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January 2021 Archives

January 3, 2021

Sports Law News

By Bennett Liebman

The Sports Feats That Defied Covid, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-sports-feats-that-defied-covid-2020-11609126753?mod=e2tws

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bring Football and Fans Back to Raymond James Stadium Safely, https://frontofficesports.com/tampa-bay-buccaneers-adventhealth/

Former AG Loretta Lynch Joins NFL Probe of Escalating Fight Among Washington Football Team Owners, https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-ag-loretta-lynch-joins-nfl-probe-of-escalating-fight-amont-washington-football-team-owners-11608664109?mod=e2tws

MLS informs players' union that it will invoke force majeure clause in CBA - source, https://www.espn.com/soccer/major-league-soccer/story/4275493/mls-informs-players-union-that-it-will-invoke-force-majeure-clause-to-terminate-cba-source

WFT partners allege financial malfeasance; Daniel Snyder calls that 'scandalous', https://theathletic.com/2290235/2020/12/29/wft-partners-allege-financial-malfeasance-daniel-snyder-calls-that-scandalous/

Why Dwayne Haskins Agent Tweeted About Ending Their Relationship, http://sportsagentblog.com/2020/12/31/why-dwayne-haskins-agent-tweeted-about-ending-their-relationship/

Google, Microsoft and Facebook among Major League Cricket in the United States investors, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102483/major-league-cricket-investors-released

Italian swimmers test positive for COVID-19 following national championships, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102478/italian-swimming-covid-19

MOREY TAMPERING FINE FOR AUTOMATED TWEET FINDS NO SYMPATHY IN NBA RULES, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/daryl-morey-james-harden-1234619205/

TOP TEN SPORTS LAW CONTROVERSIES OF 2020 SET TO SHAPE INDUSTRY'S FUTURE, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2020/sports-law-1234618901/

Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Signed Into Law, https://www.paulickreport.com/news/the-biz/horseracing-integrity-and-safety-act-signed-into-law/

Key sports law cases and developments of 2020 - North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2020-key-sports-law-cases-and-developments-north-america

EU General Court delivers ruling on the application of EU competition law to sports authorization rules and upholds the role of the Court of
Arbitration for Sport, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/eu-general-court-delivers-ruling-on-the-47216/

A State Skirmish Over N.C.A.A. Amateurism Rules Has Quickly Become a National Battle, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/28/sports/ncaa-amateurism-rules.html

Which bill to compensate college athletes will win out, and which one should?, https://theathletic.com/2287100/2020/12/28/ncaa-congress-name-image-likeness-bill/

Jeff Brandes again wagers on legalized sports betting, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/391139-jeff-brandes-files-bill-to-legalize-sports-betting

Spartan Accommodations: Winning Football Masks San Jose State Troubles, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2020/san-jose-state-sjsu-football-doj-1234619245/

Theater News for the Week

By Bennett Liebman

In Memoriam: A Look at the Theatre Artists We Lost in 2020, https://www.playbill.com/article/in-memoriam-a-look-at-the-theatre-artists-we-lost-in-2020

Theater Died in 2020. Its Rebirth Will be Suitably Dramatic, https://www.thedailybeast.com/theater-died-in-2020-its-rebirth-will-be-suitably-dramatic

Mental Wellness in Chicago, https://news.wttw.com/2020/12/28/boosting-mental-wellness-chicago-theater-community?fbclid=IwAR3YJzDm3VGRgfbV6vMEegCjVop81-uJrYwRpQSKGcLcTa5a6Yq2i7uPvmo

Broadway 2021: What Will It Look Like When New York Turns Lights On, https://deadline.com/2020/12/broadway-2021-coronavirus-shutdown-reopening-plans-1234660092/

Cuomo's New Buffalo Pilot Plan Is a Go, Could Be Gateway to Reopening Broadway, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/cuomos-new-pilot-plan-is-a-go-could-be-gateway-to-reopening-broadway-more/2805539/

Fans at Bills game could be first step for reopening Broadway, concerts, other venues, https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/12/fans-at-bills-game-could-be-first-step-for-reopening-broadway-concerts-other-venues.html

Broadway 2021: What To Expect When New York Turns The Lights Back On, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/broadway-2021-expect-york-turns-153034724.html

Dr. Fauci Has Hope That Theaters and Sporting Events Could Resume Sooner Than Planned, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Dr-Fauci-Has-Hope-That-Theaters-and-Sporting-Events-Could-Resume-Sooner-Than-Planned-20201228

When and How Will Broadway Re-Open? Industry Leaders Look Ahead, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/When-and-How-Will-Broadway-Re-Open-Industry-Leaders-Look-Ahead-20201230

How 'Ratatouille' the TikTok Musical Became 'Ratatouille' the Broadway Musical, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/ratatouille-tiktok-musical-broadway-the-actors-fund-72365/

A Theatre of Circumstance, or, From Stuck to Strength, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/12/28/a-theatre-of-circumstance-or-from-stuck-to-strength/

Top Posts of 2020: Hamilton on Stage, On Screen and in Japanese, https://newyorktheater.me/2020/12/27/top-posts-of-2020-hamilton-on-stage-on-screen-and-in-japanese-broadway-from-a-to-z-11-interviews-on-what-weve-lived-through/

Chicago theaters, music stages welcome 'crucial' funding in COVID-19 bill Chicago theaters, https://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment-and-culture/2020/12/28/22197499/covid-rescue-bill-save-our-stages-lifeline-for-chicago-music-venues-theaters-museums

A COVID-19 vaccine is here, but theaters seek New Deal, https://theundefeated.com/features/a-covid-19-vaccine-is-here-but-theaters-seek-a-new-deal/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Theatre in 2020: a recap, https://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2020/12/30/theatre-in-2020-a-recap-and-an-outlook-for-2021/

How Jewish theater adapted to the pandemic era, https://forward.com/culture/461199/zoom-readings-and-recipe-boxes-how-jewish-theater-went-online-during-the/

Dewey decibels: High school to build Broadway-caliber theater, https://brooklynreporter.com/2020/12/dewey-decibels-high-school-to-build-broadway-caliber-theater/

Like Restaurants, New York Theater Is Going Al Fresco This Spring, https://www.barrons.com/articles/like-restaurants-new-york-theater-is-going-al-fresco-this-spring-01609271284

Rear-view mirror | About Last Night, https://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/2020/12/rear-view-mirror.html

January 10, 2021

Sports Law News for the Week of January 8th

By Bennett Liebman

Sports Law In 2021 - Key Issues To Watch In North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2021-key-issues-to-watch-in-north-america-2

Sports Law In 2021 - Key Issues To Watch In Europe, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2021-key-issues-to-watch-in-europe

New York Yankees: Is the Yankee's clean appearance policy legal?, https://empiresportsmedia.com/new-york-yankees/new-york-yankees-is-the-yankees-clean-appearance-policy-legal/

GOVERNOR CUOMO TO PUSH MOBILE NY SPORTS BETTING VIA STATE LOTTERY, https://www.legalsportsreport.com/46989/cuomo-mobile-ny-sports-betting-proposal/

State of Emergency Officially Declared in Tokyo, http://aroundtherings.com/site/A__102095/Title__State-of-Emergency-Officially-Declared-in-Tokyo/292/Articles

Maryland's Path To Legalized Sports And Event Wagering In 2021, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/maryland-s-path-to-legalized-sports-and-9006594/

'Like nothing we have ever seen': 2021 predictions from sports business figure, https://theathletic.com/2297120/2021/01/07/2021-sports-business-predictions/

NFL likely to issue fines over secrecy breaches in heated WFT litigation, https://theathletic.com/2306763/2021/01/06/nfl-wft-fines-secrecy-breaches-heated-litigation/

Opinion | The future of sports is embracing digitization, https://www.sportspromedia.com/opinion/sports-blockchain-tokens-digital-collectibles-tech?utm_content=150953761&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan announces shock departure, https://www.sportspromedia.com/movers-and-shakers/lpga-commissioner-mike-whan-resign-2021?utm_content=150949340&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

Trek used bogus safety claims to market pricey bike helmets, lawsuit says, Thttps://www.reuters.com/article/products-trek/trek-used-bogus-safety-claims-to-market-pricey-bike-helmets-lawsuit-says-idUSL1N2JI3EJ

IOC stress need for vulnerable priority but hopeful of pre-Tokyo 2020 vaccinations, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102744/ioc-coronavirus-vaccines-tokyo-2020

US Soccer "looking into" Morgan's positive COVID-19 case, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102737/us-soccer-looking-into-morgan-case

Querrey defends decision to flee Russia after contracting COVID-19, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1102726/querrey-defends-fleeing-russia-covid-19

SECTION 230 OVERHAUL LOOMS OVER SPORTS INDUSTRY AFTER GEORGIA ELECTION, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/section-230-sports-repeal-1234619694/

ETHAN ELALOUF decision Florida appellate decision on student-athlete release for negligence, https://www.4dca.org/content/download/699244/opinion/193272_DC05_01062021_100719_i.pdf

Key Sports Law Cases And Developments Of 2020 - North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2020-key-sports-law-cases-and-developments-north-america?utm_content=150644136&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-145208608

TOP SPORTS LAW TRENDS TO FOLLOW IN 2021, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/2021-sports-law-trends-1234619431/

UPDATE: Michigan Joins Growing Number Of States Granting Name, Image, Likeness Rights To Collegiate Student-Athletes, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/update-michigan-joins-growing-number-of-3939360/

Congress Should Pass A Bill Granting College Athletes The Right To Unionize, https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2021/01/03/why-congress-should-pass-a-bill-granting-college-athletes-the-right-to-unionize/?sh=77d6370f6246

Theater News for the Week of January 8th

By Bennett Liebman

'Mean Girls' Won't Return to Broadway, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/theater/mean-girls-closing.html

'Mean Girls' Broadway Musical Announces Permanent Closure Due To Covid Shutdown, https://deadline.com/2021/01/mean-girls-broadway-tina-fey-closing-musical-covid19-shutdown-1234666902/

York Theatre Flooded After Water Main Break, https://www.theatermania.com/off-broadway/news/york-theatre-flooded-after-water-main-break-at-sai_91792.html

'Spamalot' Movie: Paramount Acquires Musical, https://deadline.com/2021/01/spamalot-paramount-pictures-movie-musical-eric-idle-casey-nicholaw-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-1234665944/

When Will We Be Back in 2021, 2021 in the arts: Will we be back to live shows by, say, October? https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-arts-entertainment-2021-year-ahead-slow-recovery-0110-20210107-d35hp3tl3bbdnhpd7zkcan45se-story.html

Arts workers are building a labor movement to save a creative economy in peril, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/arts-advocacy-pandemic-relief/2021/01/07/97a36c8c-4edb-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

A Biden Cabinet Secretary For Arts? Advocates Are Hopeful, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/07/953937793/a-biden-cabinet-secretary-for-arts-advocates-are-hopeful

Danny Burstein on the Devastating Loss of His Wife, Fellow Broadway Star Rebecca Luker (Guest Column), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/danny-burstein-on-the-devastating-loss-of-his-wife-fellow-broadway-star-rebecca-luker-guest-column

Can We Bring Back Broadway?, https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/in-focus/2021/01/03/can-we-ever-bring-back-broadway-

UK Theatre Power List, Lloyd Webber and Waller-Bridge on theatre power list for coronavirus effort, https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55571470

Shea's in Buffalo, Shea's role in community much larger than just theater, https://www.wgrz.com/article/money/business/sheas-role-in-community-much-larger-than-just-theater/71-b1ed36c4-d3ae-4cf7-8c70-124ee85d7b6a

Fixing Broken Boards, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/05/boards-are-broken-so-lets-break-and-remake-them/

Digital Performances are Landing with Audiences, https://www.americantheatre.org/2020/11/11/new-study-digital-performances-are-landing-with-loyal-audiences/?utm_content=148456201&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-2968990931

Crowdsourced 'Ratatouille' TikTok Musical Sells $1 Million In Tickets, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericfuller/2021/01/04/ratatouille-crowd-sources-theater/?sh=192f49071eff

Congress Approves $15 Billion In Grants To Shuttered Live Venues, https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2021/01/07/congress-approves-15-billion-in-grants-to-shuttered-live-venues-a-closer-look/?sh=7b579a6144f7

Brooklyn venues see ray of hope with passage of 'Save Our Stages Act, https://www.brooklynpaper.com/brooklyn-venues-find-ray-of-hope-with-passage-of-save-our-stages-act/

State Theatre in Ithaca Raises Funds, https://ithacavoice.com/2021/01/state-theatre-reaches-160k-goal-of-save-your-seat-campaign/

Saving New York Theater: A Political Status Report, https://newyorktheater.me/2021/01/05/saving-new-york-theater-a-status-report/

Shakespeare in a pandemic, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/05/shakespeare-in-a-pandemic-you-cant-have-romeo-and-juliet-without-touching

UK performers raise alarm as Brexit deal threatens EU touring, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/dec/29/uk-performers-raise-alarm-as-brexit-deal-threatens-eu-touring

January 11, 2021

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:


IRS Says Prince's Estate Worth Twice What Administrators Reported

The IRS, in filings with the U.S. Tax Court, has made clear that it disagrees with the value of Prince's estate: the IRS is now "seeking nearly $39 million in taxes and fees based on a valuation of Prince's assets." Although the estate's administrator valued the estate at $82.3 million, the IRS has valued the estate at $163.2 million.


Blizzard Sued for 'Wiretapping' World of Warcraft Website Visitors

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. is now being sued for its use of a "mouse-tracking software called Mouseflow to record visitors' sessions" on its World of Warcraft website. One plaintiff, a California resident has "filed a putative class action complaint" alleging that the use of the software constitutes "intentional wiretapping under the California Invasion of Privacy Act."


Bobby Shmurda Eligible for Release From Prison in February

Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda, "who was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and weapons possession, will be eligible for release next month." His "viral ascent was cut short" when he faced "gang conspiracy charges," but because of "good behavior" while in prison, he is being permitted to serve the "remainder of his seven-year sentence on parole."



Great Gatsby's Copyright Expires

On January 1, 2021, the copyright on "The Great Gatsby" expired, and it is "like a literary version of Pfizer losing its patent to Lipitor: Generic versions will flood the market." Industry analysts expect that there will now be on the market "illustrated editions, scholarly editions, cheap knockoff editions (beware), and editions with introductions by John Grisham and others."


San Francisco's Top Art School Says Future Hinges on a Diego Rivera Mural

The University of California "is aiding the San Francisco Art Institute [SFAI], but SFAI officials say selling a $50 million Rivera could save the school" even though the move is outraging former students. The potential sale of the Rivera work comes months after the SFAI was close to losing its campus and art collection except for when the California Board of Regents "stepped in to buy its $19.7 million of debt from a private bank, in an attempt to save the 150-year-old institution from collapse."


Congress Poised to Apply Banking Regulations to Antiquities Market

Congress passed legislation that gave it "greater oversight" over the antiquities trade, "which regulators have long feared provided fertile ground for money laundering and other illicit activities." The legislation "empowers federal regulators to design measures that would remove secrecy from transactions" which have "long worried" regulators of the antiquities trade given their opaque nature.


Art World Sets Plans for 2021 Fairs (in Pencil)

With 2020 being a wash for art fairs and exhibitions, organizers and collectors "are looking cautiously forward in the coming year, knowing that their schedules will be at the mercy of the coronavirus." In 2019, "sales from the world's art fairs reached an estimated $16.6 billion, with dealers relying on fairs to generate more than 40 percent of that year's revenue, according to last year's Art Basel & UBS Art Market Report."


Richard Liebowitz Suspended in the Southern District of New York

Richard Liebowitz, an attorney known for representing photographers in protecting their work, has been suspended from practicing law in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), "pending the final adjudication of the charges against him and until Liebowitz has the opportunity to present his defense at an evidentiary hearing." The order was issued by the Committee on Grievances for the SDNY.



NCAA President Seeks Delay on Vote to Let Students Profit From Fame

NCAA president Mark Emmert has stated that he "strongly recommended" that the NCAA wait to vote on whether students may profit from their fame. The move is "effectively stepping back from pledges to lawmakers and others that college sports leaders would act this winter on the issue known as name, image, and likeness," but the move also comes as the NCAA begins to face additional scrutiny from the Department of Justice.


Horse Trainer Barred in New York and Other States for Giving Horse a Racist Name

After a horse trainer gave a horse a racist name, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) barred that trainer from its circuit competitions. The trainer is not permitted to "enter horses or have stalls on the nation's premier circuit," and the NYRA president and chief executive released a statement: "Racism is completely unacceptable in all forms. NYRA rejects Eric Guillot's toxic words and divisive behavior in the strongest terms."


Steve Cohen's Past Re-emerges to Cast Doubt on His Updated Image

Steve Cohen, the Mets' new owner, "has portrayed himself as affable and accessible," but a "gender discrimination complaints filed by a former employee paints a far different picture." While he has appeared in recent media appearances and on Twitter as being friendly and joyful, others who worked with him at his hedge funds have known him to have a "mercurial nature that has prompted him to lash out at traders he believes are not making him enough money."


Kelly Loeffler Is Done in the Senate. But What About in the Women's National Basketball Association?

With Senator Kelly Loeffler's days in the Senate coming to an end, there remain questions about her co-ownership of the Atlanta Dream. Those questions are even more pronounced as "many players want her gone" from the league altogether, and there has been talk that LeBron James may make a move to acquire an ownership interest in the team.


A Push for Cyclists' Safety After 5 Die Near Las Vegas

With the Las Vegas metropolitan area growing, cars and construction leave cyclists in a precarious position. With five cyclists dying last month, there have been increased calls for better regulation and more protection for cyclists, and activists are attempting to not only implement more protections but to "toughen penalties for motorists who injure or kill bicyclists, making such offenses a felony with required jail time of up to one year."



Hundreds of Google Employees Unionize, Culminating Years of Activism

After years of "increasing outspokenness by Google workers," hundreds of Google employees have unionized, and executives "have struggled to handle the change." Over "400 Google engineers and other workers have formed a union," and the formation of the union "is highly unusual for the tech industry, which has long resisted efforts to organize its largely white-collar work force."


U.K. Judge Blocks Assange's Extradition to U.S., Citing Mental Health

Although U.S. officials have sought for the U.K. to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to "face charges of violating the Espionage Act," a judge in the U.K. has ruled that Assange "was at extreme risk of suicide" and therefore blocked the extradition to the U.S. The decision is "a major victory against the US authorities who charged him over his role in obtaining and publishing secret military and diplomatic documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."


General News

Congress Certifies Election Result After Insurrection, Leading to Calls for Trump's Resignation and Impeachment

In the history of American transfers of power, this was a week that most Americans would have found impossible to occur. It began with the release of a phone call of a sitting President asking a Georgia state official to "find" votes that would swing the state of Georgia to his column and that state official declining to entertain the request. The President's efforts culminated in he and his surrogates rallying supporters outside the White House to march to the Capitol and engage in "trial by combat" and to refuse to "concede" the election result by disrupting Congress' certification of the Electoral College's vote--the last procedural step in confirming Joe Biden as the President-elect and setting up his inauguration for January 20th. The President's supporters complied: they marched to the Capitol, and in extraordinary scenes for what many have called the "temple of democracy", those supporters overwhelmed police, broke through barricades and windows and doors, and invaded the halls, offices, and chambers of the Capitol, forcing members of the House of Representatives and Senate to take cover and flee for their lives. Federal law enforcement eventually took back control of the building, arresting some of the rioters--who left a trail of destruction throughout the building--and the law enforcement response since has been swift: those rioters who had committed some of the most pronounced degradations of the building and its traditions have been arrested throughout the country. Regardless of the destruction, Congress reconvened the night of the turmoil and certified that Biden will become President on January 20th. The response in Washington and around the country has left the remaining 10 days of the Trump administration up in the air: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have blocked President Trump's accounts, there have been talks of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump (which Vice President Pence has apparently rejected as a viable option), there have been talks of President Trump's resignation (which reports have characterized as an option that President Trump simply will not entertain), and there have been plans put in place for Democrats in the House of Representatives to proceed with one article of impeachment--incitement of insurrection. Nonetheless, the longer term consequences of the week's events remain to be seen.











































Covid-19 Continues Its Global Rampage

With vaccinating underway at a pace that many have found to be stunningly slow--and wasteful, given that some vaccines are being discarded as there are insufficient numbers of people in the categories being permitted to receive the vaccines--the numbers in the United States and around the world continue to break records. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to accelerate the rate of vaccination in the country upon taking office on January 20th. There remain significant concerns: some industries, such as television and movie production, are struggling to continue at their current rate given the concern of spreading the virus. Meanwhile, there remain concerns about mutations of the virus: one mutation that was found in the United Kingdom is known to be more easily spread, but likely to be equally deadly. A stimulus package is looking likely under the Biden administration and the newly-Democrat-controlled Congress, but the precise contours of that package remain unclear a week and a half before Biden is set to be sworn in.











Justice Department Seeks to Pare Back Civil Rights Protections for Minorities

The Department of Justice "has submitted for White House approval a change to how it enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating based on race, color, or national origin" and "covers housing programs, employers, schools, hospitals, and other organizations and programs." The move is the latest by the Trump administration "to undo some civil rights protections for minority groups."


As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm

American officials in the intelligence community have named Russia as the "likely" source for the "broad hacking of the United States government and private companies", which is a "clear rebuke of President Trump's efforts, in posts on Twitter, to suggest that China was behind the hacking." The statement released by 4 government agencies "is as definitive a blaming of Russia as the United States has yet made, and echoed the early statements in 2016 about the Kremlin's interference in that year's election."




Trump Administration, in Parting Gift to Industry, Reverses Bird Protections

The Trump administration has created a rule change that "means companies will not be punished for killing migratory birds", which analysts see as a "parting gift" to the oil and gas industries that have "long sought to be shielded from liability for killing birds unintentionally in oil spills, toxic waste ponds, and other environmental disasters." In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a regulation that "effectively bars some scientific studies from consideration when the agency is drafting public health rules."



U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change

In 2020, disasters across the U.S. "caused $95 billion in damage", which is "almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010." The figures "are the latest signal of the growing cost of climate change" and can be attributed to disasters, including the record number of storms in the Atlantic Ocean last year and the largest wildfires in California ever recorded.


Sale of Drilling Leases in Arctic Refuge Fails to Yield a Windfall

The Trump administration has sought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge "to fossil fuel development," but after opening up the refuge to bids, "only half of the oil and gas leases offered for sale Wednesday received bids, and all but two of those came from the state of Alaska itself." Although the move to sell oil and gas leases was expected to "bring in close to a billion dollars for the federal Treasury, in all the sale netted less than $15 million, with half of that going to the state."


Jacob Blake Shooting: No Charges Against Officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, the top prosecutor has "declined to bring charges against the police officer who shot and gravely wounded Jacob Blake outside an apartment building in August, an episode that sparked protests and rioting and made the city an instant flash point in a summer of unrest that began with the killing of George Floyd." The announcement came after investigators "reviewed 40 hours of video and hundreds of pages of police reports."


Deutsche Bank Will Pay $125 Million Over Bribery Violations

Deutsche Bank "will enter a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges stemming from its attempts to win business in several countries." Authorities in the U.S. said payments issued to consultants in places like "Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and China" were not the "referral fees" the bank said, but "were actually bribes to politically connected fixers that gave the scandal-marred German bank access to foreign officials."


China Moves to Punish Lawyers Hired to Help Hong Kong Activists

Two lawyers, Lu Siwei and Ren Quanniu, "were barred from aiding a group of pro-democracy protesters who were arrested at sea, but could still lose their licenses." The move by Chinese legal authorities is the latest in suppressing Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition, and the "case has highlighted fears of the Communist Party-controlled legal system on the mainland and the risks it poses to the city's tradition of an independent judiciary."


China's New Rules Could Hit U.S. Firms and Send a Message to Biden

China's Ministry of Commerce has issued an order empowering "Beijing to tell companies to ignore US restrictions and allows them to sue other businesses if they comply." The move is retribution for the Trump administration's "new rules that would punish global companies for complying with Washington's tightening restrictions on doing business with Chinese companies."


January 15, 2021

Theater News for the Week of January 15th

By Bennett Liebman

Cuomo Transcript on State of the State Arts, Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Outlines 2021 Agenda, https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-outlines-2021-agenda-reimagine-rebuild-rene-0

Schenectady Theater CEO on State of Performing Arts, https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/ny-state-of-politics/2021/01/13/-they-have-nothing---proctor-s-theater-ceo-on-state-of-the-performing-arts-industry

Musicians groups pan Cuomo's arts program, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/new-york-elections-government/ny-cuomo-state-of-the-state-artists-freelancers-20210113-yzdejn2bajao7ppwvr7s5qpfdy-story.html

New York to launch 'arts revival' performances, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/cuomo-new-york-arts-revival/2021/01/12/1ede803a-550b-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html

The show will go on,' Cuomo says, https://www.lohud.com/story/news/2021/01/12/cuomo-ny-post-covid-arts-renewal/6639375002/

Dr. Fauci says live shows will be back, https://nypost.com/2021/01/12/dr-fauci-says-live-shows-will-be-back-fall-if-vaccine-works/

Theaters Could Reopen in the Fall, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/theaters-fall-2021-opening-vaccinations-fauci-72431/

York Theatre Company Dealt Another Blow, https://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/5196622-york-theatre-company-dealt-another-blow-after-water-main-break-floods-stage/

The State of Broadway: January 2021, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/The-State-of-Broadway-January-2021-20210113

Broadway Actors are Finding Solace in Television Gigs, https://observer.com/2021/01/broadway-stars-finding-work-tv-svu/

Risk Of Aerosol Transmission In Concert Hall Can Almost Be Excluded, German Study Finds, https://www.pollstar.com/article/risk-of-aerosol-transmission-in-concert-hall-can-almost-be-excluded-german-study-finds-147138

UK report reveals 'disgraceful' gender inequality in the arts, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/13/uk-report-reveals-disgraceful-gender-inequality-in-the-arts

Arts in Crisis, The Arts Are in Crisis. Here's How Biden Can Help., https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/arts/design/arts-stimulus-biden.html?referringSource=articleShare

A Playwright's New Subject: Her Husband, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/14/theater/lauren-gunderson-the-catastrophist-nathan-wolfe.html

What Canadian theatre companies need to survive, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/theatre-and-performance/article-as-canadian-theatre-companies-prepare-to-reopen-in-2021-industry/?utm_medium=Referrer:+Social+Network+/+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

Mobile Ticketing, https://blog.ticketmaster.com/mobile-ticketing-an-essential-for-safe-entry/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mobile-ticketing-an-essential-for-safe-entry

Broadway industry members await guidelines, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/13/broadway-industry-members-await-guidelines-on-save-our-stages-legislation/

How 8 Countries Have Tried to Keep Artists Afloat, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/arts/coronavirus-pandemic-arts-support.html

Modest Beginnings, Towering Legacy: The Negro Ensemble Company, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/13/modest-beginnings-towering-legacy-the-negro-ensemble-company/

Ben Brantley: A Critic Is a Mirror, Not a Shaper, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/11/ben-brantley-a-critic-is-a-mirror-not-a-shaper/

Hundreds Of Playwrights And Composers Urge Biden Administration To Prioritize Arts Support, https://deadline.com/2021/01/arts-funding-letter-campaign-playwrights-composers-biden-administration-covid-19-1234673721/

January 17, 2021

Sports News for the Week of January 15th

By Bennett Liebman

Two Democrat Senators Spar With NCAA Over NIL, College Athletes' Rights, https://www.si.com/college/2021/01/14/ncaa-athlete-rights-compensation-congress-nil

The NCAA Can't Make Up Its Mind On Athlete NIL Rights; Here's Some Help, https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewzimbalist/2021/01/16/the-ncaa-cant-make-up-its-mind-heres-some-help/?sh=5814827bb4eb

Mark Emmert opposes idea to separate FBS football from NCAA: 'Couldn't disagree more', https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/30699394/mark-emmert-opposes-idea-separate-fbs-football-ncaa-disagree-more

Dwayne Haskins Early Career and Release, https://blog.sportslaw.org/posts/dwayne-haskins-early-career-and-release/

JAMES HARDEN DEALT TO NETS IN BLOCKBUSTER--AND TAXING--TRADE, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/james-harden-dealt-to-nets-in-blockbuster-and-taxing-trade-1234620295/

PATRIOTS DOCS IN BIELEMA SUIT SUPPORT FRAUD ARGUMENT, RAZORBACK FOUNDATION SAYS, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/james-harden-dealt-to-nets-in-blockbuster-and-taxing-trade-1234620295/

Predatory Practices t NJ Sportsbooks, https://www.legalsportsreport.com/47170/nj-sportsbooks-caught-canceling-withdrawals/

Sportradar granted £215k legal costs in on-going battle with Football Dataco and Betgenius, http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2021/01/15/sportradar-granted-215k-legal-costs-going-battle-football-dataco-betgenius/

Ten Influencers 2021: Why these figures will define the sports industry year ahead, https://www.sportspromedia.com/from-the-magazine/ten-influencers-2021-sports-naomi-osaka-domenicali-f1-amazon-suga-nfl-cvc

Adrian Peterson ordered to pay $8.3 million over loan default, https://theathletic.com/2321885/2021/01/14/adrian-peterson-ordered-to-pay-8-3-million-over-loan-default/?source=emp_shared_article

CAS publishes the Arbitral Award in the arbitration WADA v. RUSADA, https://www.tas-cas.org/en/general-information/news-detail/article/cas-publishes-the-arbitral-award-in-the-arbitration-wada-v-rusada-le-tribunal-arbitral-du-sport.html

The Court of Arbitration for sport reduces Russia's doping ban to two years, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=cfd30e71-bca7-48df-b300-c23234414d49

Harrison fined by ATP after refusing on-court interview over mask wearing, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1103040/harrison-fined-mask-wearing-interview

Doctor Schmidt faces potential prison sentence with verdict due in doping trial, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1103010/schmidt-verdict-due-in-german-court

NIL RULES COULD COMPEL FUTURE COLLEGE FOOTBALL STARS TO COMPETE IN BOWL GAMES, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2021/nil-rules-bowl-game-1234619895/

Gov. Cuomo's Plan for Mobile Sports Betting in New York Faces Questions, https://www.wsj.com/articles/gov-cuomos-plan-for-mobile-sports-betting-in-new-york-faces-questions-11610628849

New York Ready to Embrace Mobile Sports Betting, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/new-york-ready-to-embrace-mobile-sports-6592854/

NCAA Concussion Win in First Trial Verdict Will Stand, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/product-liability-and-toxics-law/ncaa-concussion-win-in-first-trial-verdict-will-stand

Colleges Paying Top Dollar for Coaches Will Pay Extra to IRS, https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/colleges-paying-top-dollar-for-coaches-will-pay-extra-to-irs/ar-BB1cFdHV

January 18, 2021

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, General News, and COVID:


Moodsters v. Disney

The Supreme Court has refused to revive a copyright case filed against Walt Disney over Pixar's animated hit "Inside Out", denying a petition that urged the justices to weigh in on how fictional characters are protected. The Court denied certiorari to Denise Daniels, a child development specialist who sued Disney and Pixar, on accusations that the movie stole its central characters from her "Moodsters", a series of anthropomorphized emotions.


Minaj Pays Chapman in Suit

Avoiding trial, rapper Nicki Minaj makes an offer for illicitly using "Baby Can I Hold You", by Tracey Chapman, who accepts. The cost of taking another songwriter's work without permission and illicitly leaking a remade version is $450,000, the amount Minaj will be paying to satisfy her copyright infringement claims over "Sorry", a derivative of Chapman's song. Chapman filed the case back in October 2018. As a result, the two will not proceed to a trial later this year.


Sony Music Entertainment v. Cox Communications

The Eastern District of Virginia upheld the jury's $1 billion damages award for copyright infringement. The jury had awarded over $99,000 for each of the 10,017 works allegedly infringed on Cox's network. In its suit, the plaintiffs alleged copyright infringement by the defendants' subscribers. The plaintiffs sued Cox for contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement, claiming that infringement occurred on peer-to-peer networks. The latest order considered the number of allegedly infringing works, upheld the jury's decision, and noted that Cox's post-trial brief relied on information not provided to the jury.


Dr. Fauci Envisions Open Theatres by This Fall

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., told performing arts professionals at a virtual conference last week that he believed that theatres and other venues could reopen "sometime in the fall of 2021," depending on the vaccination rollout, and suggested that audiences might still be required to wear masks for some time. Fauci sought to assure people in the industry that the end of their acute economic pain was in sight, while emphasizing that the timeline hinged on the country reaching an effective level of herd immunity, which he defined as vaccinating from 70% to 85% of the population.


L.G.B.T.Q. Representation on TV Falls for First Time in 5 Years, GLAAD Finds

An annual report found that 9.1% of characters scheduled to appear on prime-time broadcast series identified as L.G.B.T.Q. in the 2020-21 season, down from 10.2%. The number of recurring L.G.B.T.Q. characters - people who make multiple appearances in a series but are not part of the main cast - is about the same as the previous season (31 this year, compared with 30 in the prior year).


Watch Your Lyrics or Be Prepared to Return to Jail

Recent court rulings require officers to keep watch over artists' rap lyrics, which prosecutors say celebrate gangstas and violent crimes. In 2018. British rapper Digga D was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiracy to commit violent disorder, after a court case in which music videos by the masked rapper were presented as evidence. In sentencing, the judge also issued an order banning him from releasing tracks that describe gang-related violence. He must notify the police within 24 hours of releasing new music, and provide them with the lyrics. If a court finds that his words incite violence, he can be sent back to prison; parole conditions also limit what he can say publicly about his past. Introduced in 2014 and known as criminal behavior orders, the measures give judges broad powers to regulate convicted criminals' lives, such as by banning them from certain neighborhoods or by preventing them from meeting former associates. Judges have also used the orders to control some musicians' lyrics, arguing that when rappers brag about attacks on rivals, it stokes street tensions. Some are saying that this genre of hip hop, drill rap, is being targeted like how punk was in the 1970s.



Unicolors v. H&M

The years-long legal battle between H&M and pattern-making company Unicolors might land before the Supreme Court. In a petition for a writ of certiorari, Southern California-based Unicolors has sought Supreme Court intervention in the copyright case that it filed against H&M with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California back in April 2016, in which it accused the Swedish fast fashion giant of infringing one of its geometric patterns - by way of a "remarkably similar" print - for two styles of garments, a jacket and a skirt. In a Deceember 2017 jury verdict, it was found that H&M had willfully infringed Unicolor's copyright-protected pattern and awarded it $846,720 in damages, attorney's fees, and costs. H&M appealed, arguing that Unicolors was without a valid copyright registration for the fabric pattern at the center of the case, because the copyright registration issued on February 14, 2011 for a collection of works was invalid. H&M argued that because false information was included in the application that was filed with the U.S. Copyright Office - namely, that the 31 different designs covered by the single-unit registration were first published at the same time. H&M then claimed that Unicolors actually sold some of the patterns separately to different customers, thus invalidating the company's registration and its infringement cause of action. The Ninth Circuit reversed the jury verdict.


Cuomo Outlines Plan to Revive the Arts

Declaring that New York urgently needs to revive its arts and entertainment industry if it is to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that the State would begin taking a series of interim steps to help to bring back some cultural events in the short term and put more unemployed artists back to work. The governor said that bringing back art and culture was crucial - not just to help artists, who have suffered some of the worst unemployment in the nation, but to keep New York City a vital, exciting center, where people will want to live and work.


Kennedy Honorees Announced

The annual Kennedy Center Honorees are choreographer and actress Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter and activist Joan Baez, country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks, violinist Midori, and actor Dick Van Dyke.


Landmark Status Could Protect Mural

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 to start the process to designate a beloved Diego Rivera mural as a landmark after the San Francisco Art Institute, which owns the $50 million painting, said that selling it would help pay off $19.7 million of debt. Designating the mural as a landmark would severely limit how the 150-year-old institution could leverage it, and public officials behind the measure say that selling it is likely to be off the table for now. Removing the mural with landmark status would require approval from the city's Historic Preservation Commission, which has broad authority.



Belichick Decides to Decline Accepting Nation's Highest Civilian Honor

President Trump had planned to give Bill Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but the coach cited the violence at the Capitol in a statement announcing that he would not receive it. Belichick said that he was flattered to be nominated for the award because of its past recipients, but he also said he has great reverence for "our nation's values," represents his family and the Patriots, and has worked with his players to combat social injustice. "Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country that I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award," he wrote.


Tide Fans Risk More Than a Celebratory Hangover

The University of Alabama football team won its 18th national championship beating Ohio State in a 52-24 rout and just as in previous championship seasons, thousands of fans took to the streets outside the collection of restaurants and bars in Tuscaloosa, Ala., known as the Strip. However, Tuscaloosa city officials wanted any celebrations to be muted this year. Coronavirus cases and deaths in the state have gone up, while the availability of hospital beds has gone sharply down. Alabama has had a 30% rise in the total number of virus cases this week compared with two weeks ago, and an average of 67 deaths per day. The next few weeks could tell what the consequences of that celebration might be.


Gold Medalist Identified in Capitol-Invading Mob

Klete Keller, a champion swimmer who won two Olympic gold medals as a relay teammate of Michael Phelps, was identified by former teammates and coaches as a member of the crowd that surged into the U.S. Capitol during violent protests Wednesday. No video has emerged of Keller participating in any violent acts in the Capitol, but his mere presence in the building, if confirmed by authorities, may have placed him in legal jeopardy. Numerous people who entered the building now face federal charges that include unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.


Kentucky's Players and Coach Took a Knee, and the State Didn't Like It

A decision by Kentucky's men's basketball players and their coach, John Calipari, to kneel during the national anthem before a game has set off a backlash in the conservative state. The Kentucky players said they discussed their decision to kneel with Calipari before the game. The gesture was inspired in part by the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. The players also said they had other issues in mind. It was the first time Kentucky players had knelt for the anthem this season. At previous games, the team was not on the court for the anthem. The incident has angered many in Kentucky, including fans expressing disagreement on social media, public figures, and at least one governmental body.


Appeals Panel Lets Russians Off the Hook for Doping Cover-Up

A Court of Arbitration for Sport panel substantiated much of the World Anti-Doping Agency's finding on Russia's doping cover-up, and then let the Russians off the hook. In page after page, the report amounts to one of the starkest denunciations yet of Russia's efforts to evade antidoping rules, without major penalties.



Citing Fears of Violence, YouTube Suspends Trump

YouTube said on Tuesday that it had suspended Trump's channel over concern about "ongoing potential for violence," the latest move by one of the largest technology companies to limit the president online. The Google-owned video site said it had suspended Trump's account after one of his recent videos violated its policy for inciting violence. That meant that Trump would not be able to upload new content on his channel, which had about 2.8 million subscribers, for at least 7 days. YouTube also said it was disabling all comments on his channel indefinitely.


A Web Haven for Trump Fans Faces the Void

Parler, a chosen app of Trump fans, became a test of free speech. The app has renewed a debate about who holds power over online speech after the tech giants yanked their support for it and left it fighting for survival. Parler went dark early on Monday. Users shared conspiracy theories that falsely said the election had been stolen from Trump and urged aggressive demonstrations when Congress met to certify the election of President-elect Biden. Those calls for violence came back to haunt Parler executives, when Apple and Google removed it from their app stores and Amazon said it would no longer host the site on its computing services, saying that it had not sufficiently policed posts that incited violence and crime.


Parler Sues, Claiming That Amazon Broke the Law

Parler has sued Amazon after the beleaguered conservative social media site was expelled, filing a complaint alleging that the internet giant removed it for political reasons - and in an antitrust conspiracy to benefit Twitter. However, its own allegations, including breach of contract, are belied by evidence Perler supplied alongside the suit, which was filed in the U.S. Western District Court.


After Bans, A Scramble to Link Arms

In the days since rioters stormed Capitol Hill, fringe groups like armed militias, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and far-right supporters of Trump have vowed to continue their fight in hundreds of conversations on a range of internet platforms. Some of the organizers have moved to encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal, which cannot be as easily monitored as social media platforms. After many groups were banned from mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the groups have been relegated to half a dozen apps and platforms to organize their next steps. Adding to the muddle, when Twitter and Facebook kicked Trump off their platforms last week, they made it harder for organizers to rally around a singular voice. The result is an unexpected side effect of the expulsions from mainstream social media platforms: Attempts at disruptions could be harder to predict and could stretch for days - and not just in Washington, D.C.


Twitter Sweeps for Accounts Tied to QAnon, Ousting 70,000

QAnon supporters were involved in the storming of the U.S. Congress building. Twitter has deleted accounts that "share harmful QAnon-associated content at scale." Twitter said in a blog post, "given the violent events in Washington, D.C., and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content." The accounts were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service. In 2019, the FBI issued a warning about "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists" and designated QAnon a potential domestic extremist threat.


Cumulus Prohibits Claims of Election Fraud

Cumulus Media, a talk radio company with a roster of popular right-wing personalities, including Dan Bongino, Mark Levin, and Ben Shapiro, has ordered its employees at 416 stations nationwide to steer clear of endorsing misinformation about election fraud or using language that promotes violent protests. Brian Philips, an executive vice president of Cumulus, issued the directive in a stern memo after a pro-Trump mob breached the halls of Congress.


New York Post Tells Staff to Shun Top News Outlets

As the Murdoch tabloid navigates a fraught political moment, high-level editors instructed reporters not to base articles on reporting by four news outlets that Trump has falsely labeled "fake news." CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times are among the news organizations that Trump has falsely labeled. It is common practice at The New York Post and its website, nypost.com, to publish articles based entirely on other news outlets' reporting, without independent confirmation by any of its own journalists. The newspaper is not alone in following this widespread practice, and many news sites have had success by repackaging material from other news organizations. The directive at the Murdoch tabloid was unusual, in that it deemed material from certain outlets off limits.


The Federal Trade Commission Reaches Settlement with App Developer

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with Flo Health Inc., the developer of a widely used period and fertility-tracking app, over allegations that it improperly shared personal data with Facebook and others, including whether users were ovulating. The FTC's vote on the proposed settlement was 5-0. The proposed settlement, if it becomes final following public comment, would require Flo Health to obtain an independent review of its privacy practices and get users' consent before sharing their health information. The company must also notify consumers of the FTC charges that it shared consumers' personal information without their consent.


Media Clampdown Stifles Data on Afghan War Deaths

The Ghani administration and the Taliban are fighting a public relations battle, with the government taking more drastic measures to control the flow of information. The war in Afghanistan has long been one of competing narratives. However, the government's responses to the October 22nd strike in Takhar Province signaled a shift in tactics by President Ashraf Ghani's administration: an overt declaration of its willingness to suppress and deny information on the deaths of innocent people. It also highlighted the changing political landscapes as peace negotiations continue in Qatar and the Taliban move to take advantage of the attention they are attracting on the world stage.


Uganda Blocks Facebook Two Days Before Election

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda blocked Facebook from operating in his country, just days after the social media company removed fake accounts linked to his government ahead of a hotly contested general election. Museveni accused Facebook of "arrogance" and said he had instructed his government to close the platform, along with other social media outlets, although Facebook was the only one he named. The ban on Facebook comes at the end of an election period that has been dogged by a crackdown on the political opposition, harassment of journalists, and nationwide protests that have led to at least 54 deaths and hundreds of arrests, according to officials. Museveni is running for a sixth term in office and facing 10 rivals.


Egypt Overturns Prison Terms in Case of TikTok 'Debauchery'

An Egyptian judge overturned an acquittal verdict of two young women who were jailed last year for posting "indecent" videos on the social media video app TikTok, ordering their pretrial detention for 15 days over fresh charges of "human trafficking," a judicial source said. A Cairo court has accused 20-year-old student Haneen Hossam and 22-year-old Mawada Eladhm of recruiting young women for "indecent jobs that violate the principles and values of the Egyptian society." Thursday's motion came just two days after an appeals court had acquitted the two women and ordered their release.


General News

Trump, After Inciting Rampage in Capitol is First President to Face Second Senate Trial

America will be in uncharted territory when the U.S. Senate meets for the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, a case against the outgoing president that one Democrat preparing for arguments called "shockingly evident". The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on charges of incitement one week after his supporters rampaged in the Capitol following a speech in which the President urged them to fight President-elect Biden's election victory. In a 232-197 vote, Trump became the first president to be impeached twice and will likely be the first to face an impeachment trial after leaving office. Ten Republicans joined the majority Democrats in supporting impeachment, while others argued that Trump's remarks were protected by the First Amendment. Senator Mitch McConnell has said that no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to be back in regular session on Tuesday.


Parties Debate How to Handle Trial in Senate

Senate leaders are working to agree on a dual track to try the departing president at the same time it considers the agenda of the incoming one, an exercise never tried before. Democrats, poised to take unified power in Washington for the first time in a decade, worked with Republican leaders to try to find a proposal to allow the Senate to split time between the impeachment trial of Trump and consideration of President-elect Biden's cabinet nominees and his $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan to address the coronavirus.


Biden Plan Calls for $1.9 Trillion to Buoy Economy

President-elect Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to combat the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, outlining the type of sweeping aid that Democrats have demanded for months and signaling the shift in the federal government's pandemic response as Biden prepares to take office. The package includes more than $400 billion to combat the pandemic directly. Another $350 billion would help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls, while the plan would also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, more generous unemployment benefits, federally mandated paid leave for workers and large subsidies for child care costs.


A Longtime Diplomat is Nominated by Biden to be Director of the CIA

President-elect Biden has nominated William Burns as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tapping a respected veteran American diplomat who has served in posts around the world, from the Reagan to the Obama administrations. If confirmed, Burns would become the first leader in the CIA's history whose lifelong experience comes from the State Department.


Biden to Elevate Two Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Appointments

Biden, facing the rise of domestic terrorism and a crippling cyberattack from Russia, is elevating two White House posts that all but disappeared in the Trump administration: a homeland security adviser to manage matters as varied as extremism, pandemics, and natural disasters, and the first deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology. The White House homeland security adviser will be Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. For the complex task of bolstering cyberoffense and defense, Biden has carved out a role for Anne Neuberger, a rising official at the National Security Agency.


Trump's Conduct Spurs Push for Ethics Rules Tougher Than Shame

Congressional Democrats and a slew of groups are preparing to push for the kinds of ethics and governance changes not seen since the post-Watergate era. As House Democrats move toward punishing Trump with a history-making second impeachment, they are also pressing ahead with a parallel effort to try to ensure that Trump's four-year record of violating democratic and constitutional norms cannot be repeated. Trump's terms has revealed enormous gaps between the ideals of American democracy and the reality. In response, lawmakers and pressure groups are pushing for a wide-ranging overhaul of ethics laws, hoping to reconstruct and strengthen the guardrails that Trump plowed through.


Leading New Task Force, Yale Doctor Takes Aim at Racial Gaps in Care

Tapped by President-elect Biden to lead a new federal task force, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of internal medicine, public health, and management at Yale University, will address a terrible reality of American medicine: persistent racial and ethnic disparities in access and care. She has an expansive vision for the job, with plans to target medical resources and relief funds to vulnerable communities, but also to tackle the underlying social and economic inequalities that put them at risk. Her goals are ambitious, experts noted. Racial health disparities represent a vast, structural challenge in this country, made all the more stark by the raging pandemic. Black, Latino, and Native Americans are infected with the coronavirus and hospitalized with Covid-19 at higher rates than white Americans, and they have died of the illness at nearly three times the rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Nunez-Smith currently serves as one of three co-chairs on an advisory board advising the Biden transition team on management of the pandemic.


Pompeo Returns Cuba to Terror Sponsor List, Crimping Biden's Plans

The State Department designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism in a last-minute foreign policy stroke that will complicate the incoming Biden administration's plans to restore friendlier relations with Havana. Secretary of State Pompeo cited Cuba's hosting of 10 Colombian rebel leaders, along with a handful of American fugitives wanted for crimes committed in the 1970s, and Cuba's support for the authoritarian leader of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. The action, announced with just days remaining in the Trump administration, reversed a step taken in 2015 after President Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, calling its decades of political and economic isolation a relic of the Cold War. The move automatically triggers U.S. sanctions against Cuba - likely to have negligible effects, given the scale of existing American penalties against Havana. However, the action could be a symbolic deterrent for businesses.


U.S. Move to Label Houthis Terrorists May Jeopardize Food Shipments to Yemen

The Trump administration's rush to declare Houthi rebels in Yemen a terrorist organization leaves humanitarian aid workers and commercial importers vulnerable to criminal penalties, risking future shipments of food, medical supplies, and other assistance to the impoverished country. Secretary of State Pompeo said officials were "planning to put in place measures" to ensure that the aid continued. Unfortunately, that failed to assure a number of lawmakers, diplomats, and aid groups, who accused the administration of pushing through the policy before Trump leaves office next week, and said that clear-cut legal protections should have been enacted in tandem with the terrorism designation to prevent another barrier to assisting one of the world's poorest areas.


New York Police Department Finds That Anti-Harassment Official Wrote Racist Rants

After two months of investigation, police officials have concluded that a high-ranking officer responsible for combating workplace harassment in the NYPD wrote dozens of virulently racist posts about Black, Jewish, and Hispanic people under a pseudonym on an online chat board favored by police officers. The officer, Deputy Inspector James F. Kobel, filed his retirement papers as the departmental inquiry was winding down. The officials said that they still planned to bring administrative charges against him as soon as this month for falsely denying that he had written the offensive messages.


Rush on the Capitol

Flood of Failures Let Mob Rampage Through Capitol

Poor planning among a constellation of government agencies and a restive crowd encouraged by Trump set the stage for the unthinkable. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. and her police chief called the Pentagon on the day of the riot, asking for additional D.C. National Guard troops to be mobilized to support what officials were realizing was inadequate protection at the Capitol. However, they were told that the request would first have to come from the Capitol Police. Yet the Capitol Police and the city's Metropolitan Police had rebuffed offers days before for more help from the National Guard beyond a relatively modest contingent to provide traffic control, so no additional troops had been placed on standby. It took over four hours for them to arrive. It was just one failure in a dizzying list that day - and during the weeks leading up to it - that resulted in the first occupation of the U.S. Capitol since British troops set the building ablaze during the War of 1812. The death and destruction this time was caused by Americans, rallying behind the inflammatory language of an American president. A full reckoning will take months or even years, and many lawmakers have called for a formal commission to investigate.


Companies Suspending Campaign Donations

Following the riot, several major health care corporations and lobbying groups are reevaluating their support for the 147 Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of November's election. Some of the companies include PhRMA, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the American Hospital Association. A wide array of other health care corporations and lobbying groups announced that their political action committees would pause giving more broadly and reevaluate contributions to all lawmakers - not just those who voted against election certification. These include drug manufacturers Amgen and Gilead Sciences, biotech trade group BIO, UnitedHealth Group, and the medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific.


Hundreds of Historians Join the Call for Impeachment

More than 1,000 historians and writers, including Ron Chernow and Taylor Branch, have signed an open letter calling Trump "a clear and present danger to American democracy." A number of the signatories had joined a previous letter in December 2019, calling for the president's impeachment because of "numerous and flagrant abuses of power", including "failure to protect the integrity of the impending 2020 election." Politically, the condemnation by historians may carry less weight than the president's loss of support in recent days from business groups that once supported him or his policies, but the historical expertise mattered. "Trump has defied the Constitution and broken laws, norms, practices and precedents, for which he must be held accountable now and after he leaves office. No future president should be tempted by the example of his defiance going unpunished."


The Confederate Flag Inside the Capitol a 'Jarring and Disheartening' Sight

Amid the images and videos that emerged from the rampage on the Capitol, the sight of a man casually carrying the Confederate battle flag outside the Senate floor was a piercing reminder of the persistence of white supremacism more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War. This was the first time that someone had managed to bring the flag into the building as an act of insurrection, according to historians. The photo was confirmation that those who had stormed the Capitol were "tied deeply" to white supremacism. The man who carried the flag has since been arrested.


Police Officer Who Responded to the Riot at the Capitol Dies While Off Duty

A Capitol police officer who responded to the riot died while off-duty. Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, was part of the response as the pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Building. Liebengood's death follows that of fellow officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died due to injuries sustained in the riot. The White House lowered the American flag to half-mast, and ordered flags lowered at all public and military facilities nationwide in honor of Liebengood and Sicknick.


Manhunt is On for Marauders at U.S. Capitol

When they stormed the Capitol on the 6th, Trump's supporters left a massive digital footprint of their rampage. As law enforcement agencies launch a search for the rioters, they are being helped by online sleuths and investigative teams poring over a trove of images and clips posted on social media by people in the act of breaking the law. With their help, by the end of the week, some of those rioters had already lost their jobs and been apprehended. As law enforcement agencies posted warrants for suspects, local news teams across the country followed the story.


G.O.P.'s '1776 Moment': How Lawmakers Fanned the Flames of the Riot

A handful of Trump's most loyal allies in the House urged their supporters to come to Washington on January 6th to make a defiant last stand to keep him in power, in the days and weeks leading up to the riot. They linked arms with the organizers of the protest and used inflammatory, bellicose language to describe the stakes. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, first-term lawmakers who ran as outspoken defenders of Trump, referred to the day as Republicans' "1776 moment". Their comments have raised questions about the degree to which Republicans may have coordinated with protest organizers. House Democrats were pushing to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, added after the Civil War, which disqualifies people who "have engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the U.S. from holding public office. The clause was originally enacted to limit the influence of former Confederates in the Reconstruction era. Representative Cori Bush, Democrat of Missouri, introduced a resolution with 47 co-sponsors that would initiate investigations for "removal of the members who attempted to overturn the results of the election and incited a white supremacist attempted coup."


Officials Scour Evidence for Police or Military Ties in Capitol Attacks

Thousands of armed National Guard troops were on their way to Washington to bolster security for this week's inaugural celebration as federal investigators turned their attention to the difficult question of how many military and police personnel took part in the violent attack on the Capitol. Adding to the tensions, dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were found to have been in Washington on the date of the riot for pro-Trump events that ultimately devolved into the assault. Most were suspected white supremacists. The nationwide dragnet for those responsible for the worst incursion on the home of Congress since the War of 1812 has now entered its second week and investigators are increasingly concerned that some of the attackers may have brought specialized skills to bear on the assault. So far, two off-duty police officers from a small town in Virginia and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel form Texas are among the suspects with police or military links - a tiny fraction of the more than 100 people who have been taken into federal custody.


Military Emphasizes Loyalty to Constitution

The military's Joint Chiefs of Staff sent an unusual message (a one-page memorandum signed by the eight senior officers who serve as the Joint Chiefs) to the entire American armed forces reminding them that their job was to support and defend the Constitution, and declaring that Biden would soon be their next commander in chief. That the chiefs, led by General Mark A. Milley of the Army, found it necessary to remind their rank and file of their sworn oath to the country was extraordinary. Yet the memo came as federal law enforcement authorities were pursuing more than 150 suspects, including current or former service members, involved in the mob that stormed the Capitol last week.


Tight Security Closes off a City Designed to be Open

Increased security in the capital over the years has made public spaces less public, and the storming of the Capitol means that will probably continue. For 25 years, Washington has grown ever more conspicuously guarded, first with the bollards and concrete jersey barriers that appeared after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, then the elaborate security protocols that swept federal properties after 9/11. There were also heightened fears of what could harm the nation's first Black president, followed by new worries that every day public spaces - plazas, parks, and farmer's markets - could be targets as much as the monuments were. Now it is a barricaded compound with its lawns patrolled by National Guard troops. The Capitol hasn't truly been open to the people for some time, certainly not in the way its designer L'Enfant envisioned, and it will be even less so now.


Pentagon to Arm National Guard Troops Deploying to Capitol for Inauguration

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has now authorized up to 21,000 National Guard troops from around the country to assist law enforcement with security surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Biden. That's an increase of 1,000 form the up to 20,000 previously authorized. Defense Department officials were authorized to deploy the Guard for up to 30 days for the inauguration and surrounding protests. Pentagon officials approved requests to have some Guard members armed with either long guns or handguns, particularly those Guard members assigned near the U.S. Capitol.


...and Back to General News...

Justices Revive a Restriction on Obtaining an Abortion Pill

The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated a requirement that women visit a hospital or clinic to obtain a drug used for medication-induced abortions, lifting an order by a lower court allowing the drug to be mailed or delivered as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic. The justices granted a request by Trump's administration to lift a federal judge's July order that had suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's rule requiring in-person visits for the duration of the pandemic.


Trump Officials Share Discredited Climate Denial Reports

The White House science office has reassigned two administration officials who posted a series of debunked scientific reports denying the existence and significance of man-made climate change, purportedly on behalf of the U.S. government. The officials, David Legates and Ryan Maue, still remain employed. Both had been assigned to the White House from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and have returned to that agency.


Brown Targets Inequality and Climate

Senator Sherrod Brown, the next chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, proposed a sweeping agenda, saying he would seek to improve housing and banking services for low-income Americans, fight global warming, and foster racial equality when Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House. Brown added that he wanted to investigate the relationship among stock prices, executive compensation and workers' wages, taking on a corporate business model that "treats workers as expendable." It is unclear how much of the wide-ranging agenda Brown will be able to put in place. Democrats' control of the Senate will be razor thin, and Republicans could try to scuttle any changes.


White House Pushed Policy that Forced Families Apart at Border, Documents Say

Trump and top aides in the White House aggressively pushed the get-tough policy that led migrant children to be separated from adults at the border with Mexico, according to a top Justice Department official in a new report from the department's inspector general and other internal documents. The policy was put in place after complaints by the president and others at the White House involved in carrying out his immigration agenda. The former deputy attorney general involved in the zero-tolerance policy expressed deep regret about its development and the part he had played. The report comes almost two and a half years after the Justice Department's zero-tolerance policy in summer 2018 led to the long-term separation of nearly 3,000 children, many of them very young, and created a global political firestorm.


Toyota is Fined Record $180 Million for Decade of Clean Air Act Violations

Toyota has agreed to pay a $180 million fine to the U.S. government over violations of Clean Air Act protocol that went on for a decade between 2005 and 2015. The violation was related to timely reporting of defects that interfered with some cars' tailpipe emission regulation systems.


Ex-Michigan Governor Charged with Neglect Over Flint Water Case

The Michigan Attorney General's Office last week announced criminal charges for eight former state officials, including the state's former Governor Rick Snyder, along with one current official, for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis. Together the group face 42 counts related to the drinking water catastrophe roughly seven years ago. The crimes range from perjury to misconduct in office to involuntary manslaughter. The drinking water debacle is linked to at least 12 deaths and at least 80 people sickened with Legionnaires' disease after untreated water from the Flint River caused lead to leach from old pipes, poisoning the majority Black city's water system.


The Stunning Fall of a 'Toxic Tort' Lawyer Who Won Billions

One of the country's premier "toxic tort" lawyers is accused of misappropriating money from families of victims of the Lion Air crash that led to the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max. Two decades ago, the movie "Erin Brockovich" helped to make that attorney, Thomas Girardi, something of a folk hero, but now he is starring in his own legal drama. Lawsuits playing out simultaneously in state and federal courts in Los Angeles and Chicago have left Girardi's personal and professional life in tatters as he faces accusations of misconduct. Lawyers for Girardi, 81, have suggested in court that he is no longer mentally competent - an idea that another attorney for Lion Air families said was merely an attempt to avoid responsibility for a Ponzi scheme that finally fell apart. Girardi owes tens of millions of dollars to finance firms and hedge funds that lent money to his small Los Angeles-based law firm. At the same time, a federal judge in Chicago is holding hearings into fraud accusations against Girardi over a settlement with Boeing.


State Sues NYPD Over Tactics Used at Protests

New York State Attorney General Letitia James sued the NYPD over what are said to be widespread abuses in how officers handled the protests that erupted last summer after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. James wants a court-appointed monitor to oversee the department's policing tactics at future protests, and a court order to declare that the policies and practices the department used during the protests last May and June were unlawful. Filed in federal court in Manhattan, this marks the first time in history that the state attorney general has sued a police department. More than 2,000 demonstrators were arrested, most of them while protesting peacefully. An investigation by the attorney general's office found that police officers beat protesters with batons, rammed them with bicycles, used a dangerous containment strategy called kittling, and arrested legal observers and medics without proper justification. Mayor De Blasio expressed disappointment in James' decision to go to court to seek a monitor. He said the lawsuit would slow his administration's efforts to implement major changes - a goal he said they shared.


Mayor Says New York Will Cancel Its Trump Contracts

Mayor de Blasio said that in light of Trump's role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, New York City is cutting its business ties with the president's company. The Trump Organization, made up of hundreds of businesses owned by the president, has three contracts to run concessions in NYC: the Central Park Carousel, the Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, and Ferry Point Golf Course. The attractions bring the company $17 million a year. The statement said that the contracts' termination clauses are somewhat different. Termination of the carousel contract occurs after 25 days' written notice; termination of the ice rink contracts requires 30 days' notice; termination of the golf course contract is more complex "and is expected to take a number of months." In New York, Trump is the subject of ongoing investigations into fraud, a criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and a civil investigation by the NY State Attorney General's Office. A growing list of major businesses have announced plans to pause or sever their ties with Trump.


The National Rifle Association Seeks Texas Reboot as It Declares Bankruptcy

The National Rifle Association filed for bankruptcy protection as part of a restructuring plan aimed at moving the influential gun rights group to Texas. The filing comes six months after NY state's attorney general filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA for allegedly misappropriating funds. The advocacy group said that it would restructure as a Texas nonprofit to exit from what it described as "a corrupt political and regulatory environment in NY," where it is currently registered.


U.S. Officials Fume as Mexico Clears General in Drug Trafficking Case

The relationship between the U.S. and Mexico hasn't improved as Mexico exonerated its former official, General Salvador Cienfuegos (accused of being on a drug cartel's payroll), without a trial, and accused its American allies of trying to smear him without solid evidence. Angry American officials saw it as a stunning breach of trust by Mexican officials, who they had expected would thoroughly investigate General Cienfuegos. In comments after the ruling, President Lopez Obrador questioned the integrity of U.S. investigators, saying they "did not act professionally" and had "fabricated" the allegations against the general. Just a few weeks before, relations between law enforcement officials came under immense strain when Mexico passed a law gutting the ability of U.S. drug agents to operate in Mexico. Now the new U.S. administration will face the challenge of trying to rebuild a relationship that has hit a stark low point over drug trafficking.



One Year into Pandemic, Coronavirus Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide

With more than two million dead worldwide to Covid-19, the United Nations Secretary-General appeals for countries to work with each other to end the pandemic and save lives. He went on to note that absence of a global coordinated effort has worsened the pandemic's deadly impact.


Biden Plans Blitz for Inoculations in First Threee Months

The incoming Biden administration plans to set up federally run mass vaccination sites and to release all government-held vials, rather than hold some back for second doses. This is a sharp break with the Trump administration. The decision is part of an aggressive effort to "ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible." The vaccination plan, to be formally unveiled this week, also will include federally run vaccination sites in places like high school gyms and sports stadiums, and mobile units to reach high-risk populations. The president-elect has vowed to get "at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people" during his first 100 days in office.


Food and Drug Administration Veteran Picked for Vaccine Effort

David Kessler, a former head of the Food and Drug Administration, is president-elect Biden's choice to help lead efforts to develop and distribute Covid-19 drugs and vaccines. Kessler, who serves as co-chair of the Covid-19 task force for Biden, will be chief science officer of the pandemic response program. He replaces Moncef Slaoui, a scientist and former executive at British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc.


U.S. Hastens Vaccinations as Toll Rises

The Trump administration, racing a surging Covid-19 death toll, instructed states to immediately begin vaccinating every American aged 65 and older, as well as tens of millions of adults with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of dying from coronavirus infection. The federal government will release all available doses of the vaccine instead of holding about half in reserve for second doses, adding that states should start allowing pharmacies and community health centers, which serve largely poor populations, to administer the shots. States will lose their allocations if they do not use up doses quickly. Starting in two weeks, state vaccine allocations will be based on the size of the state's population of people 65 and older, not on its general adult population. It was unclear whether that would hold past January 20th, when President-elect Biden takes office.


10% of Congress Has Been Infected at Some Time

By January, more than 50 lawmakers and 220 workers have tested positive, or were presumed so, for the illness. A congressman-elect from Louisiana, Luke Letlow, died on December 29th from the illness, days before he was due to be sworn in with a new Congress, and this past summer, a Florida member's aide died from Covid-19. Ahead of the vaccinations, both chambers of Congress recessed multiple times throughout the year, as the Capitol went largely without a widespread testing program. Efforts to test as many as 2,000 a week still fall short for a Capitol complex that includes more than 530 lawmakers and a workforce of over 20,000.


Fears that Mob Began Superspreader Event

A grim reality has begun to dawn on Capitol Hill: The riot may have started a coronavirus superspreader event, fueled by the mob that roamed through the halls of Congress and unmasked Republicans who jammed into cloistered secure rooms. Normal precautions - already haphazardly enforced - collapsed as pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. On both sides of the Capitol, lawmakers, aides, police officers and reporters who had fled to secure locations have been warned that they might have been exposed ot the coronavirus while hiding from the mob. Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, wrote to House lawmakers telling them to obtain a P.C.R. test as a precaution and to continue taking preventative steps against the spread of the virus.


Vaccine Rules are Loosened a Second Time to Inhibit Waste

This past week, NY state health officials responded to the outcry over discarded vaccines by again abruptly loosening guidelines as coronavirus cases continued to rise. Now, medical providers can administer the vaccine to any of their employees who interact with the public if there are extra doses in a vial and no one from "the priority population can come in before the doses expire," the new guidelines read. A pharmacy's "store clerks, cashiers, stock workers and delivery staff" could now qualify. Last week, California took a similar step. This is the second time in two days that Governor Cuomo's administration has loosened the restrictions around who can get vaccinated in New York State.


January 20, 2021

Second Circuit Rules Landlord Liable for Contributory Counterfeiting Based on "Willful Blindness"

By Barry Werbin
Herrick, Feinstein LLP

Commercial landlords face the risk of substantial economic damages if they turn a blind eye to ongoing sales of counterfeit merchandise on their leased premises. This was emphasized in a January 6, 2021 opinion by the federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Omega SA v. 375 Canal, LLC, where the court found a property owner liable for contributory trademark infringement respecting sales of counterfeit Omega watches at the premises. A jury awarded Omega $1.1 million in statutory damages under the federal Trademark (Lanham) Act. Omega argued in the appeal that it did not need to establish the identities of specific tenants who engaged in such counterfeiting, but only that a landlord was guilty of "willful blindness" in repeatedly ignoring prior incidents of counterfeiting at the premises.

In this case, the defendant landlord, Canal, had actual knowledge of prior trademark counterfeiting activity occurring at its Canal Street property, including previous criminal anti-counterfeiting raids and an earlier arrest of an individual who had been selling counterfeit Omega watches at the premises. Canal argued that Omega needed to prove that Canal continued to lease its premises to an identifiable, specific seller who Canal either knew or should have known was selling counterfeit Omega goods. The appeals court rejected this stricter burden of proof and held that such specific knowledge was not required where proof of "willful blindness" existed, i.e., where a property owner intentionally takes steps to shield itself from having actual knowledge of the identity of vendors selling counterfeit goods. At trial, Omega submitted evidence showing that Canal had a history of turning a blind eye to such activity at its premises and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it from reoccurring.

In an earlier seminal case on contributory trademark infringement, cited in the Omega decision, Tiffany sued eBay based on allegations that a majority of Tiffany's items sold on eBay were counterfeit. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed a ruling in favor of eBay, finding that a defendant must have more than a general knowledge that its service is being used to sell counterfeit goods to be liable. eBay had also acted promptly to remove all offending products after receiving notices from Tiffany. Nevertheless, the Second Circuit emphasized that a "service provider is not, we think, permitted willful blindness. When it has reason to suspect that users of its service are infringing a protected mark, it may not shield itself from learning of the particular infringing transactions by looking the other way." Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc., 600 F.3d 93, 109 (2d Cir. 2010), cert. denied 131 S. Ct. 647 (2010).

Most commercial retail leases contain provisions that empower a landlord to declare a breach and terminate a lease for illegal activity. Such leases typically provide a landlord with relevant tenant controls through clauses respecting use, occupancy, requirements of law, permits, licenses, and retail covenants. Property owners need to enforce these provisions whenever they become aware that counterfeit goods are being sold on their premises. Difficult or potentially dangerous tenants may require law enforcement intervention.

The case serves as an important cautionary reminder to landlords that they must police uses of their properties for sales of counterfeit goods and other illegal uses and cannot simply turn a blind eye.

January 22, 2021

Sports News for the Week of January 22nd

By Bennett Liebman

Japan dismisses 'categorically untrue' stories that Tokyo Olympics are doomed, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jan/22/tokyo-olympics-covid-putting-real-pressure-on-japan-says-australia-pm-amid-cancellation-rumours

Memorandum of Governor Cuomo's Budget Piece on Mobile Sports Wagering Memorandum in Support, https://www.budget.ny.gov/pubs/archive/fy22/ex/artvii/revenue-memo.pdf

NEW HAMPSHIRE LOTTERY DEFEATS TRUMP IN CASE THAT BOLSTERS ONLINE GAMBLING, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/wire-act-court-ruling-1234620805/

Opinion of 1st Circuit in Wire Act Case, http://media.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/19-1835P-01A.pdf

Breaking down the lawsuits of former Duke men's basketball star Zion Williamson, https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2020/06/duke-basketball-zion-williamson-allegations-lawsuits-prime-sports-gina-ford-pay-to-play-daniel-wallach

'A cautionary tale for unscrupulous agents': Zion Williamson wins big in lawsuit, https://theathletic.com/2335291/2021/01/20/zion-williamson-lawsuit-cautionary-tale-agents/

As Congressional Power Shifts, NCAA Reform and Athletes' Rights Are Firmly in the Crosshairs, https://www.si.com/college/2021/01/20/ncaa-athlete-rights-compensation-congress-nil

Most college athletes can't accept brand sponsorships or deals. That could soon change, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22242503/ncaa-college-athletes-endorsement-rule

'Be nice': For female reporters, it can feel like there is no other choice, https://theathletic.com/2332861/2021/01/19/ghiroli-be-nice-female-reporters/?source=emp_shared_article

NBA PLAYERS WANT EQUITY IN TEAMS, UNION HEAD ROBERTS SAYS, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2021/nba-players-equity-1234620699/

FIFA's 2021 Regulatory Changes - Female Players, Coaches, Brexit And More, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/fifa-s-2021-regulatory-changes-female-players-coaches-brexit-and-more

Sports Law In 2021 - Key Issues To Watch In North America, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/sports-law-in-2021-key-issues-to-watch-in-north-america-2?utm_content=151799336&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-145208608

The NBA's Pandemic Request: Yes to Dunks, No to Hugs, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-nbas-pandemic-request-yes-to-dunks-no-to-hugs-11611235940?mod=e2tws

Under the Radar 'Varsity Blues' Trump Pardon Is Particularly 'Inexplicable,' and Swampy, https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/under-the-radar-varsity-blues-trump-pardon-is-particularly-inexplicable-and-swampy/

At Large | US sport has already moved beyond Trump but its real debates lie ahead, https://www.sportspromedia.com/opinion/trump-biden-harris-sports-nba-lebron-inauguration?utm_content=152073882&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

Patrick Mahomes' injury: What happens next with concussion protocol?, https://theathletic.com/2328886/2021/01/18/patrick-mahomes-concussion-chiefs-bills/

Horse racing people believe that if the NHL is allowed to operate, so should racing, https://torontosun.com/sports/horse-racing-people-believe-that-if-the-nhl-is-allowed-to-operate-so-should-racing

TENNESSEE'S FOR-CAUSE FIRING OF PRUITT MAY INVITE LEGAL CHALLENGE, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/jeremy-pruitt-firing-1234620605/

Gambler Billy Walters' commuted sentence helped in part by Phil Mickelson, https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/30749871/gambler-billy-walters-commuted-sentence-helped-part-phil-mickelson-letter

2nd Circuit Wire Fraud Decision on Adidas Sports Marketers, https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/af134399-a61f-4054-8e31-5b955b690bd4/1/doc/19-783_complete_opn.pdf#xml=https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/af134399-a61f-4054-8e31-5b955b690bd4/1/hilite/

Top Honor for a Tennis Player With Intolerant Views Draws Outrage, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/22/world/australia/margaret-court-tennis-award.html

Theater News for the Week of January 22nd

By Bennett Liebman

New Report: Audiences Want Vaccines and Masks Before They Return, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/21/new-report-audiences-want-vaccines-and-masks-before-they-return/

Actors' Equity warns delay in vaccination efforts will hurt theater industry restart, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/21/actors-equity-warns-delay-in-vaccination-efforts-will-hurt-theater-industry-restart/

In two years, a sea change in the number of women running Connecticut theaters, http://bway.ly/nixqd9#https://www.courant.com/ctnow/arts-theater/hc-ctnow-women-running-connecticut-theaters-20210122-6gqzk5zapbdfffv56nrn6eao2i-story.html

Gov. Cuomo proposes tax credits for theatrical productions, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/20/gov-cuomo-proposes-tax-credits-for-theatrical-productions-in-new-york/

Cuomo Introduces Tax Credits For Arts & Entertainment, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Cuomo-Introduces-Tax-Credits-For-Arts-Entertainment-Affected-by-Covid-19-Pandemic-20210119

Cuomo offers 'peanuts' to restaurants and theaters, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9164751/Cuomo-offers-peanuts-restaurants-theaters-130-million-rescue-plan.html

A starry, elegant inaugural ceremony launches a new era, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/starry-capitol-ceremony-biden-new-era/2021/01/20/f826b934-5b46-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html

Broadway Reacts to the 2021 Inauguration, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Social-Roundup-Broadway-Reacts-to-the-2021-Inauguration-20210120

Actors' Equity Blasts Trump's Freeze On $110 Million NEA & NEH Funding, https://deadline.com/2021/01/actors-equity-blasts-donald-trumps-effort-to-freeze-110-million-in-nea-neh-funding-1234676194/

Remembering Philip J. Smith, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/19/remembering-philip-j-smith-a-behind-the-scenes-broadway-power-player/

Community theaters, shut out of COVID relief funding, lobby for help, https://www.courant.com/ctnow/arts-theater/hc-ctnow-community-theater-ineligible-covid-relief-20210119-e34rel2lgrgmjegen2jtce5kxm-story.html

Paging Through Broadway While the Stages Are Dark, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/theater/critics-playbills-as-memories.html

UK theatre bosses eye 2021 with resilience and realism, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/18/another-rocky-road-uk-theatre-bosses-eye-2021-with-resilience-and-realism

'Moulin Rouge!' Was Their Ticket, Then 2020 Happened., https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jan/18/another-rocky-road-uk-theatre-bosses-eye-2021-with-resilience-and-realism

How Theater Stepped Up to Meet the Trump Era, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/theater/moulin-rouge-broadway-coronavirus.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nyttheater

Milwaukee Rep Awards $60,000 in Freelance Artist Relief, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/theater/theater-in-trump-era.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nyttheater

The Black Seed Unveils Generous Grant Program for Black Theatres, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/01/20/milwaukee-rep-awards-60000-in-freelance-artist-relief/

My nominees for a Secretary of Culture in the Biden Cabinet, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-01-18/culture-secretary-biden-administration-cabinet

Will Chicago have music and arts this summer?, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/chris-jones/ct-ent-summer-small-arts-2021-chicago-20210121-xm4wcawzd5dbni6hgogzggxkwm-story.html

'Let's Open Up Music Venues For COVID Testing', https://variety.com/2021/music/news/iatse-music-venues-covid-vaccine-1234886741/

Broadway Veteran Exiting Theatre Biz for Teaching Career, https://variety.com/2021/legit/news/broadway-veteran-teacher-kate-elliott-1234888990/

January 25, 2021

Week In Review

By Travis Marmara
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Director of Amazon India Drama Cuts Scenes Amid Outcry From Hindu Nationalists

Ali Abbas Zafar, the director of Amazon web series "Tandav", has agreed to cut scenes viewed as insensitive to Hindu nationals. Pressure from members of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., have accused Zafar of "insulting Hindu deities and stirring up animosity between Hindus and Muslims and between upper castes and lower castes." Defenders of the show claim that the opposition is merely pretext, consistent amongst "an increasingly intolerant atmosphere in India that affects even Bollywood." Such action comes as streaming giants Netflix, Hulu, and others compete for viewers in the growing Indian market.



Pixar's 'Soul' Has a Black Hero. In Denmark, a White Actor Dubs the Voice

Joe Gardner, the main character in "Soul", is Pixar's first Black protagonist. Many are applauding the steps taken by the studio to "accurately represent African-American culture" and installing a "cultural trust" to safeguard the story's authenticity. These steps have been dampened, however, by the use of white actors who dub over the movie in many other European language versions. While some view the use of dub actors as an artform, using anyone capable of mimicking most closely the actors in the original version, irrespective of race, others believe that systemic racism in the dubbing industry prevent many underrepresented communities from participating.



Second Circuit Rules Landlord Liable for Contributory Counterfeiting Based on "Willful Blindness"

In a recent opinion by the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Omega SA v. 375 Canal, LLC, the court found a commercial landlord liable for contributory trademark infringement as a result of "turn[ing] a blind eye to ongoing sales of counterfeit merchandise on their leased premises." The jury awarded Omega $1.1 million in statutory damages under the federal Trademark (Lanham) Act. The case hinged on whether Omega had to establish the identities of the parties engaging in counterfeiting the watches or whether the company had to prove that the landlord's "actual knowledge of prior trademark counterfeiting activity occurring at its Canal Street property" was sufficient. The case serves as an important reminder of a landlord's continued obligations to monitor the property for use of illicit activities and the consequences for turning a blind eye.


For Diversity Leaders in the Arts, Getting Hired Is Just the First Step

In the wake of the George Floyd protests and the heighted awareness of social justice issues brought about by the Black Lives Matter movement, cultural institutions around the country are hiring their own diversity officers to "increase the number of people of color on the staff and board, broaden their programming and address a widely acknowledged pattern of systemic racism," ensuring that there is more representation in the world of arts.


A Theater Serves as a Courthouse, Provoking Drama Offstage

In a sign of the times, Covid restrictions in Britain have created a backlog of cases. To address the issue, "the country's courts service has been renting suitable spaces -- like theaters, but also conference centers and local government buildings -- then turning them into temporary courtrooms." While proponents point to the move as spurring business for the theaters, many of which have closed as a result of the pandemic, opponents claim the "courts and the police have historically targeted communities of color, and that theaters should be kept as spaces for creativity" for underrepresented populations where many theaters are located.


For Peter Nygard, Alone and Jailed, Rags-to-Riches Story Turns Upside Down

Peter Nygard, a multimillionaire who built a fashion empire from scratch, is seeking release on bail due to Coronavirus running rampant in the correctional facility where he is located. Nygard faces charges of "sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and other crimes, involving dozens of women and teenage girls."



Sexual Assault Cases in the Sports World

This week saw a number of high-profile and international cases of rape and sexual abuse involving famous individuals in various sports.

As a result of a popular podcast named "Where Is George Gibney" that investigated abuse claims of 18 former swimmers of George Gibney, a former head coach of Ireland's national and Olympic swimming teams, Irish police confirmed they were investigating Gibney after two more former child swimmers came forward with fresh allegations against him. Gibney previously avoided trial in 1994 on "27 charges of rape and sexual abuse, against young male and female swimmers, when an Irish appeals court ruled in favor of his claim that the charges, relating to alleged incidents between 1967 and 1981, were too old and lacking in detail to allow him to defend himself properly."

Conor McGregor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship star, has been sued in Ireland by a woman who accused him of raping her in a hotel penthouse in 2018. The suit seeks "a sum of 1,475,110 to 1,759,850 euros, or about $1.79 million to $2.13 million." The incident stems from a December 9, 2018 rendezvous at a Dublin hotel between McGregor and the woman, who alleges she was forced to perform lascivious acts on McGregor against her will. McGregor "categorically rejected" the claims and states he is "confident that justice will prevail" in the civil case.

Jared Porter was recently hired by the New York Mets as General Manager, but was fired as a result of sexual harassment towards a female reporter during his time with the Chicago Cubs. Porter sent the reporter a "photo of a penis, another of a bulging crotch, and a barrage of 62 texts without an answer." Many applaud the Mets for taking swift action against Porter, but the story has prompted similar allegations and highlights what many women in similar positions view as a systemic problem within baseball.

An Olympic sailing champion, Sofia Bekatorou, has accused a top sporting official in Greece of sexual abuse. A medalist in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bekatorou claims that she was sexually assaulted by the official 23 years ago, when she was 21. While the statute of limitations has since expired, Bekatorou hopes by speaking out she can help others who have undergone similar experiences in a country where "studies suggest sexual harassment is prevalent."

Lastly, this week, former South Korean national speedskating coach, Cho Jae-beom, was sentenced to more than a decade in prison on charges of raping Shim Suk-hee, "a two-time Olympic gold medalist in short-track speedskating who said he had sexually assaulted her repeatedly starting when she was 17." The conviction marks a stain on the South Korean short-track speedskating program, which has "produced more Olympic gold medals for South Korea than any other nation."






Family Reaches $3.5 Million Settlement in Death of Maryland Football Player

The University of Maryland has reached a $3.5 million settlement agreement with the family of former student, Jordan McNair, an offensive lineman on the football team who collapsed from heatstroke during a practice in 2018 and died two weeks later. McNair's death sparked an investigation into the "toxic culture" of bullying and humiliation that was alleged in the university's football program.


'I Let You Down': Klete Keller's Path From Olympics to Capitol Riot

Amongst the most famous individuals facing charges and possible prison sentences for invading the Capitol is former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller. Known for medaling in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing games, Keller became radicalized in part due to retiring from the sport in which he gained notoriety. This marks a stark contrast from those who describe him as "nonconfrontational, quiet, [and] relatively passive."


Despite Virus Surge, International Olympic Committee Pledges Summer Olympics in Tokyo Will Happen

As the Coronavirus rages, the president of the International Olympic Committee tried to suppress doubts that the Olympic Games will take place this summer. Originally scheduled for 2020, the summer Olympics in Tokyo were rescheduled to this summer because of the pandemic. One factor promoting such confidence: "The Olympics would stand to lose $1 billion or more in television revenue should the Games be canceled."


Players in a New Super League Would Be Barred From the World Cup

UEFA, European soccer's governing body, has been in discussions to alter the format for the popular Champions League beginning in 2024. The new plan would create a league called the "Super League" amongst some of the most popular clubs in the world, including Real Madrid and Manchester United. Viewing the new league as a threat, however, FIFA announced in retaliation that "top players will be barred from playing for their national teams in events like the World Cup if their clubs join a breakaway league," like the Super League.


How Climbers Reached the Summit of K2 in Winter for the First Time

Located in Central Asia, K2, the second-tallest mountain in the world, had never been climbed in both the summer and winter. Recently, however, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers conquered the feat. K2, is also known as Savage Mountain due to its propensity for causing deaths. As a comparison, "for every four climbers who reach its summit, one dies. In contrast, the death rate on Mount Everest has been around 1 percent since 1990."



Judge Declines to Force Amazon to Resume Hosting Parler

In the wake of the assault on the Capitol, Amazon removed Parler, a site hosting far-right conservatives and conspiracy theorists, from its platform. In response, Parler then sued Amazon, accusing the company of "not giving proper warning before ending its services, and asked the court to force Amazon to host the social network." Citing public interest reasons and Parler proffering only "faint and factually inaccurate speculation," the federal judge overseeing the case refused to compel Amazon to continue hosting Parler on its cloud-based platform.


Behind a Secret Deal Between Google and Facebook

In yet another anticompetition case involving Google and Facebook, 10 state attorneys general filed an antitrust suit against the Silicon Valley companies relating to Google's grant of a "sweetheart deal" to Facebook in the digital advertising space. With an alliance of other companies, Facebook previously supported a process called "Open Bidding" that was seen as a direct threat to Google's alternative platform for purchasing digital ad space using automized bidding processes. Facebook's sudden pivot in 2017 leading it to partner with Google's technology has led some to believe that nefarious motives are to blame.


Fox Settled a Lawsuit Over Its Lies. But It Insisted on One Unusual Condition.

On October 12, 2020, Fox News agreed to settle for millions of dollars with the family of Seth Rich, a murdered Democratic National Committee staff member who the network repeatedly claimed, falsely, was responsible for leaking Democratice National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. One provision insisted upon in the agreement was to keep the settlement confidential until after the November 3rd election, a tacit acknowledgement by the network of the impact news of the settlement may have had in the minds of potential voters.


The Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission Announces His Plans to Step Down

After taking on multiple enforcement actions against Facebook, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Joseph Simons, said he will leave the position on January 29th. The cases against Facebook resulted in a record $5 billion fine for the company.


Investors Push Home Depot and Omnicom to Steer Ads From Misinformation

Shareholders in Home Depot and the advertising giant Omnicom have filed resolutions asking the companies to authorize independent investigations into whether internal advertising policies "contribute[d] to the spread of hate speech, disinformation, white supremacist activity, or voter suppression efforts." Such an inquiry stems from whether dollars contributed from shareholder investments were used to spread misinformation through the purchase of advertisements on sites that promote radicalized theories.


When Joe Biden Took the White House, He Also Took @WhiteHouse

In contrast to prior administrations, Twitter did not carry over the followers of @POTUS, @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, and @VP as President Biden assumed control. The change means that President Biden will have to build new followings from the beginning.


Intelligence Analysts Use U.S. Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says

According to an unclassified memo written by Senator Ron Wyden, the Defense Intelligence Agency purchased "commercially available databases containing location data from smartphone apps and searches it for Americans' past movements without a warrant." The memo highlights a loophole in privacy law as discussed in the landmark ruling known as the "Carpenter decision." The Supreme Court held in Carpenter that the government requires a warrant to compel phone companies to turn over location data about their customers, but if the information is obtained through a broker, then the absence of a warrant does not prevent the government from using that data.


Russia Pushes U.S.-Funded News Outlet Toward Exit

Russia's government is threatening Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty with "multimillion-dollar fines and possible criminal charges against its employees," drawing ire that the American-funded news organization is being forced out as the new Biden administration takes over. In a tit-for-tat response, the Biden administration may impose similar measures against Russian news outlets, like RT and Sputnik.


Biden Administration Removes Trump Allies From U.S.-Funded News Outlets

The acting chief of the United States Agency for Global Media, Kelu Chao, has fired the leaders of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network in a sweeping purge of Trump-appointed officials. Many feared that the agency, whose purpose is to combat "disinformation in places like Russia, China, Hong Kong, North Korea, Iran and Belarus" and was led by Michael Pack, a Trump ally, was being used as a "mouthpiece for the Trump administration."


An Australia With No Google? The Bitter Fight Behind a Drastic Threat

In a new piece of legislation in Australia, "if media companies and platforms like Google cannot agree on a price for news content, an independent arbitration body will resolve the dispute." Tech companies argue that they already help the media industry by sending it traffic. Critics, however, argue that tech companies are only trying to keep their dominant positions as determiners of news. In response to the proposed legislation, Google threatened to remove the search engine from the country if the law is enacted.


General News

Biden Inaugurated as the 46th President Amid a Cascade of Crises

This week, Joseph Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. President Biden takes over a country fighting a deadly pandemic, deep partisanship, a dire economic crisis, and a social awakening. In part, Biden was elected for his restraint in words and tone, a marked difference from his past and the prior president.

With a 50/50 tie in the Senate, Biden thus far has used executive orders as a means to address these policy concerns. In his first days in office, Biden signed roughly 30 executive orders. The orders include: "Restoring the country's commitment to funding the World Health Organization; rejoining the Paris climate accords; reversing Mr. Trump's ban on immigration from several predominantly Muslim nations and halting immigration enforcement in the country's interior; stopping construction of the border wall; ensuring protections for L.G.B.T.Q. workers . . . ; killing the Keystone XL pipeline permit; reimposing the ban on drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge; imposing new ethics rules and tossing out Mr. Trump's "1776 Commission" report." Biden also signed two executive orders to "increase the amount of money poor families get for food each month and provide additional meal money for needy students." That said, executive orders come with a price: they can be swept aside by an incoming president, just like Biden did with many of President Trump's executive orders, which have largely been erased.






Why Kamala Harris and 'Firsts' Matter, and Where They Fall Short

The Biden administration's choices for cabinet members, many of which will be historic firsts, will also serve as examples of the "role model effect," wherein, "seeing someone like yourself attain high office can spur you to participate in politics or pursue a leadership position." Researchers say, however, that more work is required to "change institutions and paths to power, so that more people from underrepresented groups can follow."


Senate Confirms Austin, Installing First Black Defense Secretary

Lloyd J. Austin III was swiftly sworn in as Secretary of Defense and marks the first African American to hold the position. As a civilian, Austin had to be granted a waiver, which was similarly granted to Jim Mattis, Trump's first defense secretary, four years ago.



Senate Leaders Agree on Impeachment Trial Delay, Giving Biden Breathing Room

Senate leaders agreed to delay Trump's impeachment trial for two weeks. The trial, which will start February 9th, allows Trump time to gather a defense team and prepare for trial while providing Biden with time to install his cabinet and to make policy decisions.



A 'Nerve Center' for Climate in the Biden White House

In strong opposition to the stance taken by the former administration, Biden has curated the largest team ever to address global warming and has "installed policy experts at the State Department as well as the National Security Council, the president's top advisory body for all foreign policy decisions." Biden has also begun to address the crisis by reacceding to the Paris Agreement, showing an intention to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit, and signing a series of executive orders. Opponents have criticized the appointments, claiming "increased energy innovation and 'not the appointment of countless unchecked czars' would be best for both the economy and the environment."

Such climate change-inspired moves come amongst the backdrop of the Supreme Court deciding the scope of the court's authority in related state litigation and a federal appeals court striking down the Trump administration's view that the Clean Air Act of 1970 should be interpreted as not granting the federal government with the authority to set national restrictions on emissions.




Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump

In the waning days of the Trump presidency, allies close to and in the administration created a lucrative market for pardons. Using their connections to the office of the President, allies collected fees from wealthy felons or their associates to push the White House for clemency. As the Trump presidency drew to end, 143 pardons and commutations were handed out, including the "son of a former Arkansas senator; the founder of the notorious online drug marketplace Silk Road; . . . a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme," hip-hop artists, a famous art dealer, health care executives, and drug smuggler, Jonathan Braun. While granting pardons and commutations is not unusual, those in law enforcement and prosecutors' offices around the country view the decisions as "an incredible kick in the teeth to [those] who toil away every day under very difficult circumstances to achieve justice and some restitution to the taxpayers."






National Security Agency Installs Trump Loyalist as Top Lawyer Days Before Biden Takes Office

The National Security Agency will be hiring a Trump administration loyalist, Michael Ellis, as its general counsel. Ellis gained notoriety for his role in trying to prevent the publication of a book attacking Trump by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser of the Trump administration. Ellis also provided Representative Devin Nunes intelligence reports indicating that "associates of Mr. Trump were swept up in foreign surveillance by American intelligence agencies," which laid the basis of claims that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign.


'Expedited Spree of Executions' Faced Little Supreme Court Scrutiny

Through June of 2020, the federal government did not perform an execution in 17 years. Since then, "the Trump administration has executed 13 inmates, more than three times as many as the federal government had put to death in the previous six decades." While conservatives on the Supreme Court have expressed frustration with last-minute stay requests in capital punishment cases, saying they amount to "litigation gamesmanship," others are pointing to a different reasoning for the rush of executions: the Biden administration may have stopped the executions.


Pentagon Accelerates Efforts to Root Out Far-Right Extremism in the Ranks

As a result of the siege on the Capitol, the Pentagon is "intensifying efforts to identify and combat white supremacy and other far-right extremism in its ranks" beyond the "extensive background investigations and physical examinations including assessments of tattoos" that all military personnel undergo. While many in the military agree that the individuals present at the rally are not representative of the country's military, critics point to military leadership's history of failing to hold violators accountable consistently.


Trump and Justice Department Lawyer Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General

Reports indicate that a Justice Department lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, "had devised a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as acting attorney general and wield the department's power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results." The plan was spurred after Rosen refused to do the president's bidding. Clark has categorically denied such reports.


'I Answered the Call of My President': Rioters Say Trump Urged Them On

In the wake of the Capitol riots, at least four pro-Trump rioters have said they joined the march that spiraled into violence in part because the president encouraged them to do so. As the criminal cases wind through the court system, many of Trump's hardened supporters in Congress are placed in the challenging position of publicly blaming the man they champion most.


The First Capitol Riot Arrests Were Easy. The Next Ones Will Be Tougher.

Of the 125 federal arrests made so far, many have come through public resources such as the news and social media. In a boon for law enforcement, some individuals have even pointed the finger at themselves in Instagram posts, claiming: "THIS IS ME." The challenge for law enforcement now, however, is finding those less brazen and trying to apprehend those who were responsible for the coordination of the insurrection at the Capitol.


Deepening Schism, McConnell Says Trump 'Provoked' Capitol Mob

In a rebuke of the president by a former ally, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, claimed that the individuals who stormed the building had been "fed lies" and had been "provoked by the president" to carry out the attacks. Such condemnation comes after Trump's tenure that resulted in tax cuts and the confirmation of hundreds of conservative judges.


The Financial Minefield Awaiting an Ex-President Trump

In a return to private citizenship, Trump now faces financial difficulties that are coming to a head now that he is not President of the United States. Recently, "his last-ditch lender vowed to cut him off. The P.G.A. canceled an upcoming championship at a Trump golf course, and New York City moved to strip him of contracts to run several venues." His longtime financial partner, Deutsche Bank, became unwilling to do business with Trump as a result of his ties to the mob storming the Capitol. In the meantime, Trump now faces loans coming due: "$100 million on Trump Tower next year; $125 million on his Doral golf resort in Florida in 2023; and $170 million on the Washington hotel in 2024."


U.S. Says China's Repression of Uighurs Is 'Genocide'

In a rare action taken by The State Department, the agency declared that the "Chinese government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its wide-scale repression of Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in its northwestern region of Xinjiang, including in its use of internment camps and forced sterilization." The move by the State Department could provoke the Biden administration to impose more sanctions against China.


Cuomo Offers Doomsday Proposal to Attack a Possible $15 Billion Deficit

Governor Cuomo recently laid out two budget proposals to combat the state's deficit: "one assuming a federal aid package of $6 billion, and another with the full $15 billion." In the case of the $6 billion aid package, the Governor stated that it would trigger a "doomsday plan", wherein a wealth tax would be implemented and corresponding cuts to school funding, Medicaid, and other across-the-board reductions would result.


Prominent Lawyers Want Giuliani's Law License Suspended Over Trump Work

Citing Rudolph W. Giuliani's role in the insurrection at the Capitol and his amplification of false claims of election fraud, prominent lawyers, including "former acting U.S. Attorney General Stuart M. Gerson, former U.S. district judges H. Lee Sarokin and Fern M. Smith, and two former state attorneys general, Scott Harshbarger of Massachusetts and Grant Woods of Arizona," have signed a formal complaint seeking the suspension of Rudolph W. Giuliani's law license. A draft of the complaint to the Supreme Court of New York's attorney grievance committee also requests an investigation into "conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in or out of court."



One Year, 400,000 Coronavirus Deaths: How the U.S. Guaranteed Its Own Failure

In the past year, at least 424,000 people in the United States have died from the Coronavirus. For comparison, the number of Coronavirus deaths is "higher than the typical number of annual deaths from Alzheimers, stroke or diabetes." For nearly the entire pandemic, political polarization and a rejection of science have been a consistent theme throughout, preventing the country from truly reigning in the virus. Instead of a federal, unified approach, governors and local officials were left in charge of the crisis. What has become clearer over the last few months is that first, "the severity of the current outbreak can be traced to the rush to reopen last spring. Many governors moved quickly, sometimes acting over the objections of their advisers. The reopenings nationally led to a surge of new infections that grew over time." Second, "science was sidelined at every level of government. More than 100 state and local health officials have been fired or have resigned since the beginning of the pandemic." Lastly, "while the president publicly downplayed the need for masks, White House officials were privately recommending that certain states with worsening outbreaks require face coverings in public spaces."



Covid Response Was a Global Series of Failures, World Health Organization-Established Panel Says

A recent report by The World Health Organization (WHO) provides clear insight into "the faulty assumptions, ineffective planning and sluggish responses -- including missteps by the WHO, itself -- that helped fuel" the Coronavirus pandemic. Among the conclusions drawn was that leaders of government had a singular focus throughout the pandemic: ensuring the stability of their respective economies.


Biden Unveils National Strategy That Trump Resisted

Employing a tactic that Trump refused, Biden is instituting a national strategy to combat Coronavirus. For example, he ordered a federal mask mandate on "interstate planes, trains and buses" and created "a national testing board and mandatory quarantines for international travelers arriving in the United States." Alongside this strategy, and with the goal of injecting 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days, Biden is also asking Congress for "$20 billion to vastly expand vaccination centers to include stadiums, pharmacies, doctors' offices and mobile clinics."



Banished by Trump but Brought Back by Biden, Fauci Aims to 'Let the Science Speak'

In a stark contrast to the prior administration, the Biden team has enabled Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's foremost infectious disease specialist, to take a leading role in addressing the Coronavirus pandemic. Rather than being sidelined, Dr. Fauci is being given the keys "to operate without specific orders from the White House," displaying the new administration's view that the Coronavirus is still an ongoing, and serious, threat to the American people.


Last-Minute Rule Seeks Term Limits on Top Career Health Officials

In a new regulation by the outgoing Trump administration, leading government scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could face reassignment every five years. While proponents claim the change would "help diversify the leadership ranks by making way for new employees to ascend to leadership roles," opponents say it would be a "convenient way for political leaders to sideline senior career staff members with opposing views and could repel talented scientists considering entering government service."


January 29, 2021

Sports News for the Week of January 29th

By Bennett Liebman

College Students Are Filing Record Number of Lawsuits to Fight Sex Discrimination in Athletics, https://msmagazine.com/2021/01/28/title-ix-college-students-lawsuits-fight-sex-discrimination-women-sports/

Baseball Cares About Character? That's News, https://www.bloombergquint.com/gadfly/baseball-cares-about-character-that-s-news

Fluid Fans Help Manchester City To 'Most Innovative Sports Team' Crown, https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakgarnerpurkis/2021/01/23/fluid-fans-help-manchester-city-to-most-innovative-sports-team-crown/?sh=482a973a4a7b

Buchwald Expands Into Sports With CSE Agency Partnership, https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakgarnerpurkis/2021/01/23/fluid-fans-help-manchester-city-to-most-innovative-sports-team-crown/?sh=482a973a4a7b

CHIEFS AVOID THE CHOPPING BLOCK WHILE REDSKINS AND INDIANS PURSUE REBRAND, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/kansas-city-chiefs-native-american-1234621237/

Americans Uncomfortable Attending Live Sports Until Herd Immunity, https://www.sportico.com/business/commerce/2021/fan-experience-covid-poll-1234621300/

NCAA WIRE FRAUD RECRUITING CONVICTIONS UPHELD AS SCHOOLS DECLARED VICTIMS, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/ncaa-amateurism-federal-

The EU General Court's Ruling On Exclusive Arbitration Agreements In The ISU Case, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/the-eu-general-court-s-ruling-on-exclusive-arbitration-agreements-in-the-isu-case?utm_content=152668522&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-145208608

Access To Justice For Survivors Of (Sexual) Harassment And Abuse In Sports, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/access-to-justice-for-survivors-of-sexual-harassment-and-abuse-in-sports?utm_content=152667666&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-145208608

ANALYSIS: NEW YORK WANTS $500 MILLION A YEAR FROM SPORTS BETTING, SO GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, https://www.legalsportsreport.com/47017/ny-sports-betting-monopoly-analysis/

An Olympic Sport, a Christian College and a Unifying Cause: Gun Rights, https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-olympic-sport-a-christian-college-and-a-unifying-cause-gun-rights-11611794710?mod=e2tws

Another Big Labor Fight Is Brewing in Major League Baseball, https://www.wsj.com/articles/another-big-labor-fight-is-brewing-in-major-league-baseball-11611669678

Naomi Osaka acquires stake in NWSL's North Carolina Courage, https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/naomi-osaka-north-carolina-courage-nwsl-investment?utm_content=152679489&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-28330466

Patriots' Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick dragged into Arkansas suit against ex-coach, https://theathletic.com/2347322/2021/01/26/patriots-bob-kraft-bill-belichick-arkansas-lawsuit-bret-bielema/

2020 SPORTS LAW IN REVIEW: COVID-19, CONCUSSIONS, HAZING, HARASSMENT AND MORE, https://www.onfocus.news/2020-sports-law-in-review-covid-19-concussions-hazing-harassment-and-more/

Sanctioning Footballers For Social Media Posts: PSG & Neymar V UEFA, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/social-media-misuse-in-football-non-aggravated-offences-neymar-s-appeal-to-the-cas

This Is What Is At Stake When We Talk About Transgender Athletes, https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2021/01/26/transgender-athletes-joe-biden-executive-order-military-stephen-lane

Sports data rights in 2021: the outlook, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a15fcbc4-068f-4560-b538-7729c56d25a9

FTC Files First BOTS Act Cases, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ftc-files-first-bots-act-cases-5069039/

WARRIORS ARE LOSING 70% OF REVENUE TO COVID, OWNER SAYS, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2021/warriors-revenue-loss-1234621408/

Theater News for the Week of January 29th

By Bennett Liebman

In Miami, making live theater work during the pandemic, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/in-miami-making-live-theater-work-during-the-pandemic

Benefits of Virtual Programming in Chicago, Survey of 61 Small Arts Organizations in Chicago Reveals Benefits of Virtual Programming, Impact on Plans for 2021, https://www.broadwayworld.com/chicago/article/Survey-of-61-Small-Arts-Organizations-in-Chicago-Reveals-Benefits-of-Virtual-Programming-Impact-on-Plans-for-2021-20210127

New York City's Creative Class Faces Health-Care Crunch, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-citys-creative-class-faces-health-care-crunch-11611669604

Broadway League offers theaters as vaccination sites, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/26/broadway-league-offers-theaters-as-vaccination-sites/

Broadway League Co-Signs Letter Offering Help with COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, https://www.broadway.com/buzz/200334/broadway-league-co-signs-letter-offering-help-with-covid-19-vaccine-distribution/

What counts as theater in a COVID-19 era of streaming?, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-01-25/future-theater-covid-digital-streaming

Cuomo Announces New York Arts Revival, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/new-york-arts-revival-theater-reopening-cuomo-72556/

Leon Levy Foundation Awards $250,000 to ART/New York, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Leon-Levy-Foundation-Awards-250000-to-ARTNew-York-Creates-COVID-Relief-Fund-20210127

UK government working on 'realistic return date', https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/uk-government-working-on-realistic-return-date-and_53229.html

Creativity Drove the Inauguration--It Should Drive the Recovery, Too, https://blog.americansforthearts.org/2021/01/26/creativity-drove-the-inauguration%E2%80%94it-should-drive-the-recovery-too

The Biden-Harris Administration and the Arts, https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/The-Biden-Harris-administration-must-integrate-15903671.php

The Improbable Rise of Mike Nichols, https://forward.com/culture/463022/how-a-penniless-immigrant-named-igor-skyrocketed-to-broadway-and-hollywood/

Stewart/Whitley hires new assistants, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/25/stewart-whitley-hires-new-assistants-as-casting-office-looks-to-broadway-reopening/

IATSE president offers union members to help build vaccination centers, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/01/25/iatse-president-offers-union-members-to-help-build-vaccination-centers/

Actors' Equity President: Union Is "Ready Workforce" To Vaccinate U.S, https://deadline.com/2021/01/actors-equity-covid-19-vaccination-stage-managers-help-kate-shindle-guest-column-1234680942/

In The Midst Of The Pandemic, This Resourceful Broadway Star Discovered A Side Hustle He Adores, https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2152467509867/in-the-midst-of-the-pandemic-this-resourceful-broadway-star-discovered-a-side-hustle-he-adores

Ontario theatres forced to cancel livestreamed shows, while film and television shoots continue, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/theatre-and-performance/article-ontario-theatres-forced-to-cancel-live-streamed-shows-while-film-and/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Nestruck%20on%20Theatre&utm_content=2021-1-26_16&utm_term=Ontario%20theatres%20forced%20to%20cancel%20live-streamed%20shows,%20while%20film%20and%20television%20shoots%20continue&utm_campaign=newsletter&cu_id=el%2F0O6erOqW5qHlmWhoPVgR6m6gNw1iOOyTgTOX6nPY%3D

The vanishing Tony Awards must go on, https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-tony-awards-when-show-must-go-on-20210127-s3bbsuuc4rc7lcsezkm2guydxu-story.html

An Oral History of the Broadway Shutdown, https://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/an-oral-history-of-the-broadway-shutdown-part-1_91847.html

25 Years Since The Birth Of 'Rent' And The Death Of Its Writer, Jonathan Larson, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/25/959666108/13-140-000-minutes-its-been-25-years-since-the-first-performance-of-rent

About January 2021

This page contains all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in January 2021. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2020 is the previous archive.

February 2021 is the next archive.

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