploring Tenea, which is thought to have been founded by the Trojans, have discovered tombs, coins, and urns, among other items, in and around the site. An archaeological team working under Dr. Elena Korka, director of the Office for Supervision of Antiquaries and Private Archaeological Collections in Greece's Ministry of Culture, has found the ancient city of Tenea, allegedly built by the Trojans after the end of the Trojan War. In an area of 733 yards the team found a dense, organized residential space of marble, stone and clay floors in good condition. The discovery of the tombs of two babies, and a storage space with amphoras (tall jugs), indicated that this was a city, as babies were only buried in residential areas, and not in graveyards outside cities.


A Stolen Picasso Buried in the Woods? Not So Fast

Six years after thieves made off with seven celebrated works of art from a Dutch museum, a Dutch-Romanian author who wrote a book about the theft said she received an anonymous tip that one of the stolen paintings, a Picasso, was buried under a rock in Romania. The author, Mira Feticu, a Dutch-Romanian based in the Netherlands, informed the Dutch police about the letter she received on November 6th, pointing to the location of Picasso's "Tête d'Arlequin" ("Harlequin Head"). She said then when she did not hear back from the letter writer, she and a colleague flew to Romania to find out if the letter's claim was genuine.


Suit Accuses Dutch Museums of Holding On to Nazi-Tainted Art

Dutch art dealers Benjamin and Nathan Katz sold art they owned, including works by Rembrandt and Jan Steen, to Nazi officials throughout World War II, in one case in exchange for exit visas that enabled 25 Jewish relatives to escape the German-occupied Netherlands. Three generations of Katzes have fought for decades to regain possession of scores of works transferred during the war, which they claim were sold under duress. They say more than 140 of the works are held by the Dutch government to whom the Allies returned them after seizing them back from the Nazis. Now an American heir of Benjamin Katz has brought the dispute to the U.S. court system with a lawsuit that demands the Dutch government and museums return 143 works.


A Popular Sight at Tate Modern: The Neighbors' Apartments

Tate Modern's viewing terrace is about 60 feet away from its nearest neighbor, and museum-goers can often see into the apartments across the way. The terrace offers one of London's best views, taking in St. Paul's Cathedral; the Leadenhall Building, a skyscraper known for its distinctive appearance as the Cheesegrater; the Houses of Parliament; and a swath of South London.


Museums in France Should Return African Treasures, Report Says

The Quai Branly Museum in Paris has some 70,000 objects from sub-Saharan Africa in its collection, including statues from present-day Benin and delicate paintings that once decorated church walls in Ethiopia, but those treasures may be returned to their countries of origin, following publication of an academic report proposing restitution of pieces of African cultural heritage. The report was ordered by French President Macron. The academics, Bénédicte Savoy of France and Felwine Sarr of Senegal, recommend that objects that were removed and sent to mainland France without the consent of their countries of origin be permanently returned -- if the country of origin asks for them. This restitution should be part of a collaborative process of information gathering, research, scientific exchange, and training in the next five years.



Vijay Singh and PGA Tour Settle Suit Over Deer Antler Spray

Vijay Singh was about to turn 50 when he said in a Sports Illustrated article at the start of 2013 that he used deer antler spray, which was said to include an insulin-growth factor that was on the PGA tour's list of banned substances. Singh has finally settled his lawsuit against the PGA over how it investigated his use of the spray, ending more than five years of litigation less than a week before the case was to go to trial in New York. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and are covered by a confidentiality agreement.


U.S.A. Gymnastics Won't Willingly Give Up Status as a Governing Body

The United States Olympic Committee says that U.S.A. Gymnastics will face a hearing that could lead to the organization's demise after it decided against surrendering its status as the sport's national governing body. The Olympic committee filed a complaint seeking to remove U.S.A. Gymnastics' recognition as a national body after the sexual abuse of hundreds of female athletes by Lawrence G. Nassar, a former national team doctor.


Boxing Federation Controversy Puts Sport At Risk in the Next Olympics

The International Olympic Committee is moving toward expelling boxing's international federation, a step that could imperil one of the main events of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The boxing federation, which is known by the acronym A.I.B.A., has been the subject of controversy for years, including a financial scandal that pushed the group to the brink of bankruptcy. The latest blow was struck by the election of "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals" as the new president, replacing C.K. Wu, who was forced out in the financial crisis.



CNN's Jim Acosta Has Press Pass Restored by White House

The Trump administration ended its nearly two-week-long dispute over the removal of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's White House press credentials, formally restoring the journalist's badge. CNN in turn dropped its lawsuit. The administration used the occasion to set rules governing reporters' behavior at future White House news conferences, restricting the reporters to one question each with follow-ups at the discretion of the president or the White House official at the lectern. "Failure to abide," the administration warned, "may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist's hard pass."


On Thanksgiving Eve, Facebook Acknowledges Details of Times Investigation

On Thanksgiving eve, when it could be expected that traffic on the social media site would be relatively slow, Facebook took responsibility for hiring a Washington-based lobbying company, Definers Public Affairs, that pushed negative stories about Facebook's critics, including the philanthropist George Soros. Facebook's communications and policy chief, Elliot Schrage, said that he was responsible for hiring the group, and had done so to help protect the company's image and conduct research about high-profile individuals who spoke critically about the company.


The Website That Shows How a Free Press Can Die

Hungary's leading news website, Origo, was once an independent news outlet, exposing corruption among the country's leaders. Today it is a willing supporter of the prime minister, attacking migrants and George Soros and pouncing on the prime minister's political opponents. The about face of Origo is a cautionary tale for an age in which democratic norms and freedom of expression are being challenged globally.


In China, Dolce & Gabbana Draws Fire and Accusations of Racism on Social Media

Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian luxury brand, abruptly canceled a Shanghai fashion show it had been planning to hold as waves of online Chinese users accused Stefano Gabbana, one of the two designers of the fashion line, of being racist. They pointed to private Instagram messages from Mr. Gabbana's account that the recipient posted publicly. Zhang Ziyi, the Chinese actress best known in the West for the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," took the brand to task online. Two dozen models said they would pull out of the show. Dolce & Gabbana said its account and the account of Mr. Gabbana had been hacked and disavowed the messages.


About November 2018

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

October 2018 is the previous archive.

December 2018 is the next archive.

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