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December 2018 Archives

December 3, 2018

A Warning About Derivative Rights and Digital Media

By Barry Skidelsky, Esq, EASL Chair

In one of the first nationally prominent lawsuits concerning podcasts, some of the world's leading record labels and music publishers recently sued the owner of pokernews.com for willful copyright infringement due to unauthorized use of music in the defendant's poker related podcasts. Additional causes of action were stated for unfair competition under state and common law.

The case serves as a wake-up call to all future and current owners of podcasts, apps, websites, and streaming services to realize that most digital media are "derivative works" involving multiple original works and underlying rights which must be "cleared" upfront. Failure to do so increases risks and costs.

In UMG v. iBus Media (case no. 2:18-cv-9709, U.S. District Court, Central District of California), the Complaint filed on November 16, 2018 (https://torrentfreak.com/images/rl-pokernews.pdf) alleges that (although discovery and further investigation may raise the numbers) 46 copyrighted songs were unlawfully used in more than 253 podcasts.

Examples listed include "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf, "White Wedding" by Billy Idol, "Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City" by Bobby Bland, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police, "Pennies From Heaven" by Frank Sinatra, "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks, "Money Maker" by Ludacris, "I Can" by Nas, and "Touch The Sky" by Kanye West. Kudos to you if you know all of those songs, as you obviously have eclectic tastes!

The Complaint seeks statutory damages (estimated to be nearly $7 Million, based on a maximum of $150,000 for each of the 46 infringed works), punitive damages, temporary and permanent injunctions, counsel fees, and other relief. Whether or not pokernews.com will ante up or fold as a result of this hand it has been dealt remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, if you would like to learn more about derivative rights, including practical pointers about the business and law relevant to adaptations of original works and underlying rights, please register and attend EASL's Annual Meeting (Tuesday, January 15, 2019) at the NYC Hilton, which will be followed by an off-site joint networking reception with NYSBA's IP section.

As always, registration and other info is available at www.nysba.org/easl. I look forward to seeing you soon. Happy holidays to one and all!

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Barry Skidelsky (EASL's Chair) has experience as a musician, broadcaster, bankruptcy trustee, FCC trustee, arbitrator, and General Counsel of inter alia a publicly traded digital media/advertising technology company. With interests and expertise in media, entertainment, communications and technology, Barry provides diverse legal representation, counsel, co-counsel, consulting and related services.

Week In Review

By Jana S. Farmer
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

President George H. W. Bush Dies At 94

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, passed away on Friday at age 94. In his later years, he took good-will trips around the globe to raise funds for victims of the 2004 tsunami and of Hurricane Katrina. He was the second U.S. president after John Adams to be a father of another U.S. president, George W. Bush.

http://www.nytimes.com/images/2018/12/02/nytfrontpage/scan.pdf

Touch Down On Mars

NASA's InSight lander has safely descended to Mars after a six-month journey. The spacecraft will now begin its study of the Martian underworld, to help would help scientists understand how Mars and other rocky planets formed.

www.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/space-exploration/mars-exploration-article/

www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/science/nasa-insight-mars-landing.html

US And China Call A Truce In Trade War

During the Group of 20 meeting, Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping struck a handshake deal that the U.S. will hold off new tariffs in exchange for China's pledge to purchase more American products.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/01/world/trump-xi-g20-merkel.html

New Emails Reveal That Federal Trade Commission Lawyer Was Surprised Last Year by Matthew Whitaker's Appointment As Chief Of Staff To Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Emails released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests for documents about Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) fraud investigation of World Patent Marketing, a Miami company, reveal that the FTC's lawyers expressed surprise over Whitaker's Justice Department appointment, considering that he was on the advisory board of the company under investigation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/us/politics/matthew-whitaker-ftc-world-patent-marketing.html

Office Of Special Counsel Relaxes Warning Over Speech To Federal Employees

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent governmental agency, enforces the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity for or against partisan election campaigns while at work. Last week, the Office issued a guidance to over two million federal employees, cautioning against discussions of impeachment and resistance. This week, following criticism from legal specialists that such guidance went too far, it issued a clarification that casual discussion of impeachment remained acceptable as long as the federal employee does not advocate support or opposition to presidential candidates.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/us/politics/federal-employees-trump-impeachment-resist.html

Floyd Mayweather And DJ Khaled Are Fined In Crackdown On Cryptocurrencies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer and rapper Khaled Khaled, known as DJ Khaled, will have to refund all money they received for promoting new digital tokens by the start-up Centra Tech and pay fines. This announcement came amid SEC increasing scrutiny of behavior in the virtual currency industry.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/technology/floyd-mayweather-dj-khaled-sec-fine-initial-coin-offering.html

New Jersey Ties Legalizing Marijuana With Debate On Race And Criminal Justice Fairness

As the New Jersey Legislature considers whether to legalize recreational marijuana, it is also weighing a companion measure to clear the criminal records of many people with drug offenses. The debate is turning into a discussion about fairness in the criminal justice system and the role of race in drug convictions over the decades.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/nyregion/legalization-marijuana-new-jersey.html

European Union And United Kingdom Agree On Brexit Terms

The other 27 European Union members approved the terms of Britain's formal exit from the bloc, and it is now up to the British Parliament to ratify the deal before beginning months of negotiations on trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, and other areas.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/world/europe/brexit-uk-eu-agreement.html

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

Entertainment

Jay-Z Wins A Diversity Victory In The Midst Of A Legal Battle

Jay-Z and his new clothing brand, Roc Nation, are embroiled in a legal dispute with Iconix, a brand management company, over alleged violation of the 2007 sale agreement of Jay-Z's former clothing brand, Rocawear. Last week, Jay-Z won a court battle to suspend arbitration proceedings on the grounds that there were not enough African-American arbitrators eligible to hear the case.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/arts/music/jay-z-roc-nation-arbitrators.html

Weinstein Pushes For Dismissal Of Manhattan Case

Harvey Weinstein's legal team filed another motion in State Supreme Court, New York County, seeking to dismiss the indictment against him on the grounds that Weinstein's accuser's friend, who was allegedly asked to back up the rape allegation, informed the police that she was never told of any assault or rape. Weinstein's lawyers say that prosecutors did not share this evidence until now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-case.html

Neil deGrasse Tyson Embroiled In #MeToo Allegations

The renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was accused of sexual misconduct by three women. In a lengthy Facebook post, he denied the allegations of inappropriate behavior. Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, which air the science program "Cosmos", and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where Dr. Tyson directs the Hayden Planetarium, are investigating the accusations.

https://deadline.com/2018/12/neil-degrasse-tyson-sexual-misconduct-accusations-below-metoo-timesup-harassment-1202512371/

Art and Cultural Heritage

Collector Wins Damages In A Fake Art Case

A jury in Federal District Court in Concord, New Hampshire awarded $465,000 to Andrew J. Hall, a Wall Street titan and a prolific art collector, against Lorettann Gascard, a former college professor, and her son Nikolas Gascard, for selling him 24 fake paintings, allegedly by the modern artist Leon Golub. The artist's foundation had no record of the subject paintings in its database and found a number of discrepancies with the artist's style during in-person examinations of the paintings. At trial, Jon Bird, a Golub expert and a professor emeritus at Middlesex University in London, testified that the works sold to Hall demonstrated clear differences with Golub's style. It did not help the defendants' case when Nikolas Gascard admitted in a deposition to making up titles and dates for some of the paintings.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/arts/design/andrew-hall-fake-golub.html

Five Countries Slow To Address Nazi-Looted Art, Per US Expert

Speaking last week at a major Berlin conference commemorating the 20th anniversary of Washington Conference Principles (Principles) on Nazi-Confiscated Art, Stuart E. Eizenstat, an adviser to the State Department, criticized Russia, Italy, Spain, Poland, and Hungary for refusing to carry out the Principles. The Principles were endorsed by representatives of 44 countries, with the goal to complete the restitution by the end of the century. Twenty years later, there is still plenty of work to be done. Eizenstadt, however, described the current state of affairs as a glass "slightly more than half full."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/arts/design/five-countries-slow-to-address-nazi-looted-art-us-expert-says.html

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/restitution-of-nazi-looted-art-a-work-in-progress

African Officials Comment On France's Looted Art Report; Macron Calls For Conference

Last week, France issued a report, commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron, recommending that all objects removed without consent from Africa and sent to France be permanently returned if the countries of origin asked for them. Senegal's culture minister, Abdou Latif Coulibaly, was the first to respond, calling for the return of all Senegalese artwork held in French museums and institutions. Ivory Coast drew up a list of about 100 masterpieces that it wanted to have returned. France holds at least 90,000 sub-Saharan artifacts, of which 70,000 are in the Quai Branly Museum. French President Emmanuel Macron called for a Euro-African conference on the return of African artifacts to be held in Paris by next April.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/arts/design/africa-macron-report-restitution.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/arts/design/france-museums-africa-savoy-sarr-report.html?module=inline

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/french-president-emmanuel-macron-calls-for-international-conference-on-the-return-of-african-artefacts

The Whitney Museum Of Art's Staff Call For Resignation Of Board Vice Chair Whose Companies Produce Tear Gas

Staff at the Whitney Museum of American Art sent a letter to museum leadership, calling for resignation of the museum's board vice chair, Warren B. Kanders. Kanders reportedly owns the companies that produce the tear gas that was used against migrants attempting to enter the country last week.

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/whitney-tear-gas-board-chair-silence-1407232

The Great Pompeii Project Uncovers Another Extraordinary Fresco

Archaeologists uncovered an amazingly well preserved fresco depicting the mythological scene of Leda and the swan as part of the large-scale intervention to excavate and secure more than two miles of earth that border an unexcavated area of the ancient city of Pompeii, which have suffered structural damage due to heavy rains in recent years. This is only the latest among the discoveries made by the Great Pompeii Project this year. Last month, an elaborate shrine was uncovered in Pompeii, which was also well preserved despite the centuries of being buried under volcanic ash.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/world/europe/pompeii-fresco-leda-swan-zeus.html

https://www.history.com/news/pompeii-shrine-discovery

Sports

49ers Release Reuben Foster After Second Domestic Violence Arrest; Redskins Pick Him Up

The San Francisco 49ers announced that the team has released linebacker Reuben Foster following his second arrest a charge of misdemeanor domestic violence. The team previously made it clear that it would have a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence. The Washington Redskins claimed the player off waivers and the coach, Jay Gruden, defended Foster, citing his youth. Foster, who remains on the commissioner's exempt list, will play only if he is cleared.

https://deadspin.com/49ers-release-reuben-foster-hours-after-second-domestic-1830639914

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/sports/reuben-foster-released-49ers.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/redskins/2018/11/28/reuben-foster-washington-redskins-domestic-violence-arrest/2142859002/

Major League Baseball Asks Senator Hyde-Smith To Return Donation

Major League Baseball (MLB), which previously donated $5,000 to the campaign of Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, asked her to return the donation after her comments invoking public hangings made the news. The MLB has several initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in its sport.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/sports/baseball/mlb-cindy-hyde-smith.html

Todd Ewen Joins A Growing List Of Former National Hockey League Players With Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Posthumous analysis of Todd Ewen's brain tissue reportedly confirmed, years after Ewen's suicide, that he did have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological disease. The new findings have been said to raise questions about how his symptoms, including brain lesions, were not recognized as telltale signs of the disease.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/sports/hockey/todd-ewen-cte-hockey.html

Chiefs Let Kareem Hunt Go After Video Showing Him Attacking A Woman

The Kansas City Chiefs' running back, Kareem Hunt, was cut by the Chiefs and suspended by the National Football League in response to the release of a video that showed Hunt knocking down and kicking a woman.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/sports/kareem-hunt-chiefs-video.html

MLB Embraces Gambling After Years Of Being Averse To It

MLB announced that MGM Resorts is becoming baseball's official gambling industry partner. The National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League also reached deals with MGM, since the recent SCOTUS decision effectively struck down a federal law that had served to ban sports betting in most states.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/sports/mlb-gambling-mgm-resorts.html

Media

Daniel Hernandez, A/K/A 6ix9ine, Arrested On Federal Racketeering Charges

The Brooklyn rapper 6ix9ine reportedly worked meticulously to build his reputation of a "super villain" on social media, his presence attracting drama and gun violence. To aid in his act, the artist partnered with a street gang, Nine Try Gangsta Bloods, according to the police. He was arrested on federal racketeering charges for participation in shootings and violent robberies - some of which he allegedly live-streamed on Instagram.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/nyregion/tekashi6ix9ine-jail-treyway.html

The Harvard Crimson Elects First Black Woman President

Kristine E. Guillaume was elected the Harvard Crimson newspaper's first black female president, making her the third black president and first black woman to helm the organization since its founding in 1873.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/business/media/harvard-crimson-president-first-black-woman.html

Sheryl Sandberg Ordered Research Into George Soros's Motivation Behind His Facebook Critique

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, asked staff to investigate whether billionaire philanthropist George Soros had financial motivations against Facebook when he called the service a "menace to society." Facebook's research into Soros set off a public relations debacle, in which it was accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic attacks.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/technology/george-soros-facebook-sheryl-sandberg.html

https://www.apnews.com/f3d1a83f04f94d31ac750e1ea914171e

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/business/media/harvard-crimson-president-first-black-woman.html

News Media Outlets In Hungary Are Being Concentrated Under Control Of A State-Friendly Entity

The owners of several hundred private Hungarian news outlets simultaneously donated them to a central holding company reportedly run by people close to the far-right prime minister Viktor Orban.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/world/europe/hungary-orban-media.html

Journalist Javier Valdez Slain In Mexico; His Colleagues Hacked

Javier Valdez, a prominent investigative reporter, was shot dead in Mexico. Days later, his colleagues received messages that his killers had been detained. The messages, however, were allegedly infected with a spyware known as Pegasus, which the Mexican government reportedly purchased from an Israeli cyber arms dealer called the NSO Group.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/world/americas/mexico-spyware-journalist.html

December 10, 2018

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

GENERAL NEWS

President Trump Will Nominate William Barr as Attorney General

William Barr previously served as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. As head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, he advanced a strong view of executive power and urged top lawyers at departments across the Executive branch to be vigilant about Congressional encroachments on executive power.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/us/politics/william-barr-attorney-general.html

Congress Avoids Shutdown, Postpones Battle Over Border Wall

The Senate passed a bill to fund the government for another two weeks and avoid a shutdown over Trump's border wall. The stop-gap measure gives Congress until just before Christmas to come to a decision about the president's push to allocate $5 billion for a border wall. Republicans have floated the possibility of spreading the $5 billion over two years. Democrats are opposed to any funding in excess of $1.6 billion for border security, and want no money allocated for the wall.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/us/politics/wall-government-shutdown-trump.html

Chief of Staff John Kelly to Step Down by the End of 2018

President Trump confirmed that his chief of staff, John Kelly, will step down by the end of the year, and that a replacement will be named soon. Trump's first choice, Nick Ayers, turned down the job.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/us/politics/john-kelly-chief-staff-trump.html

U.S. Senators Say That Saudi Prince is Complicit in Khashoggi's Murder

A bipartisan group of senior senators said that a classified briefing by the Central Intelligence Agency director only solidified their belief that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/us/politics/cia-senate-khashoggi-.html

U.S. Gives Russia a Deadline on Nuclear Treaty; Putin Vows to "React Accordingly"

The Trump administration has given Russia 60 days to return to compliance with the treaty's terms before the U.S. begins the formal process to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received unanimous support from NATO allies for his contention that Russia was in violation of the treaty, which prevents the development and deployment of ground-based intermediate-range missiles.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/world/europe/inf-treaty-united-states-russia.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/world/europe/putin-missiles-trump-pompeo.html

President Trump's Warning to China Roils the Stock Market Despite Earlier Trade Truce

As President Trump threatened China with further tariffs while referring to himself as a "Tariff Man," fears of a lasting trade war roiled the stock market. Investors are grappling with the potential for a protracted conflict even though the two countries agreed to a cease-fire in their escalating economic conflict last week.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/02/business/trade-truce-china-us.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/business/yield-curve-recession-stock-market.html

Huawei Executive's Arrest Intensifies Fears of a Trade War with China

The chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies was arrested in Canada at Washington's request, reportedly for alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran. The U.S. alleges that Meng Wanzhou helped Huawei get around U.S. sanctions on Iran by telling financial institutions that a Huawei subsidiary was a separate company. The arrest has put a new strain on the tense relationship between Washington and Beijing, which are trying to negotiate an end to their trade war.

In a recent move, one of Britain's largest telecom-infrastructure firms, BT, is removing Huawei equipment from key areas of its 4G network as concerns grow globally about the Chinese firm's presence in critical telecom infrastructures.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/us/politics/huawei-meng-china-iran.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/05/bt-removing-huawei-equipment-from-parts-of-4g-network

Department of Agriculture Rolls Back Obama-Era Rules for School Lunches

The Department of Agriculture will lower nutritional standards for grains, flavored milks, and sodium in school cafeterias that were part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The changes will go into effect in July and will apply to school meals that qualify for at least some federal reimbursement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/us/trump-school-lunch-usda.html

Trump Drilling Plan Threatens 9 Million Acres of Sage Grouse Habitat

The Trump administration detailed its plan to open nine million acres to drilling and mining by rolling back sage grouse protections. Oil companies have long considered the imperiled ground-nesting bird an obstacle to some of the richest deposits in the American West.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/climate/trump-sage-grouse-oil.html

Mueller Team Recommends Little to No Prison Time for Michael Flynn

According to a sentencing recommendation memorandum, special counsel Mueller's investigators consider Michael Flynn to be a key cooperator, sitting for 19 interviews and handing over documents and communications. Prosecutors state that President Trump's first national security advisor helped substantially with the special counsel's investigation and should receive little to no prison time for lying to investigators.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/us/politics/michael-flynn-special-counsel-sentencing-memo.html

Prosecutors Say Trump Directed Illegal Payments During Campaign

In a new memo arguing for a prison term for lawyer Michael Cohen, federal prosecutors in New York argue that President Trump directed illegal payments to ward off a potential sex scandal that threatened his chances of winning the 2016 election. Cohen will be sentenced for campaign finance violations, financial crimes, and lying to Congress about the extent of Trump's business dealings in Russia. In another filing, prosecutors for special counsel Mueller say that an unnamed Russian offered Michael Cohen government level synergy between Russia and Trump's campaign.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/nyregion/michael-cohen-sentence.html

Cohen's Campaign Finance Charges Expose the President to Allegations of Defrauding Voters

The various investigations into President Trump and his team are painting a picture of a candidate who intentionally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election. With respect to payments made to two women alleging affairs with the president, federal prosecutors in New York made clear in a sentencing memo that Michael Cohen's efforts to suppress those stories were a perversion of a democratic election. They argue that Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election. By extension, they effectively accuse the president, who ordered those hush payments, of defrauding voters. While the prevailing view at the Justice Department is that a sitting president cannot be indicted, prosecutors in New York have examined the statute of limitations on the campaign finance violations and believe that the president could be charged if he is not re-elected.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/us/politics/trump-mueller-cohen-manafort.html

House Republican Committee Says It Was Hacked by a "Foreign Entity" in 2018

The campaign committee for House Republicans discovered in April that the email accounts of several of its senior officials had been hacked by a foreign entity, highlighting the continued vulnerability of the U.S. to interference in its elections. Party officials say that none of the stolen information has been made public and they have not received any threats regarding its exposure.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/us/politics/national-republican-congressional-committee-hack.html

U.S. Prosecutors Bring Charges in Connection with Panama Papers Leak

Four men have been charged with tax fraud, money laundering, and other crimes as part of alleged schemes uncovered by the Panama Papers leak. According to the indictment that was unsealed in the Southern District of New York, the men, among them an American accountant, helped U.S. taxpayers evade taxes by using undisclosed foreign accounts and shell companies, and repatriating those funds to the U.S. while concealing them from the Internal Revenue Service.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/business/panama-papers-indictment.html

Oil Drilling Threatens a Pristine Arctic Refuge

A review of internal government deliberations and federal documents shows that the Trump administration is clearing the way for oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, along the coast of the Beaufort Sea. The administration is on pace to finish an environmental impact assessment in half the usual time to lock in drilling opportunities before the 2020 presidential election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/us/oil-drilling-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge.html

Wisconsin State Assembly Moves to Limit the Power of Incoming Democrats

In a special legislative session, Wisconsin Republicans pushed through a set of bills aimed at curbing the powers of the incoming Democratic leaders. The legislative package places a new limit on early voting; allows lawmakers, not the governor, to control the majority of appointments on an economic development board; and prevents the governor from banning guns in the Wisconsin Capitol without permission from legislators. Governor Scott Walker has signaled support for the measures, but he has yet to sign them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/us/wisconsin-power-republicans.html

Charlottesville Demonstrator Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder

Following a nine-day trial, a jury found James Fields guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer, a counter-protester at the 2017 Charlottesville rally. Fields faces up to life in prison.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/us/james-fields-trial-charlottesville-verdict.html

Satanic Temple Sculpture Added to Illinois Capitol Rotunda Displays

A "Snaketivity" sculpture donated by the Satanic Temple has been placed beside the traditional nativity scene and Hanukkah menorah in the Illinois State Capitol. The state says that the First Amendment protects Satanic speech and requires that the state allow temporary, public displays in the capitol as long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars. A spokesperson for the Satanic Temple said the group does not worship Satan or believe he exists, but sees the fallen angel as a metaphor for "rebellion in the face of religious tyranny."

http://metrovoicenews.com/satanic-christmas-display-beside-nativity-in-illinois-state-capitol/

France Scraps Fuel Tax Rise That Sparked Riots

French President Emmanuel Macron has scrapped a fuel tax increase after weeks of nationwide protests and violent riots in Paris. The price of diesel, the most-commonly used gas in French cars, has already risen by 23% in the last year. The government had initially agreed to suspend the tax rise for six months, but instead of appeasing the protesters, it spurred other groups to join. The tax rise was part of Macron's efforts to wean France off fossil fuels and is a blow to broader efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/12/05/world/europe/ap-eu-france-protests.html

Hungarian Government Closes George Soros-Founded University

The Soros-founded Central European University is being forced from its campus in Budapest by the increasingly authoritarian government of Prime Minister Orban. Founded in Hungary after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the university will move its United States-accredited degree programs to Vienna next fall.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/world/europe/soros-hungary-central-european-university.html

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rising at an Alarming Rate

New research published by the Global Carbon Project predicts that carbon emissions worldwide will increase by 2.7% this year, and that the rapid increase will likely bring about the most severe consequences of global warming sooner than expected.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/climate/greenhouse-gas-emissions-2018.html

Qatar Quits the OPEC Oil Cartel

The future of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is in doubt after Qatar abruptly announced that it would sever ties with the oil cartel in January 2019. The country denied that the move was linked to the deteriorating political situation between Qatar and its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, which have imposed a trade and travel embargo on the country since last year over allegations that it supports terrorism. Qatar leaving OPEC means that the oil cartel is now a two-member organization consisting of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/03/qatar-quitting-opec-leaves-oil-cartel-a-two-member-organization.html

ENTERTAINMENT

Judge Allows "Harry Potter" and "Evan Hansen" in San Francisco

A Delaware judge has refused a request by one of the nation's largest theater owners to block San Francisco productions of "Dear Evan Hansen" and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child". The two prominent families at the center of this dispute operate competing theaters in San Francisco. Nederlander sought a preliminary injunction to block the Curran Theater from staging either show, as doing so would violate a non-compete agreement between the families.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/01/theater/judge-allows-harry-potter-and-evan-hansen-in-san-francisco.html

Stage Adaptation of "To Kill a Mockingbird" Set to Open in New York City

The new stage adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" features a script by Oscar and Emmy winner Aaron Sorkin. In early 2018, the estate of Harper Lee filed a lawsuit against the producers, arguing that the script deviates too much from the beloved novel. Although the suit was settled, the producer declined to release a script. This will be the first opportunity for audiences to assess how the legal dispute ultimately affected the play's development.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/theater/to-kill-a-mockingbird-broadway-aaron-sorkin.html

CBS Report Finds That Les Moonves Obstructed Investigation into Misconduct Claims

According to a draft report prepared by the company's board, former Chief Executive Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators in an attempt to preserve his reputation and save his $120 million severance. The lawyers who conducted the inquiry said they had found Moonves to be evasive and untruthful and to have minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/business/media/les-moonves-cbs-report.html

Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians Elects New Leadership

The leadership team of the New York local of the musician's union, the union's largest local in the nation, was voted out of office amid concerns over the underfunded musicians' pension plan. One of the new president's priorities is bringing more musicians into the fold and coming up with more flexible contract frameworks for musicians that do not fall into the traditional union mold.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/arts/music/union-local-802-ameican-federation-musicians.html

Lego Foundation and Sesame Workshop Team Up to Help Refugee Children

The Lego Foundation will provide $100 million over five years to the makers of "Sesame Street" to deepen the work of organizations working with Syrian and Rohingya refugees in their host communities. The aim is to create play-based learning programs for children up to age 6, emphasizing social and emotional development to counter the effects of stress and suffering.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/world/lego-sesame-street-refugees.html

Weinstein Sent Email Plea About "One Hell of a Year"

Harvey Weinstein sent an email to several close friends in which he complained that he had "one hell of a year" and criticized police investigators involved in the sexual-assault case against him. His lawyer said the leaked email was not part of any legal strategy. Weinstein faces charges in Manhattan over allegations that he raped one woman and performed an unwanted sex act on another. He is free on $1 million bail and due back in court this December.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/arts/harvey-weinstein-email.html

Netflix Pays $100 Million to Stream "Friends" for Another Year

Netflix will reportedly pay $100 million to continue licensing the program from its owner, WarnerMedia. The streaming service had previously paid $30 million a year to stream the show. Netflix has 57 million users in the U.S. and 130 million worldwide, making the acquisition of hit content a priority in order to preserve and expand its customer base.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/business/media/netflix-friends.html

Female Voices Take Center Stage at Grammys

Only one woman won a solo award during the televised broadcast last year, and nominees for album of the year only included one woman. The 2019 Grammys, however, are shaping up to be the year of the woman, with powerful female artists well-represented in the top categories.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/12/08/us/ap-us-grammy-nominations-women.html

Screening of "Surviving R. Kelly" Documentary Evacuated in NYC

A Manhattan theater was evacuated over a gun threat during a screening of the Lifetime documentary series "Surviving R. Kelly". Word of the threat spread as #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and four Kelly accusers were about to share their personal stories on stage. R. Kelly has faced mounting sexual abuse and misconduct allegations by numerous women in recent months. He denies the claims.

https://variety.com/2018/scene/news/surviving-r-kelly-gun-threat-evacuation-tarana-burke-me-too-lifetime-1203080526/

Egyptian Actress, Rania Youssef, on Trial for Wearing Revealing Dress

Rania Youssef is facing trial for public obscenity after she wearing a revealing outfit to a Cairo film festival. The suit was brought by three Egyptian lawyers known for using the courts to engage in vigilantism, arguing that her outfit constituted "incitement to debauchery". If convicted, she could face a possible five-year jail term.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/02/world/middleeast/egypt-rania-youssef-dress.html

ARTS

National Rifle Association Will Remove Image of Chicago's Bean from Its Videos

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has agreed to erase an image of the Chicago sculpture known as the Bean from one of its videos, settling a lawsuit with its creator, Anish Kapoor. Kapoor filed suit in Federal District Court in Chicago alleging copyright infringement. The NRA initially argued that it was allowed to use an image of a public structure and the artist was trying to muzzle First Amendment-protected speech, but later said it chose to remove the image to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/arts/design/anish-kapoor-nra-bean.html

Italian Court Rules Getty Museum Must Return a Prized Bronze

After a decade-long battle, Italy's highest court has ordered that the Getty Bronze should be returned to Italy in a ruling that could either lead to a trans-Atlantic transfer or a diplomatic standoff. The bronze was retrieved from Adriatic waters by Italian fishermen in 1964. The Getty has long argued that the statue was probably created outside Italy and was discovered in international waters after thousands of years, so it is not an Italian object subject to repatriation. The Getty Trust purchased it from an antiques dealer in Germany in 1977. Italy has argued that the statue was smuggled out of the country illegally, without a required export license, in violation of a 1939 law. Italian officials say they plan to ask the United States Justice Department to enforce the ruling by seizing the statue.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/arts/design/getty-bronze-italy-ruling.html

SPORTS

U.S.A. Gymnastics Files for Bankruptcy

U.S.A. Gymnastics filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in Indianapolis federal court, reportedly putting a stay on all pending lawsuits against the organization from victims of former national team doctor, Larry Nassar. The bankruptcy will put an automatic stop to depositions and discovery in lawsuits related to Nassar. It will also reportedly stop efforts to strip U.S.A. Gymnastics' status as the sport's official governing body.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/sports/usa-gymnastics-bankruptcy.html

https://www.si.com/olympic-gymnastics/2018/12/06/usa-gymnastics-files-for-backruptcy-larry-nassar

Some National Football League Owners Want to Revisit How the League Conducts Investigations

There are growing concerns among owners about the National Football League's (NFL) investigation into Kareem Hunt, the running back released by the Kansas City Chiefs last week, over an assault on a young woman at a Cleveland hotel in February. Several weeks ago, NFL investigators questioned Hunt about another, unrelated assault, but did not bring up the Cleveland incident. Celebrity news site TMZ published a video of the assault after the NFL said it had been unable to obtain it, renewing intense public discussion about the league's commitment to investigating and policing players' off-field conduct.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/sports/football/kareem-hunt-nfl.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/12/07/some-nfl-owners-want-revisit-how-league-conducts-investigations/?utm_term=.a402d6a04f54

Baseball Agents Alleged to Have Orchestrated Doping Cover-Up Expose a Gap in Baseball's Drug Testing Program

Two of the game's top agents are alleged to have helped players obtain and use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and hide the misconduct from Major League Baseball (MLB) and the players' union (MLBPA). The issue continues to be a source of deep frustration for MLB, which sees the union as unwilling to work with the commissioner's office on many fronts, including providing details of its investigation into the agents. The issue has also exposed a gap in baseball's drug testing program: MLB has no power to regulate agents or to punish any who may facilitate PED use by their clients.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/sports/baseball/mlb-agents-doping-players-union.html

National Hockey League Unanimously Approves Seattle as 32nd Franchise

Seattle becomes the National Hockey League's 32nd team after the league unanimously approved the expansion bid at its Board of Governors meeting. The ownership group will pay a $650-million expansion fee and the team will begin play in the '21-22 season. By comparison, the Vegas Golden Knights paid a $500-million fee two years ago.

https://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/seattle-expansion-nhl-1.4929908

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Accuses Officials of Sexual Abuse

The Afghan government is investigating allegations that players on the women's national soccer team were sexually and physically abused by male coaches and officials, including the head of the Afghan soccer federation, Keramuddin Keram. FIFA, the world body regulating international soccer, is conducting its own investigation. Danish sportswear company Hummel, the team's principal sponsor, has withdrawn its support.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/world/asia/afghanistan-women-soccer-abuse.html

Saudi Arabia Disqualified From Hosting Chess Match

The international chess governing body has stripped Saudi Arabia of hosting rights to a prominent tournament without offering any explanation. A nonprofit legal advocacy group that represents Israeli chess players, who were banned by the Saudis from attending the tournament in 2017, said that the decision came after the group had to pressure the association to act.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/world/middleeast/saudi-chess-tournament-israel.html

Australian Government Asks Thailand to Release Soccer Player and Political Refugee Al-Araibi

The football player and Australian-based refugee was detained in Thailand and held on an Interpol warrant issued at the request of Bahrain. Thai authorities have been asked to extradite Hakeem Al-Araibi to Bahrain, a country he fled in 2014 after having been targeted and tortured for being a dissident. He was granted refugee status in Australia in 2017.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/09/australian-government-asks-thailand-to-release-hakeem-al-araibi-immediately

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/world/asia/bahrain-thailand-asylum-fifa.html

MEDIA

Facebook Used People's Data to Favor Certain Partners and Punish Rivals

Internal Facebook emails and other company documents released by a British parliamentary committee show that Facebook gave certain companies like Airbnb and Netflix special access to its platforms, while cutting off others it perceived as threats. The documents show how Facebook executives treated data as the company's most valuable resource and wielded it to gain a strategic advanced.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/technology/facebook-documents-uk-parliament.html

"60 Minutes" Workplace Culture Permitted Misconduct

A leaked draft report of an outside investigation into CBS found that the network was justified in firing former executive producer Jeff Fager. Investigators wrote that the physical, administrative, and cultural separation between "60 Minutes" and the rest of CBS News permitted misconduct by some "60 Minutes" employees.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/60-minutes-workplace-culture-permitted-misconduct-report-finds-1167288

AOL Owner Agrees to $5 Million Settlement in Children's Privacy Case

Oath, the owner of AOL and Yahoo, agreed to pay about $5 million to settle charges that the media company's online advertising business violated a federal children's privacy law. The New York attorney general accused AOL of violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 when it helped place targeted display ads on hundreds of websites that it knew were directed to children under 13, by using personal data, like cookies and geolocation information. The law's purpose is protect young children from being tracked and targeted by advertisers online.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/business/media/oath-children-online-privacy.html

Philippine Journalist Turns Herself in to Face Charges

The Philippine government has accused journalist Maria Ressa of evading taxes, a move that her organization considers to be part of a broader attack on the news media, which President Duterte has often accused of being dishonest and manufacturing fake news. She faces a fine along with up to 10 years of imprisonment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/business/media/rappler-maria-ressa-arrest.html

December 16, 2018

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

General News

Senate Votes to End Aid for Yemen

On Thursday, the United States Senate voted to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. The vote is a rebuke of President Trump and comes as the Saudis have led a four-year war in Yemen that has led to the deaths of thousands of civilians. The Senate also voted unanimously to approve a resolution to hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Senate's actions are "an extraordinary break" with President Trump, as Trump has refused to acknowledge the Crown Prince's role in ordering the assassination of Khashoggi, even contradicting the CIA's conclusion that the Crown Prince personally ordered the killing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/us/politics/yemen-saudi-war-pompeo-mattis.html

Pelosi and Dissident Democrats Reach Deal to Limit Her Speakership

Representative Nancy Pelosi has obtained the votes required for her to take the speakership in the House of Representatives, but it has come at a cost. She has agreed with dissident Democrats to limit her term as Speaker to four years, which would make her nearly 83 years old when she relinquishes the speakership, assuming that Democrats keep control of the House in the 2020 elections.The deal reflects the younger Democrats' wish to hold leadership positions within the party, be mentored, and transition out the senior House leadership.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/us/politics/nancy-pelosi-democrat-leadership.html

Trump Inaugural Fund and Super PAC Scrutinized for Illegal Foreign Donations

Federal prosecutors are said to be examining President Trump's inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC to determine whether foreigners illegally funneled donations with the hope of buying access and influence over American policy. The investigation is focused on Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, with the aim of determining whether funds violated the prohibition on foreign contributions being made to federal campaigns, political action committees, or inaugural funds. The investigation is just the latest investigation into the Trump campaign and presidency as the investigation of hush money payments to silence accusations of extramarital affairs during the campaign and the investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III continue.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/us/politics/trump-inauguration-investigation.html

Federal Prosecutors Shift Focus to Trump Family Business As Michael Cohen Receives Three-Year Sentence in Hush-Money Scandal

Prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum regarding President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, recommending a substantial prison term for his work in breaking campaign finance laws and other crimes. With Cohen being sentenced to three years in prison, prosecutors have shifted their attention to whether the Trump Organization executives played a role in facilitating the campaign finance violations. The investigation is separate from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government or obstruction of that investigation. The parent company of The National Enquirer, the publisher that allegedly bought and buried the stories regarding the hush money payments, is said to be cooperating with prosecutors.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/us/trump-organization-federal-prosecutors.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/business/media/trump-cohen-tabloid-scandals.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/nyregion/trump-american-media-michael-cohen.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/nyregion/michael-cohen-sentence-trump.html

Trump's Intervention in Huawei Case Would Be Legal but Bad Precedent

President Trump announced that he is willing to intercede in the case of a Huawei executive, detained in Canada, being extradited to the United States if it helped achieve "the largest trade deal ever made." The announcement makes clear that the White House "saw no problem intervening in the justice system to achieve what it considered economic gain." Experts agree that a president may order the government to rescind an extradition request or even drop the charges against the executive, Meng Wanzhou, but there was no known prior instance of a president injecting himself into a criminal proceeding in this way. One former under secretary of state noted that it sets a bad precedent to mix justice with trade, as it "devalues both." Those in the Justice Department have expressed concerns that Trump's intervention may interfere with the U.S.'s ability to go after foreign wrongdoers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/us/politics/trump-meng-wanzhou-huawei-extradition.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/us/politics/huawei-trump-china.html

Playing By His Own Rules, Trump Flips the Shutdown Script

In a remarkable exchange with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer, President Trump noted that he would "take the mantle" and shut down the government if Congress did not "accede to his request for $5 billion to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico." Pelosi and Schumer, pleased to have someone to blame for a shutdown, used the term "Trump shutdown" throughout their conversation, but Trump appeared pleased with his stance.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/us/politics/trump-shutdown.html

Trump Scrambling to Find New Chief of Staff

President Trump is searching for a new chief of staff. There was a short list of candidates for chief of staff, including Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, who refused the offer, and some fear the continuing staff turnover of the Trump administration. Regardless of the administration, an expert on chiefs of staff has said that it is an inherently thankless job where the chief gets "all of the blame and none of the credit for everything that happens."

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/12/10/us/politics/ap-us-trump-chief-of-staff.html

Trump's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Nominee Won't Get Senate Vote This Year

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be without a Senate-confirmed leader for the longest period since its creation in 1970. The Senate is expected to vote on a leader in early 2019, and both parties have blamed each other for the delay. Scientists have said that the Trump administration's failure to install permanent leaders in top positions has demonstrated its disinterest in science.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/climate/senate-noaa-barry-myers.html

Trump Team Pushes Fossil Fuels at Climate Talks

At high-stakes climate talks in Poland, Trump administration officials argued that a "rapid retreat from coal, oil, and gas was unrealistic." That message resonated with officials from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Australia and places the United States as the emerging leader to promote coal and fossil fuels despite reports that the planet is growing "dangerously warmer because of greenhouse gasses." Behind the scenes, American diplomats are working to negotiate a "rule book" that will allow the Paris agreement to become operational and reduce emissions, and protests permeated the climate talks in Poland.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/climate/katowice-climate-talks-cop24.html

While Working for Trump, Giuliani Courts Business Abroad

President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, has been traveling the world while his client faces investigations from all sides. Giuliani's travels have included him meeting with the king of Bahrain, a country with a record of human rights abuses, with Giuliani seeking a lucrative "security consulting contract" with Bahrain's government. His travels have brought him to Africa and South America for similar contracts with his company Giuliani Security and Safety. As he is the president's personal attorney, he is not a government employee and is not subject to government ethics rules which would prohibit outside work.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/us/politics/giuliani-consulting-abroad.html

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Planned Parenthood Cases

The Supreme Court has refused to hear cases regarding Planned Parenthood clinics using Medicaid. With four votes required for the Court to hear a case, the conservatives split on the vote with Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch voting to take the case and Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh voting not to take the case. Justice Thomas issued a dissent questioning his colleagues' motives, as not taking the case allows the lower court's decision to stand. The lower court decided that states may not terminate providers from Medicaid programs for any reason that is unrelated to the competence of the provider or the quality of the health care provided.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/us/politics/planned-parenthood-supreme-court.html

Wisconsin Governor Enacts Law Hamstringing His Democratic Successor

Governor Scott Walker has enacted new laws to limit the power of his successor, virtually guaranteeing a lawsuit. Former attorney general Eric Holder has called the laws "grossly partisan" and "deeply undemocratic," and it is expected that the lawsuit will make its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has a right-leaning bench. There are two court seats up for election in the next year-and-a-half, which could flip the Court to be left-leaning by the time it hears the challenge to Governor Walker's laws.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/15/us/wisconsin-scott-walker-courts.html

Texas Judge Strikes Down Affordable Care Act as Unconstitutional

Judge Reed O'Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth has struck down the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that its mandate for people to have health insurance is unconstitutional. The case focused on the mandate's tax penalty, which the Supreme Court found constitutional as a legitimate use of Congress's taxing power, and found that the mandate was unconstitutional and could not be severed from the remainder of the Affordable Care Act. Thus, Judge O'Connor reasoned, the entire act was unconstitutional. An appeal to the Supreme Court is likely, and until the appeals are exhausted, the Affordable Care Act will remain in place, including the mandate and the requirement that people with pre-existing conditions be able to obtain coverage from insurers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/health/obamacare-unconstitutional-texas-judge.html

U.S. Diplomats with Mysterious Illness in Cuba Had Inner-Ear Damage

After Americans posted in the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba began to report disturbing symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, and nausea, many were tested and not found to have suffered any clear injuries. Some doctors and analysts had wondered whether there was any mechanism of injury at all given the absence of evidence, but doctors have now reported that the diplomats suffered inner-ear damage. The cause for the injuries remain unclear, as there has not been any evidence to establish who or what may be responsible for causing such debilitating injuries.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/world/americas/cuba-embassy-attacks.html

Pompeo Calls Iran 'Reckless' and Argues for Tougher United Nations Stance

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a rare appearance at the United Nations (UN) Security Council and argued that Iran has destabilized the Middle East in its "reckless" development of ballistic missiles systems. He blamed the Iran nuclear deal for giving Iran access to funding streams that have allowed it to go on a "proliferation spree." Pompeo received a cordial reception at the Security Council, despite just a week prior disparaging the UN as an organization and questioning its value.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/world/americas/pompeo-iran-united-nations.html

Hungary Creates New Court System, Cementing Leader's Control of Judiciary

Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, has furthered his control over his government as Parliament has now approved the creation of a parallel court system that allows Orban's justice minister to control the hiring and promotion of judges who oversee cases relating to "public administration", including electoral law, corruption, and freedom of speech. The existing court system will be stripped of much of its power but continue to exist. Civil rights watchdogs see the move as just the latest example of eroding democracy in Hungary, which has been an example in Europe of a backsliding democracy and a model for populist figures to follow.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/world/europe/hungary-courts.html

NASA's Intrepid Voyager 2 Probe Crosses Into Interstellar Space

A NASA probe has become only the second human-made object to enter interstellar space. The probe, Voyager 2, was launched in 1977 and was designed for a five-year mission> It has ventured more than 11 billion miles from Earth. While the probe was originally meant to study Jupiter and Saturn, it also studied Uranus and Neptune, and has now left the heliosphere and entered interstellar space.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/12/10/us/10reuters-space-voyager.html

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

Entertainment

How 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Went From Parlor Act to Problematic

The 74-year-old song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has been in heavy radio rotation during the holiday season for decades, but the lyrics of the song are being scrutinized differently in the wake of the #MeToo movement. With the lyrics raising questions about whether the interaction between the dueling singers is consensual, many radio stations have pulled the song from their rotations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/arts/music/baby-its-cold-outside-history-facts.html

CBS Paid Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims

Eliza Dushku, an actress, received a confidential settlement from broadcaster CBS for $9.5 million in relation to her work on the prime-time show "Bull". She began working on the show in March 2017 and had a major role in three episodes, but then was written off the show. The star of the show, Michael Weatherly, was alleged to have made inappropriate remarks about Dushku's appearance, made a rape joke, and commented about a threesome with Dushku. When she confronted him about his behavior, Dushku was soon written off the show. She believed that was in retaliation for her raising concerns. Lawyers investigating CBS found that CBS mishandled Dushku's complaints and found the mishandling to be "emblematic of larger problems at CBS."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/business/media/cbs-bull-weatherly-dushku-sexual-harassment.html

Cosby's Appeal Cites 11 'Errors' by Trial Judge

Bill Cosby's attorneys have appealed the conviction for Cosby's sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. They raised 11 issues about the trial, including the judge's finding that Cosby was a sexually violent predator with a risk of reoffending. The strongest argument raised by Cosby's attorneys was the judge's decision to allow five additional women to testify in the case, as their allegations may be construed as being "too remote in time and too dissimilar to the Constand allegations."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/arts/television/bill-cosby-jail-appeal.html

Arts

'Blurred Lines' Suit Against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams Ends in $5 Million Judgment

Marvin Gaye's family has been awarded a judgment of nearly $5 million against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copyright infringement. Their 2013 single "Blurred Lines" has been found to infringe on Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up." In 2015, the estate obtained a judgment exceeding $7 million, which was reduced and then appealed. With the most recent judgment, Gaye's estate also will receive prejudgment interest on the damages and 50% of the royalties from "Blurred Lines."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/13/entertainment/robin-thicke-pharrell-blurred-lines/index.html

Church Leaders Sue Princeton Over 'Stolen' Manuscripts

Spiritual leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Church has filed a lawsuit against Princeton University seeking to return manuscripts that are over 1,000 years old. The university received the manuscripts in 1942 as a gift from someone who had bought them at a German auction house 20 years earlier, and the leaders have alleged that the manuscripts were stolen from a monastery in northern Greece during World War I. The leaders had attempted to recover the five manuscripts in 2015 by sending a letter to the university, but the university has maintained that the manuscripts were not stolen.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/arts/design/princeton-eastern-orthodox-church.html

Sports

Afghanistan Suspends Five Soccer Officials in Sex Abuse Scandal

Five officials in Afghanistan's soccer federation have been suspended indefinitely after allegations that officials had sexually abused female players. The attorney general's office announced that the suspensions were meant to prevent "violation of the investigative process," and the suspensions came less than a week after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation into the accusations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/world/asia/afghanistan-soccer-sex-abuse.html

Top United States Olympic Committee Officials Failed to Act on Nassar Allegations, Report Says

A 233-page report authored by law firm Ropes & Gray has been released with a damning conclusion: two of the highest ranking United States Olympic officials did nothing to "investigate, report, or stop Larry Nassar" even after learning that he had been accused of sexual abuse. They knew of the allegations a full year before the allegations became public, and investigators characterized the environment of the Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics as "an ecosystem that facilitated" Nassar's criminal acts. The report's blistering conclusions led to Alan Ashley, the chief of sport performance, to be fired. Senators have now requested an FBI investigation into whether the chief of the Olympic Committee, Scott Blackmun, who stepped down in February, lied to Congress, "harming the investigation and ability to develop policy."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/sports/usoc-investigation-report.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/sports/usoc-scott-blackmun-nassar.html

Goodell: National Football League Won't Pay for Video in Domestic Investigations

National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the NFL will not pay for video evidence in cases involving domestic violence, defending the way in which the NFL has handled previous investigations. He noted that the NFL has "some of the highest standards of any organization." Specific to the Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt having been shown on video shoving and kicking a woman in February, Goodell said that the Cleveland police declined to release the video to the NFL, and as a matter of policy, it does not pay for videos. Only after TMZ released the video did the NFL take action.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/12/12/sports/football/ap-fbn-nfl-meetings.html

Former Tar Heel Players Derail New Home for 'Silent Sam' Confederate Statue

A group of former players at the University of North Carolina have used their influence to stop the "Silent Sam" Confederate statue from being displayed in a new campus history center just as the university's board of governors was considering the proposal. Critics have called the statue "an enduring tribute to white supremacy," and the athletes accused the university of using black students as "accessories" for not taking a stand against the monument.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/sports/silent-sam.html

Media

Jailing Hundreds of Journalists Worldwide Is the 'New Normal,' Group Finds

In 2018, more than 250 journalists have been jailed worldwide, continuing the trend in recent years of jailing journalists. The advocacy group that conducted the study calls the trend "a sign that an authoritarian response to critical news coverage is 'more than a temporary spike.'" Turkey, China, and Egypt are responsible for jailing the most journalists, and 70% of those jailed are facing anti-state charges such as providing assistant to groups deemed by the authorities to be terrorist organizations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/world/journalists-jail.html

Troubled by Lapses, Government's Voices to the World Braces for New Trump Management

The Voice of America has long been the American government's outlet for promoting its values abroad, but it has been plagued in recent months: it had 15 journalists fired for accepting bribes from a Nigerian official and fired the chief of the Mandarin-language section. It is expected that the Trump administration is going to remake the Voice of America in its own image, as many other countries have used their own official media sources to promote their agendas in deceptive ways.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/12/us/politics/voice-of-america-trump.html

December 25, 2018

Week In Review

By Nick Crudele
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Rules Agreed Upon To Implement Paris Accord

Negotiators from around the world agreed to rules on how to implement the Paris Agreement and keep the accord intact in the face of mounting geopolitical conflict. The U.S., which remains in talks until it can officially withdraw from the accord in 2020, held an event promoting fossil fuels where it argued that the country was injecting a dose of "reality" in the face of "alarmism" around climate change.

http://time.com/5480146/climate-change-cop-24-paris-agreement/

Jim Mattis Resigns

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his retirement purportedly out of protest to President Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria and halve the number of troops in Afghanistan.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/behind-the-scenes-of-the-mattis-bombshell-more-resignations-expected-after-protest-exit

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46652862

Senate Approves Criminal Justice System Overhaul

The Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system after a remarkable political shift from Republicans who voted in large numbers to save money by reducing prison sentences.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-overwhelmingly-backs-overhaul-of-criminal-justice-system/2018/12/18/89efffb6-02e7-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6990c289c371

Senate Votes to Make Lynching Federal Crime

The Senate voted to make lynching a federal crime, passing the bill by unanimous consent. The measure ensures that lynching would have an enhanced sentence like other federal hate crimes, including life in prison. Congress had previously tried to pass anti-lynching legislation over 200 times, but Southern senators blocked those bills.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senate-votes-to-make-lynching-a-federal-crime/

Ryan Zinke Resigns From Interior Department

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned after facing pressure to step down because of multiple probes tied to his real estate dealings and conduct while in office. The White House had been pushing Zinke to resign for weeks.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/interior-secretary-zinke-resigns-amid-investigations/2018/12/15/481f9104-0077-11e9-ad40-cdfd0e0dd65a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bf6379142f96

Trump Charity Closed

President Trump agreed to shut down his personal charity and donate its assets under an agreement with the New York attorney general, following allegations that the charity squandered funds on political and business purposes.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-18/ny-ag-says-trump-foundation-signs-stipulation-to-dissolve

Flynn Sentencing Delayed

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan postponed former national security advisor Michael Flynn's sentencing for lying to the FBI after a blistering retort of Flynn's action, including suggesting that Flynn committed a crime for which he was neither accused of nor for which he was prosecuted. The prosecution askedg for no jail time. The FBI has been highly criticized for its interviewing tactics of Flynn, with some even suggesting there was entrapment.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/politics/michael-flynn-sentencing-mueller-russia-probe/index.html

New Jersey Democrats Reverse Course on Redistricting

Legislative leaders in New Jersey will not move forward with a proposal to redraw legislative districts that would have essentially written gerrymandering into the State Constitution. Senate president Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin released statements announcing that they would not put the proposal up for a vote.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/16/nyregion/redistricting-nj-democrats-republicans.html

Arizona Governor Taps Martha McSally to Fill McCain's Seat

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed fellow Republican Rep. Martha McSally to the Senate to fill the seat John McCain once held. McSally, who lost a close race for Arizona's other Senate seat this year, will succeed Sen. Jon Kyl, who will step down at the end of the year.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/arizona-governor-taps-martha-mcsally-to-fill-senate-seat-once-held-by-mccain/2018/12/18/7490c856-023a-11e9-b6a9-0aa5c2fcc9e4_story.html?utm_term=.42c5e882214b

DeBlasio Backs Legal Marijuana

Despite having no bearing on the decision on whether to legalize marijuana in the state, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he backs the legalization, but insisted he won't allow it to be dominated by corporate interests.

https://nypost.com/2018/12/20/de-blasio-backs-legalization-of-recreational-marijuana/

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

Entertainment

"Fresh Prince's" Alfonso Ribeiro Sues Fortnite Over Use of Signature Dance

Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played Carlton on the hit television show "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" filed lawsuits against Fortnite's developers Epic Games Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. for unfairly profiting from his likeness and exploiting his "protective creative expression" by using his signature dance used in the 1990's sitcom.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/entertainment/carlton-sues-fortnite-video-game/index.html

Putin's War on Rap

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that rap music was part of the Russian culture and therefore it was necessary for the government to manage and guide the industry. The Russian government had been trying to crack down on rap artists. Putin, responding to concerns over freedom of expression, said: "If it is impossible to stop, then it is necessary to navigate and guide accordingly."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/18/europe/russia-rap-war-intl/index.html

Arts

"Hakuna Matata" Trademark Irks Many

Disney's decision to trademark the Swahili phrase "Hakuna Matata", made famous in its hit movie "The Lion King", has caused backlash with some 150,000 people signing a petition asking the company to drop it. A Disney spokesperson said that the trademark only applies to T-shirts and only under the context of Disney's "Lion King" franchise.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/21/disney-accused-over-trademark-of-lion-king-phrase-hakuna-matata.html

American Airlines Finally Gets Approval to Copyright Logo

After three rejections from the U.S. Copyright Office, American Airlines was finally given approval to copyright its 2013 logo redesign. The Copyright Office previously rejected the logo, saying that it represented nothing more than a collection of geometric shapes, lacking the creativity the office demands for copyright protection.

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-travel-briefcase-american-airlines-copyright-20181214-story.html

Sports

The Women's Tennis Association Changes Pregnancy Rule

The Women's Tennis Association will no longer treat pregnancy like an injury or illness and mothers returning from maternity leave will receive more consideration. A returning mother will now have up to three years after the birth of her child to be eligible for a special ranking to gain entry into tournaments. Players returning from childbirth who are out of competition for 52 weeks or longer can also use that special ranking for 12 tournaments instead of eight. New mothers can also wear modified clothing. The topic of special seedings and clothing received attention after Serena Williams returned to the tour six months after giving birth to her daughter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/sports/tennis/serena-williams-wta-catsuit.html

Media

Moonves Denied $120M Severance

Former CBS CEO Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package after the company's board accused him of not fully cooperating with an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations. Moonves was fired in September after allegations from women who said that he subjected them to mistreatment, including forced oral sex, groping, and retaliation if they resisted. A statement from the board cited Moonves' "willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the company's investigation."

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/accused-of-misconduct-former-ceo-moonves-wont-get-severance-from-cbs

Senate Reports Say Russia Likes Trump

The Senate released a pair of reports claiming that Russia engaged in an all-out social media campaign to help Donald Trump. In the reports, Google, Twitter, and Facebook were described by researchers as having "evaded" and "misrepresented" themselves and the extent of Russian activity on their sites. The companies were also criticized for not turning over complete sets of data about Russian manipulation to the Senate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/technology/tech-companies-russian-interference.html

BuzzFeed Wins Defamation Suit Over Trump Dossier

BuzzFeed News won a court challenge over its publication of the Russia dossier. A federal judge essentially ruled that the dossier was newsworthy.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/19/politics/buzzfeed-russia-dossier/index.html

Tucker Carlson Remains Defiant

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said about immigrants: "We have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided." After he made the comments, critics called for advertisers to pull their ads. Carlson stands by his comments. Some advertisers have pulled their support.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tucker-carlsons-advertisers-flee-fox-news-show-over-immigration-comments/

D.C. Sues Facebook

The District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from as many as 87 million users. The complaint alleges that Facebook misled users about the security of their data and failed for years to properly monitor third-party apps.

https://www.apnews.com/9cba2777340147b291c7b8604369647c

German Journalist Made Up Stories For Years

Germany's Der Spiegel, a top European news magazine, fired one of its star journalists after discovering that he had fabricated facts and sources in more than a dozen articles over a seven-year period. The magazine published an article saying "Claas Relotius, a reporter and editor, falsified his articles on a grand scale and even invented characters, deceiving both readers and his colleagues."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/20/media/claas-relotius-spiegel/index.html

December 31, 2018

Week In Review Bloggers

Thank you to the wonderful 2018 EASL Week In Review bloggers who summarized the general and EASL-related news for your convenience on a weekly basis: 

Leslie Berman (leslie.berman@gmail.com), 

​Nick Crudele (​nick.crudele@gmail.com),

Jana S. Farmer (Jana.Farmer@wilsonelser.com​​),

Eric Lanter (ericjlanter@gmail.com), who is also the EASL Journal citation editor, and

Algela Peco (​anxhela.peco@gmail.com).

Have a wonderful New Year! Here's to 2019.

Elissa

About December 2018

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

November 2018 is the previous archive.

January 2019 is the next archive.

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