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October 2020 Archives

October 2, 2020

EASL Theater News for the Week of October 2, 2020

By Bennett Liebman

Study Shows Steep Revenue Plunge for Theatres, Some Hope for 2021, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/09/30/study-shows-steep-revenue-plunge-for-theatres-some-hope-for-2021/

Just 20% of New York theater created by people of color, study finds, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/sep/30/new-york-theater-shows-broadway-study

Commentary, How LA's Small Theatre Community is Fighting for Its Life, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-09-30/la-small-theater-community-covid-closures-virtual-festival

Mellon Foundation to Provide $5 Million to Aid Black Theaters, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/01/arts/black-theaters-funding-black-seed.html

More Connecticut theaters move to membership models, https://www.courant.com/ctnow/arts-theater/hc-ctnow-connecticut-theaters-adopt-membership-models-20200928-c6x4usd6u5gp3chga36rcm5kui-story.html

New York City Ballet Dropped From a Woman's Photo-Sharing Lawsuit, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/28/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballet-lawsuit.html

The Shubert Organization Update on Actions Toward Equity and Inclusion, http://shubert.nyc/press/edi-statement-92920/

Broadway leaders applaud inclusion of Save Our Stages in revised Heroes Act, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/09/29/broadway-leaders-applaud-inclusion-of-save-our-stages-in-revised-heroes-act/

As Broadway Reels, One Producing Team Looks For A New Normal, https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeseymour/2020/09/25/as-broadway-reels-one-producing-team-looks-for-a-new-normal/#47984b533a6b

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sues Brown Paper Tickets, https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/washington-state-attorney-general-bob-ferguson-sues-brown-paper-tickets/

Unemployed Stage Actors to Face New Health Insurance Hurdle, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/01/theater/stage-actors-health-insurance.html

Theaters Could Become Acquisition Targets During Pandemic, https://www.forbes.com/sites/marchershberg/2020/09/28/theaters-could-become-acquisition-targets-during-pandemic/#1fcad9372960

Carrie Hope Fletcher: 'The arts aren't viable? See how you feel without them!', https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/sep/30/carrie-hope-fletcher-the-arts-arent-viable-see-how-you-feel-without-them

Shakespeare is under threat from campus censors and Twitter mobs, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/classic-books/shakespeare-threat-campus-censors-twitter-mobs/

October 5, 2020

Week In Review

La-Vaughnda A. Taylor
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


British Academy of Film and Television Arts Takes Steps to Be More Diverse

After the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, introduced diversity criteria for nominated films, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced its own changes. Starting with the awards in 2021, all 6,700 voting members of BAFTA will have to undergo unconscious bias training before casting any ballots. It also announced rules aimed at increasing the diversity of films considered with more specific interventions for some categories of the awards. Another major change is that a studio will only be able to nominate an actor for a lead or supporting award, not both categories, as previously allowed. In addition, BAFTA plans to increase its membership by 1,000 with goals for underrepresented groups. The British film awards, like the Oscars, have been repeatedly denounced for its lack of diversity.


In Los Angeles, Weinstein Faces Six Charges of Sexual Assault

Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful movie mogul who was sentenced in March to 23 years in prison for sex crimes, has been charged with 6 additional counts of forcible sexual assault in Los Angeles. The new charges stem from incidents that happened more than a decade ago and add to the growing case against him. Weinstein, 68, now faces a total of 4 counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, 2 counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force involving 5 victims for crimes dating from 2004 to 2013.



Alexander v. Take-Two

Catherine Alexander, a tattoo artist from Illinois, sued Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., 2K Games, Inc., 2K Sports, Inc., World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.(WWE) , Visual Concepts Entertainment, Yuke's Co., Ltd., and Yuke's LA Inc. for copyright infringement relating to the tattoos on 13-time world champion professional wrestler Randy Orton. Alexander alleges that various WWE-branded videogames feature "meticulous reproductions" of those tattoos. WWE offered her $450 for the rights to Orton's tattoos, which she declined. The outcome of the case hinges on whether tattooed individuals like Orton have an implied license to their tattoos and whether depiction of an individual's tattoos is fair use. Another potential issue is whether a tattoo is sufficiently "fixed" to warrant copyright protection in the first place. The issue of fair use and implied license are going to a jury. Issue of material fact exists as to whether Alexander suffered actual damages based on the value of the infringing use. The judge adopted a pretty absolutist view of copyrights.


Beyond the Statue Wars: Restoring Erased History

The national movement to bring down statues that symbolize historical oppression is gaining in Massachusetts. The North End's Christopher Columbus statue has remained out of sight since it was decapitated by protesters after George Floyd was killed. While some people, especially in the Italian-American community, want to bring the statue back, some question whether it is time to put another person on a pedestal.


Judge Rules that Lawsuit Over Bolton Book Can Proceed

A judge has ruled that the Trump administration can move forward with its suit against former national security adviser John Bolton over his tell-all book, which officials say contains classified information.


New Health Insurance Hurdle For Unemployed Stage Actors

Facing enormous financial strain because of the shutdown of the theatre industry, the health insurance fund that covers thousands of stage actors is making it more difficult for them to qualify for coverage. Currently, professional actors and stage managers have to work 11 weeks to qualify for 6 months of coverage.


Mellon Foundation to Provide $5 Million to Aid Black Theaters

The Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, a Black-led artistic institution, will spearhead The Black Seed, a strategic plan that will offer grants to up to 50 theaters across the country. The threaters will receive a significant financial boost, thanks to a multimillion-dollar program. It is described as the first national strategic plan to provide financial support for the Black theaters across the country. It is the largest-ever one-time investment in Black theater.


A New David Zwirner Gallery Plans to Have an All-Black Staff

The megadealer David Zwirner has hired Ebony L. Haynes, a gallerist who is Black, as the director of a new exhibition program and commercial gallery space in Manhattan, for which she plans to employ an all-Black staff. Zwirner has said that Haynes will "have full autonomy" in programming exhibitions. At a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has raised awareness about the scarcity and struggles of Black-run galleries, the new Zwirner enterprise represents a strong commitment from a mega dealer.


The Unbearable Whiteness of the Museum Fashion Collection

In the small group of high-culture institutions that venerate the art of fashion, Black designers have been largely overlooked. The Paris fashion museum, Palais Galliera is scheduled to reopen after a 2-year and almost $10 million renovation with the blockbuster exhibition "Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto." There will now be a rotating sample of its permanent collection, which includes approximately 200,000 objects dating from the 18th century to today. It is one of the largest and most extraordinary collections of fashion in the world. Yet of those 200,000 objects, only 77 pieces of clothing were created by Black designers and only 7 Black designers are represented. That's about .04%. It's a startling imbalance, but effectively the status quo in the small group of globally renowned high-culture institutions historically charged with preserving and protecting the art of fashion.


Opening the Doors of Design - the design industry has never been diverse. Can new initiatives fix that?

A tiny portion of designers are Black, but a host of new initiatives, as well as evolving tastes, are working to right the imbalance. Expressions of solidarity with Black Lives Matter across the design industries have poured out on social media. Black-owned design companies and studios are being singled out for support, and larger design firms are pledging to improve diversity and equity. It's time for everyone to figure out how to create a new foundation so we can build a society that supports people and is truly inclusive. For many Black designers, it is a complicated moment. While eager to seize the momentum, some see little reason to trust that talk of greater inclusiveness will translate into results, or that even well-intentioned incremental steps toward diversity will produce substantive change. Herman Miller is founding a Diversity in Design program, for which it hopes to build a consortium of businesses - including competitors - to tackle the issue. Many believe the problem is in the pipeline, so some top design institutions are ramping up efforts to redress the imbalance.


Whitney Biennial Delayed a Year Until April 2022

The Whitney Biennial, which was scheduled for next spring, has been moved forward and will now occur April-August of 2022. It has been postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Pandemic Could be a Needed Reset for the Metropolitan Opera

On September 23, the Metropolitan Opera (the Met) announced that the its cancellation would extend to its entire 2020-21 season. Its leadership realized that if the Met is going to rise again after the virus subsides, the organization must do things differently to prove itself more essential than ever. The work it presents must matter - and how the company presents itself must matter, too. The Met must take time to think about its place within larger societal currents, especially the roiling issues of racial injustice and police brutality that have inspired nationwide demonstrations. Black classical artists and administrators have spoken out powerfully about systemic discrimination within the field. To that end, the ambitious 2021-22 season is also a statement of purpose that seeks to address multiple oversights in the Met's history.


French Colonialism Goes on Trial Along With Art Theft Defendants

Activists are being tried in Paris over the attempted theft of an African artwork from the Quai Branly Museum, which they say was a protest of colonial-era practices. Mwazulu Diyabanza, along with 4 associates, stood accused of attempting to steal a 19th-century African funeral pole from the museum as part of an action to protest colonial-era cultural theft and seek reparations. It was an emotionally charged trial that gave real resonance to Diyabanza's struggle, as a symbolic defendant was called to the stand: France, and its colonial track record. The presiding judge in charge acknowledge the 2 trials: one, judging the group, 4 men and a woman, on a charge of attempted theft for which they could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of about $173,000. THe "other" trial was that of the history of Europe, of France with Africa, the trial of colonials, the trial of misappropriation of the cultural heritage of nations. The political and historical ramifications were hard to avoid.


Italy is Giving "David" a Twin, Sculpted With a 3-D Printer Instead of Chisels

A copy of Michelangelo's David printed in 3-D will be the centerpiece of the Italy Pavilion at the next World Fair. For the past 5 centuries, Michelangelo's David has been celebrated for its sculptural perfection and its embodiment of youthful beauty and strength. Now, Italian officials want the sculpture to help showcase Italian craftsmanship and high-tech expertise in the digital age.


Making Ruins of Mosques and Shrines

According to new estimates of analyzed satellite imagery by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Chinese authorities have destroyed or significantly damaged thousands of religious sites in Xinjiang in recent years. The destruction attests to the Chinese government's drive to erode the cultural and religious heritage of the region and forcibly assimilate its Muslim minorities.



Fortnite Maker Argues Case vs. Apple

Apple and Fortnite maker, Epic Games, sparred in federal court over whether to reinstate the popular game in Apple's App Store, raising antitrust arguments that may reshape a key part of the internet economy and the way people use smartphones. Epic laid out allegations that Apple had abused its power after Apple booted Fortnite form the App store when Epic tried collecting its own payments through the App store. Epic responded by suing Apple, accusing it of violating antitrust laws. Epic argued that Apple's unwillingness to let it use its own payment system was anticompetitive and monopolistic. Apple said that Epic had plenty of alternative ways to distribute its games. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers concluded the hearing by recommending a jury trial in the case in July. She is expected to rule on whether Apple must allow Fortnite back into its App Store in the interim.


Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, Amateur Athletes Act, Watches U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee

The Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020, a bill designed to protect Olympic athletes from abuse, passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The bill would give Congress the power to dissolve the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's (USOPC) board of directors, as well as any individual sport's governing body, such as USA Swimming or USA Gymnastics, and would more than double the foundation's funding for the U.S. Center for SafeSport. It is now headed to the president. The bill also sets up a bipartisan committee to do a complete review of the USOPC.


College Football Face Cover Rules: Only Partly Followed and Not Enforced

Perhaps more than any other major American sport, football is grappling with a scourge of overt, if not always deliberate, mask violations during competition at the collegiate and professional levels. The National Football League (NFL) has angrily watched some of its biggest names defy its rules. Most of the coaches in SEC, the sport's most prominent collegiate conference, repeatedly breached the league's policy during its opening weekend, and college conferences that are playing football this fall, or planning to, have begun weighing hot to police their stated protocols more forcefully. The question is not easily solved in a sport that has long been politicized, prizes its image as a haven for the macho, and that, at the top ranks of the college game, lacks centralized governance.


NFL Experiences First COVID Outbreak as 8 Members of the Titans Test Positive

The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are suspending all in-person club activities after the Titans announced that 3 players and 5 other personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus. This is seen as the first coronavirus outbreak for a NFL team during a season that is entering its fourth week. Before now, only a handful of players and slightly more staff members had tested positive during the season. The NFL has been conducting tens of thousands of tests, in a program that it was recently celebrating as a success.


Challenges to NFL Grow as Positive Tests Postpone Patriots-Chiefs Showdown

According to multiple reports, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for the coronavirus and will be out for the team's upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs, a game which was being billed as a quarterback showdown. After the news broke, Sunday's game was postponed, making it the second Week 4 Sunday game to be postponed. Members of the Chiefs's organization have also reportedly tested positive for the virus.


National Basketball Association Weathers its Stormiest Season

Nothing about the 2019-20 National Basketball Association (NBA) season has been normal. There were tragedies and triumphs, setbacks and highlights. When play finally resumed in July after a 4-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it began in a so-called bubble: a self-contained, spectator-free campus at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, as the NBA - at no small cost - fought to the finish line. This turbulent season has challenged how the world sees basketball and, perhaps, how basketball players see themselves.


FIFA to Order Teams to Release Players for World Cup Qualifying

Coronavirus fears, rising infection rates and quarantine rules are raising serious practical concerns before the first round of World Cup qualifiers in South America. After weeks of indecision and discussion, FIFA is planning to order soccer clubs to release players who have been called up for World Cup qualification games next week, a move that is likely to lead to a furious backlash from teams, leagues, and player unions fearful of the risks of international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.


Verdasco Threatens French Open Legal Action After COVID-19 Omission

Spanish tennis player Fernando Verdasco has threatened legal action against the organizers of the French Open after he was forced to withdraw from the tournament following a positive COVID-19 test.


Russian Biathletes File Criminal Complaint Over Alleged Rodchenkov Forgery Claims

Criminal complaints have been lodged with the Swiss prosecutors office over alleged fake signatures by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov.


Eight Australian Sports Commit to Inclusion Measures for Transgender Athletes

Eight peak Australian sporting bodies - AFL, Hockey Australia, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia, Tennis Australia, Touch Football Australia, UniSport Australia ,and Water Polo - have committed to implementing governance that supports a great level of inclusion for trans and gender diverse people in their sports.



Moderator of Debate Regrets 'Missed Opportunity'

The veteran anchor Chris Wallace conceded that he was initially "reluctant" to step in during the Trump-Biden matchup. In his first interview after the chaotic spectacle, Wallace conceded that he had been slow to recognize that the president was not going to cease flouting the debate's rules. He said that he had "never been through anything like this" and didn't realize "that this was going to be the president's strategy for the entire debate." The Commission on Presidential Debates has since said that it would examine changes to the format of this year's remaining encounters between Biden and Trump, a clear sign of its frustration with the results. The suggestion that moderators be given the power to mute the candidates' microphones - popular on social media in the hours after the event - did not sit well with Wallace.


New Mexico Lawsuit Against Google is Ended

A U.S. district judge has dismissed New Mexico's privacy claims against Google. The judge concluded that federal laws and regulations do not require direct consent from parents when schools participate in Google's education platforms. However, New Mexico's top prosecutor vowed to continue the legal fight to protect children's rights. Under the ruling, New Mexico can amend its complaint.


President Perpetuates Falsehoods, Study Finds

Cornell University researchers analyzing 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic found that Trump was the largest driver of the "indodemic" (falsehoods involving the pandemic). Mentions of Trump made up nearly 38% of the overall "misinformation conversation." The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting that the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Trump's impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, to people who ate bat soup. By far, the more prevalent topic of misinformation was "miracle cures", including Trump's promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for COVID-19. That accounted for more misinformation that the other 10 topics combined.


Federal Judge Grants Injunction Against Trump's Ban on China's TikTok

A federal judge halted a Trump administration order to ban TikTok in the U.S. on Sunday. The judge granted a preliminary injunction against the ban, which was set to take effect this past Sunday at midnight and would have force TikTok to be removed from app stores. The ruling did not address other restrictions within the Executive Order that will take effect on November 12th and will make the app harder to use for those already on it. TikTok's lawyers argued that taking away the app was essentially a violation of the rights of users to share their views, both weeks before an election and during a pandemic that is limiting real-life interactions.


Google to Pay $1 Billion to License News Content

Google has committed more than $1 billion to license content from international news organizations, after years of criticism that it was not providing fair compensation for articles and other content linked to by its internet search products. The program is part of a new Google product called News Showcase that will present news from around the world in short snippets that readers can quickly browse on a phone or other device. The company will pay publishers to curate the material that will be presented. The program is starting in Germany and Brazil and will be rolled out to additional countries in the months ahead. Nearly 200 publications have signed on.


Facebook Bans Ads Aiming to Disrupt Vote

Facebook announced that it will prohibit advertising that seeks to "delegitimize" the U.S. election - including ads making allegations of widespread voting fraud or denouncing legitimate voting methods as inherently fraudulent or corrupt - marking yet another concession to critics who decry the platform's rampant misinformation problem and lax fact-checking policies for political ads.


Project Veritas Releases Misleading Video, Part of What Experts Call a Coordinated Effort

A deceptive video was released by the conservative activist James O'Keefe, which claimed through unidentified sources and with no verifiable evidence that Representative Ilhan Omar's campaign had collected ballots illegally, was probably part of a coordinated disinformation effort. O'Keefe's group, Project Veritas, appears to have made an abrupt decision to release the video sooner than planned after the New York Times published a sweeping investigation of Trump's taxes. Project Vertias had hyped the video on social media for several days before publishing it. In posts amplified by other prominent conservative accounts, O'Keefe teased what he said was evidence of voter fraud and urged people to sign up at "ballot-harvesting.com" to receive the supposed evidence when it came out. None of the material in the video actually proved voter fraud.


Fox Anchor Gives Viewers Advice: Wear a 'Damn Mask'

"Fox News Sunday" host and moderator of the first presidential debate, Chris Wallace, urged viewers to "wear the damn mask" after Trump tested positive for COVID-19. He went on to note that the first family took off their masks, going against strict guidelines in place at the debate. Wallace pled for people to "forget the politics [because] this is a public safety health issue."


Justice Department Appeals Injunction Blocking Ban of WeChat

The federal government has appealed a judge's ruling that prevented the Trump administration from imposing a ban on WeChat, the popular Chinese-owned messaging app. The appeal was made at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, escalating the battle over the future of WeChat, owned by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings. Washington has worked to banish Chinese telecommunications products from American networks. Last month, the Department of Commerce moved to block American companies, like Google and Apple, from hosting WeChat in their app stores, as well as bar companies from hosting WeChat's data or helping to deliver content to its users. However, Judge Beeler blocked the ban last month, days before it was supposed to take effect, in response to a request from a group that says it represents WeChat users.


Saudi Journalist's Dream Comes to Life Two Years After His Killing

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) is a Washington-based human rights watchdog that plans to focus on violations by the U.S.'s closest Arab allies and publish articles by political exiles from across the Middle East to carry on Saudi dissent writer Jamal Khashoggi's legacy. Since Khashoggi's death and dismemberment by Saudi agents inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, critics have embraced his case as the grimmest manifestation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's no-holds-barred approach to silencing dissidents within Saudi Arabia and abroad. It was Khashoggi's dream to found an organization in Washington to promote democracy in the Arab world - 2 years after his death, friends and colleges have launched that organization.


American Could Face Prison Time in Thailand After Posting Negative Reviews of a Resort

An American living in Thailand says that he could face up to 2 years in prison for posting negative reviews of a resort. The man was arrested under Thailand's criminal defamation law, which has been used to silence critics and stifle dissent. The hotel that brought charges acknowledges that using the law might be "excessive."


Policing Content, Facebook Incurs a Strongman's Wrath

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is one of a number of populists around the world who rose to power in part by harnessing Facebook to get his unfiltered messages to millions. During his 2016 campaign, his allies flooded the social media platform with misinformation about his opponents and laudatory stories about him. Four years later, after allegations that Facebook aided disruptive misinformation campaigns in many countries, the Silicon Valley giant has put up increasing checks on what politicians and their allies can say online. Duterte is not a fan and has lashed out at Facebook for taking down fake accounts that supported his policies, making vague threats to shut the platform down in the Philippines.


General News

Chuck Schumer Forces Healthcare Vote

In an extremely rare move, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took control of the floor and is forcing a procedural vote on a bill, a step that is typically done only by the Senate majority leader. The action now sets up a vote related to a bill that would protect people with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court sides with the Trump administration's Department of Justice and strikes down the Affordable Care Act after arguments are heard in November.


Senators Approves Stopgap Spending Bill to Avoid a Shutdown

The measure provides funding for the government until December 11th, delaying the threat of a shutdown until after the general election.


House Passes $2.2 Trillion Aid Bill by Thin Margin

The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill in a 214-207 vote, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued to push for a last-minute, bipartisan compromise on the next round of aid - the vote is a symbolic step from Democrats, as the legislation is widely opposed by Senate Republicans and is not expected to become law.


Justices Rush Census Case on Excluding Immigrants

A lower court had ruled that the Trump administration's plan to alter the census count for congressional reapportionment violated federal law. The Supreme Court has since agreed to move quickly to consider an appeal from the administration that seeks to revive its efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the calculations used to apportion congressional seats. The move will allow the Court to hear the case as soon as December, setting the stage for a ruling on a policy that seeks to upend a constitutional consensus and would generally shift both political power and federal money from Democratic states to Republican ones.


Justices Will Weigh Cases About Ballots and Climate

The justices will consider challenges to Arizona's ban on "ballot harvesting" and a suit against energy companies accused of contributing to climate change. The Arizona case will probably be heard in January, too late to affect the presidential election. But it will give the Supreme Court, in transition after the death of Justice Ginsburg, an opportunity to weigh in on the roiling debate over how elections should be conducted. The case will also test the force of what is left of the Voting Rights Act.


President's Taxes Chart Chronic Losses, Audit Battle, and Income Tax Avoidance

The New York Times obtained Donald Trump's tax information extending over more than 2 decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle, and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years - largely because he reported losing much more money than he made. Further, hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the IRS over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million. The tax returns that Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public.


Trump's TV Façade Rescued Finances and Aided His Rise

The image that was portrayed of Trump on his reality television show "The Apprentice" was all a hoax. Twelve years later, that image of the self-made, self-saved mogul, beamed into the national consciousness, would help fuel Trump's improbable election to the White House. Yet while the story of "The Apprentice" is by now well known, the president's tax returns reveal another grand twist that has never been truly told - how the popularity of that fictional alter ego rescued him, providing a financial lifeline to reinvent himself yet again; then how, in an echo of the boom-and-bust cycle that has defined his business career, he led himself toward the financial shoals he must navigate today.


Senators Speed Review and Prepare to Meet Nominee, Although Hearings to Confirm Face an Imperiled Timeline

The confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court quietly but hastily got underway in the Senate as more than a dozen senators prepared to quiz her in private meetings and their staffs began a deep scrub of her record on and off the bench. The flurry of activity began barely 36 hours after President Trump announced Judge Barrett's nomination. However, with the president ill and a coronavirus outbreak engulfing Washington and spreading to the Senate, a fresh element of uncertainty was introduced into the politically fraught fight over installing Judge Amy Cooney Barrett on the Supreme Court before Election Day, as Republicans vowed to press ahead and Democrats insisted on a pause.


Trump Ally Releases Unverified Intelligence Over Agencies' Doubts

Recent developments on national intelligence have exacerbated concerns that the Trump administration is co-opting government capabilities for its own gain. In one example, mere hours before the first Trump-Biden debate, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified unverified Russian intelligence suggesting Hillary Clinton tried to link Trump to Russia in 2016.


Schiff Sees Disinformation Rise With Trump's Attacks

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff says that foreign adversaries want to undermine confidence in the American election and are amplifying Trump's false assertions. American intelligence officials have seen an uptick in Russian disinformation about mail-in ballots as Trump has escalated his attacks on voting by mail. American intelligence agencies have not explicitly linked the increase in Russian disinformation operations to the president's comments. They would not make such a link without specific intelligence about the Kremlin's marching orders, but officials have acknowledged that Russia always focuses its disinformation efforts on existing controversies to amplify ongoing arguments.


Grand Juror Raises Doubts in How Prosecution Handled Taylor Case

Outrage over grand jury findings in the Breonna Taylor case resurfaced old doubts about the uniquely American legal institution. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion to delay the release of audio recordings related to the Taylor case, which added to the mounting list of questions that followed the grand jury's decision to charge only one of the 3 officers involved in the young woman's death. There have been growing calls for transparency in the case. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is among those asking for more transparency in the wake of the grand jury decision. Prosecutors are generally able to set the agenda and control what evidence jurors are presented in court, according to legal experts, but civil rights advocates and attorneys for Taylor's family have raised questions about the volume of evidence presented against the officers.


Taylor Grand Jury Tapes Present Dueling Narratives

Police said that they knocked repeatedly and identified themselves for a minute or more before using a battering ram to enter Breonna Taylor's apartment. Taylor's boyfriend said in police interview that he did not hear them announce themselves. The dueling accounts were contained in hours of recordings made public in a rare release for proceedings that are typically kept secret. The grand jury did not charge the officers with her killing. A court ruled that the content of the proceedings should be a made public after the grand jury's decision angered many in Louisville and around the county and set off renewed protests. The material released does not include juror deliberations or prosecutor recommendations and statements, none of which were recorded, according to the state attorney general's office.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainees Recall Pressure to Get Surgery

Immigrants detained at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-contracted center in Georgia say they had invasive gynecology procedures that they later learned might have been unnecessary. The Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia drew national attention last month after a nurse filed a whistle-blower complaint claiming that detainees had told her they had their uteruses removed without their full understanding or consent. First-hand accounts are now emerging from detainees who underwent other invasive gynecological procedures that they did not fully understand and which may not have been medically necessary.


Trump's Heckles Send First Debate into Utter Chaos

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden fiercely clashed in one of the most chaotic and bitter presidential debates in years. Trump frequently interrupted, prompting Biden to tell him to "shut up" as the two fought over the pandemic, healthcare, and the economy. The president was challenged over white supremacist support and refused to condemn a specific far-right group.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Threatens to Close Embassy in Iraq Unless Attacks Stop

Secretary of State Pompeo has threatened to close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad if Iraqi leaders do not prevent Iranian-backed militias from firing rockets at the compound, and a decision is expected before the election.


Pentagon is Clinging to Old Tools, Panel Warns

A bipartisan House panel said that artificial intelligence, quantum computing, space, and biotechnology were "making traditional battlefields and boundaries increasingly irrelevant" - but that the Pentagon was clinging to aging weapons systems meant for a previous era. The panel's report, called the "Future of Defense Task Force", is one of many underway in Congress in an attempt to grapple with the speed at which the Pentagon is adapting new technologies, often using the rising competition with China in an effort to spur the pace of change. Most reach the same conclusion: for all the talk of embracing new technology, the politics of killing off old weapons systems is so forbidding - often because it involves closing factories or bases, and endangers military jobs in congressional districts - that the efforts falter.


After 340 Years, Pueblo Revolt is Echoing in New Mexico

Indigenous groups in the Southwest are imbuing their activism this year with commemorations of the 340-year-old Pueblo Revolt, one of Spain's bloodiest defeats in its colonial empire. From the protests in the late spring against New Mexico's conquistador monuments to the writing last month emblazoning the walls of Santa Fe and Taos celebrating the Pueblo Revolt, the meticulously orchestrated rebellion that exploded 340 years ago is resonating once again. The increasingly energetic activism in New Mexico points to how the protests across the country over racial injustice and police treatment of African-Americans have fueled an even broader questioning about the racism and inequality that endure in this part of the West.


Pantone's New Color Joins a Movement to Destigmatize Menstruation

Pantone has launched a bold new color to combat menstruation taboos. The release of this new red hue by the Pantone Color Institute builds on the momentum in recent years of the period positivity movement. The bold new shade of red is called "Period" to help destigmatize menstruation.


Racism in the Principal's Office: Seeking Justice for Black Girls

Discipline disparities between Black and white boys have driven reform efforts for years, but Black girls are arguably the most at-risk student group in the U.S. There is a case now that is the subject of what might be a groundbreaking federal lawsuit by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which has drawn on the disparate treatment and discipline rates of Black girls to pursue it. The disproportionate discipline rates of Black boys have long dominated discussions about the harmful effects of punitive discipline policies, but recent high-profile cases have begun to reframe the debate around the plight of Black girls. The disproportionate discipline rates among girls indicate what researchers have long said about all Black children: it is not that they misbehave more than their peers, but their behaviors may be judged more harshly. Black girls in particular are more likely to be punished for subjective infractions like dress code violations and insubordination.


Bitcoin Exchange Owners Face U.S. Criminal Charges

American authorities brought criminal charges last week against the owners of one of the world's biggest cryptocurrency trading exchanges, BitMEX, accusing it of allowing the Hong Kong-based company to launder money and engage in other illegal transactions.


Newly Appointed Judge Steps Down From 9/11 Trial, Citing Personal Conflicts

The recusal of Colonel Stephen Keane from hearing the case at Guantanamo Bay adds another roadblock to restarting pretrial hearings in the long-running case. Keane said he had ties to the New York area and that his Marine career included investigating Al Qaeda, just weeks after getting the job. Since beginning the trial, he became aware of a significant personal connection to persons who were directly affected by the events of 9/11.


Science Finds Way to Speed Breakdown of Plastics

A new cocktail of enzymes that degrades plastic faster is a step to fully recycling soda bottles and other waste. This is a step forward in finding a new form of recycling that is faster, more affordable and works on a larger scale than current methods. The "super-enzyme" could be employed to break down plastic bottles much more quickly than current recycling methods and create the raw material to make new ones, according to the American and British scientists. And it may make it easier to repurpose the material. An estimated 359 million tons of plastic is produced annually worldwide, with at least 150 million tons of it sitting in landfills or in the environment.


'Fifth Girl' in Church Bombing Gets Apology from Alabama's Governor

Governor Kay Ivey offered to have state officials meet with lawyers for a maimed survivor of an infamous racist attack in Birmingham to discuss restitution for an "egregious injustice." Sarah Collins Rudolph had appealed to local and state leaders in Alabama for years, asking for some form of restitution, after the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The explosion blinded her right eye, killed her sister and 3 other girls, and started a struggle with injuries and trauma that weighs on Rudolph to this day. After 57 years, a formal apology from the governor of Alabama brought her one step closer to resolution.


Women Say World Health Organization Staff Abused Them in Congo

The World Health Organization (WHO) has pledged to investigate allegations that aid workers tackling the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo sexually abused and exploited women. WHO and other aid agency staff were accused by 50 women in a joint investigation by 2 news agencies. Local women were allegedly plied with drinks, "ambushed" in hospitals, forced to have sex, and 2 became pregnant. The allegations cover the period between 2018 and March this year.


New York Boss of Union Faces Broad Charges of Corruption

Federal prosecutors say James W. Cahill and 10 others accepted more than $100,000 in bribes in return for using their influence to help employers who had hired nonunion labor. Cahill was one of the most powerful and politically connected union leaders in New York and has been indicted on racketeering and fraud charges. Ten other current and former members of the steamfitters Local 638 where the union leader started his career were also charged.



Coronavirus Deaths Pass One Million

More than one million people have died from the coronavirus worldwide, marking another milestone in the pandemic's brief but devasting history. The death toll now stands at 1,000,555. The grim tally has been reached in fewer than 9 months since the first death caused by the virus was confirmed by Chinese authorities in the city of Wuhan. Since then, the virus has disrupted the everyday lives of billions of people around the globe and caused widespread economic damage. More than 33 million cases have been confirmed worldwide and outbreaks continue to plague many countries.


President in Hospital As He Battles COVID

Trump went through a "very concerning" period last Friday and faces a "critical" next few days in his fight against COVID-19 at a military hospital. Trump's doctors took pains not to reveal the president had received supplemental oxygen at the White House before his hospital admission. The changing and often contradictory accounts created a credibility crisis for the White House at a crucial moment, with the president's health and the nation's leadership on the lines.


Trump is Given Antibody Treatment Not Yet Approved for Emergency Use

Trump received a single dose of an antibody cocktail made by the biotech company Regeneron. Trump received a dose of the experiemental antibody cocktail in addition to several other drugs, including zinc, vitamin D, and the generic version of the heartburn treatment Pepcid. There are no approved treatments for COVID-19, but the Regneron treatment is one of the most promising candidates, along with another antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly. Both are being tested in patients around the country.


Primed for Mistrust, Many Wonder if White House is Being Forthright

A president who rose to fame - in business, on TV, and in politics - on an archipelago of exaggerations finds himself facing a public skeptical of his account of his own health, but there is no evidence to support the view that Trump and the First Lady are anything but ill. As updates on the president's condition came in, followed by the news that he would be hospitalized, the chatter turned from skepticism that the president was sick to doubts that the White House was being forthright about his condition.


McConnell Postpones Senate Return as Precaution

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will seek to obtain a consent agreement to delay the return of Senate from Monday to October 19th in the wake of 3 GOP senators testing positive for the coronavirus. McConnell said that the Senate Judiciary Committee's work can continue on October 12th with the confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.


White House Reveals a Plan to Distribute Millions of Kits

Last week, Trump announced that his administration plans to distribute 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests to Americans that were first promoted back in August. Formally unveiling the plan at the White House Rose Garden, Trump claimed that the tests were there to be made available to teachers who will need it, as many schools across the country have reopened physically while others have chosen to reopen virtually this year. The tests are made by Abbott Laboratories and were touted as a possible game-changer to the pandemic. This sudden plan to release millions of COVID-19 tests is a shift in Trump's previous assertions that more case of COVID-19 were noted because there was more testing happening. In another sudden shift from his previous stances, Trump said that more efforts made in testing and noting asymptomatic cases in low-risk populations should not be cause for alarm or panic. 100 million of the tests would go to states and territories in support of efforts to reopen while 50 million would be allotted for those who are at the most risk of contracting the disease.


White House Pushed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on School Risk

Documents and interviews show how senior officials sought to play down the risks of sending children back to the classroom, alarming public health experts. Top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this summer to play down the risks, a strikingly political intervention in one of the most sensitive public health debates of the pandemic. As part of their behind-the-scenes effort, White House officials also tried to circumvent the CDC in a search for alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children.


Claims of Herd Immunity Called 'Nonsense,' as Well as Dangerous

The CDC and leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that as many as 90% of Americans are still vulnerable to infection. This number is important because it means that "herd immunity" - the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it - is still very far off. What epidemiologists found runs strongly counter to a theory being promoted in influential circles that the U.S. has either already achieved herd immunity or is close to doing so, and that the pandemic is all but over.


A Growing Tenue Crisis for Women in Academia

The pandemic has been brutal on many working mothers, especially those with little leverage on the job. Experts say it may be uniquely unforgiving for mothers in so-called up-or-out fields, where workers face a single high-stakes promotion decision. The loss of months or more of productivity to additional child care responsibilities, which fall more heavily on women, can reverberate throughout their careers. An economic historian at Harvard who studies women in the labor market says that this will disproportionately affect female lawyers, accountants, and people in various positions in finance, management, and academics - all of whom have up-or-out or winner-take-all positions.


Women Reconsider Jobs Amid Pandemic Disarray

One in 4 women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to the coronavirus. New data shows that women are being disproportionately affected by today's pandemic. From the beginning of 2015 to the beginning of 2020, the share of women in senior VP roles grew from 23% to 28% with the overall share of women in the C-suite growing from 17% to 21% over that same time period. The pandemic is proving to be a real threat to this progress. Researchers are seeing evidence of women leaving the workforce at higher rates than men. The increase in the number leaving or thinking about leaving the workforce is largely due to the ongoing caregiving crisis facing women which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, with many schools and day care centers remaining closed.


White House Kills CDC Plan to Extend Ban on Cruise Ships

The CDC director wanted a "no sail" order extended until February, a policy that would have upset the tourism industry in the crucial swing state of Florida. The White House has since blocked that order. The current "no sail" policy was originally put in place in April and later extended and was set to expire. The CDC is worried that cruise ships could become viral hot spots as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. The administration will instead allow the ships to sail after October 31st, the date the industry had already agreed to on its own, voluntary plan.


Judge Blocks President's Visa Ban for Foreign Workers

A U.S. federal judge ruled that Trump overstepped his authority when he suspended the issuance of certain types of work visas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Several associations filed a complaint in which they challenged the validity of Trump's Proclamation 10052, which suspended the issuance of nonimmigrant work visas (particularly J, L, and H category visas) for a period lasting until December 13, 2020 or longer "if necessary."


A Cut to Refugee Limits and a Xenophobic Rant

The Trump administration said it would lower the annual cap on refugees further into rock-bottom record territory as Trump pursues pre-election xenophobic attacks. The change in the number of refugees Trump plans to admit is not drastic: no more than 15,000 in the fiscal year that began last week, down from 18,000 in the 2020 fiscal year, which was a record low. The number was set in a notice sent to Congress last week, shortly before the statutory deadline to set the new limit.


For Many Jobless, 'Short-Term' No Longer Fits

The U.S. economy is facing a tidal wave of long-term unemployment, as millions of people who lost jobs early in the pandemic remain out of work months later and job losses increasingly turn permanent. The Labor Department said that 2.4 million people had been out of work for 27 weeks or more, the threshold it uses to define long-term joblessness. Nearly 5 million people are approaching long-term joblessness over the next 2 months. The same report showed that even as temporary layoffs were on the decline, permanent job losses were rising sharply.


The Pandemic Recession Has Just Begun

There is a straightforward narrative of the economy in 2020: the world shut down in the spring because of the pandemic, causing an economic collapse without modern precedent. A sharp recovery began in May as businesses reopened, but that snapback effect over the summer masked something more worrying: we have entered a longer, slower grind that puts the economy at risk for the indefinite future. In the details of government employment data can be seen a jobs crisis that penetrates deeply into the economy.


Visitors Will Once Again Be Allowed for Inmates

Relatives and friends will be permitted once again to being visiting inmates in federal prisons as of last Saturday, 6 months after such visits were ended over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.


Crisis Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems in Indian Health Service

Few hospital beds, lack of equipment, a shipment of body bags in response to a request for coronavirus tests: the agency providing health care to tribal communities struggled to meet the challenge. Long before the coronavirus, the Indian Health Service, the government program that provides health care to the 2.2 million members of the nation's tribal communities, was plagued by shortages of funding and supplies, a lack of doctors and nurses, too few hospital beds and aging facilities. Now the pandemic has exposed those weaknesses as never before, contributing to the disproportionally high infection and death rates among Native American and fueling new anger about what critics say has been decades of neglect from Congress and successive administrations in Washington.


Virus Pushing New York Into a Financial Abyss

The pandemic has crippled tourism, retail, and the culture sector. It could last for years, and layoffs, service cuts, and added debt are all on the table. The unemployment rate in New York City is 16%, twice as high as in the rest of the country. Personal income tax revenue is expected to drop by $2 billion this fiscal year. Only a third of hotel rooms are occupied, and apartment vacancies in Manhattan have hit a peak. Even as the city has contained the spread of the virus, it has been unable to exert control over its threat to the economy.


New York Becomes the First Big City in the U.S. to Reopen All its Schools

It's a significant moment for the recovery in a city hit hard by the pandemic in the spring. The system, the nation's largest, is welcoming back 500,000 students. It's a major step in its recovery from having been the global epicenter of the pandemic and a hopeful sign for the country's unsteady effort to return children to classrooms.


Ambitious Study in India of Nearly 85,000 Cases Delivers Many Surprises

Researchers found that the rate of death went down in patients over 65 while children of all ages became infected and spread the virus to others. With 1.3 billion people jostling for space, India has always been a hospitable environment for infectious diseases of every kind and the coronavirus has proved to be no exception: the country now has more than 6 million cases, second only to the U.S. The ambitious study of nearly 85,000 of those case and nearly 600,000 of their contacts offers important insights not just for India, but for other low- and middle-income countries.


October 7, 2020

Termination Rights, Loan out Companies and Tax Planning for Artists in the Recording Business

By Marc Jacobson, Esq. and Jerome M. Hesch, Esq.

Marc Jacobson, Esq. of New York, New York is an entertainment lawyer practicing in the music, film and television industries. He is the Founding Chairman of the New York State Bar Association Section on Entertainment Arts and Sports Law, and is consistently listed in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers as a leading entertainment lawyer.

Jerome M. Hesch, Esq. of Miami, Florida serves as an income tax and estate planning consultant for lawyers and other tax planning professionals throughout the country. He is the Director of the Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, is on the Tax Management Advisory Board, and a Fellow of both the American College of Trusts and Estates Council and the American College of Tax Council. He was elected to the NAEPC Estate Planning Hall of Fame.

In the past, recording artists frequently entered into agreements with record labels through a loan out corporation, which two recent cases confirm had the effect of eliminating their ability to exercise the statutory termination right, as codified in the 1976 Copyright Act. This blog will address how a loan out corporation in a recording agreement can be used to allow the artist to maintain his/her/their rights (if any) to terminate copyrights granted to the record label, while simultaneously preserving the ability to use the loan out corporation to reduce the artist's income tax liability while avoiding certain income tax traps. Two recent court decisions in the Southern District of New York held that if an artist's loan out corporation ("Grantor") transfers a copyright to the record label, the artist does not have the right to terminate the grant of copyright to the record label, even in the face of the artist's simultaneous execution of inducement letters and covenants to execute assignments of copyright to the record label upon the record label's request. The court decisions may be used to guide artists in using a loan out corporation to achieve significant income tax benefits and to preserve their termination rights.

What is Copyright Termination?

In recognition of the unequal bargaining power present when a new artist signs an agreement with a record label or other third party, the 1976 Copyright Act enacted provisions that permit an author (or the author's heirs) to terminate a prior grant of a copyright after a stated period of years. (17 USC §§ 203 and 304.) The termination will only be effective in the United States. The party exercising those rights must follow rigorous requirements to ensure that the termination is effective. As the termination does not happen automatically, the author or his/her/their heirs must take action to exercise those rights. Upon achieving an effective termination, the author or the author's heirs become the owners of the U.S. rights to the terminated works. Upon the effective date of termination, the author or author's heirs can enter into a new agreement with respect to those rights with any third party, including the original record label.

What is a Loan Out Corporation?

A loan out corporation is typically a corporation owned by an athlete, musician, entertainer, or another person in a similar business ("Artist") The loan out corporation enters into an employment agreement with the Artist. The loan out corporation then leases the Artist's services to others, such as a record label. Generally, the Artist is the sole shareholder of the loan out corporation. The loan out corporation enters into various agreements with third-party companies that want to engage the Artist. The Artist frequently signs an inducement letter, inducing the third party to enter into the agreement. In the inducement letter, the Artist agrees to provide services to the third party on behalf of the loan out corporation. Without the inducement letter, it is conceivable that the loan out corporation could engage another person to fulfill the obligations undertaken by the loan out corporation, and not the Artist, which would frustrate the purpose of the agreement.

A loan out corporation can accomplish several important objectives. One is to limit personal liability for the Artist. (But see NY Bus & Corp Law §630(a), which makes the top 10 shareholders of a private New York or foreign corporation qualified to do business in New York personally liable for unpaid wages to employees of the corporation.) It is worth noting that the corporation will not necessarily shield the Artist from liability for contributory or vicarious copyright infringement, because the Artist will often have the authority and ability to control the actions of the loan out corporation. The loan out corporation also provides certain financial benefits. Generally, a service provider such as an Artist, must report compensation in the year the compensation is paid, even if the right to collect the compensation is received by another. As an employee of the loan out corporation, a large portion of the compensation may not be immediately taxed if it is transferred to the Artist's retirement plan, thereby postponing the payment of income tax to that time when the person retires and withdraws funds from the pension plan. (An employee can postpone reporting the compensation income received by a retirement plan to age 72 and thereafter.) Another income tax advantage was created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, where commissions paid by artists to agents, or managers, or legal fees paid in connection with securing employment are not tax-deductible. However, these expenses are tax-deductible if paid by a corporation.

What is the Assignment of Income Doctrine?

The ability to use a retirement plan to receive the Artist's compensation can avoid immediate income taxation under the Assignment of Income Doctrine. In Commissioner v. Banks, 543 US 426 (2005), the U.S. Supreme Court described the assignment of income doctrine this way: "The Internal Revenue Code defines "gross income" for federal tax purposes as "all income from whatever source derived." The definition extends broadly to all economic gains not otherwise exempted. A taxpayer cannot exclude an economic gain from gross income by assigning the gain in advance to another party. The rationale for the so-called anticipatory assignment of income doctrine is the principle that gains should be taxed "to those who earn them," a maxim we have called "the first principle of income taxation," the anticipatory assignment doctrine is meant to prevent taxpayers from avoiding taxation through "arrangements and contracts however skillfully devised to prevent [income] when paid from vesting even for a second in the man who earned it." (Citations omitted).

The Southern District of New York Class Action Cases.

Last year, two putative class actions were filed by the same law firms, representing different plaintiffs, against Sony and Universal Music Group, comprising two of the three major record labels, (No similar claim was filed by these lawyers against Warner Music Group ("WMG") the third major record company.), (i) seeking a declaratory judgement that copyright termination notices served by the recording artists were effective (the record label's position was that such notices were not effective) and (ii) asserting that the record labels committed copyright infringement by continuing to exploit the works after the effective date of these termination notices. (Waite, et al v. UMG Recordings, et. al., Case number 1:19-cv-01091 (USDC SDNY Judge Kaplan) ("Waite") and Johansen, et. al. v. Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. et. al., Case number 1:19-cv-01094 (USDC SDNY Judge Ramos).) The defendants moved to dismiss in both cases. Sony's motion to dismiss the complaint against it was denied in its entirety. (Johansen v. Sony, Docket No. 61, Order, dated March 31, 2020.) UMG's motion to dismiss was granted, with respect to the plaintiffs' claims based on grants transferred by third parties (and in two other respects not relevant to this blog and denied in other respects.) (Waite v. UMG, Docket No. 68, Order with Memorandum Opinion dated March 31, 2020 ("Waite I").) A later decision in the same case denied the plaintiffs' motion to file a Second Amended Complaint, which sought to remedy the failures of the first complaint to properly allege that artists who relied on a loan out corporation to enter into the agreement with UMG still had the right to terminate the purported grant of copyright to the record label. (Waite v. UMG, Docket No. 89, Order with Memorandum Opinion dated August 10, 2020 ("Waite II").)

Who is the Grantor?

A threshold inquiry in any analysis of termination rights is who assigned the copyrights (i.e., who is the grantor of the copyright). The grantor may be an individual, several individuals as co-authors of a work, a partnership, a corporation, an LLC or a trust. In the first Waite court decision ("Waite I"), John Waite, a named plaintiff and the relevant recording artist, assigned his copyright to a loan out corporation. In turn the loan out corporation, as Grantor, assigned its copyright to UMG. In return, UMG agreed to pay the loan out corporation an advance and agreed to pay future royalties to the loan out corporation, earned from UMG's exploitation of the copyrights it acquired. In the complaint in Waite I, the plaintiff asserted that the loan out corporation was his alter ego and should be disregarded. The Waite I court refused to disregard the loan out corporation and respected the loan out corporation as the grantor of the copyrights. As the complaint in Waite I stated that Waite was the Grantor, and because only the Grantor can assert termination rights, the court in Waite I had to respect the form. Therefore, the complaint was dismissed.

In its papers, the plaintiffs asserted that "the loan out company was only a tax-planning device." The court held, however, "Even so, people cannot use a corporate structure for some purposes - e.g. taking advantage of tax benefits - and then disavow it for others. While Waite and his loan out companies...perhaps are distinct entities only in a formal legal sense, the statutory text is clear: termination rights exist only if the author executed the grant." (Waite I, Section V.)

The plaintiffs later moved to file a Proposed Second Amended Complaint, and the court in Waite II maintained its position that if the contracting party was a loan out corporation, then termination rights did not belong to individual artist plaintiffs, such as Waite. (Waite II, Section IV.) This Proposed Second Amended Complaint also made allegations that plaintiff Waite signed inducement letters in favor of the record label, and also alleged that the plaintiffs agreed to execute any assignments of copyright requested by the record label. The Waite II court held that "the agreements at issue were between the recording company and the third party. And therefore, it was the third party, not the artist that granted the transfer of copyright."

The inducement letters and agreements to execute an assignment, all common in recording agreements, did not save the plaintiff's assertion that the individual artist still could terminate these grants. The court denied the motion to permit filing a Second Amended Complaint with regard to terminations by artists who used loan out companies to contract with the record label on the artist's behalf. (Id.)

These cases provide guidance on how to structure a recording agreement to achieve the Artist's objectives. However, this blog will not address the merits of these cases or prognosticate as to whether the claims will ultimately be successful. Since this is the second decision in the case in which the court held that the grantor was not the individual artist, but was the loan out corporation, the artist's lawyers should consider how to preserve the tax planning benefits of using a loan out corporation, while also preserving the right to terminate the grant of copyrights. However, the question of whether the termination right exists is also beyond the scope of this blog. (Many record companies provide in their agreements with artists that the recordings created are "works made for hire" for the record company. The gravamen of these cases is to challenge that position.) For purposes of this blog, we assume that the right does exist.

The Problem.

Waite I and Waite II make clear that if the loan out corporation is the party to the agreement with the record label, the Artist who owns the loan out corporation loses his/her/their right to terminate any grant of copyrights to the record label. Therefore, in order to preserve termination rights, the Artist must be in direct privity with the record label. Yet without the loan out corporation, (i) the individual cannot deduct currently any agent and manager's commissions, or legal fees in connection with the Artist's work in the industry and (ii) the individual loses the ability to create and fund defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plans, which significantly enhance the income tax benefits available to the Artist upon retirement. Simply keeping the loan out corporation on the sidelines and assigning income to the loan out corporation will not work under the Assignment of Income Doctrine.

The Solution.

Prior to executing the agreement with the record label, the Artist should form a corporation, establish himself/herself/themselves as the sole shareholder (and director) and enter into an employment agreement with the corporation by which the Artist agrees to provide services to the corporation. The Corporation should timely elect Sub-Chapter S status. (Internal Revenue Code §1363 (a) "...an S corporation shall not be subject to the taxes imposed by this chapter.") If the election is filed within 75 days of the formation of the corporation, then the corporation is not subject to Federal income tax for so long as the corporation complies with the statutory requirements. New York State also recognizes Subchapter S corporations, and does not tax their net incomes, either, provided that election for New York State is also made timely. (NY Tax Law §208 1-A, and NY Tax Law §1450(f). Note, however, that while New York State recognizes a single level of taxation for Federal S. corporations, New York City does not recognize that single level of taxation, thus creating "double income tax" for New York City based S. Corporations.)

Separately, the Artist should enter into the agreement with the record label directly. Thus, to the extent that any termination rights exist, the Artist will have such rights and will be in direct privity with the record label.

With the record label's permission, the Artist should assign all of his/her/their rights to receive income to his/her/their loan out corporation. As an accommodation to the Artist, labels frequently accept letters of direction, which instruct the label to pay third parties to which the Artist may have an obligation. This proposed assignment typically does not generate an objection from the record label. The loan out corporation will pay the Artist a salary, engage agents, lawyers, and managers on the artist's behalf, and can defer the taxation of current income by funding a pension or retirement plan in addition to those plans that might be available from any applicable guilds to which the Artist may belong.

The Potential Hiccup.

What about the Assignment of Income doctrine? Since the Subchapter S corporation is a pass-through entity for Federal income tax purposes, and in our example is wholly owned by the Artist, any net income in the corporation is not taxed at the corporation level but is reported by the Artist and he/she/they pays tax on that income. That has the same effect of having the Artist receive the income directly. This solves the assignment of income problem, permits all termination rights to be preserved and all tax benefits to be realized.

Here is a simple example: Artist forms a loan out corporation that elects to be an S corporation for Federal and NY State income tax purposes. Artist owns all the shares in the loan out corporation and is its sole employee. The loan out corporation leases its employee to the unrelated record label. During the first year, the record label pays the loan out corporation $135,000, which the loan out corporation reports as revenues. The corporation pays $10,000 of operating expenses, e.g., commissions, legal fees and makes a $25,000 pension contribution to the Artist's qualified retirement plan. With $35,000 of business expenses, the corporation's net income before deducting the Artist's $100,000 salary is $100,000. The S corporation's taxable income is therefore zero. As an employee, Artist reports all $100,000 of compensation income.

Here is another example: Let us assume that the loan out corporation does not elect Subchapter S status and remains as a C corporation. In the assignment of income court decisions, the service provider received a salary far less than the income the C Corporation generated from leasing its employee to third parties. The IRS attacked these arrangements because the corporate income tax rates were far less than the individual income tax rates, and it alleged that this was an assignment of income from a high tax bracket taxpayer to a lower income tax bracket taxpayer. If the Artist pays the same operating expenses as in the prior example, and makes the same contribution to the pension plan, and receives a salary for all of the C corporation's income after deduction of pension contributions and operating expenses, there is no net income in the corporation (on which income tax would be due), and therefore, no assignment of income to a taxpayer in a lower income tax bracket. (See, Johnson v. Comm'r. 78 T.C. 882 (1982) (IRS Win) and Laughton v. Comm'r., 40 B.T.A. 101 (1939) (taxpayer win).)

October 9, 2020

Theater News for the Week of October 9th

By Bennett Liebman

Breaking: Broadway Shutdown Extends Through May 2021, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Breaking-Broadway-Shutdown-Extends-Through-May-2021-20201008

There's Not Much Work for Actors. Now Their Unions Are Fighting., https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/07/theater/actors-equity-union-battle.html

Actors' Equity Denies Asking SAG-AFTRA For "Waiver" In Ongoing Jurisdictional Dispute, https://deadline.com/2020/10/actors-equity-sag-aftra-waiver-taping-live-theate-jurisdictional-dispute-1234593868/

Sarah Jessica Parker: We Must Save Broadway, https://variety.com/2020/legit/news/sarah-jessica-parker-broadway-1234794721/

After COVID-19 Shutdown, 7 Broadway Actors Return to Their Theaters, https://variety.com/gallery/broadway-coronavirus-pandemic/

Chicago's famed Second City comedy theater is now fully up for sale, https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-second-city-chicago-sale-20201006-6hdncmybcvewjo7ktk5fzukvoa-story.html

Best And Brightest Of Broadway Surprise Times Square With Pop-Up Performance, https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/10/08/a-moment-for-broadway-performance-times-square-bernadette-peters-joel-grey-max-von-essen-coronavirus-covid-19-broadway/

Equity-League Increases Minimum Work Hours for Healthcare Eligibility, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/equity-league-actor-healthcare-eligibility-71853/

"Instead of call-out culture, we're calling them in", https://brooklynrail.org/2020/10/theater/Instead-of-call-out-culture-were-calling-them-in-Broadway-Advocacy-Coalition-fights-for-change-on-a-grassroots-and-now-industry-wide-level

SITI Company Announces Final Season, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/07/theater/siti-company-final-season.html

Some NY arts institutions have seen 40% decreases in income. What they're doing to survive., https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2020/10/08/some-ny-arts-institutions-have-seen-40-decreases-income-what-theyre-doing-survive/3622397001/

How Broadway is keeping busy, nearly 7 months into shutdown, https://www.marketplace.org/2020/10/05/how-broadway-is-keeping-busy-nearly-7-months-into-shutdown/

Richard Armitage: 'Theatre is hanging on by a thread', https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/oct/08/richard-armitage-theatre-is-hanging-on-by-a-thread

Royal Shakespeare Company says more than 150 roles at risk due to pandemic, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/oct/06/royal-shakespeare-company-says-more-than-150-roles-at-risk-due-to-pandemic

Ruben Santiago-Hudson to join Manhattan Theatre Club as artistic advisor, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/10/06/ruben-santiago-hudson-to-join-manhattan-theatre-club-as-artistic-advisor/

October 12, 2020

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Supreme Court Will Not Hear 'Stairway to Heaven' Copyright Case

The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case leaves in place the appeals court ruling that Led Zeppelin did not copy part of a 1968 song by Spirit.


Broadway Will Remain Closed Through May 2021

Many Broadway theaters will stay shut at least through May of next year, with some not planning to reopen until next fall. The Broadway League, the trade organization representing producers and theater owners, said that it was suspending ticket sales through May 30th.


Rapper Tory Lanez Charged with Assault in Shooting

The rapper is accused of wounding Megan Thee Stallion by firing at her feet after an argument last summer.



Supreme Court Decides Not to Hear Case Involving Destroyed Mural

The decision cements a ruling that awarded 21 graffiti artists $6.75 million after a New York City developer painted over the murals at a Queens warehouse known as 5Pointz complex in 2013. The earlier ruling found that street art/graffiti was of sufficient stature to be protected by the law.


There's Not Much Work for Actors. Now Their Unions Are Fighting.

At issue is which union should represent theater performers and stage managers working on streamed performances. Actors' Equity Association, the labor union that represents theater actors and stage managers, is accusing SAG-AFTRA, the union representing those who work in film, TV, and radio, of encroaching on theaters "and undercutting its contracts by negotiating lower-paying deals with theaters for streaming productions." SAG-AFTRA contracts are also leaving out stage managers. SAG-AFTRA maintains that "work made for broadcast has always been its domain."


Mellon Foundation Launches $250 Million Initiative to Reimagine Monuments

The project will support the creation of new monuments and facilitate the relocation or "rethinking" of existing memorials and statues. The grant will include "a definitive audit of the existing commemorative landscape across the country" to see what percentage, for example, are dedicated to women.


Black Trustees Join Forces to Make Art Museums More Diverse

Black board members have formed an alliance to diversify art museums by recruiting more Black directors, artists, and curators whose perspective will better reflect the communities they serve.


Baltimore Museum of Art to Sell 3 Blue-Chip Paintings to Advance Equity

The museum is taking advantage of a temporary "loosening of deaccessing guidelines" that allow museums to sell art "from museum collections to fund the direct care of collections - not just the acquisition of other artworks." The museum expects to receive $65 million from the sale and use those funds for salary increases, diversity and inclusion programs, and to eliminate admission fees for special exhibitions.


New Museum Exacts Toll on Workers

Although critics acknowledge the success of its exhibitions, they say that the museum's ascent has come at the expense of those who work there. Former and current staff members complain of low pay, low morale, unhealthy work conditions, and of being asked to act unethically.


Finding a New Home for a Painful Past - The Jefferson Davis Statue in Kentucky

The relocation of a Jefferson Davis statue continues the debate of where to house monuments that honour the Confederacy. This specific statue was removed from the Kentucky State Capitol and is being stored in an undisclosed location. The plan to take the statue to Fairview, Kentucky raises question about how appropriate it is for towns to invest more taxpayer dollars in new museums to recontextualize these statues.


Report Asks Dutch To Return Nazi-Looted Artwork

The country's restitution efforts have come under scrutiny because its policies for returning looted art have become stricter. At issue for international critics is a policy that requires the panel that hear restitution cases "to balance the interests of national museums against the claims by Jewish survivors or their heirs;" in other words, the panel is asked to weigh "the significant of the work to public art collections against the emotional attachment of the claimant," which has already led to some requests being rejected because the artwork was important to the Dutch museum that housed it.



National Football League Adds New COVID-19 Protocols to Monitor Mask Wearing

The National Football League (NFL) introduced measures like video surveillance to monitor compliance with mask wearing policies in team facilities and while traveling. It is trying to prevent another outbreak by also limiting the number of free agent tryouts per week and placing bans on gatherings outside team facilities. In a memo sent to teams, the NFL said that protocol violations that result in virus spread "will result in additional financial and competitive discipline including the adjustment or loss of draft choice or even the forfeit of a game." Meanwhile, virus cases from the Patriots and Titans forced the NFL to once again reschedule games.



One Name the Women's National Basketball Association Won't Say

The article describes the social justice activities of Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) players, including their support for Senator Kelly Loeffler's political opponents. Loeffler is the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. The players have denounced Loeffler's views but refuse to bring up the senator's name in their public pronouncements and social media, instead marshalling their resources in support of another candidate.


Chinese State TV to Air National Basketball Association Game for First Time Since Hong Kong Rift

China Central Television began by airing Friday's finals game and suggests a softening of tension between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and China, tensions that are said to have cost the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.



Supreme Court Hears Copyright Battle Between Google and Oracle

At issue is what elements of computer code can be copyrighted, and if that code is covered by copyright, when is it still legal to use pieces of it under fair use. Given the complexity of the issue, the Court relied on familiar analogies to understand the nature of the coding language Oracle acquired in 2010. Oracle sued Google after it reverse engineered Java and copied the "structure, sequence and organization" of software code when it was building its Android platform.


Judge Rules Apple Can Keep Fortnite Out of App Store

A federal judge ruled this week that Apple did not have to reinstate videogame Fortnite in its App Store, finding that Epic Games had violated its contract with Apple. Apple removed the app from its store after Epic started encouraging users to pay for it directly, rather than through Apple, as contractually required. The case will go to trial next May.


U.S. Appeals Injunction Against TikTok Ban

The federal government says that the preliminary injunction on its TikTok ban should be lifted because the Chinese-owned video app presents a security risk to American users. The earlier decision delayed TikTok from being banned in U.S. app stores.


House Lawmakers Condemn Big Tech's Monopoly Power, Urge Their Breakups

The report said companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook "needed to be checked and recommended they be restructured and that antitrust laws that reformed." The recommendations included giving antitrust agencies power to police market concentration and enacting rules that make it harder for companies to acquire start-ups.


Twitter Set to Change Basic Features Before Election

The changes are meant to fight election misinformation and will start on October 20th. They include the following: If users try to share content that Twitter flags as false, a notice will warn them that they are attempting to share inaccurate information; and it will not label posts about election results until the election has been officially called.


Harry and Meghan Settle with Paparazzi

As part of a settlement in an invasion-of-privacy case, Los Angeles-based celebrity news agency X17 has agreed to turn over photos of the couple's son and destroy any copies in its databases. X17 apologized and agreed to pay a portion of the family's legal fees and to never traffic in photos taken on private grounds.


Opinion: Google and Facebook Must Pay for Local Journalism

The president and chief executive of the News Media Alliance, a trade association representing about 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, takes a position on whether Google should pay publishers for the news content shown in search results. Chavern says that if Congress follows France's lead and "passes the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, publishers would be allowed to negotiate rate with Google as a group." Alternatively, he says "publishers might finally be forced to undertake their own lengthy copyright litigation."


Facebook Increases Precautions Before Election

Facebook has widened its ban on political ads by announcing that it will prohibit political and issue-based advertising after November 3rd for an indefinite amount of time. Facebook will also remove groups or accounts that openly identity with QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement.


False G.O.P. Ad Prompts QAnon Death Threats Against Democratic Congressman

New Jersey Representative Tom Malinowski is facing death threats from QAnon supporters "after the House Republicans' campaign arm falsely accused him of lobbying to protect sexual predators." Malinowski led a bipartisan resolution condemning the movement, which spreads conspiracy theories.


American Apologizes for Bad Reviews of Thailand Hotel

The American was jailed for disparaging a Thailand hotel in an online review and has since had to apologize as part of a deal to avoid prosecution. The case laid bare the harsh impact of the country's defamation laws; a conviction can result in up to two years in prison.


General News

Supreme Court Starts Term with Case on Judges' Political Ties

The case involves provisions of Delaware's Constitution aimed at ensuring partisan balance on state courts. At issue is whether states can consider political affiliation when appointing judges in order to strike some ideological balance on their courts. Delaware is defending the provisions that were challenged by a registered independent, who said they violated the First Amendment. The state's lawyer argued that "political scientists ... use political party affiliations as proxies for philosophy and ideology" and that requiring judges to be affiliated with one of the two major parties in order to sit on state courts supports a bipartisan judiciary.


Supreme Court Revives Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots

Absentee ballots in South Carolina will now have to be accompanied by a witness's signature. The Court made an exception for ballots already cast, but reversed the lower courts and their finding that the requirement interfered with people's right to vote during a pandemic. In a concurring opinion, Justice Kavanaugh said that the Court was reluctant to accept changes to election procedures made close to Election Day, and that federal judges should not second guess state election laws.


Supreme Court Declines to Revive Restriction on Abortion Pill

The Supreme Court did not reinstate a federal requirement that women seeking medical abortions pick up the pills in person. Citing the pandemic, a federal judge had previously suspended the requirement, saying that a "needless trip to a medical facility during a health crisis very likely imposed an undue burden on the constitutional right to abortion." The Supreme Court instructed the trial judge to take a fresh look at the case and rule within 40 days.


Justices Thomas and Alito Question 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Precedent

In their opinion in a case about the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Justices Thomas and Alito raised concerns about the harm they perceived in the 2015 Obergefell v Hodges decision to religious freedom. In their view, the decision chose "to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendments, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix."


New Supreme Court Term Could End Roberts's Dominant Role

The possible addition of Judge Amy Coney Barrett would push the Supreme Court further right and eliminate Chief Justice Roberts' "ability to steer the Court toward moderation."


Harris Puts Pence on the Defensive as Virus Response Takes Center Stage at Debate

The vice president and Senator Kamala Harris exchanged sharp remarks over the administration's coronavirus response, which featured prominently as an issue at the debate. Harris denounced Trump's policies on the economy, health care, and the environment while Pence "hailed the 'V-shaped recovery' of the economy in defiance of the latest government data.


Kamala Harris and the 'Double Bind' of Racism and Sexism

Reactions to Harris' debate performance showed "not only the bias that women and people of color face, but the fact that for women of color, that bias is more than the sum of its parts."


President Trump Refuses Virtual Debate; Second Presidential Debate Cancelled

This is the first cancellation of a televised debate in seven decades. The president argued for an in-person debate after refusing a virtual format and saying that he would soon be cleared by his doctor to appear in public. Meanwhile, Biden plans to hold a televised town-hall gathering with voters on the night that was reserved for the debate.



Trump Administration Seeks to Limit Regulatory Powers Against Coal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments this week on whether the federal government has "the authority to set national restrictions on carbon emissions or force states to move away from coal-fired power." The outcome hinges on the interpretation of the Clean Air Act, with the administration arguing for a narrow interpretation to, in turn, "narrow the foundation of the federal government in doing any kind of regulation."


Trump Leans on Barr and Pompeo for a Campaign Jolt

Comments by Secretary of State Pompeo suggest that he intends to hand the president "a weapon to attack his political foes" by making Hillary Clinton's emails public. Attorney General Barr, on the other hand, has resisted pressure from the president to indict Democrats connected to the original investigation into Russian election interference and said he plans no major moves before the election.



Lifting Ban, Barr Pushes Inquiries Into Voter Fraud Before Election

In a memo to top prosecutors, "the department loosened a decades-long policy intended to keep law enforcement from affecting election results. The policy had prohibited prosecutors from making headline-grabbing charges of election fraud in the run-up to an election" so as not to "depress voter turnout or erode confidence in the results." The recent shift to deploy prosecutors to investigate voter fraud began in late August and will focus on noncitizens voting illegally and on mail carriers who discard ballots.


Absentee Voting from Democrats Far Outpaces 2016

Absentee voting in states like Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina is so far favoring Democrats, with 647,000 votes already cast. The number of returned ballots in five states is more than 20% of the entire 2016 turnout.


Director of National Intelligence Serving Trump's Political Agenda Despite Pledge to Stay Apolitical

Director John Ratcliffe has reportedly approved more declassifications of intelligence that undermines the Russia investigation. The director of the CIA opposed the move, saying the release of unverified material "could jeopardize spies' ability to gather intelligence and endanger their sources."


Trump Administration Ignores Ruling that His Acting Officials Are Serving Illegally

The acting head of the Bureau of Land Management continues to serve even after a federal judge ruled that he has been serving unlawfully for over 424 days. He is the third official the courts have found to be working in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which governs appointments of temporary officials. The case is an example of "the president's penchant for filling high-level jobs without Senate confirmation." In this case, there are concerns that William Perry Pendley's background has not properly been vetted, including his legal advocacy for extractive resource industries on public lands.


Administration Halted Release of Five Prisoners Cleared to Leave Guantanamo

In a reversal of Obama-era policies, the Trump administration has halted prisoner transfers to other countries. The State Department also dismantled the office that dealt with resettlement deals, where receiving countries would undertake to guard against the prisoners becoming security risks.


Manhattan District Attorney Can Obtain Trump's Tax Returns

A federal appeals panel ruled that the Manhattan District Attorney can enforce a subpoena seeking Trump's personal and corporate tax returns. In doing so, it rejected arguments by the president's lawyers that the subpoena was too broad and amounted to political harassment.


Trump's Taxes Trace Payments to Properties by Those Who Got Ahead

The article describes President Trump "earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration" and "transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family's hotels and resorts." The piece outlines how special interest groups and foreign governments patronized Trump's properties, providing a revenue stream for his real estate holdings, while reaping benefits from the administration.


Trump's Taxes Show He Generated a Windfall in 2016

Trump's tax records show $21 million in payments from a Las Vegas hotel that Trump owns with Phil Ruffin. The payments were routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash to "self-fund" his presidential campaign, which was then short on funds. By that time, Deutsche Bank had turned down Trump's request for a loan to support his golf resort in Scotland, fearing "the money would instead be diverted to his campaign."


Justice Department Sues Yale, Citing Race Discrimination

Following a multiyear investigation, the Department of Justice takes issue with the school's admissions practices and has sued Yale for discriminating against white and Asian-American applicants after it found that they were one-eighth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted as African-American applicants with comparable academic credentials.


Health Coverage Among Children Fell for Third Straight Year

According to census data, "the share of children with health coverage in the U.S. fell for the third consecutive year in 2019," even "during a period of economic growth" that preceded the coronavirus job losses that cost more Americans their health insurance.


Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to Scientists for Work on Genome Editing

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna developed the Crispr tool, which edits genes in animals, plants, and microorganisms. The technology has far-reaching applications in research seeking cures for genetic disorders.


Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes to Scientists Who Found Hepatitis C Virus

The three scientists were jointly honored for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus, which made possible blood tests and new medicines that can now cure a disease that impacts 71 million people worldwide.


United Nations World Food Program Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel committee said the agency's work to address hunger during the pandemic "had laid the foundations for peace in nations ravaged by war." The program provided assistance to nearly 100 million people in 88 countries in the last year.


FBI Says Michigan Group Plotted to Kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Authorities announced terrorism, conspiracy, and weapons charges against 13 men, at least half of whom had hatched a plan to storm the state capitol and abduct Governor Witmer, who has become a target of anti-government groups angry over coronavirus control measures.


Heavy Traffic Crashes Florida's Voter Registration Site

The state extended its voter registration deadline given the delays many encountered with the online system. The site was experiencing more than one million requests per hour on Monday in anticipation of the midnight Monday deadline.


Texas Attorney General Accused by Top Aides of Abuse of Office

Members of Ken Paxton's staff say that "he should be investigated in connection with offenses including improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal acts" but did not elaborate on the substance of their allegations. Paxton was previously indicted on felony charges related to securities fraud.


New York City Council Expels Members

Andy King, a Democratic councilman from the Bronx, was voted out after an ethics probe. The Council's ethics committee found that the allegations against King, including harassment and discrimination, conflicts of interest and disorderly conduct, were substantiated.


Eric Trump Interviewed in New York Fraud Inquiry

The president's son was questioned under oath this week as part of the New York Attorney General's civil investigation into where Trump's real estate company committed fraud by inflating its assets to secure bank loans and tax benefits.


Top Trump Fund-Raiser Elliott Broidy Charged in Lobbying Case

Broidy is accused of conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Prosecutors say he attempted to use his political ties to help Malaysian and Chinese interests in the federal investigation of Malaysian fund 1MDB.


Agencies Concede Poor Planning in California Blackouts

The state's three central energy organizations said the rolling blackouts ordered during a heat wave this summer - the first in two decades - were partly attributable to poor planning that, combined with increased demand, led to a reduced power supply. Officials also failed to properly forecast demand immediately before the blackouts and did not buy enough power.


Rochester Case Puts Focus on Police Failures with Mental Health

The methods used by the officers in Daniel Prude's case did little to defuse the situation and have brought renewed focus on police training - and whether resources should be diverted from the police to mental health professionals who can better help in these encounters.


Armenia and Azerbaijan Agree to Ceasefire on Humanitarian Grounds in Nagorno-Karabakh

The deal was brokered by Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and allows for the exchange of war prisoners and the collection of bodies from the battlefield. The conflict between the two sides escalated in recent weeks in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.


World's Top Experts Affirm That Putin's Rival Was Poisoned

The organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons supported the position of European countries that a form of Novichok was used to poison Navalny.


E.U. Court Rules Against Hungary's Law Targeting Soros-Funded Schools

The ruling requires Hungary to change or repeal the law that effectively expelled an American university founded by George Soros from the country. The European Court of Justice said the law does not meet the requirements of academic freedom. Hungary can face fines for non-compliance.


Germany Documents Extremism in Forces

A report by the country's intelligence agency identified more than 1,400 instances in which members of the armed forces, "police offices and intelligence officials were suspected of extremist actions," which included joining far-right chat groups and sharing neo-Nazi propaganda. QAnon is also gaining momentum in Germany, where U.S. conspiracy theories are animating the country's far-right fringe.



Greek Neo-Fascist Party Guilty Found to Be a Criminal Organization

The country's far-right party, Golden Dawn, has been found guilty of running a criminal organization after it was tied to a string of deadly attacks.



2020 Had the Warmest September on Record

European scientists say that worldwide, last month was the warmest September on record, second only to 2019. Arctic sea ice reached its second-lowest levels ever recorded due to record high temperatures.


Hotter Days Widen Racial Gap in U.S. Schools

Lack of air conditioning in schools has led to worse test scores for Black and Hispanic children during heat waves. In finding this link between heat exposure and reduced learning, researchers say the detrimental impact of climate change will disproportionately affect people of color.


Hurricane Delta Makes Landfall in Louisiana

It was the 10th hurricane to hit the U.S. this year and came so soon after Hurricane Laura hit the Louisiana coast. Storm surge warnings remain in effect.


Wolverines Denied Federal Protection

The federal government said it had decided against protecting wolverines because populations were stable, adding that "its own earlier concerns about the effects of global warming on the species had been overstated."


New England's Ailing Forests

Arborists say they are spending more time taking down dead or unhealthy trees and are incorporating climate change into their decisions
because the phenomenon is taking a toll on woodlands in the Northeast. Many species are being threatened by disease and felled by storms, at a time when there is a shortage of arborists to address the growing issue.


The Benefits of Being Outdoors

The article discusses the mental health benefits of going on "awe walks," where people take a fresh look at the objects and vistas that surround them.


Prince William Launches Environmental Prize

The Earthshot Prize is worth $65 million. The goal is to select 50 projects over the next 10 years to reward innovative solutions that address
climate change and other environmental issues.


Coronavirus Update

White House Blocks, Then Approves, New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration "proposed stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus virus." The requirements "call for gathering comprehensive safety data in the final stage of clinical trials before an emergency authorization can be granted." The White House first objected to the provisions, since they would effectively guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before Election Day, but reversed course and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released them on Tuesday.



Vaccine Trials Struggle to Find Black Volunteers

Reports from Pittsburgh show the deep mistrust that African American communities have of vaccines. So far, only about 3% of the people who have signed up nationally are Black.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Says That Coronavirus Can Linger Indoors

In new advice posted to its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges airborne transmission and says the virus can spread beyond six feet indoors by both large and small droplets released when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe.


Hundreds of Thousands of Women Drop Out of the Workforce

The article examines the ways pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of women to leave the job market. Families "buckling under the caregiving burden" have had the lower wage earner, who is usually the woman, leave the workforce to care for children in the face of school and child care center closures.


Trump Suggests Gold Star Families May Be to Blame for His Infection

After testing positive for the coronavirus, the president suggested that family members of fallen military veterans may have been responsible for the transmission because they "come within an inch of my face sometimes."


Under Pence, Politics Regularly Seeped into Coronavirus Response

The article recounts exchanges between Vice President Pence and staffers showing that political considerations seeped into the administration's decisions about how to respond to the coronavirus. "Science-based projections were sometimes de-emphasized for rosier predictions" and the taskforce was "bent on carrying out the president's agenda."


CDC's Order for Masks on Transit Was Blocked

The White House blocked the CDC from mandating masks on public transit. The order was drafted last month and would have required "all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transit in the United States." The White House Coronavirus Task Force declined to discuss the draft order, saying that the decision to require masks should be left up to states and local authorities.


CDC Director Faces Pressure to Speak Out

Former director of the CDC and renowned epidemiologist William Foege is calling on CDC director Robert Redfield to expose the failed U.S. response to the coronavirus. He called for this action in a private letter, saying that speaking up at this point would ensure there would be a record of the administration's failures that could not be dismissed.


How the White House Flouted Basic Coronavirus Rules

The article reports on White House practices that precipitated an outbreak and led to more than 20 people becoming infected. The article touches on the reliance on rapid tests alone, non-compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, violation of local restrictions on gatherings, lack of contact tracing and failure to quarantine or isolate on the part of those working in the White House.


White House Plans Week Full of Events with Potential Risks

A week after his hospitalization, President Trump is planning to hold rallies again. Following a gathering of conservative activists on the South Lawn, whom Trump addressed from the White House balcony, he is next expected to fly to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa for rallies. Attendees will still be asked to sign a waiver but will be required to wear a mask and submit to temperature checks.



President Trump Projects Strength While Physicians Disclose Alarming Episodes

Despite the president's account that his condition was never serious and has since improved, troubling facts have emerged after his doctors acknowledged two alarming episodes not previously disclosed. His doctors said the president's blood oxygen level dropped twice in the two days post-diagnosis, and that he had been put on steroids.

Meanwhile, most of the joint chiefs are under quarantine due to exposure, but military officials said "all of the service chiefs had full operational capability from where they were working ... [and] their quarantine would not mean any degradation to the country's national defense."



Trump is Undermining Public Health Messages with His Comments

Experts were outraged by the president's comments urging Americans not to be afraid of COVID and not to let it dominate their lives, saying the message was irresponsible and encouraged his followers to ignore basic recommendations. Despite the president's illness, many of his supporters still scoff at masks and other safety measures as the president continues to downplay the risk and called contracting the virus "a blessing from God."




Safety Concerns for the Secret Service

As a willingness to say "yes" to the president is central to the job, questions are being asked about the extent to which that guiding principle will subject secret service agents' health "to the whims of a contagious president." Medical experts were particularly critical of Trump's actions last week when he took a ride on a hermetically sealed vehicle with two Secret Service agents present in personal protective equipment.


Attorney General Barr Plans to Return to Work After Negative Tests

Barr is considered an essential worker exempt from guidelines requiring 14-day quarantine following exposure. Barr was present at the White House event linked to the outbreak but has tested negative several times.


Experts Say Plexiglass Barriers Won't Stop Virus at the Debate

Public health experts said plexiglass barriers installed for the vice-presidential debate will not prevent airborne transmission. The barriers might have made a difference if they were not seated more than 12 feet apart, but they don't protect against aerosols that can carry the virus indoors. Vice-president Pence's team initially objected to the measure but later accepted its use.



Judge Upholds New York's Restrictions on Gatherings in Houses of Worship

After an emergency hearing, a federal judge declined to temporarily block an executive order restricting gatherings at synagogues and other houses of worship, "finding that the rules did not violate the free exercise of religion for Orthodox Jews," even though she sympathized with the order's impact on the Orthodox Jewish community.


Man Charged in Death of Bar Patron Following Mask Wearing

An 80-year old man was killed after asking a bar patron to wear mask near Buffalo, New York. Following a physical altercation with the patron, the man was pushed to the ground and later died. A 65-year-old man of West Seneca, New York, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide.


Signs Suggest Second Wave for Northeast

Several states in the Northeast are seeing new clusters of the coronavirus, prompting authorities to tighten or put in place restrictions to avoid the upward trend in cases from turning into a second wave.


Trump Raises Stimulus Offer to $1.8 Trillion; Senate Republicans Denounce Offer

After negotiations failed earlier in the week, the president proposed a plan that was nearly double the original offer last put forward by the administration. Trump had called off talks earlier in the week, hours after the Federal Reserve chair "warned that the pace of the economic recovery would" be slower that initially expected and called for economic support. Many thought the move signalled growing concerns among vulnerable Senate Republicans facing re-election that voters will blame the party for failing to deliver aid, but Senate Republicans balked "at what they called an exorbitantly costly plan" that "would amount to a death knell for the party's ambitions to retain its majority in the Senate."





Lenders Wait for Guidance on Loan Forgiveness

Business owners who received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program are waiting for information on how to apply for loan forgiveness as many lenders have yet to start accepting applications. There is also the possibility that "Congress will pass a proposal to automatically forgive debt of less than $150,000, the bulk of the loans made under the program."


As Coronavirus Invades West Wing, White House Reporters Face Higher Risks

At least three White House correspondents have tested positive for the coronavirus, as has the press secretary and two of her deputies. The reporters have taken it upon themselves to create makeshift signs about mask-wearing in the absence of White House protocols for the press corps. BuzzFeed recently pulled its reporter, citing "concerns about working indoors during an outbreak."



Families of Workers Who Died of COVID-19 Following Meat Plant Outbreak Fight for Compensation

The families of employees at a Colorado meat-processing plant are seeking compensation after the workers fell ill or died of COVID-19. So far, JBS has denied "compensation claims on the grounds that the illnesses were not necessarily work related," while also relying on the fact that it is difficult to trace exactly where the individuals became infected.


Clinical Trials Hit by Ransomware Attack on Health Tech Firm

Philadelphia company eResearch Technology, whose software is used in clinical trials, was hit by a ransomware attack that slowed some of these trials because employees were locked out of the data. An earlier ransomware attack also impacted a major hospital chain (Universal Health Services) in the U.S.


Nearly One-Third of COVID Patients in Study Had Altered Mental State

A Chicago-area study of 509 hospitalized patients showed they had "signs of deteriorating neurological function, ranging from confusion to coma-like unresponsiveness." These patients stayed in hospital three times as long, and of those discharged, only 32% could handle routine daily activities.


Pandemic Has Hindered Best Practices for Reducing Violence

While reported crime has declined this year, shootings and homicides are up around the country. The reason for these counterintuitive results might be the pandemic and the fact that it has upended many of the programs devised to reduce gun violence, like group behavioral therapy, social services, and job training, that have either moved online or were cancelled.


New Zealand Emerges from Lockdown with Zero Cases

After a second round of strict lockdown, New Zealand has stamped out the virus once again, but experts caution that the country's small population and isolation means that it has more favorable conditions to manage the disease.


October 16, 2020

Theater News for the Week of October 16

By Bennett Liebman

Tony nominees issue calls for political action, financial support for Broadway, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/10/15/tony-nominees-issue-calls-for-political-action-financial-support-for-broadway/

The 2020 Tony nominations have been announced, and they're the weirdest ever, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/the-2020-tony-nominations-have-been-announced-and-theyre-the-weirdest-ever/2020/10/15/884dd802-0efe-11eb-8074-0e943a91bf08_story.html

How Weird Were the Tony Nods? Well, How Weird Was the Season?, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/15/theater/tony-award-nominations-analysis-critics.html

Tony awards 2020: unusual Broadway year leads to restricted nominations, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/oct/15/tony-nominees-2020-broadway-jagged-little-pill-slave-play

40 Black playwrights on the theater industry's insidious racism, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-10-14/40-black-playwrights-theater-racism

Column: For actors and other arts professionals, the healthcare safety net has been ripped to pieces, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/chris-jones/ct-ent-actor-healthcare-retirement-1018-20201015-5u6tyakz7zdnnnd5ktp64hgllu-story.html

Sonia Friedman: I've closed 18 shows and paused 10. Here's my cure for theatre, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/oct/15/sonia-friedman-theatre-west-end-mental-health

Disneyland to lay off 200 actors as 'Frozen Live' and 'Mickey and the Magical Map' close amid pandemic, https://www.ocregister.com/?returnUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ocregister.com%2F2020%2F10%2F12%2Fdisneyland-to-layoff-200-actors-as-frozen-live-and-mickey-and-the-magical-map-close-amid-pandemic%2F%3FclearUserState%3Dtrue

How Live Theater Is Innovating Its Way Through the Pandemic, https://www.barrons.com/articles/how-live-theater-is-innovating-its-way-through-the-pandemic-51602599501

Despite Every Barrier, This Artist Created Safe, Socially Distant Live Theater--No Zoom Required, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jerylbrunner/2020/10/12/despite-every-barrier-this-artist-created-safe-socially-distant-live-theater-no-zoom-required/#68c98f5f4b2b

Head of Huntington Theater Company Resigns Amid Internal Strife, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/14/theater/huntington-theater-company-resignation.html

Tiffani Gavin at the O'Neill: Not a Program, a Priority, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/10/14/tiffani-gavin-at-the-oneill-not-a-program-a-priority/

Broadway Will Be a While. These Venues Say They're Ready Now., https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/12/theater/theater-reopenings-new-york.html

Broadway performers face uncertainty: "The future is completely anyone's guess at this point", https://www.cbsnews.com/news/broadway-performers-coronavirus-shutdown-uncertainty/

Sports Law News for the Week of October 16

By Bennett Liebman

DraftKings, Penn National Rise as Legal Sports Betting Gets Closer in New York, Michigan, https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/10/14/draftkings-penn-national-rise-as-legal-sports-bett/

TURNER SPORTS DIVVIES UP SPORTS BETTING RIGHTS BETWEEN DRAFTKINGS, FANDUEL, https://www.sportico.com/business/sports-betting/2020/draftkings-turner-sports-ncaa-1234614958/

YANKEES' MINOR LEAGUE INSURANCE FIGHT SHEDS LIGHT ON PANDEMIC CLAIMS, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/covid-19-business-interruption-insurance-1234614821/

RONALDO SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWSUIT REMAINS ON TRACK FOR TRIAL AFTER FEDERAL JUDGE INTERVENES, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/ronaldo-sexual-assault-lawsuit-1234614692/

There are 69 cases of COVID-19 connected to SpinCo. This member says the owners did 'everything right' to keep patrons safe, https://www.thespec.com/news/hamilton-region/2020/10/15/there-are-69-cases-of-covid-19-connected-to-spinco-this-member-says-the-owners-did-everything-right-to-keep-patrons-safe.html

SABAN'S CONTRACT GIVES ALABAMA LEVERAGE AS COVID-19 TESTS SUCCESSION PLANS, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/sabans-contract-covid-19-1234614982/

SPORTRADAR SEEKS BIG ACQUISITION WHILE REVEALING NBA TROUBLE AMONG FINANCIALS, https://www.sportico.com/business/finance/2020/sportradar-acquistion-nba-trouble-1234614865/

The Lawyer Who Took on the NFL Over Concussions Has a New Strategy That Could Devastate the NCAA, https://www.si.com/college/2020/10/16/ncaa-concussion-cases-daily-cover

Why football's new handball rule is proving so controversial, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/why-football-s-new-handball-rule-is-proving-so-controversial

The impact of Brexit on Sports Law, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=24d959a2-be9d-4a6d-8cca-f9837263fc43

Massachusetts provided impermissible financial aid in two sports, https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/massachusetts-provided-impermissible-financial-aid-two-sports

The SEC's Surge of COVID-19 Cases Is a Predictable Result of Pandemic Football, https://www.si.com/college/2020/10/15/sec-surge-coronavirus-pandemic-football-nick-saban

Can Faculty Save A College's Olympic Sports Programs? William & Mary Might Just Provide A Test Case, https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenweaver/2020/10/14/can-the-faculty-save-olympic-sports-we-might-just-have-our-test-case/#694869a5cc26

Online Investment Platform Offering Shares Of 1937 Heisman Trophy, Other Sports Memorabilia, https://www.forbes.com/sites/timcasey/2020/10/16/online-investment-platform-offering-shares-of-1937-heisman-trophy-other-sports-memorabilia/#3c368ebf3e41

NFLPA Advises Against Player Endorsements With CBD Companies, https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2020/10/16/Marketing-and-Sponsorship/NFL-CBD.aspx

ShowBuzzDaily Weekly Sports TV Ratings, http://www.showbuzzdaily.com/articles/skedball-weekly-sports-tv-ratings-10-5-10-11-2020.html

October 19, 2020

Week In Review

By Eric Lanter
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Broadway Will Be a While, But These Venues Say They're Ready Now

There are venues throughout New York City that are seeking permission to open for indoor shows and "socially distanced audiences." Those venues include the Park Avenue Armory, which has "nearly 40,000 square feet of unobstructed open area." In more rural locales with fewer Covid-19 cases, performers have put themselves in bubbles and put on shows, such as "Little Shop of Horrors" in New Hampshire, before a crowd of 44 masked attendees in a space that in normal times would accommodate 250 people.



BTS Honored Korean War Sacrifices, But Some in China Detected an Insult

The Korean pop group BTS, during a recent ceremony for the Korean War, "acknowledged the shared suffering of Americans and Koreans," but in China's social media sites, there was outrage. The BTS leader, Kim Nam-joon, had not recognized "the sacrifices of the Chinese soldiers who fought on the side of North Korea. The outrage was not limited to social media, however: two "prominent brands removed any trace of their collaborations with the band on Chinese websites."



Ford and Mellon Foundations Unveil Initiative for Disabled Artists

The Disability Futures fellowship has awarded "$50,000 to 20 artists, filmmakers, and journalists" as part of its initiative to support disabled artists. The initiative is established by the Ford Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the awards of $50,000 to each come after a year of research and conversation with disabled people that seeks to foster "a creative community across mediums and generations."


New York Philharmonic Cancels the Rest of Its Season

The New York Philharmonic has announced that it will be canceling the remainder of its season, and the Broadway League president has said that "people's bets are the fall of next year" will be the earliest that theaters will reopen. The president of the New York Philharmonic said in an interview that it "is really fair to say that in the 178-year history of the Philharmonic, this is the single biggest crisis."


Protesters in Portland Topple Statues of Lincoln and Roosevelt

When protests came through Portland this week, statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were toppled "in a demonstration against colonization and the treatment of Native americans." The demonstrators "focused on the 1920s statues of the former presidents as part of a protest billed as an 'Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage.'"


Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Get a Statue in Her Hometown

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that there will be a statue erected in her honor in Brooklyn, and a commission will determine the location and design of the statue. There is no "timetable on when the commission is first expected to meet." The announcement comes after the city renamed the Brooklyn Municipal Building in her honor and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city "would start planning its own memorial, though his office said on Thursday that there was no update on that initiative."


Museum Inquiry Into Whistleblower Complaint Finds No Misconduct

The Detroit Institute of Arts announced that an inquiry performed by an outside law firm "found there had been no skirting of conflict of interest rules in the loan of a painting by the museum director's father-in-law." A whistleblower complaint against the director and the board chair prompted the review after "the museum borrowed a $5 million El Greco painting owned by the director's father-in-law," but the report confirmed that there was no intent to mislead "or hide information" and that there was no conflict of interest or violation of law.


After 75 Years and 15 Claims, a Bid to Regain Lost Art Inches Forward

The heirs of a Hungarian banker Baron Mor Lipot Herzog are seeking the return of his collection of masterpieces that Nazis seized 75 years ago, and the judge presiding over it had not even been born when the family filed the claim in Budapest in 1945. The family is claiming ownership of several works on display in Hungarian museums and at a university in Budapest, and the works are valued at over $100 million.



Polish Olympian Wins Fight to Compete in Fencing for Team USA

The four-time Olympic fencer for Poland, Aleksandra Shelton, has "prevailed in a prolonged case that had broader implications regarding age and gender discrimination and the right to free speech." She has obtained the right to compete for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that her public criticism of Polish fencing officials "was an improper basis on which to deny her request to compete as an American in the Summer Games", as she is a dual citizen of America and Poland and had a right to choose the country she represented at the Games.


The Runaway Train of College Football Keeps Rolling

With games being postponed in college football and Covid-19 outbreaks spiking on campuses, "nothing seems capable of stopping the juggernaut, regardless of the consequences." As there are so many teams traveling and packing into locker rooms and with spikes on teams, the theme within college football has been to "move on" and to continue the season; despite doctors acknowledging that it remains unknown what the "long-term ramifications" are of having Covid-19.


French Soccer Roiled by Claims of Toxic Workplace Culture

France's soccer federation has "hired a consultant to address complaints about top executives" including "accusations of bullying, misbehavior, and sexism." Federation officials have said that the discord within the organization has threatened the mission of the federation and that it could "affect the performance of France's world-beating teams." Current and former employees have said that the work environment was one of "bad language, mental abuse, and stress" but also "improper behavior at staff events."



Social Media Continues to Grapple With Its Role in American Society

With misinformation continuing to plague social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and with questions growing about how best those companies should deal with misinformation, there is growing outrage about how social media companies have dealt with misinformation and potential misinformation. Some companies have banned groups and channels related to QAnon, a group that believes in a far-reaching global conspiracy that is unsubstantiated by evidence, and when the New York Post published a thinly-sourced article about the Democratic nominee Joe Biden's son, social media companies took flak when they "banned all links to the Post's article" and "locked the accounts of people, including some journalists and the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who tweeted it." By Thursday, Twitter backtracked and said that it would not "remove hacked content unless it was shared directly by hackers or their accomplices."







41 WNET Employees Call for CEO's Resignation

Employees at WNET Group have called for the resignation of the longtime chief executive, Neal Shapiro, "saying he had not done enough to improve working conditions for employees, especially those of color." Former and current employees have signed a letter calling for his resignation, and he replied in an email to staff that "much of what has been written is inaccurate, misleading, or out of context," but tensions have been increasing for nearly six months. The chairman of the board of trustees has released a statement that the board continues to support Shapiro.


Motel 6 and Home Depot Drop Ad Agency After Its Founder Calls Ad 'Too Black'

The Richards Group, an advertising company based in Dallas, is losing business and fast: Motel 6 and Home Depot have cut ties with the company "after a report that its founder had made racist remarks in a meeting last week." Stan Richards, in a team meeting, said that a particular had that "featured Black, white, and Hispanic guests" may "offend or alienate Motel 6's 'white supremacist constituents" and that the advertisement was "too Black."


Pakistan Bans TikTok, Citing Morals. Others Cite Politics

Pakistan has "become the latest country to ban TikTok," and it is "a move that government critics said stemmed as much from politics as from allegations of immoral content." Pakistan's regulatory agency said that it is "open to talks with the company, subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content," but "conservative Muslims in Pakistan have increasingly accused TikTok of testing acceptable social norms" with "memes and song adaptations" that are "too suggestive and too risque."


General News

The Presidential Campaign Continues To Be Vitriolic and Contentious

With the election just over two weeks away, the vitriol and contention that have characterized the 2020 campaign have not abated. Following President Trump's refusal to virtually participate in the second debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, two town halls took place simultaneously. Of note, during President Trump's contentious town hall, he refused to denounce the conspiracy group QAnon, and former Vice President Biden has continued to not take a stance on whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, there have been appeals to voters from President Trump including that he planned to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. There remain significant questions about the integrity of the election, and those questions are focused this year on domestic meddling as opposed to foreign: in California, the Republican Party "has admitted responsibility for placing more than 50 deceptively labeled 'official' drop boxes for mail-in ballots." The move is one "that state officials said was illegal and could lead to election fraud."















Covid-19 Cases Continue to Rise Throughout the Country, Continuing to Disrupt American Life

Cases of Covid-19 have consistently been rising throughout the United States, with hot spots now being in the Midwest. The potential for a vaccine before the election is increasingly slim: Pfizer announced that it will not seek vaccine authorization before the middle of November, which is a "shift in tone for the company and its leader, who has repeatedly emphasized the month of October in interviews and public appearances." Regardless, talks in Congress of another stimulus package have stalled: Senate Republicans have maintained that they will not approve a package over $500 million, while House Democrats and the White House have maintained that no package will be considered that is below one trillion dollars. In some communities, there is increasing pressure to manage the response to the virus: at the State University of New York at Oneonta, the university president announced her resignation after the university "experienced the most severe coronavirus outbreak of any public university in the state" with over 700 students testing positive last month and "causing the shutdown of in-person classes."















Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett Endures Confirmation Hearings

Over two days of hearings, Judge Amy Coney Barrett "took a particularly rigorous approach to the strategy used by all modern Supreme Court nominees: avoiding saying anything about issues that could turn into court cases and saying almost nothing about cases that courts have already decided." One political scientist said that "Barrett took this to a whole new level" as being "among the least responsive nominees in American history." Nonetheless, her "confirmation seems assured", given the Republican majority in the Senate.



Supreme Court Will Review Trump's Plan to Exclude Undocumented Immigrants in Redistricting

On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will "hear a case on whether the Trump administration can exclude undocumented immigrants from the calculations it will use in apportioning congressional seats." Arguments are scheduled for November 30th, and it is expected that President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, "will most likely be on the court by then."


Two Huge Questions Loom as 2020 Census Winds Down

With the 2020 census coming to an end, there remain questions "about the accuracy of its numbers and how they will be used in congressional reapportionment." The Census Bureau had long been "the gold standard for nonpartisan probity and statistical rigor in the federal government," but this census became "the most imperiled and politicized population count in memory."


Third Justice Department Prosecutor Publicly Denounces Barr

Phillip Halpern, a veteran of the Justice Department for 36 years, has "accused Attorney General William P. Barr of abusing his power to sway the election for President Trump and said he was quitting, making him the third sitting prosecutor to issue a rare public rebuke of the attorney general." In making his statement, he joins two other prosecutors (in Seattle and Boston) in denouncing Barr for his actions supporting President Trump.


Alarming Environmental Issues Continue to Grow

Researches in Australia have announced that the Great Barrier Reef, "one of the earth's most precious habitats," has lost half of its coral population in the past 25 years. On Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, fires are "threatening to ravage one of the world's richest and most diverse ecosystems." In the United States, President Trump first announced that he would not approve a disaster relief package for the California wildfires, but then reversed himself within hours speaking to Governor Gavin Newsome and Representative Kevin McCarthy. Additionally, a new report found that during the Trump administration, there has been a "70 percent decrease in criminal prosecutions under the Clean Water Act and a decrease of more than 50 percent under the Clean Air Act."







U.S. Auction Theorists Win the 2020 Nobel in Economics

Two American economists have received the Nobel Prize "in economic science" for their "improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats." The winners, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, had "pioneered a type of auction that governments have since used to bid radio frequency," and the type of auction has "had huge practical applications when it comes to allocating scarce resources."


Library of Congress Acquires Archives of the National Woman's Party

The Library of Congress is set to receive a donation of over "300,000 documents, photographs, letters, broadsides, scrapbooks, and other items relating to the" National Woman's Party. The materials show the "party's history, from its founders' earlier involvement in feminist activism to the fight over the 19th Amendment to its decades of advocacy for the Equal Rights Amendment." The donation was timed to coincide with the centennial of the 19th Amendment and doubles the Library of Congress' "holdings relating to the party."


Children From Immigrant Families Are Increasingly the Face of Higher Education

There has been "an extraordinary demographic shift" in American university campuses: "immigrants and children of immigrants" have "become an ever-larger share of student bodies." A study released this week "found that more than 5.3 million students, or nearly 30 percent of all students enrolled in colleges and universities in 2018, hailed from immigrant families, up from 20 percent in 2000."


Military Names Air Force Judge for Guantanamo Bay 9/11 Trial

The military has assigned an Air Force judge to preside over the case of five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the proceedings are likely to be delayed following the assignment: the "war court prosecutors declared the officer unqualified for the job." He was previously a "deputy chief circuit judge for the Air Force at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia but has served less than two years as a military judge."


U.S. Attorney Moves In on Brooklyn DA's Territory, Citing Crime Surge

The "acting United States attorney in Brooklyn, Seth DuCharme," has announced that "his office will also now focus on lower-level gun cases that were once the bailiwick of local district attorneys." His announcement is "part of a broader pattern as federal officials in New York City step in to respond to growing pressure to curb the sharp rise in gun violence this year." With federal prosecutors handling these cases, "defendants will face higher prison sentences and a higher likelihood of being held in jail before trial."


As New York City Jails Become More Violent, Solitary Confinement Persists

Despite the fact that under Mayor Bill de Blasio New York City jails have become increasingly empty, the number of inmates being held in solitary confinement. Records show that officials "have relied on solitary confinement to punish about the same number of inmates each year since 2017."


Europe Can Impose Tariffs on U.S. in Long-Running Aircraft Battle

The World Trade Organization has authorized the European Union "to tax up to $4 billion of American products annually in return for subsidies given to Boeing." The move may "result in levies on American airplanes, agricultural products, and other goods" and "stems from a 16-year fight before the global trade body." The Trump administration, in 2019, "imposed tariffs on European planes, wine, cheese, and other products after the WTO gave the United States permission to retaliate on up to $7.5 billion of European exports annually."


Who Was 'El Padrino,' Godfather to Drug Cartel? Mexico's Defense Chief, U.S. Says

For years, there were questions about how deep organized crime penetrated into Mexico's institutions, and this week revealed that it went deeper than many expected. Drug enforcement agents had long wondered who El Padrino, or The Godfather, was as the person was a "shadowy, powerful force" in facilitating the Mexican drug cartels. Those agents have identified that El Padrino was in fact the country's defense chief from 2012 to 2018, General Salvador Cienfuegos.


October 23, 2020

Sports Law News for the Week of October 23rd

By Bennett Liebman

Pro Gamblers Accuse NV Bookmaker Of 'Cheating' On In-Game Bets, https://sportshandle.com/pro-gamblers-william-hill-cheating/

A Biden-Harris Administration, Democratic Senate Paints Rosier Picture For Sports Betting Nationwide, https://sportshandle.com/biden-harris-administration-sports-betting/

NCAA executive: College sports' financial woes could last into 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2020/10/16/ncaa-executive-sports-covid-related-woes-could-linger-into-2023/3682211001/

Three Years Ago, the College Basketball Corruption Scandal Promised a Reckoning. Where Is It?, https://www.si.com/college/2020/10/21/college-basketball-scandal-sec-recruiting-daily-cover

TOM BRADY'S BUSINESS EMPIRE EXPANDS WITH IMG, FANATICS PARTNERSHIPS, https://www.sportico.com/personalities/athletes/2020/tom-brady-img-fanatics-deals-1234615175/

SPORTRADAR SEEKING A GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS FROM SPORTS BETTING DATA, https://www.sportico.com/business/commerce/2020/sportradar-ceo-guest-column-1234615258/

NCAA ASKS SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW SCHOLARSHIP CASH LIMITS, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/ncaa-supreme-court-challenge-to-amateurism-1234615100/

NCAA statement regarding Supreme Court petition for Alston case, http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/ncaa-statement-regarding-supreme-court-petition-alston-case

NY EYES MOBILE BETTING BY SUPER BOWL AS NJ SETS WAGERING RECORDS, https://www.sportico.com/business/sports-betting/2020/new-york-online-sports-betting-super-bowl-1234615206/

Gregg Marshall Allegations Illustrate the Wichita State Coach's Own Weakness, https://www.si.com/college/2020/10/21/gregg-marshall-allegations-abusive-behavior-wichita-state

What Does LSU Football Submitting "Self-Imposing" Penalties Amid NCAA Investigation Mean for Program?. https://www.si.com/college/lsu/football/lsu-imposes-penalties-on-football

Global Sports Leagues and China's Free Speech Problem, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3684707

Guest Column: In Defense of the Big Ten's Decision to Play Fall Football, https://sportsandsociety.osu.edu/news/guest-column-defense-big-ten%E2%80%99s-decision-play-fall-football

In re TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding v. WN Partner LLC, http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/ad1/calendar/List_Word/2020/10_Oct/22/PDF/TCR%20Sports%20%20v%20%20WN%20Partner%20(2019-05390).pdf

Steve Cohen's Mets purchase will have to go through Bill de Blasio, https://nypost.com/2020/10/21/bill-de-blasio-has-to-sign-off-on-steve-cohens-mets-purchase/

Pro gambler sues Preet Bharara claiming misconduct in insider trading case, https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N2HD1T7

DOUBLE FAULT? BORIS BECKER ACCUSED OF NOT SURRENDERING MAJOR TROPHIES, https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2020/10/boris-becker-accused-not-surrendering-wimbledon-australian-open-trophies-settle-debts/91513/

Theater News for the Week of October 23th

By Bennett Liebman

'Shuffle Along' and Insurer Drop Pregnancy-Prompted Lawsuit, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/21/theater/shuffle-along-audra-mcdonald-insurer-pregnancy-lawsuit.html

'NERDS' PRODUCERS ACE ANGELS IN COURT, https://mailchi.mp/bwayjournal/sprecher-loses-rights-to-rebecca-2393705?e=198298f659

SAG-AFTRA and Actors' Equity Feud Over Streaming Rights for Theater Productions, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/sag-aftra-actors-equity-theater-streaming-rights-jurisdiction-71925/

Save Our Stages re-emerges in new Senate small business bill, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/10/21/save-our-stages-re-emerges-in-new-senate-small-business-bill/

Most U.S. theaters stay dark, 8 months after COVID-19 started. Some blame Actors' Equity., Florida https://www.news-press.com/story/news/2020/10/21/covid-florida-theaters-stay-dark-actors-equity/3586619001/

Future of theater? Not exactly sure, but Diane Paulus is working on it, https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/10/a-r-t-s-diane-paulus-talks-about-the-survival-of-theater/

We've had endless, endless plans': How the National Theatre got its doors back open, https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/theatre/national-theatre-reopening-pandemic-death-of-england-delroy-a4572182.html

Can We Imagine Something Better?, www.vulture.com/article/david-byrne-heidi-schreck-constitution-american-utopia.html

Column: For actors and other arts professionals, the healthcare safety net has been ripped to pieces, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/chris-jones/ct-ent-actor-healthcare-retirement-1018-20201015-5u6tyakz7zdnnnd5ktp64hgllu-story.html

Broadway music leaders form coalition to diversify the industry, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/10/23/broadway-music-leaders-form-coalition-to-diversify-the-industry/

Theater professors wait in the wings during Broadway shutdown, https://theithacan.org/life-culture/theater-professors-wait-in-the-wings-during-broadway-shutdown/

In the Boardroom Where It Happens, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/10/22/in-the-boardroom-where-it-happens/

Marge Champion, Dancer, Actor and Choreographer, Dies at 101, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/22/arts/dance/marge-champion-dead.html

Firehouse Theatre Shuts Down BACK TO THE '80S Due to Positive COVID-19 Tests, https://www.broadwayworld.com/dallas/article/Firehouse-Theatre-

New Musical by Weinstein Accuser Set for Screening, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/theater/the-right-girl-Weinstein-musical.html

October 26, 2020

Week In Review

By La-Vaughnda A. Taylor
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Quibi Streaming Service Meets Quick End

Short-video app and $2 billion streaming experiment, Quibi, is shutting down just six months after its early April launch, having struggled to find customers. The company said that it would wind down its operations and plans to sell its assets, which include significant intellectual property.


The Leader of a Boston Theater Steps Down

Artistic Director Peter DuBois is stepping down at the Huntington Theatre Company following a number of complaints by staffers and a subsequent investigation regarding a lack of diversity and inclusiveness, salary discrepancies, and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been no official reason as to his departure.


#MeToo Awakens in Iran with Accusations Against Star Artists

Three years in, the #MeToo movement has hit a nerve among Iran's women. Now accusations against a politically connected celebrity artist is testing the movement in a sexually conservative society dominated by men. In late August, allegations aired on Iranian social media against more than 100 men, including a giant e-commerce company's former star manager, a prominent sociology professor, and the owner of a popular bookstore. Yet the highest-profile person to face such allegations so far is a nearly 80-year-old, internationally acclaimed artist with ties to the ruling elite. Thirteen women have now accused artist Aydin Aghdashloo of sexual misconduct over a 30-year span. Most are former students, and some are journalists who have reported on art and culture.



Fewer Visitors for Europe's Museums

As cultural institutions reopen across the U.S., with new coronavirus protocols in place, the world has been looking to Europe where many museums have been open since May, for a preview of how the public might respond to the invitation to return. So far, there's little reason to be optimistic. Almost all European museums are suffering from visitor losses, but their ability to cope depends almost entirely on how they are funded. Institutions supported by government funding are able to weather the storm with a little belt-tightening, while those that depend on ticket sales are facing tougher choices. Many are laying off employees and restructuring their business models.


Archeologists Find Ancient Cat Etching on Peru Heritage Site

Peruvian archeologists unveiled a giant cat carved into Nazca Lines UNESCO site. The archeologists uncovered a 120-foot-long cat etching in a little-explored area of the country's celebrated Nazca Lines heritage site, home to hundreds of gigantic geoglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.


Spain's Far Right Uses Law It Hates Against Its Rivals

Vox, an ultranationalist party in Madrid, is working to remove memorials to Socialist figures of the 1930s, calling the effort a warning that a "law of historical memory" should be abolished. Leftist politicians in Spain have worked slowly but steadily over the years to remove symbols commemorating the former dictator General Francisco Franco from public spaces across the country. Last October, they used the law to exhume the remains of Franco from a mausoleum near Madrid. Now, despite denouncing those efforts, their political opponents are trying to use the same law to persuade the authorities in Madrid to erase memorials to Franco's rivals.



How the Women's National Basketball Association Became an Avatar of Social Activism

From the beginning of their more than two decades on the court, the players in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) have defied society's expectations. Today, challenging the status quo is a hallmark of the WNBA's players. They pushed the envelope long before it came into vogue among modern-day professional athletes, and led the way in protesting social injustice and racism. The breadth of action among the players is unparalleled among pro sports teams - from opposing bans on same-sex marriage to criminal justice reform and fighting against gun violence. Often they include unified undertakings - it's the natural outgrowth of who they are.


DeBlasio Could Scuttle Deal for Cohen to Buy Mets Over Lease

Steven Cohen's long, arduous pursuit of the Mets is headed toward a conclusion, but New York City may throw up a last-minute roadblock. Mayor DeBlasio's office has said it is looking into whether insider trading convictions at Steve Cohen's former hedge fund might prohibit the billionaire from buying the Mets. There is no indication that the mayor's office is bent on thwarting the deal, but it has a 30-day window to collect information and potentially take action as the leaseholder of Citi Field, the Mets' stadium in Queens.


A Fragile Effort to Sustain a Cherished Tradition

During the crisis, high school football's fragile effort to hold on to football season might seem inconsequential. Yet the game is perhaps more urgent and galvanizing in Texas than anywhere else. As towns along or near the Rio Grande - like La Joya, Palmview, Mission, Progreso, Weslaco, Rio Hondo - have shut off their Friday night lights, or left them flickering in uncertainty, there has been a sense of cultural casualty.


For the 28th Time, a Horse Trained by Baffert Fails a Drug Test

In September, the Baffert-trained filly Gamine tested positive for a banned substance for the second time this year, according to two people familiar with the results of the test. It was the 28th violation in Baffert's career.


Doping Tests are Returning, But It Might Be Too Late

The coronavirus pandemic made collecting blood and urine samples extremely difficult. It also made 2020 and ideal opportunity for those who wanted to cheat. During the first nine months of 2019, antidoping organizations collected more than 231,000 blood and urine samples from athletes for testing for performance-enhancing drugs. During the same period in 2020, with the coronavirus making collection a high-risk event, antidoping organizations collected about 111,000 samples. In April alone, when cities and countries around the world were locked down, only 576 samples were collected, compared with 25,219 for the same month the previous year.


Improbably, Sports Made It Back in 2020. Now, the Hard Part.

Aggressive coronavirus testing made the restart of professional sports possible, but the financial pain of empty arenas lingers as plans for next year are up in the air. Professional sports figured out how to sputter back to life over the past three months. Now the leagues have to figure out how to do it again as infection numbers have reached a record daily high in the U.S., making it unclear how to protect players and other personnel without spending exorbitantly again.


The Slippery Slope of Competing Across Europe During a Pandemic

With coronavirus infection rates rising dramatically, this may not be the best time to begin a series of competitions that require moving hundreds of people across Europe during the next few months. Yet, that is exactly what is happening as winter draws closer, temperatures drop, and the international winter sports schedule gets underway. Alpine skiing kicked off in Soelden, Austria, last weekend. Nordic skiing, biathlon, and sliding sports are scheduled to begin next month. There are testing protocols, reservations for lengthy stays in European chalets, and contingencies for a coronavirus outbreak.


Russia is Accused of Hacking Games It Could Not Join

After suffering embarrassment over its doping scheme, Russia tried cyberattacks against the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and was targeting the postponed Tokyo Olympics too, according to American and British officials.



U.S. Fights Google in Antitrust Suit that May Jolt Web

The Justice Department accused Google of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and search advertising, the government's most significant challenge to a tech company's market power in a generation and one that could re-shape the way consumers use the internet.


'Not a Rush' to Sue Says Google Investigator

Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general, wouldn't normally oversee an antitrust investigation into Google. It would usually fall to the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division. However, that official, Makan Delrahim, recused himself because the company is a former legal client. So Rosen took the lead on the investigation and announced the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Google, which accuses the company of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and search advertising.


Federal Trade Commission Said to Be Near Decision on Facebook Action

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is moving closer to a decision about filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook for its market power in social networking. The five members of the FTC met to discuss its investigation into Facebook and whether the company had bought smaller rivals to maintain a monopoly. No decision on a case has been made and the commissioners must vote before any is pursued.


After Years of Living in Exile, Snowden Granted Permanent Residency in Russia

Edward J. Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor whose 2013 leaks of top-secret documents set off a worldwide debate about government surveillance, is now a permanent resident of Russia. Last week, Russia's immigration authorities granted Snowden permanent residency. Snowden's end goal is being able to return to the U.S., but only if he is guaranteed a fair trial. Trump has said previously that he would "take a very good look at" a pardon for the former intelligence contractor. Changes last year to Russia's immigration law that have made it easier for foreigners to get permanent residency cleared the path for Snowden to stay in the country for as long as he wanted.


New York Post Staff Questioned Report on Biden

Bruce Golding, a reporter at the New York Post since 2007, did not want his byline to be used on a front-page article about Hunter Biden because he had concerns over the article's credibility, according to two New York Post employees speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. The article suggested that Joe Biden used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The newspaper based the story on photos and documents that it said had been taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden. Many New York Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive's content and they also had concerns about the reliability of its source's timing.


Facing a Deluge of Misinformation, Colorado Takes the Offensive Against It

The state will combat false information on social media and even buy Google ads against it. Few states are following suit. To prevent deceptive tweets, doctored videos, and other forms of misinformation form undermining Colorado's election, Jean Griswold, the newly installed secretary of state, is starting a new initiative that will run ads on social media and expand digital outreach to help voters identify foreign misinformation.


TikTok Adds to Restrictions on Hate Speech

Last week, the company announced a series of policy changes restricting the types of content it would allow, including a crackdown on QAnon supporters and a prohibition of "coded" language that could serve to normalize hate speech across TikTok.


Trump Posts Unedited Clip of Interview He Cut Short

Trump posted full, unedited interviews that he and VP Pence did with "60 Minutes" on Facebook last week before the show's scheduled broadcast. The footage showed Trump growing increasingly agitated as interviewer Lesley Stahl pressed him on his response to the coronavirus epidemic, his demeanor on social media, the lack of masks at his campaign rallies, and the "Obamacare" replacement plan he has long promised but failed to deliver.


Ex-Daily News Reporter Sues Over Termination

A former City Hall reporter for the Daily News says that she was fired for questioning why a male colleague was earning more for performing the same job. Anna Sanders, 29, filed a lawsuit against the tabloid and its parent company, Tribune Publishing, alleging wrongful termination and gender discrimination.


PBS Showed TV the Future. What Does Its Own Look Like?

PBS created the blueprint for what TV has become. While the networks and streaming services reap the benefits of PBS's successes, it is still struggling to survive. PBS celebrates its 50th anniversary this month and its influence is everywhere - from MTV's "The Real World" to YouTube cooking stars and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians". PBS may still execute many of its programs better than its rivals, and its content remains free and over-the-air, which are crucial for reaching those with lesser means and those without broadband. Unfortunately, however, in a country where the vast majority gets its TV through a paid service, the distinction rarely registers. Now PBS grapples with an existential conundrum - what it should be and how it should distinguish itself.


The White Issue. Has Anna Wintour's Diversity Push at Vogue and Condé Nast Come Too Late?

Although Vogue's September issue celebrated Black culture and contributors, some employees say the magazine's powerful editor fostered a workplace that sidelined women of color. Wintour, in internal emails, apologized for Vogue and Condé Nast's lack of elevating of and giving space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers, and other creators back in June. Yet the Black editors who have been working with Wintour say they saw her apology as hypocritical, part of a calculated play by an executive known for her ability to gauge the public mood. Other Black journalists, current or former employees of Condé Nast said the email and the September issue that followed it represented an awkward, though heartfelt, attempt at genuine change.


How Agendas Fill Local News Void

A nationwide operation of 1,300 local sites publishes coverage that is ordered up by Republican groups and corporate P.R. firms. These websites fill a void left by vanishing local newspapers across the country. Yet the network, now in all 50 states, is built not on traditional journalism, but rather on propaganda ordered up by dozens of conservative think tanks, political operatives, corporate executives, and public-relations professionals. The sites appear as ordinary local news outlets. They employ simple layouts and articles about local politics, community happenings, and sometimes national issues, much like any local newspaper. Yet behind the scenes, many of the stories are directed by political groups and corporate P.R. firms to promote a Republican candidate or a company, or to smear their rivals.


Biden Eclipses Trump in the War for the Airwaves

Joe Biden is vastly outspending President Trump in TV advertising, maintaining a nearly 2-to-1 advantage on the airwaves in the general election battleground states and elsewhere. He is focusing overwhelmingly on the coronavirus as millions of Americans across the country begin casting early votes.


Suit Reveals Role Ex-Spy Played at Project Veritas

A British former spy recruited by Erik Prince, the security contractor close to the Trump administration, played a central role in a secretive effort to hire dozens of operatives for the conservative group Project Veritas. The new details about Project Veritas show the extent of the group's ambitions to build an intelligence-gathering apparatus to infiltrate Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations, news media, and other groups. Project Veritas is known for its sting operations aimed at such groups, which have prompted allegations that it has published deceptively edited videos.


Writer is Suspended After Zoom Exposure

Jeffrey Toobin, a longtime reporter for The New Yorker and CNN's leading legal analyst, was suspended from the magazine after an incident in which he allegedly unwittingly exposed himself believing the camera was off during a Zoom call with colleagues and employees of a New York radio station. He has been suspended by the magazine while the matter is investigated and will take some requested time off from his gig at CNN as he "deals with a personal issue."


After TikTok Assures Pakistan It Will Monitor for Indecency, Ban is Lifted

Pakistan has lifted its ban on TikTok, just 10 days after blocking the app on the grounds that it hosted "immoral" and "indecent" videos. Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority now says that TikTok has "assured" the agency that videos will be moderated "in accordance with societal norms and the laws of Pakistan."


Fake Political News Aimed at Latinos to Suppress Vote

Misinformation and conspiracy theories swirling around the 2020 presidential race are reaching an "alarming" number of Latino voters in Florida through Spanish language social media sites, advocacy groups and elected officials have said. Advocates pointed to Republicans and Trump as some of the sources of disinformation flooding Latinos' social media feeds, but the full picture regarding the origins of the information was not immediately clear. Latino voters are particularly vulnerable to many challenges related to misinformation and disinformation, such as a language barrier coupled with a mistrust in government.


General News

U.S. Still Can't Locate Parents of 545 Children Separated at Border

Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant who were separated by the Trump administration say that they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children and that about two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Trump administration instituted a "zero tolerance" policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border. The administration later confirmed that it had actually begun separating families in 2017 along some parts of the border under a pilot program. The ACLU and other pro-bono law firms were tasked with finding the members of families separated during the pilot program. Unlike the 2,800 families separated under zero tolerance in 2018, most of whom remained in custody when the policy was ended by executive order, many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered that they be found.


Republicans Advance Barrett's Nomination Over a Democratic Boycott

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans powered past a Democratic boycott to advance Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate, keeping Trump's pick on track for confirmation before the November 3 election. Democratic senators refused to show up in protest of the GOP's rush to install Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Ginsburg. Never has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election.


Murkowski, in a Turnabout, Says She Will Join Fellow Senators to Confirm Barrett

The iconoclastic Alaska Republican said she remained opposed to filling the Supreme Court seat so close to an election but could not hold that against a qualified nominee. She will nonetheless vote to confirm Judge Barrett. Her unexpected turnabout gave a boost to Senate Republicans looking to quiet intraparty dissent in the face of unified Democratic opposition. They already had the votes they needed to confirm Trumps third Supreme Court nominee, but Murkowski's support means that only one Republican - Senator Susan Collins of Maine - is likely to defect when the roll is called this week.


Biden Says He'd Set Up Panel to Study Judiciary

Biden has said that if elected, he would put together a bipartisan commission of scholars to examine reforming a federal judiciary he called "out of whack," noting that there are alternatives to consider besides expanding the Supreme Court.


Appointees Tilt Toward Trump in Voting Cases

A study commissioned by a group that favors expanding the U.S. Supreme Court found that Republican-appointed judges and justices in 2020 have repeatedly ruled in favor of making it harder for Americans to vote. The study found that in election-related cases, Republican appointees interpreted law in a way that hindered voting access 80% of the time, as compared to 37% of the time with Democrat appointees. Among judges and justices appointed by President Donald Trump, that figure jumped to 85%.


Trump's Policies Fill the Docket of U.S. Justices

The Supreme Court agreed to review two major Trump administration immigration initiatives, adding them to a docket now crowded with cases that will test President Trump's agenda and policies. The Court, which might have been expected to tread cautiously while it is short-handed in the aftermath of Justice Ginsburg's death, has instead seemed determined to weigh in on many aspects of the Trump presidency, even if it could end soon. The cases the Court took on last week are challenges to a program that has forced at least 60,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their requests are heard and the diversion of $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to build a barrier on the southwestern border.


Justices Bar Curbside Vote in Alabama

The Supreme Court blocked a trial judge's ruling that would have allowed, but not required, counties in Alabama to offer curbside voting. The vote was 5 to 3 with the Court's more conservative members in the majority. The brief gave no reasons, which is typical when it rules on emergency applications. The order will remain in effect while appeals moved forward. Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan dissented, saying that the state's policy discriminated against older and disabled voters.


Pennsylvania is Allowed Extra Time to Tally Votes

In a ruling that was a defeat for Republicans who said counting late ballots would inject chaos into an already complicated general election, election officials in the presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania must accept mail ballots that arrive up to three days after the election under an order issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. The eight-members tied 4-4, with Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh saying they would have granted a request by Republicans to put the lower court ruling on hold. Five votes are needed to grant a stay.


Purdue Admits That It Pushed Deadly Opioid

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges related to its marketing of the addictive painkiller, and faces penalties of roughly $8.3 billion. The settlement could pave the way for a resolution of thousands of lawsuits brought against the company for its role in a public health crisis that has killed more than 450,000 Americans since 1999. The company's owners have agreed to pay $225 million in civil penalties. However, as the company has declared bankruptcy, just a portion of that will actually be paid, and the individual family members are not covered by this settlement.


McConnell Acts to Shelve Relief Till the Election

The top Senate Republican told colleagues that he had advised the White House against striking a pre-election deal with Democrats to deliver pandemic aid, fearing political repercussions. McConnell's remarks threw cold water on Trump's increasingly urgent push to enact a new round of pandemic aid before Election Day. The cost of their emerging compromise on a new round of aid to hard-pressed Americans and businesses has steadily climbed toward $2 trillion, inching closer to Pelosi's demands even as it far exceeds what most Senate Republicans have said they can accept.


China Threatens to Detain Americans in Retaliation

Chinese officials have told the Trump administration that security officers in China might detain American citizens if the Justice Dept proceeds with prosecutions of arrested scholars who are members of the Chinese military. Officials conveyed the messages starting this summer when the Justice Dept intensified efforts to arrest and charge the scholars, mainly with providing false information on their visa applications. American officials said they thought the Chinese officials were serious about the threats. The State Department has reiterated travel warnings as a result, they said. Western officials and human rights advocates have said for years that the Chinese police and other security agencies engage in arbitrary detentions.


Allies Balk at U.S. Sanctions on Rights Lawyer

Trump's sanctions on international courts may do little beyond alienating allies. Critics say that the administration has targeted a human rights lawyer with economic penalties meant for warlords, dictators, and authoritarian governments. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on the International Criminal court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and a colleague, trying to stop their inquiry into potential war crimes by American forces in Afghanistan. This measure enraged European allies, human rights activists, and even some retired American generals. Bensouda said that they won't be deterred.


In Unusual Adjustment, Candidates Were Muted for Parts of Debate

Former VP Joe Biden and President Trump had their microphones muted during portions of the second and final presidential debate, a decision that angered the President. The decision came after the commission met to discuss potential rule changes to the debate format. It decided that the changes were needed because of how the first debate between Biden and Trump devolved into chaos, with the President frequently interrupting the former VP. Trump felt like the decision was unfair.


Trump and Biden Diverge Sharply in Visions for U.S.

In a more restrained appearance, Trump depicted Biden as an ineffectual Washington insider. Biden accused the president of heartlessness for separating migrant families and inflaming racial tensions. The two delivered starkly divergent closing arguments to the country in the final debate, offering opposite prognoses for the coronavirus pandemic and airing irreconcilable differences on subjects from rescuing the economy and bolstering the health care system to fighting climate change and reshaping the immigration policy.


The President Pushes His Attorney General to 'Act Fast' Against His Rival

Trump has called on attorney general Barr to take action before Election Day against his Democratic opponent, former VP Joe Biden, over his son's foreign work, an extraordinary attempt to pressure the government's chief law enforcement to help him politically. Critics have accused Barr on a number of occasions of intervening on issues to help Trump politically, but for the president to publicly call on him to take action against a political opponent was remarkable, especially two weeks before a presidential election.


Trump Ally Pleads Guilty in Foreign Lobbying Case Tied to Malaysia and China

A former Trump fundraiser admitted to a role in a covert campaign to influence the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests. Elliott Broidy agreed to forfeit $6.6 million to the federal government and to cooperate with prosecutors on a range of potential investigations related to his fellow conspirators and others.


U.S. Cites Proof That Iran and Russia Aim to Tilt Race

Iran and Russia have both obtained American voter registration data, a top national security official announced last week, providing the first concrete evidence that the two countries are stepping in to try to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.


Breaches by Russians Pointing to Election Threat, Officials Say

While senior Trump administration officials said this week that Iran has been actively interfering in the presidential election, many intelligence officials said they remained far more concerned about Russia, which in recent days has hacked into state and local computer networks in breaches that could allow Moscow broader access to American voting infrastructure. American intelligence agencies have pieced together details of what they believe are Russia's plans to interfere in the presidential race in its final days or immediately after the election. Officials did not make clear what Russia planned to do, but they said its operations would be intended to help President Trump, potentially by exacerbating disputes around the results, especially if the race is too close to call.


Airport Hacking by Russian Group Praise Election Alarms

The hacking group Energetic Bear is among Russia's stealthiest. It appears to be casting a wide net to find useful targets ahead of the election. Cybersecurity officials watched with growing alarm in September as Russian state hackers started prowling around dozens of American state and local government computer systems just two months before the election. The group hacked into Wi-Fi systems at San Francisco International Airport and at least two other West Coast airports in March in an apparent bid to find one unidentified traveler, a demonstration of the hackers' power and resolve.


Drug May Extend the Lives of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients

A two drug combination invented by college students is one of many potential therapies being tested for this paralyzing and fatal condition. The drug may extend Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) patients' lives by several months. A new study in Muscle and Nerve indicates that an experimental therapy may allow patients to live several months longer than they otherwise would have.


Refugees Risked Lives Helping U.S. Military, but Nation Blocks Entry

President Trump has reduced the flow of refugees into the country to a trickle, and even Iraqis and Afghans who risked lives for American service members have been cut off. The Trump administration had reserved 4,000 slots for Iraqi refugees who had helped American troops, contractors or news media or who are members of a persecuted minority group in the fiscal year that ended on September 30th. It ultimately admitted only 161 Iraqis - or 4% -- to the U.S., the lowest percentage of the four categories of refugees the administration authorized for resettlement last year.


U.S. State Department to Drop Sudan from Terror List

Trump has announced that Sudan has agreed to begin normalizing relations with Israel, just days after his administration said it would take the North African country off the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. The details of the Sudan-Israel agreement, coming just days before the U.S. election, were not immediately clear.


Trump's Taxes Show Own Past Courting China

The New York Times recently reported that Trump spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company. China is one of only three foreign nations - the others are Britain and Ireland - where Trump maintains a bank account. The foreign accounts do not show up on Trump's public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The Chinese account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management LLC, which the tax records show paid $188,561 in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015.


As U.S. Diplomats Fell Sick, Washington Minimized the Danger

American officials in China, Cuba, and Russia say that U.S. agencies are concealing the true extend of the episodes, leaving colleagues vulnerable to hostile actions abroad. What began as strange sounds and symptoms among more than a dozen American officials and their family members in China in 2018 has turned into a diplomatic mystery spanning multiple countries and involving speculation about secret high-tech weapons and foreign attacks. One of the biggest questions centers on whether Trump administration officials believe that the diplomats in China experienced the same mysterious affliction as dozens of diplomats and spies at the American Embassy in Cube in 2016 and 2017, which came to be known as Havana Syndrome. However, the government's treatment of these episodes was radically different. The State Department, which oversaw the cases, has produced inconsistent assessments of patients and events, ignored outside medical diagnoses, and withheld basic information from Congress.


Grand Juror in Taylor Case Says Prosecutors Never Presented Homicide Charge

An anonymous Kentucky juror from the Breonna Taylor grand jury said that state Attorney Daniel Cameron never presented homicide charges for the officers who killed Taylor in her home back in March. A judge gave the grand jurors in the case permission to speak publicly, which is rare. Grand jurors are bound by secrecy rules that almost always keep their experiences unknown to the public, so the judge's decision allowed them to shed rare light on the process. The juror's statement reflects how prosecutors hold enormous sway over grant juries that are tasked with deciding whether to bring felony charges against the accused. While grand juries have the ability to call witnesses and pursue charges other than what the prosecutor recommends, jurors may not understand the scope of their power, and prosecutors have no obligation to present charges other than the ones they choose to recommend.


Pope, in Break from Doctrine, Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions

Pope Francis has expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered last week. This is a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people. The remarks had the potential to shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples in nations around the globe and unsettle bishops worried that the unions threaten what the church considered traditional marriage.


Guess Who's Being Asked to Lead Diversity Reviews

When corporations try to belatedly address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), they often drop the responsibility on their few Black employees. For many Black professionals, the experience of being asked - or even required - to lead or participate in a company's diversity and inclusion work simply because of their race is an uncomfortable ritual. As the corporate world continues its attempt to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, such requests threaten to undermine the inclusion efforts they are supposed to promote. Bosses, managers, and colleagues - well-intentioned or otherwise - often fail to recognize the emotional and professional stakes of giving Black employees a DEI task, like reviewing or writing company statements, leading anti-racism meetings or heading employee resource groups, especially when not in their areas of expertise.


Trump Order May Expand his Authority to Fire Staff

The move would give the president greater freedom to weed out what he sees as a "deep state" bureaucracy. The executive order, which could be rescinded if he is not re-elected, was condemned by civil service unions. The order gives him leeway to hire and fire federal workers.


Trump Campaign Draws Rebuke for Surveilling Philadelphia Voters

The Trump campaign has been videotaping Philadelphia voters while they deposit their ballots in drop boxes, leading Pennsylvania's attorney general to warn this week that the campaign's actions fall outside of permitted poll watching practices and could amount to illegal voter intimidation. The campaign made a formal complaint to city officials on October 16th, saying that a campaign representative had surveilled voters depositing two or three ballots at drop boxes, instead of only their own. Both the Trump and Biden campaigns are focused on Pennsylvania, seen as one of the most important swing states in the election and where polls show Biden with a 7-point lead.


Trump Promised Seniors Drug Discount Cards, but They May Be Illegal

A proposal announced by President Trump last month to send older Americans $200 discount cards to offset prescription costs for more than 30 million older Americans will not come to fruition before the election, if ever. The promise set off a scramble among health and budget officials unaware that such a policy was being considered. Now, less than two weeks before the election, officials acknowledge that Medicare recipients will not be getting their $200 cards this month. Many of the officials assigned to enact the policy view it as legally dubious. Generally, major changes in Medicare policy require Congress to pass legislation.


Tax Records Contradict Trump Claims of Charity

Hidden financial records cast doubt on a number of his charitable commitments and show that most of his giving came from land deals that offset his income. According to his tax records, Trump has given back at least $130 million since 2005, but the long-hidden tax records show that Trump did not have to reach into his wallet for most of that giving. The vast bulk of his charitable tax deductions, $119.3 million worth, came from simply agreeing not to develop land - in several cases, after he had shelved development plans. Three of the agreements involved what are known as conservation easements - a maneuver, popular among wealthy Americans, that typically allows a landowner to keep a property's title and receive a tax deduction equal to its appraised value.


Cities Sue Trump Over 'Anarchist' Label

New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, all so-called "anarchist jurisdictions," are trying to stop the Trump administration from withholding federal funds. The Trump administration's attempt to strip NYC of federal funds because the administration viewed it as an "anarchist jurisdiction" could cost the city as much as $12 billion - money for the cash-starved subway, the NY Police Department, and efforts to treat coronavirus patients, city officials said last week. Last month, Trump ordered the Justice Dept to withhold federal funds for allowing "themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones." Trump has repeatedly attacked the cities' Democratic leaders for their responses to recent protests over police brutality.


NASA Spacecraft Springs Leak After Touching Asteroid

NASA's effort to grab a piece of an asteroid last week may have worked a little too well. The spacecraft, OSIRIS-REX, grabbed so much rock and dirt that some of the material is now leaking back into space.


New Yorkers Line Up in Droves at Early Polling Sites

Voters in New York City waited hours to cast ballots on Saturday, the first time that early voting has been allowed in the state in a presidential election. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers flooded polling places and waited hours in long lines, with many saying that they turned out because of concerns that their ballots might not be counted if they tried to vote by mail. The hurdles for voters and poll workers on the first day of voting reflected the challenges of holding a contentious presidential election in the middle of a pandemic. Many people remained undeterred by the delays and the coronavirus, some waiting as long as five hours and others rushing to get in line before polls closed.


Racist Postings by New York Court Officers are Detailed in Bias Report

An independent commission tasked with reviewing institutional racism in the New York court system detailed a "culture of toxicity and unprofessionalism" among court officers across the state in a report released last week. The extensive report that included judges, lawyers, clerks, court officers, and litigants, highlighted the institutional bias and racial and ethnic disparities throughout the court system. The most explicit accounts of racism in the report pertained to the conduct of court officers.


Six Russians Tied to Hacks Around Globe

The Justice Department has charged six Russian intelligence officers in a globe-spanning campaign of cyberattacks, ranging from damaging Ukraine's power grid to the 2017 French elections to targeting the 2018 Olympics and more.


Maxwell's Deposition, Filled with Denials, is Revealed in Epstein Case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the accused procurer for late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, said under oath in 2016 that she "never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever," a newly released deposition reveals. Maxwell is accused of abetting Epstein's sexual abuse of several underage girls. Multiple women have said Epstein sexually abused and exploited them when they were underage, and Maxwell has been accused as acting as a recruiter of teenage girls for her former boyfriend, Epstein, whose properties she managed for years. Some accusers have said Maxwell participated in the abuse. She adamantly denies those claims.


Nigeria in Shock After Police and Soldiers Fatally Shoot Protesters

Nigerians are stunned after police soldiers opened fire on protesters protesting against police brutality. The largely peaceful demonstrations have grown into a challenge for the government. Three hours after peaceful protesters took to the streets singing the national anthem and waving their flags, dozens of people were hit by gunfire from security forces, some fatally, and images of bloodied protesters and their bloodied flags strewn on the ground flooded the social media accounts of millions of Nigerians.


Goldman Unit Pleads Guilty in Malaysian Fraud Scheme

Goldman Sachs played a starring role in the dubious financial engineering that helped spark a global financial crisis last decade, and its 151-year history is dotted with scandals that ended in fines or governmental scoldings. Yet never before had it had to go before a U.S. judge and admit it was guilty of a crime. Goldman employees took part in a scheme to pay $1 billion in bribes to foreign officials. The bank, in turn, arranged the sale of bonds to raise $6.5 billion that was intended to benefit the people of Malaysia, but was instead looted by the country's leaders and their associates. In the end, the scandal, which netted the bank a relatively paltry $600 million in fees, will cost Goldman and its current and former executives dearly. The bank itself will pay more than $5 billion in penalties to regulators around the world, more than it had to pay for peddling bonds back by risky mortgages a decade ago, and it has moved to recoup or withhold more than $100 million in executive compensation, a rare move for a Wall Street bank.


Norway Provides Asylum for an Antiracism Activist

Antiracism activist Rafal Gawel fled Poland on New Year's Eve in 2018 seeking refuge in Norway, which has long welcomed political refugees from desperate corners of the world. Yet he wasn't escaping a war-torn country, but a member of the democratic and peaceful European Union. Although his initial request for asylum in Norway was rejected, last month an appeals board there granted his request. It was a dramatic chain of events that underscored concerns elsewhere in Europe that Poland's democracy, which was once regarded as a great success story of the post-Soviet era, has regressed under the right-wing coalition that has ruled the country for the past five years. The asylum decision reflected worries about political influence in the Polish judicial system.


As China Clamps Down, Activists Flee Hong Kong for Refuge in West

China calls them "violent criminals." Asylum seekers from Hong Kong are the latest catalyst for deteriorating relations between Beijing and Western countries. In Western democracies, they have been welcomed as refugees escaping Beijing's tightening grip over Hong Kong. Western leaders have asserted that they will stand up for human rights in Hong Kong, while Chinese officials have rebuked the countries for what they called interference in Beijing's affairs. The protesters' newly conferred status has made clear how profoundly Hong Kong has changed since China imposed a tough new security law this summer.



New Peak for U.S. Cases: Over 82,000 in Single Day

More than 85,000 new cases of the virus were reported on Friday, shattering an earlier single-day record and stirring new fears about the months ahead. Since the start of October, the rise in cases has been steady and more inexorable, with no plateau in sight. This new record broke the single-day record set on July 16th by about 10,000 cases. By that measure, Friday was the worst day of the pandemic and health experts warned of a further surge as cold weather sets in. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has already risen 40% in the past month. Deaths have remained relatively flat but are often a lagging indicator.


Pandemic's Toll Closer to 300,000, Researchers Say, Not All From COVID

The coronavirus pandemic caused nearly 300,000 deaths in the U.S. through early October, federal researchers said. The tally includes not only deaths known to have been directly caused by the virus, but also roughly 100,000 fatalities that are indirectly related and would not have occurred if it not for the virus. The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that the illnesses were caused by the coronavirus, but were misclassified or missed altogether.


Calling Fauci a Disaster, Trump Shrugs at a Spike of Infections in the U.S.

President Trump recently said that the government's top coronavirus pandemic fighter, Dr. Fauci, is a "disaster." Trump also claimed that Americans are "tired of" COVID-19, even as the numbers of coronavirus cases continued spiking in much of the U.S.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Clears Remdesivir As Treatment for COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the antiviral drug Remdesivir for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 88 pounds for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. The drug should only be administered in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care. Remdesivir is the first treatment for COVID-19 to receive FDA approval.


Cases Double in a Month Amid "Widespread" Community Transmission

Coronavirus cases in New Jersey, an early epicenter of the pandemic, are on the rise again, doubling over the last month to an average of more than 900 new positive tests a day, a worrisome reversal of fortune for a state that had driven transmission rates to some of the nation's lowest levels. After an outbreak several weeks ago in a town near the Jersey Shore, cases are now rising in counties across the state, driven, officials say, by indoor gatherings. The state's health commissioner has said there are signs of "widespread community spread" for the first time since New Jersey successfully slowed the spread of the virus that has claimed the lives of more than 16,000 residents. A small, densely packed state, New Jersey has the highest virus fatality rate in the country.


'No Practical Way' to Enforce Quarantine on Neighboring States Cuomo Says

The governor has said he would not restrict travelers from New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania, despite virus spikes in neighboring states. The coronavirus has spiked in states that border New York, with the rates of new cases hitting a point that is supposed to trigger restrictions on travelers entering New York. Cuomo excluded neighboring New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania from New York's quarantine list, saying there was "no practical way" to enforce such a limitation because of the vast numbers of commuters crossing state borders would make it nearly impossible to carry out.


'Herd Immunity' Proposal Draws Ire from Scientists

A manifesto urging reliance on "herd immunity" without lockdowns was warmly received by administration officials. However, such a strategy cannot stem the pandemic, many experts say.


CDC Updates Advice for Voting Safely

With Election Day less than two weeks away, the CDC has released safety tips for voters to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It encouraged Americans to follow basic public health measures and consider several voting options, including voting by mail. The agency also reiterated the importance of the basic preventative measures while voting in person: social distancing, mask wearing and washing hands.


Two Vaccine Trials Resume After Pauses Over Safety

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have restarted their late-stage trials after finding that serious illness in a few volunteers appeared not to be related to the vaccines. Federal health regulars have given AstraZeneca the green light after a six-week pause, concluding that there is no evidence that the experimental vaccine had directly caused the neurological side effects reported in two participants.


San Quentin Ordered to Reduce Prison Population by Half Over Virus Fears

The coronavirus snaked its way through San Quentin State Prison over the summer, eventually sickening 2,200 people and killing 28. The outbreak, among the deadliest in the nation's prison system, forced officials to erect giant tents on the prison's grounds to isolate the sickened inmates. Now, adding to its troubles, San Quentin, California's oldest and most notorious prison, must either release or move nearly 1,500 inmates. The requirement was part of a sharply worded state appellate court ruling handed down that is likely to reverberate in prison systems and governors' mansions across the country.


Hospitals in Europe are Starting to Fill Up Again

It was a grim weekend for Europe, which once seemed to have put the virus in check after some countries imposed stringent restrictions. The reality is that Europe is immersed in a second wave of the pandemic. In addition to declaring a state of emergency, the Spanish government has ordered a nationwide curfew that will limit movement between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Spain was the first Western European country to surpass one million confirmed cases. In France, the numbers seemed to also be climbing.


U.K. Scientists Plan to Infect Volunteers to Compare Vaccine Candidates

Imperial College London and a group of researchers said that they are preparing to infect 90 healthy young volunteers with the virus, becoming the first to announce plans to use the technique to study COVID-19 and potentially speed up development of a vaccine that could help end the pandemic. This type of research, known as human challenge study, is used infrequently because some question the ethics of infecting otherwise healthy individuals. The British researchers say that risk is warranted because such studies have the potential to quickly identify the most effective vaccines and help control a disease that has killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide. Human challenge studies have been used to develop vaccines for diseases including typhoid, cholera, and malaria.


Virus in Check, China Economy Bounces Back

China's economy continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic according to its latest official figures. The world's second-biggest economy saw growth of 4.9% between July and September, compared to the same quarter last year. However, the figure is lower than the 5.2% expected by economists. China is now leading the charge for a global recovery based on its latest gross domestic product data.


October 30, 2020

Sports Law News for the Week of October 30th

By Bennett Liebman

D.C. UNITED TO SHARE BETTING HANDLE AT FANDUEL-RUN SPORTSBOOK INSIDE AUDI FIELD, https://www.sportico.com/business/sports-betting/2020/dc-united-fanduel-1234613537/

Lawyers: Bill de Blasio will have hard time blocking Steve Cohen-Mets deal, https://nypost.com/2020/10/29/lawyers-de-blasio-has-slim-chance-of-ending-steve-cohen-mets-deal/

GOOGLE ANTITRUST CASE DRAWS SPORTS INDUSTRY EYES WITH DIGITAL RIGHTS IN PLAY, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/google-antitrust-lawsuit-sports-monopoly-1234615708/

UFC FIGHTERS' PAY LAWSUIT NEARS CLASS ACTION STAGE WITH LONG ROAD AHEAD, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/ufc-fighters-lawsuit-1234615470/

NCAA giving coaches 42 million reasons to cheat, https://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa-giving-coaches-42-million-reasons-to-cheat-032253015.html

The Death of a Racehorse, https://www.vice.com/en/article/akdww4/the-death-of-a-racehorse

After another positive, Bob Baffert case will test racing's commitment to drug reform, https://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/horses/horse-racing/2020/10/23/another-positive-bob-baffert-horse-kentucky-oaks/3741772001/

MLB DEBT TOTALS $8.3 BILLION AS MANFRED MULLS OPTIONS FOR NEXT SEASON, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/baseball/2020/mlb-debt-2020-manfred-1234615474/

What's next for Dodgers, Justin Turner after COVID debacle?, https://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/mlb/whatimhearing/2020/10/28/whats-next-dodgers-justin-turner-after-covid-debacle/6053018002/

MLB hammers Justin Turner in statement, but it deserves blame for this debacle, too, https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/mlb-hammers-justin-turner-in-statement-but-it-deserves-blame-for-this-debacle-too/1xgq248x4zvkf123b4we5531ut

NU found nonconference opponent to replace Wisconsin, but Big Ten denied request to play, https://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/football/report-nebraska-has-a-line-on-a-potential-fcs-opponent-for-saturday-

Fantasy Sports Law Update: IRS Weighs in on Legality, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0d0426f3-0729-4b3d-8577-1c623b8844b2

Fantasy Sports Is Not a Game of Skill, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/fantasy-sports-is-not-a-game-of-skill-50364/

Bishops Support Bills to Protect Title IX Sports Programs for Women, Girls, https://thetablet.org/bishops-support-bills-to-protect-title-ix-sports-programs-for-women-girls/

Charter Adds Pay TV, Broadband Subs, Expects Sports Rebates, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/charter-adds-pay-tv-broadband-subs-expects-sports-rebate

American tennis player given 4-year ban for positive test, https://www.ctpost.com/sports/article/American-tennis-player-given-4-year-ban-for-15685759.php

Swiss court poised to rule on Valcke and Al-Khelaifi cases, http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2020/10/29/swiss-court-poised-rule-valcke-al-khelaifi-cases/

Adidas Sued by 'Inner Game' Author for Alleged Trademark Use, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/ip-law/adidas-sued-by-inner-game-author-over-alleged-trademark-use

Theater News for the Week of October 30th

By Bennett Liebman

Eight Small New York Theaters Sue Cuomo Over Pandemic Restrictions, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/theater/small-theaters-lawsuit-pandemic-restrictions.html

NYC Theaters Sue de Blasio, Cuomo Over COVID Closures, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/nyc-theaters-sue-de-blasio-cuomo-over-covid-closures-71988/

Democratic congressional candidate Amanda Stuck focuses on Broadway career of Mike Gallagher's wife, https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/10/28/amanda-stuck-focuses-broadway-career-mike-gallaghers-wife/3749536001/

Walt Disney World Layoffs Hit 720 Actors' Equity Members, https://deadline.com/2020/10/walt-disney-world-actors-equity-layoffs-1234604853/

Dear American Theatre: Don't Forget About Immigrant Artists, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/10/27/dear-american-theatre-dont-forget-about-immigrant-artists/

To Be or Not to Be: Theatres Brace for Another Season of Uncertainty, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/10/26/to-be-or-not-to-be-theatres-brace-for-another-season-of-uncertainty/

Westchester Broadway Theatre permanently shuttered due to pandemic, https://www.radio.com/wcbs880/news/local/westchester-broadway-theatre-permanently-closes-due-to-covid

Westchester Broadway Theatre won't reopen, a victim of COVID shutdown, https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/greenburgh/2020/10/26/westchester-broadway-theatre-closes-after-46-years-covid-victim/6034192002/?fbclid=IwAR06o9l3vgsT2lyHrCTmIeBbGHk236v6dA1WaOURLRcWMBm2uOi2EydKeN8

City partners with local theatres to launch Off Broadway in the Boros: Pop-ups, https://www.amny.com/news/off-broadway-in-the-boros-popups-launch/

Sen. Chuck Schumer continues the push for Save Our Stages, https://broadwaynews.com/2020/10/23/sen-chuck-schumer-continues-the-push-for-save-our-stages/

Broadway Casting & Live Event Exec Resigns For Failure To Meet "High Standards", https://deadline.com/2020/10/bruston-manuel-rws-entertainment-binder-casting-resignation-broadway-casting-exec-resigns-abruptly-i-have-not-lived-up-to-the-high-standards-the-team-expects-and-deserve-1234604301/

Walt Disney World Layoffs Hit 720 Actors' Equity Members, https://deadline.com/2020/10/walt-disney-world-actors-equity-layoffs-1234604853/

Yes, We Liked the Berkshires Shows. Here's $2 Million, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/theater/berkshire-barrington-theater-gross-gift.html

Bay Area live theater industry sees bleak future: 'No one has a plan', https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Bay-Area-live-theater-industry-sees-bleak-future-15677160.php

The coronavirus keeps most London theaters dark, while performers stock grocery shelves, https://www.washingtonpost.com/road-to-recovery/2020/10/30/covid-london-theater/?arc404=true

About October 2020

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in October 2020. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2020 is the previous archive.

November 2020 is the next archive.

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