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July 2, 2021

Theater News for the Week of July 2th

By Bennett Liebman

Actors' Equity Releases Statement on Biden's Request of $201M for the National Endowment for the Art, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Actors-Equity-Releases-Statement-on-Bidens-Request-of-201M-for-the-National-Endowment-for-the-Arts-20210701

In Buffalo's Theatre District, watch a play in a shop window, https://www.wivb.com/news/in-buffalos-theatre-district-watch-a-play-in-a-shop-window/

Springsteen Reopens Broadway, Ushering In Theater's Return, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/27/theater/bruce-springsteen-broadway.html

Broadway Workers Coming Back, Bruce Springsteen Is Back on Broadway, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/29/theater/bruce-springsteen-broadway-usher.html

Broadway smash hit 'Hamilton' is set to receive $30 MILLION in federal aid, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9741987/Broadway-smash-hit-Hamilton-set-receive-30-MILLION-federal-aid.html

The $30 Million Founding Father: How 'Hamilton' Got Federal Aid, https://news.yahoo.com/30-million-founding-father-hamilton-115232993.html

As reopening nears, Off-Broadway, Actors' Equity negotiate the terms, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/06/30/as-reopening-nears-off-broadway-actors-equity-negotiate-the-terms/

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to return to Broadway as one-part play, https://ew.com/theater/harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child-one-part-play-broadway-return/

Dr. Ruth trying to get play about her life to Broadway, https://pagesix.com/2021/06/28/dr-ruth-trying-to-get-play-about-her-life-to-broadway/

Every new play on Broadway this fall is by a Black playwright, https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/every-new-play-on-broadway-this-fall-is-by-a-black-playwright-070221

Broadway company manager appointed to Cuomo administration, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/06/28/broadway-company-manager-appointed-to-cuomo-administration/

With gift from David Geffen, Yale's drama school goes tuition-free, https://news.yale.edu/2021/06/30/gift-david-geffen-yales-drama-school-goes-tuition-free

Mellon Announces $1.5 Million 'Generation Now' Partnership, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/06/30/mellon-announces-1-5-million-generation-now-partnership-for-bipoc-playwrights/

Theatre Unbound bows out; NEA adds $80 million in pandemic relief, https://www.minnpost.com/artscape/2021/06/theatre-unbound-bows-out-nea-adds-80-million-in-pandemic-relief/

YouTube Theater to launch this summer in Inglewood, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2021-06-28/youtube-theater-to-launch-this-summer-in-inglewood

Brattle Theatre Executive Director: Outpouring Of Community Support Was Like 'It's A Wonderful Life, https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2021/06/28/brattle-theatre-executive-director-outpouring-of-community-support-was-like-its-a-wonderful-life

SAG-AFTRA's New Stance on Vaccinations + Health Insurance, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/sag-aftra-new-vaccine-guidelines-and-health-plan-73572/?utm_campaign=organic&utm_content=editorial%2Cindustry-news%2Clink%2Cstock-person%2Ctalent&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

4 Young Theatres Seize Opportunity for Growth, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/06/30/4-young-theatres-seize-opportunity-for-growth/

AAPAC Visibility Report Shows Gains for Black Actors But Persistent Funding Disparities, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/06/28/aapac-visibility-report-shows-gains-for-black-actors-but-persistent-funding-disparities/

Chicago Theatre Freelancers Speak Out, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/07/01/overworked-underpaid-unheard-chicago-theatre-freelancers-speak-out/

Generational Divides Emerge Onstage in Germany, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/01/theater/castorf-montag-berlin.html

UK Government Expected to Back Insurance Scheme for Live Entertainment, https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2021/06/30/620672.htm

Andrew Lloyd Webber on Cinderella: 'We're not looking for a fight - we just want culture back!', https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jul/01/andrew-lloyd-webber-on-cinderella-we-just-want-the-arts-back-were-not-looking-for-a-fight

Lack of support for theatre is to discourage dissent, says top playwright, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jun/25/laura-wade-theatre-posh-home-im-darling-government-cuts-arts

Sports News for the Week of July 2th

By Bennett Liebman

Name, Image and Likeness: Tracking early deals, https://theathletic.com/2684358/2021/07/01/name-image-and-likeness-tracking-early-deals-potential-stars-the-weird-interesting-quirky-and-more/?source=emp_shared_article

States Beat NCAA, Feds in Race Towards Student-Athlete Pay, https://promarket.org/2021/06/30/states-beat-ncaa-feds-in-race-towards-student-athlete-pay/

NCAA Revises Student-Athletes' Name, Image, and Likeness Right Rules, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/game-changer-ncaa-revises-rules-governing-student-athletes-name-image-and-likeness

NCAA's Move on Athlete Image Rights Raises Enforcement Questions, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/ip-law/ncaas-move-on-athlete-image-rights-raises-enforcement-questions

Tampa Bay Rays minority owners sue Sternberg, say he secretly negotiated Montrea deal, https://www.tampabay.com/news/st-petersburg/2021/05/24/tampa-bay-rays-minority-owners-say-sternberg-secretly-negotiated-montreal-deal-in-new-lawsuit/

NCAA clears student-athletes to pursue name, image and likeness deal, https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31737039/ncaa-clears-student-athletes-pursue-name-image-likeness-deals

Relevent Sports cites NCAA ruling in new argument against U.S. Soccer, https://theathletic.com/2673559/2021/06/25/ncaa-superme-court-us-soccer-relevent-lawsuit/?source=emp_shared_article

Tokyo 2020: Colombia Loses Five Weightlifting Places For Doping Offenses, http://aroundtherings.com/site/A__103840/Title__Tokyo-2020-Colombia-Loses-Five-Weightlifting-Places-For-Doping-Offenses/292/Articles

Bujold succeeds in appeal to compete at Tokyo, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1109660/bujold-boxing-tokyo-2020-appeal-win

VGK's Bill Foley creates LLC for sports businesses, https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Daily/Closing-Bell/2021/07/01/VGK.aspx

Florida Transgender Athlete Ban Violates Title IX, Lawsuit Says, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/florida-transgender-athlete-ban-violates-title-ix-lawsuit-says

Title IX Adjudication and How JAMS Solutions Can Help, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/podcast-higher-education-title-ix-1362304/

Dawn Staley and Tara VanDerveer ask Congress to help equity fight in NCAA sports, https://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/31735617/in-call-dawn-staley-tara-vanderveer-ask-congress-help-equity-fight-ncaa-sports

Different Title IX Interpretations are Presenting Challenges for Transgender Athletes, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/making-roster-conflicting-title-ix-interpretations-present-challenges-transgendered

Supreme Court is for Student Athletes Regarding NCAA Antitrust Issues, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/supreme-court-finds-ncaa-student-athletes-antitrust-issues

A-Rod Gets Closer To Buying Timberwolves As Lawsuit Dismissed, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/minnesota-timberwolves-arod-1234633393/

Alex Rodriguez Scores Legal Victory In Civil Dispute When Judge Quashes Subpoena, https://www.forbes.com/sites/christianred/2021/06/28/alex-rodriguez-scores-legal-victory-in-civil-dispute-when-judge-quashes-subpoena-directed-at-mlb/?sh=65492fdf5575

Los Angeles Angels Sued For Wrongful Death of Tyler Skaggs, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/los-angeles-angels-sued-1234633197/

NFL Hits Washington Team With $10 Million Fine For Culture Of Sexual Harassment, https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2021/07/01/nfl-hits-washington-team-with-10-million-fine-for-culture-of-sexual-harassment/?sh=7867cefb7764

The NFL promised to investigate Daniel Snyder. It delivered a cover-up, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/07/01/washington-football-team-dan-snyder-sally-jenkins/

Jockey Club to Court: Baffert Alone Bears Responsibility for Banishments, https://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/jockey-club-to-court-baffert-alone-bears-responsibility-for-banishments/

Officials worked to clear Bob Baffert's Justify after Triple Crown run, records show, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/06/29/bob-baffert-justify-triple-crown-failed-drug-test-california/

Trevor Bauer assault allegations must keep him off mound, https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/07/01/trevor-bauer-must-not-start-after-assault-allegations

July 5, 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, Technology/Media, and General News:


Cosby Is Freed After Reversal By State Court

Bill Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction for sexual assault, a dramatic reversal in one of the first high-profile criminal trials of the #MeToo era. The court tossed the comedian's conviction for assaulting Andrea Constand because of a non-prosecution agreement Cosby had with a prior prosecutor. Cosby was released from prison because of the ruling, which bars him from being tried again in the case.


Three Years in Prison for Actress Who Lured Women Into NXIVM Cult Group

"Smallville" TV show actress Allison Mack was sentenced to 3 years in prison for her role in NXIVM, a New York-based cult in which women were branded with its leader's initials and ordered to have sex with him. Mack, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, after pleading guilty in 2019 to racketeering and conspiracy. She is expected to begin serving her sentence on September 29th.


Melendez v. Sirius XM Radio

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. recently won the dismissal of a lawsuit by John Melendez, known by his alter ago Stuttering John, claiming that it illegally exploited his celebrity on channels dedicated to radio and television host Howard Stern. Melendez left Stern's radio show in 2004 and became the announcer for NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno". He sought unspecified damages last August in accusing Sirius of using his name, persona, and voice from old recordings without permission to add listeners and sell advertising. U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan subsequently ruled that federal copyright law preempted Melendez's claims that Sirius violated his publicity rights under California law. He also said that Melendez didn't show that he was injured or that Sirius illegally used him to promote its services, including channels not dedicated to Stern. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.


Spears's Father Calls for Inquiry Into Her Claims

Britney Spears's father, Jamie Spears, filed court documents calling for an investigation into the pop star's explosive testimony about life under her conservatorship. At a June 23rd hearing, Spears offered a startling account of the past 13 years of her life; alleging abuse, forced labor, and lack of autonomy over her body. Spears was put under the conservatorship in 2008 after a series of erratic incidents that ended in a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold. Her father, Jamie, has been in charge of her career and finances ever since. During the hearing, Britney Spears also alleged that she was prescribed medication such as lithium against her will and told that she was not allowed to get married, have another child, or have her IUD removed. In the new documents filed June 29th, lawyers for Jamie requested an evidentiary hearing.


Company Set to Manage Spears Estate Asks to Quit

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge confirmed that she will soon hear a petition filed by Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm, to remove itself as a planned co-conservator of pop icon Britney Spears' financial dealings. The firm asked to leave the arrangement in a request filed in court. The company cited the singer's anguished comments in court late last month as the reason for its departure. Judge Brenda Penny set the date for hearing Bessemer's request for July 14th.



Springsteen is 'Proof of Life' on Broadway

In a city whose cultural soul had been shuttered for more than a year with boarded up windows and empty streets, it was Springsteen who called it back to life, his gruff and guttural rasp the first to echo across a Broadway stage to a paying audience in 471 days. "Springsteen on Broadway" is no traditional Broadway production -- no mesmerizing choreographed musical numbers, no enchanted sets, no multi-page bios of cast members in the Playbill. The show consists of a man alone onstage: his ensemble a microphone, a harmonica, a piano and 6 steel strings stretched across a select slab of spruce wood. "I am here tonight to provide proof of life," Springsteen called out early on. It was a line from the monologue of his original show -- which ran for 236 performances, in 2017 and 2018 -- and now it carried extra weight. The 15 months that Broadway had been shuttered was its longest silence in history.


Lots of Benjamins for 'Hamilton': Musical Qualifies for Pandemic Relief

The megahit had 5 separate productions around the nation, and with each applying for $10 million in pandemic relief to help get back onstage, the tally could reach $50 million. "Hamilton" is the biggest Broadway hit in years, and until the coronavirus pandemic shuttered all of its productions, it was making money: It has played to full houses since it opened in 2015, and on Broadway it has been seen by 2.6 million people and grossed $650 million. The production is getting the funds because before the pandemic, it had 5 separately incorporated productions running in the U.S. -- one on Broadway and 4 on tour -- and, under the rules set for the government's Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which provides pandemic relief for the culture sector and live-event businesses, each was eligible for $10 million to help make up for lost revenue. The practice of separately incorporating touring productions is standard in the commercial theater business. "Hamilton" stands to get the most money because it had the most touring productions.


Strong Partner Lifts New York Dance

The Dance Theater of Harlem was one of 286 "historically underfunded and overlooked" organizations around the country that were included in the latest $2.74 billion in donations from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, a novelist and the former wife of Jeff Bezos, and her husband, Dan Jewett. This round included arts organizations, and in New York City, that meant aid for groups including El Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Ballet Hispanico, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.


Yale Drama Can Now Go Tuition-Free

Some 200 students per year will now attend the prestigious Yale School of Drama without paying tuition, thanks to the generosity of David Geffen. The school has announced that the billionaire entertainment mogul is giving it $150 million, which it claims is the largest gift in the history of American theater. The graduate school offers programs in acting, design, directing, and playwriting. It will now rename itself the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University. The school has said that, starting in August, it would eliminate tuition for all returning and future students in its masters, doctoral, and certificate programs. Tuition at the school had been $32,800 per year. James Bundy, the drama school dean, said that he hoped that the move would lessen the impact of student debt on graduates' career choices. The drama school is home to the Yale Repertory Theater, whose alumni include Meryl Streep, Lynn Nottage, and Lupita Nyong'o.


Peering Into the Paint

High-tech scanning technologies used by geologists, planetary scientists, drug companies, and the military are revealing secrets of how artists created their masterpieces. Art experts, aided by a scientist who used to design cameras for reconnaissance planes, are increasingly taking advantage of a technique that is also used to study Mars to help answer questions of authenticity and attribution. The pandemic has turned out the be a boon for the science of art. When the National Gallery and other museums closed temporarily, venerated paintings could be taken down for study without incurring the wrath of disappointed visitors.


House Votes to Remove Capitol's Confederate Statutes

On June 29th, the House of Representatives voted to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol building. The H.R. 3005 Bill passed by a vote of 285-120. Last July, a similar bill passed through the House, but not the Senate, which had a GOP majority at the time. The Bill stipulates that the Capitol's Archie Brett Blaton identify Confederate statues. If this Bill were to pass in the Senate, the statues would be removed from the U.S. Capitol building and returned to the states who originally lent them. However, the Bill does specify that a bust of former Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, the writer of the 1857 Dred Scott ruling that denied Black American citizenship, be replaced with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice. While the Bill focuses on the removal of Confederate figures, it also states that any work depicting persons "who served voluntarily with [...] the military forces or government of a state while it was in rebellion against the United States" will also be taken down. Additionally, the Bill also asks that statues of Charles Brantley Aycock, John Caldwell Calhoun, and James Paul Clarke -- all prominent white supremacists who served in the U.S. government -- be removed, even though they weren't Confederate figures.


State-Approved Music Fills Lineup of Events

A wave of nationalistic music, theater, and dance is sweeping China, part of Beijing's efforts to improve the party's image and strengthen political loyalty and ensure that its Centennial is met with pomp and fanfare. The celebrations are part of efforts by Xi Jinping, China's authoritarian leader, to make the party omnipresent in people's lives and to strengthen political loyalty among artists. Xi, who has presided over a broad crackdown on free expression in China since rising to power nearly a decade ago, has said that artists should serve the cause of socialism rather than become "slaves" of the market. In honor of the party's Centennial, Xi's government has announced plans for performances of 300 operas, ballets, plays, musical compositions, and other works.


Fashion Retailers Face Inquiry Over Suspected Ties to Forced Labor in China

French prosecutors are investigating whether household names like Zara, Uniqlo, and Skechers profited from exploiting Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China - concealed "crimes against humanity." The inquiry follows an April lawsuit filed against the same 4 companies by human rights groups and a Uyghur woman who said that she had been imprisoned in Xinjiang.


Stolen Picasso and Mondrian Works Found in Greece

Stolen Picasso and Mondrian paintings have been found stashed in a ravine in Greece. Ending a long-running mystery, a construction worker guided the police to the hiding place after admitting that he had taken the works in a drawing one-man raid on the National Gallery in Athens in 2012.



A Payday Decades in the Making Begins a New Era for College Athletes

A new era in college sports begins this week. Following Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's executive order allowing athletes to be compensated for the use of their names, images, and likenesses (NIL), at least 7 states will put into effect NIL laws. The law allows athletes to make money for things like endorsement deals, signing autographs, and social media content. That was prohibited under NCAA rules, but now, the organization is in the process of reforming those rules. This is especially so after the recent Supreme Court decision weakened the NCAA's long held, but increasingly outdated, notion of amateurism in college sports.


Washington is Fined $10 Million, and Snyder Temporarily Cedes Control

The Washington Football Team has been fined $10 million as a result of the league's investigation into the team's workplace culture. This comes based on the outcome of the review of the franchise, which was led by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson. All $10 million of the fine will be used one "support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics," according to a league statement. In addition to the organization being fined, Dan Synder will also "temporarily remove himself from day-to-day business operations of the club, ceding that control to his wife and new co-chief executive, Tanya Synder." All senior executives, including both of the Synders, will now take part in training in workplace conduct, covering topics such as bullying, diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ+ issues, and other issues.


U.S. Sprinter Faces Uncertain Path After Failing Drug Test

American athlete and sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson may be suspended from the Tokyo Olympic Games after failing a drug test over cannabis. The Olympics in Tokyo are set to begin on July 23rd and run until August 8th. Richardson tested positive for a prohibited substance, failing the test for only cannabis. American sprinters Jenna Prandini, who placed fourth, and Gabby Thomas, who finished fifth, were notified that they have been moved up in rotation and will be competing and alternate for the Olympics. Richardson lost her mother one month prior to the Olympic Trials, and said that cannabis was her way of coping with the grief. The minimum 30-day suspension would disqualify Richardson from the 100 meter dash, but the 30 days would be up in time for her to compete in the 4X100 meter relay in the Olympics. Her 10.86 time in the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 19th has been provisionally disqualified.


"Excommunicated" After Abortion and Missed Doping Test

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that it has upheld the 5-year ban levied against American hurdler Brianna McNeal for violating anti-doping rules, which will bar her from competing in the Tokyo Olympics and could effectively end her career. According to the details of the case, McNeal missed a doping test in January 2020 after having an abortion, then changed the date of the procedure on medical forms because she mistakenly thought that her doctor had listed the wrong date. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) charged McNeal, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles, with tampering. In an April hearing, it argued that she had falsified the doctor's notes with an intent to deceive anti-doping officials and avoid being penalized for missing the test. McNeal contended that she was depressed and disoriented after the procedure and made an honest mistake. The disciplinary panel sided with the AIU in the aftermath of the April hearing and provisionally suspended McNeal in June for 5 years. She was allowed to compete at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon late last month while her appeal with CAS was pending and finished second in the 100-meter hurdles to qualify for Tokyo. McNeal will now be replaced on Team USA by Gabbi Cunningham, the fourth-place finisher. McNeal's ban will also preclude her from competing at the Paris Olympics in 2024.


The Future of Gaming Could Be on the Cloud

Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are ramping up offerings on a platform that lets people enjoy high-quality games on any device. Cloud gaming is a nascent technology that could reshape how people play games. Facebook announced that it had expanded the reach of its cloud gaming platform, which was released last fall, to cover 98% of the mainland U.S. In addition, Microsoft made its cloud gaming service available on more devices. Further, Amazon broadened access to its burgeoning cloud service, giving Prime members a free trial version during its Prime Day last month. It has been a busy period for the small but growing cloud gaming industry, which is expected to surpass $1 billion in revenue and 23 million paying customers by the end of this year, according to Newzoo a gaming analytics firm. Revenue is projected to grow more than $5 billion by 2023 as the technology improves.


Prosecutors Still Considering Charges for Fan Who Caused Accident

During State 1 of the Tour de France, a fan caused a huge crash that took out the majority of the peloton. Tour de France organizers have said they will sue the spectator who caused the massive pileup. A woman held up a banner while standing on the edge of the road and was looking straight at the television motorbike cameras, with her back turned on the speeding peloton. German rider Tony Martin of Jumbo Visma brushed past her and was knocked off balance near the head of the peloton, and when he fell it caused a horrifying domino effect, creating a tangle of bikes and bodies.


Myanmar or Japan? An Athlete Makes a Daring Bid For a New Life

After defying Myanmar's military rulers at a soccer match, Ko Pyae Lyan Aung decided to seek asylum, but he was still being watched. While Aung's case has riveted Japan and put pressure on the government, his fate may ultimately hinge on 2 of the most politically sensitive issues in the country today: Its hostile immigration system and its response to the Myanmar coup. Few countries are less hospitable to refugees than Japan, which settled just 47 asylum seekers last year, less than 1% of applicants. In recent months, the immigration system has become a political battlefield after the deat of an emaciated Sri Lankan migrant in a detention cell. At the same time, the government has been under intense pressure at home and abroad to do more to dissuade Myanmar's military as it has ruthlessly crushed protests against its February 1st coup.



Judge Dismisses Antitrust Cases Against Facebook

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the lawsuits were "legally insufficient" and didn't provide enough evidence to prove that Facebook was a monopoly. The ruling dismisses the complaint but not the case, meaning that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could refile another complaint.


Court Wins for Facebook Put Pressure on Congress

After a federal judge threw out state and federal competition cases against Facebook, calls grew for lawmakers to quickly change century-old monopoly laws. Technology giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple, which dominate e-commerce, social networks, online advertising, and search, have risen in ways unforeseen by the laws. In recent decades, the courts have also interpreted the rules more narrowly. The dismissal renewed questions about whether the laws were suited to taking on tech power. The decisions underlined how cautious and conservative courts could slow an increasingly aggressive push by lawmakers, regulators, and the White House to restrain the tech companies, fueling calls for Congress to revamp the rules and provide regulators with more legal tools to take on the tech firms.


Two Justices Say They Support Reassessment of Libel Case

Two justices called for the Supreme Court to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 ruling interpreting the First Amendment to make it hard for public officials to prevail in libel suits. One of them, Justice Thomas, repeated views he had expressed in a 2019 opinion. The other, Justice Gorsuch, offered fresh support for the view that the Sullivan decision ruling warranted a reassessment. They made their comments in dissents from the Court's decision not to take up a libel case brough by the son of a former prime minister of Albania.


Fox News Settles Case with Rights Agency

Fox News has agreed to pay a record $1 million to settle an investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights into what a panel called a "culture of pervasive sexual harassment and retaliation at the network."


Trustees at North Carolina Grant Tenure to Journalist, Ending Weekslong Dispute

Nikole Hannah-Jones was granted tenure by the UNC-Capel Hill Board of Trustees, ending a weeks-long controversy that had erupted on the North Carolina campus and online. Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, is set to begin her position as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism on July 1st. In April, Hannah-Jones was offered the position on a 5-year teaching contract, spurring outrage form supporters amid speculation the board received pressure from conservatives not to grant her tenure. Knight chairs historically have been hired with tenure.


Amazon Seeks Recusal of New FTC Chair

Amazon on Wednesday filed a motion seeking to recuse FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan from antitrust investigations into the company. Khan was sworn in as chair of the FTC last month. She made a splash in antitrust circles with her 2017 Yale Law Journal article, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox". Amazon is pressing for her recusal form ongoing antitrust probes of the e-commerce giant, citing her past criticisms of the company's power. In a 25-page motion, they argued that Khan lacks impartiality in antitrust investigations into Amazon.


Fighting Bias Creep in Artificial Intelligence Is a Magnet for Start-Ups

The problem of bias in artificial intelligence (AI) is facing increasing scrutiny from regulators and is a growing business for start-ups and tech stalwarts. In April, the FTC warned against the sale of AI systems that were racially biased or could prevent individuals form reaching employment, housing, insurance or other benefits. A week later, the European Union unveiled draft regulations that could punish companies for offering such technology. It is unclear how regulators might police bias. Many in the tech industry believe that businesses must start preparing for a crackdown. Over the past several years, studies have shown that facial recognition services, health care systems, and even talking digital assistants can be biased against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.


Pandemic Lockdowns Fueled Predators Worldwide, Especially Online, U.S. Says

The number of cases of online sex exploitation, including of children, appeared to skyrocket last year as people spent more time on computers. The State Department released a report that assessed cases of reported human trafficking and exploitation between April 2020 and March 2021. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken warned that some countries were not doing enough to stop human trafficking. Victimization grew as law enforcement and other resources were diverted to managing public health measures at the height of the pandemic. The report found that predators increasingly recruited and groomed children - who were spending more time online, often without supervision - for sex trafficking and sexually explicit material.


Iran's Disinformation Targets Israel

According to Israeli disinformation researchers, an Iranian disinformation campaign is active. Over several months, Iranian agents had infiltrated small WhatsApp groups, Telegram channels and messaging apps that Israeli activists used for intimate discussion among dozens to thousands of people. Once there, the agents shared polarizing images and text, and began to send direct messages to people within the groups. Their goal, most likely, was simply to cause trouble, and to make people in these otherwise trusting online communities wary of one another. The first-of-its-kind discovery of the Iranian campaign by FakeReporter, an Israeli disinformation watchdog group, offers insight into how countries have miniaturized their disinformation campaigns in an effort to stay under the radar of tech companies that have become more aggressive in rooting them out.


Morocco Hunger Strike Bares Journalists' Peril

For years, Soulaimane Raissouni, a Moroccan newspaper editor, didn't shy away from reporting on some of the most sensitive issues in the North African kingdom, including antigovernment protests that erupted in 2011 and 2016. However, his criticism of how the authorities have handled the pandemic appeared to go too far. A little over a year ago, he was arrested at his home after accusations of a sexual assault - allegations that he says are false and trumped up to intimidate him. Imprisoned ever since, he launched a hunger strike almost 3 months ago in protest. On June 10th, he appeared in court, emaciated and unable to walk without assistance. Raissouni is one of at least 10 Moroccan journalists who have been jailed in recent years, most of them accused of sex crimes and other acts deemed illegal in Morocco, including certain forms of abortion. Rights groups say that the cases are being pursued by authorities whose true aim is to silence the country's small cadre of independent journalist with false and politically motivated accusations.


General News

Supreme Court Acts Cautiously in Cases on Transgender Rights and Police

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a transgender youth's victory in a case on access to high school bathrooms and revived a lawsuit from the parents of a man who had died in police custody. Both moves drew opposition from some of the Court's most conservative members. The Court's default mode this term has often appeared to be caution, frustrating conservatives who had hoped that its 6-Justice majority of Republican appointees would act more boldly.


Justices Reject Appeal By Florist Who Declined to Serve Gay Couple for Wedding

The Justices let stand a gay couple's victory against a florist who said that her religious beliefs did not allow her to create floral arrangements for same-sex weddings. The move left open a a question the Court last considered in 2018, when a similar dispute between a Colorado baker and a gay couple failed to yield a definitive ruling. As is its custom, the Court did not give reasons for declining to hear the case, which social conservatives had hoped the Justices would use to make a clearer statement favoring religious beliefs over gay rights.


Court Agrees to Hear Case on School Aid and Religion

The case, from Maine, will address questions left open in a decision last year requiring Montana to let religious schools take part in a scholarship program. The case, Carson v. Makin, No. 20-1088, is broadly similar to one from Montana decided by the Court last year. In that case, the Court ruled that states must allow religious schools to participate in programs that provide scholarships to students attending private schools.


Justices Back Pipeline Project's Ability to seize Land Owned by New Jersey

By a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court said that the federal government could delegate its power to condemn state property to a private company. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority in the case, said that there was a long history of eminent domain actions against the state property rooted in federal power. He went on to say that the government was entitled to delegate its power of eminent domain to private parties even where state property is at issue. Justices Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh joined the Chief Justice's majority opinion. Under the Natural Gas Act, a federal law, the federal government can authorize private companies to use its eminent domain power in at least some circumstances.


Supreme Court Lets Eviction Moratorium Stay in Place

The Supreme Court refused to lift a moratorium on evictions that had been imposed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Kavanaugh in the majority. The Court gave no reasons for its ruling, which is typical when it acts on emergency applications.


Supreme Court Says California Can't Make Charities Disclose Donors

The Supreme Court struck down a California rule requiring nonprofits to disclose the names and addresses of their largest donors. Two conservative nonprofits had challenged the requirement as unconstitutional. The 6-3 decision, which divided the 9 justices along ideological lines, reversed a 2018 appeals court ruling. The rule had forced nonprofits to give the state their so-called Schedule B forms, which include the personal information of all donors worldwide who had contributed more than $5,000 in a given tax year. The state had argued that it needed the information to help it police misconduct by charities.


Arizona Ruling Raises Bar for Voter Law Challenges

Democrats and voting rights groups say that they can no longer count on the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to serve as a backstop for preventing racially discriminatory voting restrictions. The 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court that upheld voting restrictions in Arizona has effectively left voting rights advocates with a higher bar for brining federal cases under the Voting Rights Act: proving discriminatory intent.


An Unpredictable Court Term Ends With a Turn to the Right

The chief justice's power waned, and the 3 Trump justices grew more influential. The term ended with an exclamation point, with the Court imposing new limits on the Voting Rights Act. There were 2 very different Supreme Courts in the term that just ended. For much of the last 9 months, the Court seemed to have defied predictions that the newly expanded conservative majority of 6 Republican appointees would regularly steamroll their 3 liberal colleagues. Rather than issuing polarized decisions split along ideological lines, the Court was fluid and unpredictable. There was no longer a single swing justice whose vote would often decide close cases. Instead, the center of the Court came to include 4 conservative justices, who, in various combinations occasionally joined the Court's 3-member liberal wing to form majorities in divided cases.


House Passes $715 Billion Bill to Rebuild Infrastructure

The House of Representatives voted to approve a $715 billion transportation and water infrastructure bill focused on improving and repairing roads, bridges, transit, and rail, and ensuring clean drinking water. The vote was 221-201, with 2 Republicans voting with Democrats in favor. The bill, known as the INVSEST in America Act, will deliver on key priorities in President Biden's American Jobs Plan, and can be used to negotiate with the Senate and the White house to determine what specific policy proposals can be included as part of the recently announced bipartisan infrastructure framework.


U.S. Departs Last Afghanistan Base, Effectively Ending 20 Years of War

With little fanfare, Bagram Air Base - once the military's nerve center - was handed over to the Afghans, after nearly 20 years of waging war from the hub, effectively ending major U.S. military operations in the country. The final withdrawal occurred in an atmosphere of grave concern over the Afghan security forces' ability to hold off Taliban advances across the country. The American exit was completed quickly enough that some looters managed to get into the base before being arrested. The quiet leave-taking, months ahead of Biden's announced September 11th departure, highlights Washington's efforts to signal 2 different messages: one to the U.S. public that its longest foreign war is ending, and another to the Afghan government that the U.S. is not abandoning the country in the middle of a Taliban offensive and would retain some ability to conduct airstrikes, if need be.


Juul Will Settle First Vaping Suit For $40Million

North Carolina has become the first U.S. state to hold Juul Labs accountable for what state officials say was the e-cigarette maker's role in encouraging vaping among young people. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a settlement with Juul under which the company will pay $40 million and make changes to its business practices. The lawsuit, originally filed in May of 2019, alleged that Juul unlawfully marketed and sold its products, including sleek vaping devices and sweet and fruit-flavored pods, to children.


Boy Scouts Agree to Settle Abuse Case for $850 Million

Under an agreement one lawyer described as "the tip of the iceberg", the organization would pay tens of thousands of people who said they had been sexually abused over several decades. The legal costs associated with the allegations led the Boy Scouts organization to file for bankruptcy. They reached an $850 million settlement agreement.


House Opens January 6th Investigation Over GOP Opposition

In a largely party-line vote, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved legislation to create a select committee to launch a new inquiry into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. With a larger share of Republicans voting against the plan, it makes the latest turn in a partisan fight to investigate the riot.


Internal Revenue Service's Work on Returns Has Backlog of 35 Million

A growing backlog of unprocessed tax returns now stands at 35 million, creating ongoing refund delays for millions of taxpayers, the National Taxpayer Advocate said in a recent report. That represents an increase in the Internal Revenue Sevice's (IRS's) backlog of unprocessed returns from May, when it was holding 31 million returns. Some taxpayers have been waiting months for their refunds and have been unable to learn when their tax returns might process or when they can expect to receive their refunds. As the typical refund stands at more than $2,800 per taxpayer, a delay could cause financial hardship, especially for the many households that rely on their refunds to pay bills. The backlog comes after a "perfect storm" that created "perhaps the most challenging filing season taxpayers, tax professionals and the IRS have ever experienced." The pandemic caused the IRS to shut down some of its operations, while it was also given more responsibility from Congress through several new tax initiatives, such as the 3 rounds of stimulus checks that were distributed by the tax agency.


U.S. to Create New Marker For Passports of Nonbinary

The State Department has announced that it will add another option on passports for applicants who are non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming. Passport applicants can now select their own gender markers between "male" and "female", which means that transgender travelers will no longer have to provide medical certification if their gender identities doesn't match the markers on their birth certificate or other documents. The changes were immediately celebrated by LGBTQ groups and other organizations across the country.


Panel Indicts Top Executive Under Trump

Allen H. Weisselberg, a loyal Trump employee for decades, now faces charges and a test of his loyalty. The Trump Organization executive is coming under increasing pressure to turn on the family. In nearly a half-century of service to Trump's family businesses, Weisselberg, 73, has survived -- and thrived -- by anticipating and carrying out his boss's dictates in a zealous mission to protect the bottom line. Now that fealty and the rewards he and his family reaped from it have landed him in serious legal jeopardy. He has been indicted in an ongoing investigation of Trump and Trump's company by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.


U.S. Exposes Details of Russian Hacking Efforts

Two weeks after President Biden met President Putin of Russia and demanded that the latter rein in ransomware attacks on U.S. targets, American and British intelligence agencies exposed the details of what they called a global effort by Russia's military intelligence organization to spy on government organizations, defense contractors, universities, and media companies.


Heat Wave in Northwest Like Nothing Seen Before

The heat wave baking the U.S. Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Canada is of an intensity never recorded by modern humans. Portland, Oregon has already broken its all-time record hottest temperature at 108 degrees and the peak of the heat wave has not yet even been reached. These are extremely dangerous numbers, especially in a region not used to such heat and where many don't have air conditioning. The heat is being caused by a combination of a significant atmospheric blocking pattern on top of a human-caused climate changed world where baseline temperatures are already a couple to a few degrees higher than nature intended.


House Panel Seeks Testimony From Oil and Gas Giants on Climate Disinformation

The chairman of a House subcommittee is demanding that executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell, Chevron, and other major oil and gas companies testify before Congress about the industry's decades-long effort to wage disinformation campaigns around climate change. The move comes a day after a secretive video recording was made public in which a senior Exxon lobbyist said that the energy giant had fought climate science through "shadow groups" and had targeted influential senators in an effort to weaken President Biden's climate agenda.


Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans?

Across the nation, the wealthier and whiter the neighborhood, the greener is the view. Discriminatory practices still shape our cities and, along with income inequality, define who can enjoy a healthy tree canopy and who is surrounded by concrete. Access to clean air and outdoor activities seems like a basic right, but in cities across the country, lower-income communities and communities of color more often live in neighborhoods with a higher share of concrete surfaces, such as roads, buildings, and parking lots, and a very limited number of trees and parks.


Arctic's 'Last ice Area' Is Not Resistant to Global Warming

The region, which could provide a last refuge for polar bears and other Arctic wildlife that depends on ice, is not as stable as previously thought, according to a new study. The findings have potentially troubling implications for the Wandel Sea and nearby waters north of Canada, a region often referred to as the "last ice area".


In Report, United Nations Calls for Countries to Root Out Racism Against People of African Descent

The United Nations's human rights chief, in a landmark report launched after the killing of George Floyd in the U.S., is urging countries worldwide to do more to help end discrimination, violence, and systemic racism against people of African descent and "make amends" to them -- including through reparations. The report offers a sweeping look at the roots of centuries of mistreatment faced by Africa and people of African descent, notably from the transatlantic slave trade. It seeks a "transformative" approach to address its continued impact today.


Countries Back Minimum Tax on Companies

Most of the countries negotiating a global overhaul of cross border taxation of multinationals have backed plans for new rules on where companies are taxed and a tax rate of at least 15%. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which hosted the talks, said a global minimum corporate income tax of at least 15% could yield around $150 billion in additional global tax revenues annually. It said that 130 countries, representing more than 90% of global GDP, had backed the agreement at the talks. EU members Ireland, Hungary, and Estonia did not sign the deal. The deal is to be finalized by October and take effect in 2023.


Cyberattack Threatens Hundreds of Businesses

Hundreds of businesses around the world, including one of Sweden's largest grocery chains, grappled with potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities after a software provider that provides services to more than 40,000 organizations, Kaseya, said it had been the victim of a "sophisticated cyberattack". Security researchers said the attack may have been carried out by REvil, a Russian cybercriminal group that the FBI has said was behind the hacking of the world's largest meat processor, JBS, in May.



Delta Variant Has Covid Cases on the Rise

The delta variant of the novel coronavirus is quickly spreading globally, leading to lockdowns in some countries that previously had few reported COVID-19 cases. This variant first identified in India is said to be even more contagious than the British variant (now known as alpha). The delta variant comprises roughly 25% of new infections in the U.S. and has been found in more than 80 countries since it was first detected.


Three Studies, One Verdict: Vaccines Point the Way Out of the Pandemic

New scientific research underscores the effectiveness of vaccines and their versatility in the fight against the coronavirus. Three scientific studies offered fresh evidence that widely used vaccines will continue to protect people against the coronavirus for long periods, possibly years, and can be adapted to fortify the immune system still further if needed. Most people immunized with the mRNA vaccines may not need boosters, one study found, so long as the virus and its variants do not evolve much beyond their current forms -- which is not guaranteed. Mix-and-match vaccination shows promise, a second study found, and booster shots of one widely used vaccine, if they are required, greatly enhance immunity, according to a third report. Scientists had worried that the immunity conferred by vaccines might quickly wane or that they might somehow be outrun by a rapidly evolving virus. Together, the findings renew optimism that the tools needed to end the pandemic are already at hand, despite the rise of contagious new variants now setting off surges around the globe.


July 8, 2021

Sports Law Roundup on the NCAA and Name, Image, and Likeness Rights

By Peter Colin
A version of this blog was originally published by Thomson Reuters Legal Current

College sports and the legal system seem to be inexorably linked this summer as substantive legal changes reform how student-athletes may profit off their rights of publicity.

The Supreme Court, Congress, and state governments have all recently turned attention to NCAA amateurism rules. July 1st saw several states allow athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, rights usually associated with intellectual property known as rights of publicity or personality rights. The Senate held two hearings as the NCAA lobbies Congress to enact a federal NIL statute that preempts the emerging patchwork of different state NIL laws. Separately, on June 21st, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled (https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/us-supreme-court-rejects-ncaa-defense-athlete-compensation-limits-2021-06-21/) in Alston v. NCAA (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20-512_gfbh.pdf) that the NCAA's strict caps on "non-cash education-related benefits" (think scholarships or technology) violated antitrust laws, opening up financial opportunities previously unavailable to student-athletes compared to other collegians.

This is a major paradigm shift. Student athletes can now monetize NIL through hosting camps, teaching private lessons, releasing their own apparel or merchandise (including NFTs), signing autographs, and appearing in commercials, sponsored social media content, podcasts, streams, and on platforms like Twitch, Cameo, and Patreon. These opportunities extend beyond big-time college football and men's basketball; Louisiana State University (LSU) gymnast Olivia Dunne (https://twitter.com/FOS/status/1410666476101586945) and Nebraska volleyball player Lexi Sun (https://twitter.com/GBRWarDaddyUp/status/1410672159693942788) were among the first athletes to strike notable NIL deals, thanks in part to their large social media followings. Hercy Miller (son of Master P) signed a $2 million deal with Web Apps America (https://twitter.com/FOS/status/1410965448385089541); he plays basketball at Tennessee State University, which last made the NCAA Tournament in 1994. This new frontier of NIL rights is the result of a lengthy tension between the NCAA's treatment under antitrust laws and the free-market realities of college sports and the massive money generated.


Before July 1st, NCAA rules forbade student-athletes from receiving compensation for such participation, claiming that their amateur status was a unique and defining attribute of college sports. This applied to athletes in all university sports programs besides football or men's basketball, the two sports that generate the most revenue in ticket sales and broadcasting rights. The NCAA interpreted these rules broadly to bar student-athletes from endorsements or economic opportunities otherwise available due to a student's notoriety or success in college athletics. Other university students were not broadly subject to any similar amateurism prohibitions: for example, college musicians enrolled in a university orchestra can be paid to perform at a nightclub or local church, and college journalists are not forbidden to freelance with a newspaper. Yet the NCAA expressly forbade a college quarterback from earning money hosting a football camp or endorsing a local sports retailer. These constraints included social media opportunities for student-athletes to become influencers posting sponsored content. These prohibitions had prompted some high-profile high school athletes to forego college and compete overseas after graduation or in pre-professional leagues (like the NBA G-League or Overtime Elite (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/04/sports/basketball/overtime-league-high-school-pay.html)) before starting professional careers in the United States.

The NCAA claims that its amateurism rules avoid unseemly pay-to-play activities and preserve a level playing field among university athletic programs (https://signon.thomsonreuters.com/?productid=CBT&lr=0&culture=en-US&returnto=https%3a%2f%2f1.next.westlaw.com%2fCosi%2fSignOn%3fredirectTo%3d%252fDocument%252fI5a6e43615a2f11dbbd2dfa5ce1d08a25%252fView%252fFullText.html%253fnavigationPath%253dSearch%25252fv1%25252fresults%25252fnavigation%25252fi0ad740110000017a7daee78c4ca567d9%25253fppcid%25253d1ee853b819044de1b9d8b033a0056c51%252526Nav%25253dANALYTICAL%252526fragmentIdentifier%25253dI5a6e43615a2f11dbbd2dfa5ce1d08a25%252526parentRank%25253d0%252526startIndex%25253d1%252526contextData%25253d%25252528sc.Search%25252529%252526transitionType%25253dSearchItem%2526listSource%253dSearch%2526listPageSource%253d4acee9de917b409afced3c0e807435bd%2526list%253dANALYTICAL%2526rank%253d1%2526sessionScopeId%253de79a768232ca3ffd7889b93cc082b69b190167e36d1dc4109c480ef8710ccf2b%2526ppcid%253d1ee853b819044de1b9d8b033a0056c51%2526originationContext%253dSmart%252bAnswer%2526transitionType%253dSearchItem%2526contextData%253d(sc.Search)%2526firstPage%253dtrue&tracetoken=0708210922520ioFb2hDQwEI1it2gTWgGVIQH18-kX48kILaru01h7yF_bP_TmUiZPO5bYTx9Fambb5WzZr5kkJOJ7mMBO4YAl27rO54MHGUWfR_qujQ1s2FXG5Ysv9x2p2So4h9pZVNUXF06b7-UCZahylx1HGDT_W8SCHa59eKAgtls9hMX3nEoOL5V4ViZJK8FJMU8Q8pJ7vaSyc3576m2gLGs8dadIbJi-fkZtH5RQS21ugrMvIGje8jYB4zZsjgSeeF7Qia9tri5B0mJIGnZ3zAktSDqdA2w5MLIYaLN4pxkyBpsO5mTNGi1-9GoENdoKCmYSPBAaI5t2v1VlkGwtJakM91uKfgC4R7I5Xa9QL31sTU0ldn0sx9QCLl0DsjVsqjC5_wZ&bhcp=1). It vigorously enforces these rules against circumstances of "improper benefits" or "recruiting inducements" paid to students by coaches or boosters. Sports and legal experts have detailed the inconsistencies of the NCAA's amateurism framework and enforcement efforts (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2226541). The NCAA created an Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) after criticism of the NCAA's role in resolving disputes involving its rules and its objectivity punishing schools in relation to revenue they bring in NCAA participation (https://iarpcc.org/). No IARP rulings have been issued to date, but several high profile cases have been referred to the IARP, including an improper benefits case against the University of Memphis and cases related to the FBI's probe into college basketball impacting programs at LSU, Arizona, and Kansas (https://www.legalcurrent.com/law-and-basketball-what-will-happen-with-the-new-review-process-for-ncaa-infractions/ and https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/college-basketball-podcast-a-discussion-about-the-fbis-investigation-into-the-sport/). Practically all of these cases involve issues of black-market athlete compensation from boosters or corporations inducing players to attend certain universities (https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/college-basketball-is-broken-and-heres-the-only-way-the-ncaa-can-fix-the-sport/). These and other related controversies impinge on current NBA stars like Deandre Ayton (https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/arizonas-sean-miller-caught-on-wiretap-discussing-paying-deandre-ayton-report-says/), James Wiseman (https://www.legalcurrent.com/memphis-wiseman-and-the-ncaa-taking-stock-of-the-latest-in-college-basketball-litigation/), and Zion Williamson (https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/29158590/zion-williamson-asked-admit-parents-received-money-gifts-duke-nike-adidas). Some sports commentators argue such "dirty money" would disappear if the NCAA allowed "clean money" athlete compensation (https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/college-basketball-podcast-a-discussion-about-the-fbis-investigation-into-the-sport/).

Athlete compensation prohibitions have been scrutinized against the lucrative broadcast rights packages signed by the NCAA and its Division 1 athletic conferences, like the SEC and the Big Ten (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-basketball-ncaa-cbsturner/ncaa-signs-10-8-billion-basketball-tourney-tv-deal-idUSTRE63L4FP20100422). These packages have exacerbated a divide between the football "Power 5" conferences and other NCAA conferences and schools (https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Journal/Issues/2020/08/17/Colleges/Revenue.aspx). The difference in media rights payouts for Power 5 schools versus others can be tens of millions of dollars, with drastic payout disparities between, say, the University of Alabama compared to the University of Alabama-Birmingham. These media revenues have funded coach salaries, school facilities, and the NCAA itself (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2020/12/10/sec-contract-abc-espn-gives-league-more-resources-dominate/3884360001/), but none goes to athletes participating in NCAA sports (https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2021/05/21/why-college-athletes-in-america-are-fighting-to-get-paid). For clarity, new NIL laws do not give athletes any revenues from these media rights packages.


In NCAA v. the Board of Regents (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/468/85/), where the NCAA's football television plan violated antitrust laws, the Supreme Court held that the NCAA's eligibility rules, including that "athletes must not be paid", were procompetitive. Challenges to these rules ensued, most notably from Jeremy Bloom, an Olympian and professional World Cup skiing champion who was offered various endorsement deals and paid entertainment opportunities (including a chance to host a show on Nickelodeon). Bloom then enrolled at the University of Colorado (CU) and became concerned his NIL opportunities might interfere with his eligibility to compete in intercollegiate football. On Bloom's behalf, CU first requested waivers of NCAA rules (which were denied), and Bloom discontinued his endorsement, modeling, and media activities to play football for CU during the 2002 fall season. Bloom unsuccessfully sued the NCAA, asserting that his endorsement, modeling, and media activities were necessary to support his professional skiing career, something which the NCAA rules permitted (Bloom tweeted in advance of NIL laws enaction (https://twitter.com/JeremyBloom11) other cases like University of Central Florida football kicker Donald De La Haye who was declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA for having a YouTube channel, Aaron Adair who the NCAA determined was ineligible to play for the University of Oklahoma baseball team because he wrote a book about surviving brain cancer, and Brittany Collens, whose University of Massachusetts tennis career was erased by the NCAA because of a $252 accounting error).

Comparatively, it was the NCAA's NIL exploitation led to the seminal class action O'Bannon v. NCAA over athletes' rights to compensation for unlicensed NIL used in NCAA-branded video games (http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/09/30/14-16601.pdf). In O'Bannon, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court finding that NCAA rules and bylaws violated the Sherman Act as an unreasonable restraint of trade. In Alston, plaintiffs claimed caps on scholarships and other education-related benefits were also unreasonable restraints on trade. The Supreme Court agreed. While NIL rights were referenced in briefs and oral argument, Alston's antitrust violations were limited to education-related benefits. Justice Neil Gorsuch, author of the Alston opinion, seemingly alluded to NIL in writing: "The national debate about amateurism in college sports is important. But our task as appellate judges is not to resolve it." (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20-512_gfbh.pdf)

However, in a scathing concurrence that should galvanize pending litigation, Justice Brett Kavanaugh seemed to tackle the NCAA's entire amateurism model. "Everyone agrees the NCAA can require student-athletes to be enrolled students in good standing" wrote Kavanaugh, "but the NCAA's business model of using unpaid student athletes to generate billions of dollars in revenue ... raises serious questions under the antitrust laws." Kavanaugh ended his opinion, writing that the NCAA's traditional concepts of amateurism "cannot justify the NCAA's decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student-athletes who are not fairly compensated. Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law."


There is no federal NIL law nor any federal rights of publicity statute. Unlike most IP, rights of publicity are not protected by any federal statute, with significant variance state to state, especially in postmortem rights of publicity often at issue in the estates of deceased celebrities (https://www.rightofpublicityroadmap.com/ and https://www.natlawreview.com/article/elvis-and-prince-personality-rights-guidance-dead-celebrities-and-lawyers-and). The NCAA has long promised to address NIL (https://www.legalcurrent.com/whats-in-a-name-the-battle-over-name-image-likeness-rights-for-ncaa-student-athletes-continues/), but after years without NCAA action (https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/ncaa-nil-justice-department-1234620030/), state legislatures began passing their own NIL bills for governors to sign. Starting July 1st (https://businessofcollegesports.com/tracker-name-image-and-likeness-legislation-by-state/), Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Oregon and New Mexico have laws allowing athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses (Kentucky and Ohio enacted theirs by executive orders effective July 1st). Other states' NIL laws will take effect over the next one to two years (as it stands currently, New York's NIL law will go in effect January 1, 2023). If the NCAA eventually does create NIL frameworks that conflict with a state NIL statute, athletes in states with NIL laws could have standing to sue the NCAA (or their NCAA-member universities) for violating state law. It is uncertain if the NCAA will file injunctions against states to prevent athletes from signing endorsements (https://twitter.com/SportsLawLust/status/1402656219987419148).

Both houses of Congress have introduced athlete-friendly NIL bills. Once state NIL laws began to pass, the NCAA amplified its Congressional lobbying efforts to pass a federal NIL bill to supersede the state laws and provide the NCAA an antitrust exemption. Congressional NIL action culminated in a June 9th hearing held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, with NCAA president Mark Emmert advocating for a federal NIL statute (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/2021/6/ncaa-athlete-nil-rights). Many senators indicated that a federal statute should offer NIL rights as robust as any state law, taking aim at the NCAA's arguments. A second hearing was held on June 17th (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/2021/6/ncaa-student-athletes-and-nil-rights). However, when asked after the second hearing about federal NIL's passage, Committee Chair Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said, "It's safe to say something isn't going to make it through the halls of Congress by [July 1st]." (https://twitter.com/RossDellenger/status/1405561646723047428)

On June 23rd, the NCAA's Emmert issued a memo to university administrators pushing for temporary guidance allowing athletes to monetize NIL as of July 1st, with athletes likely to be granted relief from existing NIL prohibitions (https://theathletic.com/news/ncaa-president-mark-emmert-pushing-for-interim-nil-guidelines-by-july-1/dhjDFPX93Sm9?source=twitterhq). Some see this as a strategic move where the NCAA avoids enacting rules that might be subject to lawsuits and delaying regulating NIL, while schools and states create their own frameworks (https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/ncaa-waiver-to-effectively-allow-name-image-and-likeness-rights-for-athletes-near-completion/). Jay Bilas, of counsel with Moore & Van Allen (https://www.mvalaw.com/people-JayBilas) and ESPN college basketball analyst, reacted to this move by tweeting "everything the NCAA said about needing a uniform, national standard for fair competition was total BS." (https://twitter.com/JayBilas/status/1408026435856576516) A final version of the NCAA's interim NIL guidance submitted to its Board of Directors June 30th was approved (https://theathletic.com/news/ncaa-drafts-interim-nil-policy-for-college-athletes-sources/msQIs5nnGf5z).


July 1st saw a flurry of NIL deals announced, from the mega deals struck by Fresno State basketball players Hanna and Haley Cavinder (https://www.si.com/college/2021/07/01/hanna-haley-cavinder-twins-nil-deal-basketball-tiktok) with NIL pioneer Darren Heitner (https://twitter.com/DarrenHeitner) to Texas football player Casey Thompson's donating his Cameo profits to charity (https://twitter.com/aasdanny/status/1412084986329669638). Athletes and schools are leveraging third parties like Influencer, Match Point, or Opendorse to facilitate deals. Some have signed with agents and more have lawyered up.

However, unanswered questions remain, as NIL will remain largely unregulated even after July 1st. It appears that universities will not offer guidance and counsel to students in negotiating deals, with student-athletes negotiating contracts themselves or securing their own agents and attorneys. Athletes signing with agents previously signaled the end of their collegiate careers, but how will agents now fit into this new picture? Preexisting athlete agent law required disclosing to athletes that such deals may cause athletes to lose eligibility to compete in their sports. Oregon has modified its agent laws now that college athletes could sign marketing rep agreements and still maintain their eligibility (https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB0005/Introduced), but not all states have, and many state NIL laws lack language modifying this provision of an agency contract. This is not as relevant to football and basketball as it may be in other sports (notably golf), with additional amateurism rules outside the NCAA that NIL permissions could violate (https://www.si.com/golf/news/college-golfers-paid-amateur-status-with-usga-remains-unknown).

Among the thorniest issues lingering is how NIL rights apply to athletes before the students enroll in college. For now, this seems to depend on in what state the athlete lives. California, for example, allows NIL for high schoolers if they do not use the high school's name or marks, while Texas has express provisions in its NIL laws barring high school athletes from NIL exploitation (https://247sports.com/Article/High-school-recruits-name-image-and-likeness-NIL-rules-NCAA-allowed-state-guidelines-167322171/). Florida's law is silent on the issue, however, the Florida High School Athletic Association bylaws state that high school athletes need to preserve their amateur status to be eligible for scholastic sports (http://fhsaa.site/sites/default/files/1920_handbook_website_116.pdf). This appears to be the NCAA's position; high school athletes may be able to capitalize on NIL but should consult their state's secondary school athletic association. Yet as athletes begin to think about branding and business generation in advance of enrolling in college, this is likely the next frontier for NIL. However, since this will likely entail persons under 18, there are a host of separate legal concerns than for someone of legal age. Brands will have to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) laws for influencers and endorsements, and the FTC has specific provisions regarding advertising to children. With high level Amateur Athletic Union basketball beginning for children as young as 11, pre-college NIL could become a complex legal landscape.

Other issues to consider include that eventual NCAA NIL activity could (and should) include group licensing options, which would allow NIL use in video games like those at issue in O'Bannon. EA Sports, which previously released NCAA-branded games, is already intimating their return (https://www.sportingnews.com/us/ncaa-football/news/ea-sports-ncaa-football-game-players-nil/i839ec0dcfs912c7846ay9ih3). Group licensing logically would be feasible if the NCAA or conferences become more active overseeing licensing themselves, but as of now there are no specific group licensing plans. Womens' athletics may have lucrative NIL opportunities both to teams and individuals (https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/college/acc/university-of-miami/article252381953.html), but Title IX compliance issues arise, as Alston's antitrust rulings open educational benefits for athletes and if NIL compensation is secured and paid for by universities on athletes' behalves. Further, one proposed bill in Congress would classify student-athletes as university employees to receive NIL compensation, impacting employment issues previously inapplicable (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2021/05/27/bill-would-make-college-athletes-employees-allow-them-unionize/7465542002/).

For any athletes looking to capitalize on their NIL rights, best practices include the following:

• Trademark any personal logos or designs and have anyone creating these for you sign off that these are works for hire and they are not owners of the logos or designs. Your LLC can own the trademark. As applicable, make clear in your influencer deals that you or your LLC will also own the copyrights to any sponsored content you post to your own social media accounts.

• If you create content with other IP, such as university logos or colors, or other people's music or brands, make sure that you either license what you want to use or use it in a way that would likely constitute "fair use" under the law. Even the Supreme Court previously held that color will meet ordinary legal trademark requirements, so do your homework before appearing in University of Texas burnt orange or University of Tennessee big orange. This includes pictures of yourself taken by others, as the photographers (or their publications) own the copyrights to those photos and you don't want to be sued for posting a picture someone else took of you (https://www.law360.com/articles/1400863/dua-lipa-sued-over-instagram-photo-of-herself).

• Know with whom you cannot contract. If you are an athlete at a school with a Nike deal, your personal Adidas deal could create problems. Some states explicitly make NIL deals with sports betting operators illegal. Since Barstool Sports owns a sportsbook, you may not be legally allowed to make deals with its entities. Texas and Ohio's NIL laws specifically bar deals with casinos, sports betting, or adult entertainment, but gray areas will exist for NIL exploitation on platforms (think OnlyFans, colloquially known for sexual content but also provides a platform for non-sexually explicit creators).

• Read the contracts and know its limits. Do you really want to irrevocably sign your likeness away in perpetuity to make $30 promoting a smoothie store on Instagram? Not every deal is worth making.

• Understand that contracts identify what state's law applies to that contract. Make sure that your NIL deals are governed by the appropriate state, especially if you live in a state different from the university in which you enroll. Many states require agents to register in the state, so verify that your agent is so registered (and if you are an agent, have a marketing rep agreement that is compliant with state agent laws and NIL laws).

• You may be required to report details of your NIL deals to your school or comply with your state's statutory reporting requirements.

• This is adult stuff. Have a strong business team. Find those individuals or entities with proven track records and who are not exploiting you to elevate themselves. Conduct due diligence before you retain a agent, accountant, lawyer, marketer, or financial planner. Start your own LLC and get a business bank account. Every deal, every partnership, everything should be in writing. NIL laws will not eliminate the scammers that surround high level athletics. Pay taxes on your NIL revenues and make sure that there are records of all money coming in and out. You don't want a scandal or an opportunistic family or friend to negatively impact your finances. Manage your time so you can still make practice and class. Your school's athletics or media staff isn't guaranteed to be involved with your personal NIL endeavors, so manage the time that your NIL opportunities will take.

July 9, 2021

Sports News for the Week of July 9th

By Bennett Liebman

College Athletes Cash in on Name, Image, and Likeness, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/college-athletes-cash-in-on-name-image-6016197/

Name, Image, Likeness, And Interplay With Intellectual Property, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/name-image-likeness-and-interplay-with-5098268/

What Does The Future Hold For College Athletics After The Supreme Court Decision In NCAA v. Alston? - Anti-trust/Competition Law, https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/antitrust-eu-competition-/1088432/what-does-the-future-hold-for-college-athletics-after-the-supreme-court-decision-in-ncaa-v-alston

Licensing Name, Image And Likeness Rights Presents A Quandary For College Athletes On Student Visas, https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2021/07/08/licensing-name-image-and-likeness-rights-presents-a-quandary-for-college-athletes-on-student-visas/?sh=699ad9b92857

Student Athletes 1, NCAA Nil, Student Athletes 1, NCAA Nil, https://abovethelaw.com/2021/07/student-athletes-1-ncaa-nil/

The Dawn of the NIL Era in College Sports, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/sports-entertainment-spotlight-the-dawn-2278121/

Alston Ruling Excites Insurance Market for College Athletes, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2021/alston-ruling-excites-insurance-1234633594/

Student Athlete Name, Image, Likeness Legislation: Considerations for the 117th Congress, https://www.everycrsreport.com/files/2021-07-01_R46828_31c6c79d478db27acf337459896e5b83ede06498.pdf

Joe Pepitone Sues Hall of Fame over Mantle bat, https://www.law360.com/commercialcontracts/articles/1401304/ex-yankee-sues-hall-of-fame-for-historic-mantle-bat

Jimmy John's Cites NCAA Ruling Against No-Poach Claims, https://www.law360.com/articles/1400617/jimmy-john-s-cites-ncaa-ruling-against-no-poach-claims

The Legal Implications of COVID-19 on the Tokyo Olympic Games, https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3d8566c4-5d04-448d-a3ee-5df5009f14cf

Fans barred from all Olympic events in Tokyo as COVID-19 fears grow, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1109917/tokyo-2020-no-fans

The Punitive War on Drugs Unnecessarily Harms Sha'Carri Richardson, https://www.essence.com/news/shacarri-richardson-and-the-punitive-war-on-drugs/

Dahlberg: A few puffs and a bad rule do Richardson in, https://www.theoaklandpress.com/2021/07/08/column-a-few-puffs-and-a-bad-rule-do-richardson-in/

Vols owe $665k in legal fees surrounding NCAA investigation work, https://247sports.com/college/tennessee/Article/Tennessee-Vols-Football-NCAA-investigation-fees-665000-167528788/

Michael Avenatti Prison Sentence Nike Extortion Trump, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/michael-avenatti-prison-sentence-1234633892/

NCAA gender inequality: Congress wants answers, https://www.si.com/college/2021/07/07/ncaa-gender-inequality-congress-mark-emmert

SUNY-Albany Beats Lawsuit Seeking Boost in Women's Sports, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/suny-albany-beats-lawsuit-seeking-boost-in-womens-sports

Federal lawsuit: FL's trans athlete law 'has nothing to do with fairness or equality for girls or women in sports, https://www.floridaphoenix.com/2021/07/06/federal-lawsuit-fls-trans-athlete-law-has-nothing-to-do-with-fairness-or-equality-for-girls-or-women-in-sports/

How female athletes and women's sports can benefit from NIL, https://www.tampabay.com/sports/gators/2021/07/06/how-female-athletes-and-womens-sports-can-benefit-from-nil/

'This isn't the Olympics': GOP transgender laws head to court, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/03/transgender-laws-court-sports-restrictions-gop-497892

From Star to Scandal: the Story of Medina Spirit, https://www.burnitalldownpod.com/episodes/from-star-to-scandal-the-story-of-medina-spirit

Baffert Answers Arguments from NYRA, The Jockey Club, https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/251380/baffert-answers-arguments-from-nyra-the-jockey-club?utm_source=BHTW&utm_medium=social

Hacked emails? Florida law firm sues NFL concussion settlement alleging crimes, https://theathletic.com/2693905/2021/07/07/hacked-emails-florida-law-firm-sues-nfl-concussion-settlement-alleging-crimes/

Theater News for the Week of July 9th

By Bennett Liebman

Actors' Equity partners with air quality group on theater ventilation protocols, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/08/actors-equity-partners-with-air-quality-group-on-theater-ventilation-protocols/

'Waitress' and More Broadway Shows Return Thanks to Federal Grant, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/waitress-returns-to-broadway-with-federal-grant-73628/

Disney, With Benefit Concert, Makes an Early Return to Broadway, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/07/theater/disney-broadway-benefit-concert.html

How Shakespeare in the Park and New York Theater Are Changing, https://variety.com/2021/theater/features/shakespeare-in-the-park-new-york-theater-1235010326/

In 'What to Send Up,' I See You, Black American Theater, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/theater/what-to-send-up-bam.html?smid=tw-nyttheater&smtyp=cur

Met Opera Strikes Deal With Stagehands Over Pandemic Pay, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/04/arts/music/metropolitan-opera-local-one-deal.html

A Call to Diversify Theater Stage Managers, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/05/theater/stage-managers-diversity.html

Virtual Awards for Virtual Theater Deserve Real Recognition, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture-council/articles/virtual-awards-theater-recognition-1190137/

As economy reopens, Bay Area venues 'left behind' by bungled federal program, https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/theater/as-economy-reopens-bay-area-venues-left-behind-by-bungled-federal-program

'I don't own that job': Rethinking the theater scene's long tenures and limited opportunities, https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/theater/i-dont-own-that-job-rethinking-the-theater-scenes-long-tenures-and-limited-opportunities

America needs a Department of Arts and Culture, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/08/opinion/america-needs-department-arts-culture/

'Guys and Dolls': Bill Condon to Direct Remake, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/guys-and-dolls-remake-sets-bill-condon-to-direct-1234978734/

Actors' Equity Lifts Masking, Testing Mandates For Vaccinated Theater Companies, https://deadline.com/2021/07/actors-equity-lifts-masking-covid-19-testing-mandates-for-fully-vaccinated-theater-companies-1234785657/

Former Folksbiene CEO a 'mastermind' at resume-padding, https://forward.com/culture/472621/chris-massimine-folksbiene-pioneer-theatre-company-university-of-utah-lie/

Theater Is in the Streets of New York, if You Listen, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/08/theater/new-york-city-audio-tours.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nyttheater

New York Times features Drama Class of 2020, which graduated amidst the COVID-19 shutdown, https://www.uncsa.edu/news/20210708-new-york-times-features-drama-class-of-2020.aspx

Rodgers and Hammerstein: cosy box-office bankers or radical trailblazers?, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jul/07/rodgers-and-hammerstein-cosy-box-office-bankers-or-radical-trailblazers

Sexual assault allegations at Epic Theatre spark internal investigation, staff resignations, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/30/metro/sexual-assault-allegations-epic-theatre-spark-internal-investigation-staff-resignations/

Theater Blog Roundup: Are Theater Screens Here to Stay?, https://newyorktheater.me/2021/07/06/theater-blog-roundup-are-theater-screens-here-to-stay-will-audiences-need-etiquette-reeducation/

Sonia Friedman: Commercial sector is weeks from collapse and needs support now, https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/sonia-friedman-commercial-sector-is-weeks-from-collapse-and-needs-support-now

Theatre producers call on government to change isolation rules immediately after show cancellations, https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/theatre-producers-call-on-government-isolation_54445.html

An all-white cast at WaterTower Theatre has sparked outrage, https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-entertainment/performing-arts/2021/07/01/an-all-white-cast-at-watertower-theatre-has-sparked-outrage-after-last-summer-critics-ask-how/

Thoughts of a Colored Man Scribe Keenan Scott II on the Play's Unexpected Journey to Broadway, https://www.broadway.com/buzz/200969/thoughts-of-a-colored-man-scribe-keenan-scott-ii-on-the-plays-unexpected-journey-to-broadway/

July 13, 2021

Week In Review

By Ariana Sarfarazi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Brooks v Dash

The Second Circuit has ruled that music mogul Damon Dash must pay damages to author E.W. Brooks for copyright infringement after Dash marketed and sold "Mafietta", a film about Brooks's female crime boss character, without her consent. In Brooks v. Dash, the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's finding in favor of Brooks, ordered Dash to pay $300,000 in damages, and enjoined Dash from marketing, advertising, promoting, distributing, selling, or copying the film without Brooks's consent. Dash defended the copyright infringement suit by arguing that the film was a "joint work", meaning that he as "co-author" co-owned the copyright to the film that thus could not be liable for copyright infringement. Under federal copyright law, however, a co-authorship claimant must show that each of the co-authors fully intended to be co-authors. In this case, the District Court found, and the Second Circuit affirmed, that Brooks did not intend to be co-authors because (1) Dash was employed under the doctrine of work for hire to provide directing and marketing services for the film in return for a royalty of 50% and (2) because Brooks, as producer, retained the right to make all final decisions with respect to the film and its release. The Second Circuit also rejected Dash's argument on appeal that the parties orally agreed to a 50/50 split in ownership, finding that Dash's substantial contributions to the film did not evince a mutual intent of co-authorship, but rather reflected the provision of services for which Brooks offered to split the film's profits 50/50 with Dash. As to damages, the Second Circuit rejected Dash's argument that the District Court's award of $300,000 in damages was clearly erroneous, finding that when courts are confronted with imprecision in calculating damages, they "should err on the side of guaranteeing the plaintiff a full recovery."

Brooks v Dash.pdf

Spears's Lawyer Asks to Step Down from Court-Appointed Role

Samuel D. Ingham III, a veteran of the California probate system who has represented Britney Spears for 13 years, has asked the court to resign after Spears called the conservatorship "abusive" at a hearing last month. Ingham was assigned to represent Spears in 2008, when a Los Angeles court granted conservatorship powers to her father and an estate lawyer amid concerns about her mental health and substance abuse. At a June 23rd hearing, Spears told the court that she had been forced to perform, take debilitating medication and remain on birth control, and also testified that she had been unaware of how to terminate the conservatorship arrangement (claiming that Ingham told her to keep her concerns about the conservatorship to herself) and that she wishes to hire a lawyer of her own. In his request to resign, Ingham asked the court to assign a new lawyer to Spears, but did not elaborate on his reasons for withdrawing from the case.


Spears's Case Calls Attention to Wider Questions on Guardianship

Recent revelations to the public about Britney Spears's wish to end the California conservatorship that has bound her decision-making and finances since 2008 has drawn attention to the legal mechanisms that are intended to support those with severe disabilities and who are incapacitated and incapable of making their own decisions. Under guardianships or conservatorships, which affect about 1.3 million people in America, those subject to them often lose control over their finances as well as other aspects of their lives, such as the right to marry, vote, drive, or seek and retain unemployment. Advocates for people with disabilities, however, say that guardianships have been used too broadly for those with disabilities who do not require such intense or continuous oversight, and are imposed without considering other options, such as supported decision-making or appointing a power of attorney. Once established, guardianships are often permanent, or at the very least are very difficult to undo despite state requirements that guardianships be reviewed annually, because the mechanisms that judges rely upon to determine whether an individual should be placed in a guardianship (IQ tests, psychological evaluations or medical evaluations) are inherently flawed measurements of decision-making capability.


"Bachelor" Starts Received Pandemic Loans

Several former cast members of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" have come under public scrutiny, with the public questioning why they received government loans during the Covid-19 pandemic. Several of the franchise's cast members were able to receive loans through the Paycheck Protection Program through their sole proprietorships (companies that employ no one other than the business's owner) after the Biden administration relaxed the requirement that sole proprietorships be profitable in order to qualify for the loan.



The Metropolitan Opera's Stagehands Settle on a Deal

The Metropolitan Opera (Met) has reached a tentative agreement for a new contract with Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union that represents its stagehands, therefore increasing the likelihood that the company will reopen in September after its longest-ever shutdown. The deal, the details of which have not been made public, comes after the Met's roughly 300 stagehands had been locked out last year due to a disagreement over how long and lasting the pandemic cuts would be. The Met has also reached an agreement with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which includes chorus members, soloists, and stage managers. Negotiations with the third major union that represents the orchestra are still pending.


Diversifying Stage Management

A study recently published by the Actors' Equity Association revealed that between 2016 and 2019, 76% of stage managers employed on theatrical productions across the country were white, and only 2.63% were black. As calls increase for greater diversity of representation on Broadway and in theaters across the country, multiple new initiatives have been formed that aim to broaden the pool of stage managers of color and to introduce antiracist practices into graduate training.


Did Nazis Coerce Art Sale?

Decades after the end of World War II, it is still a matter of debate as to whether a work of art that changed hands during the Nazi persecution of Jews should be returned to the heirs of the original owner. Dutch, Swiss, and German institutions have agreed to either return or pay compensation to the heirs of original Jewish owners for art sold during Nazi persecution that wound up in their collections, but other institutions in the United States (such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art) have repeatedly rejected heirs' claims, arguing that there is not enough evidence that such art was sold under duress. Unlike in Europe, where the government makes the final decision, in the United States all decisions regarding whether to return or compensate for artwork are private and museums are free to reject or fight claims with no U.S. governmental oversight.


Charlottesville Removes Statue at Center of 2017 White Nationalist Rally

Officials have finally removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, along with another nearby monument to Stonewall Jackson, 4 years after a woman was killed and dozens were injured when white nationalists protested the statue's planned removal at the "United the Right" rally in August 2017. Charlottesville's City Council moved quickly to remove the statues after the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in April that the city could remove them, thereby reversing a 2019 lower court ruling, which had found that the statues could not be removed because they were protected by state law.


How 'Musical Chairs' Can Help Clear the Air

A new study has found that rearranging orchestral musicians, particularly players of "super spreader" wind instruments that aerosolize respiratory droplets, significantly reduces the health hazards imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The study found that moving wind instruments, such as trumpets, to the very back of the stage right next to air-return vents could significantly limit aerosol build up on stage, therefore allowing musicians to safely return to performance during the pandemic.


Pastor's Borrowed Words Expose Shortcut in the Preaching Life

The new leader of the Southern Baptist Convention has caused controversy for delivering sermons that contain passages from his predecessor. The controversy, known as "Sermongate", reveals a little-known reality that many pastors borrow sermons from one another. The norms around plagiarizing at the pulpit are not well-defined, with some religious leaders finding this to be an issue of morality and of Christian virtue, and others freely allowing carte blanche to borrow liberally from their works, saying that personal glory should never be the point of preaching. This may also raise issues relating to copyright.



As Games Approach, U.S. Officials and International Olympic Committee Are at Odds Over Protests

With the July 23rd opening of the Tokyo Games nearing and with a number of athletes signaling the possibility of some kind of protesting, including American hammer throw athlete Gwen Berry, American and International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials are in dispute as to where to draw the line for protests by athletes to promote social and political causes. Whereas leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee have announced that they will not punish American athletes who exercise free speech rights at the Olympic Games as long as they do not express hatred toward or attack any person or group, the IOC has forbidden all demonstrations on the medals podium, on the field of playing during the competition, and at the opening and closing ceremonies. However, athletes have long been free to express political views during news conferences, on social media, or in the "mixed zone" where they speak with the news media after composition. While it remains unclear how the IOC will enforce its rules regarding protests, the U.S. has taken the position that, whatever the IOC does, it will not punish or reprimand athletes who make political statements.


Avenatti Sentenced to Prison in Nike Extortion Case

Michael Avenatti, a lawyer who once represented pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against former President Trump, was found guilty in February 2020 of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike for himself and has now been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. At his trial last year, prosecutors said that Avenatti told Nike he had evidence of scandal from his client (a youth basketball coach), demanded that Nike pay him $22.5 million to resolve the potential claims, and threatened to hold a news conference and reveal his claims to the public if Nike did not comply.


The Liberty Pushed for Social Justice Back When It Got Them Fined

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) has risen as the leader in activism among professional sports leagues largely due to activism by players on the Liberty team. Five years ago, the Liberty players were fined by the WNBA for wearing unapproved shirts as part of a protest against gun violence and the fatal shootings of Black men, but did not cease protesting despite the fine. The WNBA eventually rescinded the penalties, and began embracing its players' desire to speak out against social injustices, even in defiance of then-existing league norms.


Comments Cost Reporter Sideline Spot on Broadcast

In an attempt to quell a yearlong scandal regarding ESPN's handling of internal conflicts centered around race, sideline reporter Rachael Nichols was removed from covering the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals this year in wake of disparaging comments she made last year about a Black colleague, Maria Taylor. Nichols's comments came during a private phone conversation that was caught on video and uploaded to the server at ESPN's headquarters, saying that Taylor was picked to host NBA finals coverage last season because ESPN was "feeling pressure" about diversity.


In Reversal, Pentagon Lets Navy Cornerback Delay Service for N.F.L.

Cameron Kinley, a team captain and class president at the U.S. Naval Academy, had previously applied to delay his 5-year service commitment after graduating and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. The U.S. Navy initially denied Kinley's request to push back his military commitment so that he could pursue a pro football career, but reversed its decision and approved Kinley's request. Kinley will be enlisted in the Inactive Ready Service and is expected to serve in the Navy after his time in the National Football League ends.


China Uses Tech to Limit Teenage Gamers

China has taken a number of measures to restrict video game usage among underage players and to limit screen time and keep internet addiction in check, including imposing a cybercurfew that bars those under 18 from playing video games between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am and requiring users to use their real names and identification numbers. To prevent children and teenagers from circumventing these restrictions by using their parents' devices, the Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent will now deploy facial recognition technology in its video games, thus sparking privacy concerns about the Chinese government's increasingly paternalistic control over the internet.



App Fees Prompt States to File Suit Against Google

A group of 36 states and the District of Columbia have sued Google over antirust claims that its app store abuses market power by forcing aggressive terms on software developers, such as forcing them to use Google's own system for payments inside their products, and taking a large cut of financial transactions in their apps, such as by charging a 30% commission on top of many transactions which developers say forces them to charge higher prices for their services. Google has called the lawsuit "meritless" and has questioned why attorneys are going after Google for monopolistic practices instead of its rival, Apple.


American Tech Giant Hits Back at Hong Kong Doxxing Law

A trade group representing the largest American internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and others, is challenging broad new rules in Hong Kong created to curb doxxing, the targeted disclosure of individuals' private information. Since Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests in 2019, doxxing has been used to identify both police officers and protesters during the protests, and Hong Kong authorities have used its national security law to curb this practice. Under the new rules, websites can be taken down and anyone posting personal information intended to harass, threaten, or intimidate could face jail time and hefty fines. A trade group representing American tech companies has penned a letter to Hong Kong's government, stating that such data-protection laws could impact the companies' ability to provide services in the city, arguing that the new rules would "result in grave impact on due process and risks for freedom of expression and communication", and could give police the power to impose fines and arrest local employees if the tech companies are not responsive to the new doxxing rules.


Pentagon Cancels Deal It Awarded to Microsoft

The Defense Department will not go forward with a lucrative $10 billion cloud-computing contract with Microsoft that had been the subject of a contentious legal battle amid claims that President Trump interfered in the process that awarded the contract to Microsoft over its tech rival, Amazon. Although the Pentagon has determined that the previous contract for cloud-computing services to the federal government "no longer meets its needs", thus eliminating need for lengthy litigation, the federal government says that it will solicit bids from Amazon and Microsoft on future cloud-computing contracts.


Tennis Star Shows Power Shift in Sports Journalism

With tennis giant superstar Naomi Osaka recently declining to speak to the press at a required news conference at the French Open (and choosing to pay a hefty fine instead), guest-editing Racquet magazine, and penning a cover essay directly for Time Magazine, she has ignited a powerplay between athletes and sports journalists and has disrupted the status quo between athletes and traditional sports journalism that has existed for decades. While the media was once the main way that athletes found fame and lucrative endorsements, with the rise of social media and the ability to control one's own platform, as well as the increasingly direct access of athletes to a widening array of new media outlets, athletes like Osaka are paving the way for a new era of independent sports journalism.


Ransomware Salvo Hits 800 to 1,500 Businesses

Between 800 and 1500 businesses around the world were compromised by a cyberattack, which was the largest attack in history using ransomware, in which hackers shut down systems until a ransom is paid. A Russian-based cybercriminal organization known as REvil claimed responsibility for the attack against Kaseya, a Miami-based software maker that provides technology services to tens of thousands of organizations around the world. While the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the White House works to address the issue, the White House advised against companies paying ransomware and announced that American national security officials are in touch with Russian government officials over the attack.


Twin Hackings Tied to Russia, In Test of Biden

Two major cyberattacks by Russian hackers have occurred recently, including the hacking of a Republican National Committee contractor by Russia's S.V.R. intelligence agency (the same group that hacked the Democratic National Committee 6 years ago), and the largest global ransomware attack on record which was perpetrated by REvil, a Russian-based cybercriminal organization. The 2 attacks come only weeks after President Biden demanded that President Putin rein in Russia's cyber activities against the United States at a U.S.-Russian summit last month.


Biden Cautions Putin to Control Cybercriminals

In a call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden conveyed that if Putin continues to harbor cybercriminals on Russian soil issuing cyberattacks on the United States, then the attacks would be treated as national security threats, even if such attacks are not sponsored by the Russian state, thus provoking a far more severe response from the United States. Biden has stated that United States might attack the servers that Russian cybercriminals have used to hijack American networks (therefore knocking them offline), thus escalating a Cold War-like series of confrontations between the United States and Russia now fought in cyberspace.


Trump Sues Tech Giants over Bans On His Posts

Trump sued Facebook, Twitter, and Google and the companies' chief executives after the platforms took steps to ban him or block him from posting. Trump's legal team argued that the tech companies are state actors subject to the First Amendment and accused them of wrongful censorship in violation of Trump's right to free speech. Legal experts said that the lawsuit appears to be a major publicity stunt that has no chance of succeeding because under current law, social media companies are protected by Section 230, a federal provision that exempts them from liability for what is posted on their platforms. In the lawsuit, Trump asked the court to declare Section 230 unconstitutional and to restore his access to the sites, and even started a fundraising campaign for legal fees in the process.


New York City's Law Department Still Hobbled by Fallout From Computer Attack

After New York City's Law Department was hacked over a month ago by an intruder who used an employee's stolen password to gain unauthorized access to the agency's computer system, almost all of the agency's 1,000+ lawyers still do not have access to electronic case files, thus delaying lawsuits. While the Law Department's spokesperson claims its attorneys have resumed in person work to ensure there is minimal disruption to cases, recent court records show that the city's attorneys still regularly seek postponement in their cases, saying that they are without access to their electronic files. The Law Department hack was enabled by the Law Department's failure to comply with an April 2019 directive by the city's Cyber Command that all agencies implement multifactor authentication to improve security. After admonishment by the Mayor and reassignment of the Law Department's Chief IT Officer, a city official confirms that employees have now been given multifactor authentication.


Bezos' Exit Is Just One of Several at Amazon

In addition to Jeff Bezos's departure from Amazon this month, many of the company's vice presidents are also leaving for top jobs at public companies or high-growth start-ups, thus marking an usual level of disruption inside the business, where for years Amazon's leaders have been considered lifers.


Reining in Tech, China Reasserts That It Is in Charge

Days after the initial public offering of Didi, China's leading ride-hailing platform on the New York Stock Exchange, Chinese regulators have ordered the company to stop signing up new users, and have pulled the app from Chinese app stores over national security and data privacy concerns. Beijing's move sends a stark message to Chinese businesses about the government's authority over them, even if they operate globally and trade stock overseas, and reminds international investors in Chinese companies, including those on Wall Street, about the regulatory curveballs they may face.


For China's Big Tech Companies, There's No Escaping the Pull of Beijing's Politics

Despite the longstanding widespread belief among China's private sector that businesspeople should steer clear of politics, with the fallout from Beijing's crackdown on the U.S.-listed Chinese ride-hailing app Didi, steering clear of politics is no longer an option for China's business elites. The crackdown on Didi will have a deep impact on Chinese businesses seeking international investment, as it is a strong signal that the Chinese government will take action to discourage listings of Chinese tech companies in the United States as the countries battle for tech supremacy.


French Court Convicts 11 in Harassment of Teenager for Anti-Islam Rant in Video

Eleven men and women were found guilty in France of online harassment and issuing death threats after responding to a teenager's viral anti-Islamic rant on social media, which previously fueled fierce debates in France over free speech and religion. The case was a major test for French legislation passed in 2018 that broadened what is considered online harassment, and those convicted only posted a single tweet or sent the teenager one single message.



Biden Defends Afghan Pullout in Blunt Tones

President Biden has vigorously defended his decision to end the United States's 20-year war in Afghanistan, insisting that the U.S. has done more than enough to empower the Afghan police and military to secure the future of their own people, and asserting that the United States can no longer afford the human cost or strategic distraction of a conflict that had strayed far from its initial mission. The United States will formally end its military mission in Afghanistan at the end of August.


Biden Steps Up Mission to Rein In Big Business

President Biden has signed a sweeping executive order intended to increase competition within the economy and to limit corporate dominance, factors that have led to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. The order reflects the administration's growing embrace of warnings by economists that declining competition is hobbling the economy's vitality.


U.S. Intelligence Agencies Turn to Scientists for Help

U.S. intelligence agencies are looking to increase their expertise in range of scientific disciplines as they struggle to answer unexplained questions, such as regarding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, potential U.F.O.s observed by Navy pilots, and a mysterious health ailment affecting spies and diplomats worldwide known as the Havana syndrome. To this end, agencies have created new positions and panels specifically to study these questions, which, according to the White House, reflects "a broader priority on science and technology" within the federal government.


White House Details Plan to Fight Voter Suppression

Facing an onslaught of state-level ballot restrictions and gridlock in Congress over federal voting-rights legislation after Republicans recently blocked the most ambitious voting rights bill, the White House announced a new plan for the Democratic National Committee to invest $25 million in voter outreach and litigation.


Biden Fires Trump Appointee as Head of the Social Security Administration

Biden has fired Andrew Saul, the Trump-appointed head of the Social Security Administration, who refused to resign as requested by the President and has vowed to fight the firing as illegal. While heads of independent executive agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, have historically enjoyed a high degree of insultation from political dismissals, such deference has eroded since the Trump Administration. Democrats have sought the ouster of Saul for months after he wanted to issue regulations meant to reduce access to Social Security disability benefits, including denying benefits to recipients who do not speak English fluently, as well as terminated a telework policy at the agency and alienated federal employee unions over work force safety planning amid the pandemic.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement Won't Detain Pregnant or Postpartum Undocumented Immigrants

Under a new policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICA) officers generally will not detain or arrest undocumented people who are pregnant or nursing or who are postpartum (defined as having had a baby within the previous year). The new policy comes after advocacy groups have sued both the Department of Homeland Security, ICE's parent agency, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for their treatment of pregnant immigrants in U.S. government custody detained in 2020. The new policy does not apply to pregnant, postpartum or nursing migrants in the custody of CBP, which typically hold migrants only for a few days before transferring them to ICE custody.


Justice Department Adds Little About Rights of Detainees

The Biden Administration has pulled back from a Trump-era claim that the detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison have no due process rights under the Constitution, but has stopped short of declaring that noncitizens held there are covered by such legal protections. The question of whether the Constitution's guarantee of due process applies to non-American detainees at Guantanamo has been raised since the Bush administration in 2002 and has never been resolved. In a much-anticipated brief filed under seal before the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Justice Department has taken no position the question of whether Guantanamo detainees have any due process rights following internal debate among the Biden legal team.


Rare Heat Seen as Proof Earth is Warming Up

A rapid analysis has found that the record-breaking heat in the Western United States and Canada is directly linked to climate change. A recent study found that the recent extraordinary heatwave, with temperatures reaching a record 116 degrees in Oregon and 121 in Canada, would have been virtually impossible without the influence of human-caused climate change.


Water Gives Little Shelter As Tide Pools Turn to Stew

The combination of extraordinary heat and drought that hit the Pacific Northwest and Canada has killed hundreds of millions of marine animals and continues to threaten freshwater species, a scene that some marine scientists say is reminiscent of "postapocalyptic movies".


The Food and Drug Administration Reversal Will Limit Drug for Alzheimer's

Previously under fire for approving a questionable drug for all Alzheimer's patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reversed course and now recommends that the drug be given only to those with mild symptoms. The approval of Aduhelm, the first new drug to treat the disease in 18 years, was one of the most contentious FDA decisions in years, with many scientists, as well as the FDA's independent advisory committee, saying that there is not enough convincing evidence that the drug actually works.


States Open Inquiries into Recurring Donation Tactics

Four state attorneys general in New York, Minnesota, Maryland, and Connecticut have begun investigating the fundraising practices of both political parties. The attorneys general have sent letters to WinRed, which processes online donations for Republicans, and ActBlue, which processes online donations for Democrats, seeking documents related to the use of prechecked boxes to enroll contributors to recurring donation programs that spurred a wave of fraud complaints and demands for refunds in the past year.


15 States Sign on to Deal for $4.5 Billion Settlement with Major Opioid Maker

Fifteen states, including New York and Massachusetts, have reached an agreement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, that would facilitate settlements in thousands of pending opioid cases. The states agree to drop their opposition to Purdue's bankruptcy reorganization plan in exchange for a release of some 33 million documents and an additional $50 million from the Sackler family, the company's owners. The settlement is now being voted on by over 3,000 plaintiffs who have sought to hold Purdue and its owners responsible for their roles in the opioid epidemic, throughout which more than 500,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses.


Cuomo Declares Emergency over Gun Violence in New York, a First for a State

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a new state of emergency around gun violence and has committed almost $139 million to reverse the trend of rising shootings and murders across the state. The emergency disaster declaration is the first by any state to address gun violence and will allow state officials to more quickly coordinate resources and to provide for community-led efforts to prevent and respond to shootings.


Texas Republicans Proposes Broad Limits on Voting

In their second attempt to pass a sweeping elections overhaul which failed in the last legislative session after the Democrats staged a late-night walkout, Texas Republicans fully unveiled their plans to overhaul the state's election apparatus. The GOP bills in the State Senate and House propose many new changes and restrictions to the state's electoral process, such as banning 24-hour voting and drive-through voting, prohibiting election officials from proactively sending out absentee ballot applications to voters who have not requested them, adding new voter identification requirements for voting by mail, limiting third-party ballot collection, increasing the criminal penalties for election workers who run afoul of regulations, limiting what assistance can be provided to voters, and greatly expanding the authority and autonomy of partisan poll watchers.


Texas Governor Pushes State Further to the Right on Voting Rights and Race

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas formally announced a special session of the Legislature in which he and fellow Republicans will try to push Texas further to the right on issues like elections and voting, transgender rights, and how schools teach about racism. This special session follows an ultraconservative legislation session last spring when the Texas legislature passed a near ban on abortion and a law permitting the carrying of handguns without permits. Texas Republicans are now seeking to pass a sweeping election overhaul bill that failed to pass last session but would be one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country. Abbot has also called for the Legislature to combat perceived censorship on social media platforms, ban the teaching of critical race theory in public schools, further limit abortions, put new border security policies in place, and restrict transgender athletes from competing in school sports.


Texas Gives Citizens Authority to Enforce Its Law on Abortion

In a new anti-abortion law set to take effect in Texas on September 1st, Texas, like other states, has banned abortion after a doctor detects a fetal heartbeat (typically at about 6 weeks of pregnancy). Unlike any other state, however, Texas law deputizes ordinary citizens, including those outside of Texas, to sue clinics and others who violate the law and therefore people across the country may soon be able to sue abortion clinics, providers, and anyone aiding abortion in Texas.


Montana Puts Miles Between Its Tribes and the Ballot Box

The Republican-led Montana state legislature has passed a new law, H.B. 530, which includes new voting restrictions, such as ballot collection bans, earlier registration deadlines, and stricter voter ID laws and more, that will make it disproportionately more difficult for Native Americans to vote. In sprawling, sparsely populated states like Montana, where Native Americans have a history of playing decisive roles in close elections, Native Americans are disproportionately likely to use measures such as ballot collections to vote because geography, poverty, lack of transportation, and limited infrastructure create obstacles for them to vote in person.


Far-Right Extremists Find Ally in Congressman from Arizona

Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, a 5-term Republican, is closely associated with the leader of American First in Congress, a group that aims to preserve white, Christian identity and culture. Gosar's unapologetic and rarely scrutinized association with racist and similar far-right fringe organizations and activists is a vivid example of the Republican Party's growing acceptance of extremism, as more Republican lawmakers espouse and amplify the far-right ideologies of fringe groups.


In Surprise Move, Chief Guantanamo Prosecutor Is Retiring before 9/11 Trial

Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, the Army general who had led war crimes prosecutions at Guantanamo Bay for a decade under the Obama and Trump administrations, is retiring and handing off the trial of 5 men accused of conspiring in the 9/11 attacks, which is set to take place in September 2021, to a not-yet-chosen successor. His decision to step down on Sept. 30th has come as a surprise, since he had obtained an extension to serve in the post until 2023. General Martins has, however, repeatedly butted heads with Biden administration lawyers in recent months over positions that he has taken on applicable international law standards, including the Convention Against Torture.


In the Rubble, Entire Branches of the Family Tree

Entire families have been lost in the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida. As the disaster happened in the middle of the night, many parents, children, and grandparents living together in multigenerational households were killed together.


G20 Endorses Proposal Aimed at Tax Havens

Global leaders have agreed to move forward with the most significant overhaul of the international tax system in decades, with finance ministers from the world's 20 largest economies backing a proposal that would crack down on tax havens and impose new levies on large, profitable multinational companies. The approach marks a reversal of years of economic policies that embraced low taxes as a way for countries to attract investment and fuel growth. Though the plan may reshape the global economy, altering where corporations choose to operate, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at the G20 summit that the United States is hopeful that the new regime will be "fair for all of our citizens."


Crisis Grips Haiti as Attackers Kill President in Home

Haiti's President Jovenel Moise was assassinated by a group of assailants in a nighttime raid on his home on July 7, 2021, months after protesters had taken to the streets to demand that he step down, therefore further shaking an already fragile nation. In response, Haiti's interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, announced that he and his fellow ministers had declared a "state of siege", therefore placing Haiti under a form of martial law, and announced himself as the new head of Haiti's government in control of the country. However, with a new prime minister scheduled to replace Joseph this week, the country is in total confusion with 2 prime ministers, and experts warn that the political vacuum left by the assassination has weakened an already weak state and could fuel a renewed cycle of violence.


Haiti Asks U.S. to Send Troops as Crisis Brews

After 24 hours of gun battles with 20 non-Haitians arrested in the assassination of the Haitian president, Haitian authorities are calling on the United States to send troops and other military assistance to help protect the country's fragile infrastructure. While the White House announced that FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials will assess how to help Haiti "as soon as possible", a senior Biden official has said that "there are no plans to provide U.S. military assistance at this time."


E.U. Fines Volkswagen and BMW More than $1 Billion for Emissions Collusion

European antitrust authorities announced that Germany's 3 largest carmakers colluded illegally to limit the effectiveness of their emissions technology, therefore leading to higher levels of harmful diesel pollution. As part of a settlement with the European Commission, Volkswagen and its Porsche and Audi divisions must pay $590 Million and BMW must pay $442 Million. Daimler, however, avoided a fine because it blew the whistle on the plot. Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler have all been tainted by emissions scandals in the past, and were found by the European Commission to have illegally agreed to deploy emissions technology that met minimum legal standards, but that was not as good as it could have been.



Biden Resists Call to Support Vaccine Edicts

In response to a steep decline in vaccination rates, Biden said the White House will send people door to door, set up clinics at workplaces, and urge employers to offer paid time off as part of a renewed push to reach millions of unvaccinated Americans. However, Biden continues to resist pushes by top health experts to coax people to get vaccinated, such as by encouraging states, employers, colleges and universities to require vaccinations. In response, some public health officials are worried that the Biden administration is not being aggressive enough to protect against continued spread of the coronavirus.


World's Official Covid-19 Death Toll Passes 4 Million Amid Vaccine Inequities

The world's known coronavirus death toll has passed 4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. This figure only includes officially reported figures, which are widely believed to undercount pandemic-related deaths. The continued pandemic-related deaths are compounded by inequity in access to vaccines across the world, and by fast-moving virus variants.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advocates Fully Reopening Schools in the Fall

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance urging schools to fully open in the fall, even if they cannot take all of the steps the agency recommends to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and recommending that unvaccinated students and staff continue to keep wearing masks. This guidance, which acknowledges the suffering that many students have endured from months of virtual learning and recognizes the importance of children's socialization, is a departure from the CDC's previous recommendations for schools.


As Covid Spikes in Tokyo, Spectators Are Barred for Most Events

Although organizers of the Tokyo Olympics had announced in June that spectators would be permitted to attend the Olympic Games, with a sudden rise in coronavirus cases in Tokyo, spectators are now barred from attending. The decision to ban fans follows a declaration of a new state of emergency in Tokyo in response to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases, thought to be due at least in part to circulation of the more contagious Delta variant.


Comptroller Files Lawsuit Seeking to Restore Limits to de Blasio's Spending Power

New York City's comptroller, Scott Stringer, has filed a lawsuit against the city and Mayor de Blasio to end the Mayor's pandemic spending powers. In an effort to regain oversight of the city's pandemic spending, Stringer is seeking to restore the city's pre-pandemic procurement rules, claiming that during the pandemic the city has spent more than $6.9 billion in taxpayer money without proper supervision, leading to "widespread procurement failures, including overpayment and overpurchasing."


July 16, 2021

Sports News for the Week of July 16th

By Bennett Liebman

NCAA's Mark Emmert proposes smaller governing role, https://theathletic.com/news/ncaas-mark-emmert-proposes-smaller-governing-role-more-power-to-conferences/JKzm4LousSJe

NCAA name image and likeness ushers in seismic new era, https://www.si.com/college/2021/07/01/ncaa-athletes-profit-nil-daily-cover

Guidance For Athletes To Avoid Pitfalls After 1 Week Of NIL, https://www.outkick.com/guidance-for-athletes-to-avoid-pitfalls-after-1-week-of-nil/

Potential for big NCAA changes exist but are 'not going to happen overnight, https://triblive.com/sports/sports-law-expert-potential-for-big-ncaa-changes-exist-but-are-not-going-to-happen-overnight/

How does NIL affect high school athletes in New York, https://www.syracuse.com/highschoolsports/2021/07/how-does-nil-affect-high-school-athletes-in-new-york.html

NIL Scouting Report NCAA, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/nil-scouting-1234634321/

NCAA Clears Way for College Athletes to Immediately Cash-In on "Name-Image-Likeness" Rights, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/at-the-buzzer-hours-before-state-laws-9448196/

Anti-trans sports laws: NCAA athletes demand action, https://www.si.com/college/2021/06/23/trans-athlete-ban-ncaa-pressure-daily-covered

California restricts state-funded travel to Florida over transgender sports, https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/these-bans-are-not-popular-california-restricts-state-funded-travel-to-florida-over-transgender-sports-law/

How families are fighting back against laws targeting transgender athletes, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/14/maddie-jenifer-north-carolina-transgender-athletes

Fans' lawsuit over Astros' sign stealing tossed by Texas appeals court, https://theathletic.com/2709473/2021/07/15/fans-lawsuit-over-astros-sign-stealing-tossed-by-texas-appeals-court/

New law allows sports uniform modifications for religious and cultural reasons, https://www.advantagenews.com/news/local/granite-city-news/new-law-allows-sports-uniform-modifications-for-religious-and-cultural-reasons/article_a4858e7a-e4eb-11eb-94e2-3f8236129145.html

Andy Butchart can run in Tokyo despite 'fake test' row, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/andy-butchart-can-run-in-tokyo-despite-fake-test-row-j6038p68l

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer's sexual assault case, https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2021-07-15/trevor-bauer-dodgers-mlb-assault-investigation-questions-answers

Doping is still too common, https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/07/17/doping-is-still-too-common

Former high school player's lawsuit may hinge on 'smoking gun, https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/blackhawks/ct-chicago-blackhawks-lawsuit-20210715-su43s36blrgyhjzklotbinquby-story.html

Bob Baffert's Suspension in New York Is Overturned in Federal Court, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/sports/horse-racing/bob-baffert-suspension-overturned.html

In 'Rose Bowl Game' case, judge sides with Pasadena, https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2021/07/13/city-of-pasadena-wins-legal-battle-with-tournament-of-roses-over-rose-bowl-game-name/

Broncos ownership question linger as court validates authority of Pat Bowlen Trust, https://theathletic.com/2708155/2021/07/14/broncos-ownership-questions-linger-as-court-validates-authority-of-pat-bowlen-trust/?source=emp_shared_article

Is the NFL faced with a 'hostile bench, https://theathletic.com/2705102/2021/07/13/is-the-nfl-faced-with-a-hostile-bench-in-st-louis-relocation-suit/?source=emp_shared_article

Community reacts to report saying FBI mishandled Nassar case, https://www.indystar.com/story/news/investigations/2021/07/14/larry-nassar-usa-gymnastics-victims-gymnasts-reaction-doj-fbi-report/7969105002/

Richard Sherman released without bail, https://theathletic.com/news/richard-sherman-released-without-bail-faces-second-hearing-on-friday/ijbOJAoCb5aL

Sports Leagues And Cannabis Testing: A North American Survey, https://thefreshtoast.com/canna-law-blog/sports-leagues-and-cannabis-testing-a-north-american-survey/

Seton Hall basketball: Myles Powell sues school over injury, https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/college/basketball/2021/07/14/seton-hall-basketball-myles-powell-sues-injury-kevin-willard/7973515002/

Theater News for the Week of July 16th

By Bennett Liebman

NFTs come to Broadway in new venture by Seaview, Marathon Digital, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/15/nfts-come-to-broadway-in-new-venture-by-seaview-marathon-digital/

After 15 months of unemployment, Broadway theater staff return to the job, https://www.fox5ny.com/news/broadway-theatre-staff-return-15-months-later

'West Side Story,' 'Hangmen' receive government boost for Broadway reopening, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/13/west-side-story-hangmen-receive-government-boost-for-reopening/

Jujamcyn Theaters to make accessibility improvements following suit, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/us-attorney-files-and-simultaneously-settles-lawsuit-against-jujamcyn-theaters-llc and https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/13/jujamcyn-theaters-to-make-accessibility-improvements-following-suit/

Christine Baranski Knows It's Good to Be Scared, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/christine-baranski-knows-its-good-to-be-scared

Shubert Organization acquires ticketing provider Showtickets, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/13/shubert-organization-acquires-ticketing-provider-showtickets/

Broadway on the cusp of a vibrant rebound, https://dailyprogress.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/broadway-on-the-cusp-of-a-vibrant-rebound/article_7783a65e-e2b2-11eb-9bfb-97098f444603.html

Proctors gets federal aid, nears $14M needed to reopen organization, https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Proctors-gets-federal-aid-nears-14M-needed-to-16309463.php

America needs a Department of Arts and Culture, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/08/opinion/america-needs-department-arts-culture/

Where Art Matters: In Praise of the American Regional Theatre, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/07/15/where-art-matters-in-praise-of-the-american-regional-theatre/

'Courtney, Take Your Break' Meme: Story of 'Legally Blonde' Musical, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/legally-blonde-musical-omigod-you-guys-courtney-take-your-break-youtube-1188898/

Signature Theatre picks Matthew Gardiner as its new artistic director, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/gardiner-signature-new-artistic-director-schaeffer/2021/07/13/7c145b54-e3da-11eb-b722-89ea0dde7771_story.html

Paul Huntley, Hair Master of Broadway and Hollywood, Is Dead at 88, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/13/theater/paul-huntley-dead.html

California Approves Funding for Music Venues, Arts Recovery in New State Budget, https://www.kqed.org/arts/13899557/california-approves-funding-for-music-venues-arts-recovery-in-new-state-budget

California Theaters, Facing a Shaky Future, to Get $50 Million in Aid, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/theater/california-theaters-get-50-million.html

Our Job Is to Change This Industry, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/07/13/offscript-our-job-is-to-change-this-industry/

Performing Now NYC A New Pop-Up Ticket Booth Selling Tickets, https://t2conline.com/performing-now-nyc-a-new-pop-up-ticket-booth-selling-tickets-to-off-broadway-dance-and-comedy/

Covid Surge Shuts Down West End Shows, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/15/theater/west-end-covid-canceled-shows.html

Theatres deserve better treatment from government, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/theatres-deserve-better-treatment-from-government-says-sir-cameron-mackintosh-6hd78jfbc

I've been cast as bitchy theatre critic, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jul/13/theatre-critic-mr-snarl-finborough-masks-and-faces

Andrew Lloyd Webber's New Act: Activism, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/theater/andrew-lloyd-webber-cinderella.html

Michael Halberstam, accused of harassment, steps down as Theatre leader, https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/7/15/22578607/michael-halberstam-writers-theatre-resign-leave-depart-exit-artistic-director-workplace

Empty Theaters Breed Mental Health Concerns, https://brooklynrail.org/2021/07/theater/A-Roundtable-Conversation-Alicia-Ramrez-talks-to-Dr-Alisa-Hurwitz-and-Jess-Dvila-as-Empty-Theaters-Breed-Mental-Health-Concerns

July 18, 2021

Week In Review

By Angela Peco
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


James Brown's Heirs Agree on Plan for Estate

The settlement, which comes 15 years after the musician's death, would allow administrators to fund a trust that will finance education of underprivileged children.


Push to "Free Britney" Gains Steam on Capitol Hill

Activists hope the increased attention on Spears' conservatorship will prompt lawmakers, many of whom have publicly supported her, to enact legislative change and better oversight of potentially exploitative arrangements.


Judge Rules That Britney Spears Can Hire New Lawyer of Her Choice

The ruling paves the way for Spears to hire Mathew Rosengart as she continues to challenge the conservatorship that has been in place since 2008.


Drake Bell Sentenced to Two Years of Probation in Child Endangerment Case

The former Nickelodeon star had pleaded guilty to two charges related to online communications with an underage girl. He will have to register as a sex offender and perform 200 hours of community service in California.


After Backlash Over its Reform Plan, Golden Globes Group Considers New Option

The expanded reform plan includes adding 50 members to its voting ranks to increase diversity; creating a spinoff, for-profit company; and creating more transparent and tougher requirements for accreditation as a Hollywood Foreign Press Association member.



More Wheelchair Access for Broadway Theaters

A major theater operator has agreed to provide more wheelchair access at its theaters after federal prosecutors announced a lawsuit alleging that Jujamcyn Theaters was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.



Metropolitan Opera and Union Seek Deal Over Pay

While the company has reached deals with the unions representing its chorus and stagehands, a deal has yet to be reached with its musicians as the Metropolitan Opera prepares for the fall season.


California Theaters to Get $50 Million in Aid

Small, non-profit theaters will receive a one-time subsidy to support their reopening.


Man Faces Accusation of Trying to Sell Fake Art

Angel Pereda of Mexico was arrested in New York on charges of wire fraud after he allegedly attempted to sell fake Basquiats and Harings.


Textbooks Featuring Malala Yousafzai Removed from Pakistan Bookstores

Authorities confiscated social studies books that featured a photo of the education activist after she questioned marriage norms.


Iranian Operatives Planned to Kidnap Brooklyn Author

An Iranian intelligence official was one of four people indicted in New York over a plot to kidnap author Masih Alinejad, who has spoken critically of her native country's government.


Major Foundations Join Forces to Support U.S. Latino Artists with Cash Grants

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation will "make unrestricted cash grants to artists of Latin American and Caribbean descent born or living in the United States." The first 15 fellows will receive $50,000 each.


New York Relying on the Arts to Support its Reopening

The economic and cultural contributions of the arts and entertainment industry will play a key role in the city's reopening.


COVID Surge Shuts Down London Shows

Many London theaters are cancelling performances, with many fearing that cancellations will continue as COVID cases are anticipated to surge when pandemic measures end next week.



Inspector General Says FBI Botched Nassar Abuse Investigation

The Justice Department's inspector general was critical of the FBI's handling of the Nassar sexual abuse cases, finding that the agency's delay in investigating complaints against the team doctor exposed additional athletes to abuse. The report mentions that the Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the accusations "with ... the seriousness and urgency that they deserved," with one of the officials providing false statements to minimize the errors made by their office.


Judge Stays Horse Trainer Bob Baffert's Suspension

A New York federal judge nullified the suspension after finding that the New York Racing Association "acted unconstitutionally by failing to let him adequately respond to claims made against him" after Baffert's Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a postrace drug test. The ruling will allow Baffert to start horses at the Saratoga Race Course.


City of Pasadena Beats Trademark Lawsuit Over Rose Bowl

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Pasadena stemming from a dispute over whether the Rose Bowl Game could be played outside Pasadena during the pandemic and over the use of the game's trademark. The Tournament of Roses Association argued that it could hold the Rose Bowl anywhere in the case of a force majeure event without the city signing off on it. It had also sought a declaration that "the city lacked any intellectual property ownership over the association's trademarks".


All-Women Crew Will Call Major League Baseball Game

Five women will serve as the on-air crew for the Orioles - Rays game in the first all-woman team to broadcast a Major League game.


Women Make Strong Case That Ultramarathons Are Level Playing Field

The article argues that 100-mile races might be the ultimate endurance leveling ground; half of the top 30 finishers at the 2021 Western States race were women.


Madrid Open Owner Sues ATP Tour for Allegedly Breaching Schedule Agreement

The owner alleges that the tennis tour has "repeatedly breached the sanction agreement with the Masters 1000-level event by allowing other tournaments to overlap its exclusive schedule window, forcing it to pay more prize money."


Two Wimbledon Matches Probed for Possible Irregular Betting Patterns

The matches are a men's doubles match and an early round singles match. Both were reported to the International Tennis Integrity Agency. One of the bets predicted the exact result and the other accurately had the game favourite losing the match.


Court of Arbitration for Sport Hearings at Tokyo 2020 to Be Held by Videoconference

The court will operate an ad hoc division and an anti-doping division at the Tokyo Games, with all legal proceedings to be held virtually because of COVID-19 measures.


International Swimming Federation Weighs Sanctions Against Uzbekistan Over Manipulated Results

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) said that it would not recognize the results of the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Cup in 2020 after it found that the country's national governing body attempted to cheat to qualify swimmers for the Tokyo Olympics. One of the competitors had reported tampering with times and alleged he was offered bribes by Uzbekistan swimming officials not to report.


Athletes and Staffers in Quarantine After Positive Coronavirus Tests in Olympic Village

Two South African soccer players and a video analyst tested positive on arrival while the rest of the team remains quarantined, awaiting further test results. A member of the International Olympic Committee also tested positive on arrival. American tennis player Coco Gauff also announced that she will miss the Olympics after testing positive.


What Banning a Swim Cap for Black Hair Means for the Olympics

FINA may be reconsidering a ban placed on a swim cap designed for Black hair after previously rejecting its use in the Olympics.


Science Does Not Support Idea that Marijuana is Performance-Enhancing

The article describes how contradictory data and speculative research are behind the Olympic ban on cannabinoids and their classification as performance-enhancing drugs.


After Defeat, England's Black Soccer Players Face Racist Comments

A mural of English star Marcus Rashford was defaced by racist graffiti after England lost to Italy in the Euro Cup final. The mural, which was soon covered in messages of support from fans, was only one example of a surge of racist abuse against select English players.



Should a Mental Health Emergency Derail Dangerous Climb?

The article probes the issue of mental illness in adventure sports after a team of mountain climbers abandoned their Everest ascent after one of their team members had a bipolar disorder episode.



Trump Lawsuits Against Tech Giants Face Steep First Amendment Hurdles

The article expands on last week's news that former President Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida accusing Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube of "violating his First Amendment rights by denying him access to their platforms." The state of Florida has made several unsuccessful attempts in past years "to force private companies to publish political messages to which they object" - a recent state law imposing fines on tech companies that deplatform politicians is currently blocked; the Supreme Court decision striking down a Florida law that would have given politicians a "right to reply" to critical newspaper coverage is still good law.


Justice Department Sought Email Logs of Reporters Before Leaving Office

Unsealed court documents show that the Justice Department attempted to obtain the email records of three Washington Post reporters the day before former Attorney General William Barr left office. The move was part of a "yearslong campaign to crack down on leaks of classified information to the news media."


New York Times Sports Reporter Suspended for Failing to Disclose Book Deal with Michael Phelps

The suspension comes after the reporter, Karen Crouse, wrote a story about the Olympic swimmer in June without having disclosed the agreement to co-write a book with him. The editor's note on her article notes that the reporter would not have been given the assignment had editors been aware of the conflict.


Documentary "Roadrunner" Uses Artificial Intelligence to Mimic Bourdain Voice

Morgan Neville's documentary on Anthony Bourdain uses 45 seconds of a machine-generated voice that mimics Bourdain's. Reaction to the recording shows a deep divide among audiences, with some finding it distasteful to use manipulated material that appears to be authentic, calling it a violation of trust and a "slippery slope when it comes to the use of so-called deepfake videos."


Fox News Hosts Smear COVID Vaccine

The article tracks how certain media outlets, including Fox News, are spreading views on vaccines that are odds with the recommendations of health experts.


Jarrod Ramos will be sentenced to life in prison for the 2018 murder of five employees at The Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Maryland


Hacking Group Behind Major Ransomware Attack Has Gone Offline

The online presence of REvil, the ransomware group responsible for a recent attack on U.S. companies, has disappeared, with its site on the dark web going dark.


France Fines Google Over News Content Deal

French officials fined Google $593 million for not negotiating in good faith with news publishers in order to use short blurbs from their articles in search results (in contravention of a 2020 order from French regulators). The move is part of a broader European push to force internet platforms to compensate news organizations for their content.


China Plans Security Checks for Tech Companies Listing Overseas

China will require "domestic tech companies to submit to a cybersecurity checkup before they can go public on overseas stock exchanges." The intent is to ensure that tech companies are not compromising their information about Chinese users "when they go public overseas and submit to the scrutiny of foreign securities regulators."


Gunman Found Criminally Responsible for Killing 5 at Capital Gazette

Dutch Crime Reporter Dies After Being Shot Outside TV Studio

Peter de Vries hosted a television crime show for almost two decades. Two men have been arrested.


Reuters Photojournalist Killed in Afghanistan

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed in a clash between the Taliban and Afghan forces.


General News

DACA Rules Are Unlawful According to a Federal Judge, Who Suspends Applications

A federal judge in Texas ruled that the program shielding undocumented young adults from deportation is unlawful, finding that President Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program by executive order in 2021. The ruling means that the Department of Homeland Security is temporarily prohibited from approving new applications; there is no impact on current program recipients.


U.S. Confronts Critical Choices on Power Lines

President Biden and energy companies "want new transmission lines to carry electricity from solar and wind farms", while environmentalists call for "smaller, more local systems."


Biden to Restore Protections for Tongass National Forest in Alaska

The Agriculture Department is reversing an attempt by the Trump administration to introduce logging and mining in the Tongass National Forest by repealing or replacing a rule that opened up more than half of the forest to development.


Guantanamo Prosecutors Ask to Strike Information Obtained from Torture

In doing so, military prosecutors reversed their earlier position that information obtained from the torture of a detainee now held at Guantanamo Bay could be used in pretrial proceedings against him (conceding all along that the law forbids them from submitting such evidence in a military commission trial).


Democrats Unveil $3.5 Trillion Budget Blueprint

The proposal includes expanded Medicare benefits, lower prescription drug prices, universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds, and two years of free community college, among other initiatives.


Child Tax Credit Monthly Payments to Begin Soon

Families will receive up to $300 per child a month due to a temporary increase in the child tax credit.


Six Months After Riot, Depleted Capitol Police Face Multiple Crises

Funding, staffing, and operational problems plague the police department that protects Congress.


U.S. Agency Used Racial Profiling to Investigate Commerce Department Employees

A report by Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi concluded that the Investigations and Threat Management Service, a security unit within the Commerce Department, functioned as "a rogue, unaccountable police force" by opening unauthorized investigations into department employees of
Chinese and Middle Eastern descent.


Republican Lawmakers Question Amazon's Connections on Pentagon Contract

Emails show that high-ranking Defense Department officials held a favorable view of Amazon as the company competed for a $10 billion contract.


Governor Cuomo to Be Questioned in Sexual Harassment Inquiry

Cuomo is expected to be questioned by investigators from the New York State attorney general's office. The inquiry into accusations of sexual misconduct or harassment against Cuomo is in its fourth month and likely entering its final stages.


Texas Democrats Attempt to Halt Republican Voting Restrictions

Fifty-one of the 67 State House Democrats left Texas to prevent the Republican-controlled legislature from attaining quorum and from passing a restrictive new voting law. This could halt the work of the special session until it ends in August. The bill had just cleared two committees in the legislature and includes provisions that "would ban 24-hour voting and drive-through voting, increase the criminal penalties for election workers who run afoul of regulations, limit what assistance could be provided to voters and expand the authority" of partisan poll watchers.



Citizens Permitted to Enforce New Abortion Law in Texas

Under a new state law banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected (at about six weeks), ordinary citizens can sue clinics and others who violate the law and be awarded $10,000 per illegal abortion if they are successful.


California Sets Aside $7.5 Million to Pay Victims of Its Forced Sterilization Program

Over 20,000 California citizens were forced to undergo the procedure under the state's 70-year-long eugenics program, a movement whose supporters believed that those with physical disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and other conditions were "genetically defective." Of those, 600 surviving victims will receive approximately $25,000 each.


Norwegian Cruise Line Sues Florida Over Ban on Vaccine Requirements

The company sued Florida's surgeon general, accusing the state of preventing it from safely resuming trips "by barring it from requiring customers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus." The state takes the position that vaccine requirements are discriminatory and that any businesses requiring proof of vaccination from their customers could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation.


United Nations to Create Panel to Investigate Systemic Racism in Policing

The three-member panel of experts in law enforcement and human rights "will have a three-year mandate to investigate the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing."


Third Man with U.S. Ties Arrested in Haiti Assassination

Haitian authorities say a Florida-based doctor "had aspirations of seizing power in his native country". The national police chief said the man recruited people who committed the assassination of President Moise.


Poland Escalates Fight with Europe Over Judicial Oversight

The issue stems from a European court order that Poland's system of overseeing and disciplining judges is "not compatible with European Union law and that its impartiality and independence from political interference cannot be guaranteed." Poland takes the position that the European Court of Justice does not have the power to order the country to suspend the disciplinary chamber.


Italy to Ban Cruise Ships from Waters of Venice

The country declared the city's lagoon a national monument and banned large cruise ships from entering the waters so as to protect the ecosystem.


How Climate Change is Linked to Extreme Weather Patterns

The articles summarizes what scientists know so far about the connection between extreme weather events, like the recent flooding in Europe, and climate change.


Europe Lays Out Stringent Plan in Climate Fight

The proposal signals a shift from fossil fuels, with the end of sales of new gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2035, and tariffs on some imports from countries with lax environmental rules.


Richard Branson Reaches Edge of Space

Branson aims to open up space tourism after his rocket plane operated by Virgin Galactic "carried him and five other people to the edge of space and back."


Coronavirus Update

COVID Surges in Under-vaccinated Communities


Pfizer Requests Approval for Booster Shot

U.S. officials have asked the company for more evidence of need for a third dose, indicating that the decision will depend partly on data on infections in vaccinated people.


Increase in Virus Cases Slows Down Korean Gyms


July 23, 2021

Theater News for the Week of July 23rd

By Bennett Liebman

Williamstown festival crew walks off the job; cautionary tale for theater, https://www.fltimes.com/news/nation/williamstown-festival-crew-walks-off-the-job-its-a-cautionary-tale-for-outdoor-theater/article_0f394f6e-35c7-5574-8af0-afa8834c5542.html

New Broadway season highlights Black playwrights, https://www.amny.com/news/ambroadway-new-broadway-season-highlights-black-playwrights/

New York launches $100M tax credit program to aid theater productions, https://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/news/2021/07/22/new-york-launches-tax-credits-to-aid-theater.html

Rattlestick Theater Is Prioritizing Social Change in Its New Season, https://www.intomore.com/culture/rattlestick-theater-prioritizing-social-change-new-season/

Michael R. Jackson is reshaping the world of musical theater, http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2021/jul/22/michael-r-jackson-reshaping-world-musical-theater/

Broadway's Reopening Fears Amid COVID-19: "There's So Much We Still Don't Know", https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/broadway-reopening-fears-1234985374-1234985374/

Head of Classic Stage Company to Depart in 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/19/theater/classic-stage-company-john-doyle.html

Broadway Just Got More Wheelchair Friendly, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/broadway-theaters-disabled-accessibility-73678/

As New York Reopens, It Looks for Culture to Lead the Way, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/17/arts/music/new-york-performing-arts-reopening.html

New York's 'Merry Wives' Cancels Performances After Positive Covid Test, https://deadline.com/2021/07/merry-wives-cancellation-covid-test-shakespeare-in-the-park-new-york-1234798061/

Federal funds are flowing to long-shuttered venues, after an agonizing wait, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/21/business/federal-funds-are-flowing-long-shuttered-venues-after-an-agonizing-wait/

Actors' Equity forecasts change with opened membership program, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/22/actors-equity-forecasts-change-with-opened-membership-program/

Actors' Equity Announces 'Open Access' to Membership, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/07/21/actors-equity-announces-open-access-to-membership/

Actors' Equity Association Eases Union Membership Qualifications, https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/actors-equity-open-membership-73696/

Dear Actors' Equity, We need to have a conversation, https://www.onstageblog.com/editorials/2021/7/22/dear-actors-equity-we-need-to-have-a-conversation

Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis to become artistic directors of Steppenwolf Theatre, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/chris-jones/ct-ent-steppenwolf-theatre-new-artistic-directors-20210722-4qb6ohfr5bevlfxiy3agu2yq5u-story.html

Comfort in Sarasota theater, https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/entertainment/2021/07/21/opinion-finding-comfort-crowded-sarasota-theater/7967828002/

After a long 'intermission,' community theaters are getting back onstage, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/16/metro/after-long-intermission-community-theaters-are-getting-back-onstage/

Goodbye, Dolly: With Their Bids, Fans Hold Onto Carol Channing, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/21/theater/carol-channing-memorabilia-auction.html

'Why Is Every Single Thing I Say a Problem?, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/07/09/why-is-every-single-thing-i-say-a-problem/?fbclid=IwAR3y8ahvO2vqoDzX8Owmadhr4fC4yPI6WK1QWDFVaKiV-RSqyvtzxKb9Iuc

Theatres face summer of risk and chaos, 'It all feels very, very fragile', https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jul/19/it-all-feels-very-very-fragile-theatres-face-summer-of-risk-and-chaos

Theatres accuse UK government of breaking Covid-19 insurance promise, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jul/20/theatres-uk-government-covid-19-insurance

The show can't go on: Covid tracking app crippling theatres and venues, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/jul/18/the-show-cant-go-on-covid-tracking-app-crippling-theatres-and-venues

Cinderella: Andrew Lloyd Webber says theatre is on its knees due to Covid rules, https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-57885964

News for the Week of July 23rd

By Bennett Liebman

In Memoriam Paul C. Weiler LL.M. '65: 1939-2021: North America's foremost labor law scholar and the founder of 'sports and the law', https://today.law.harvard.edu/in-memoriam-paul-c-weiler-ll-m-65-1939-2021-north-americas-foremost-labor-law-scholar-and-the-founder-of-sports-and-the-law/

Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of West Virginia Anti-Transgender Sports Law, https://www.courthousenews.com/federal-judge-blocks-enforcement-of-west-virginia-anti-transgender-sports-law/

'We're all complicit to an extent':, https://theathletic.com/2696130/2021/07/22/were-all-complicit-to-an-extent-how-team-usa-uses-college-football-and-basketball-as-funding-sources/

Group Licensing Is Starting To Take Shape For College Athlete NIL Deals, https://www.outkick.com/group-licensing-is-starting-to-take-shape-for-college-athlete-nil-deals/

Ten Considerations for Universities Implementing NIL Policies, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/playing-by-new-rules-ten-considerations-7288281/

With the NCAA's authority quickly eroding, significant change is ahead, https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/with-the-ncaas-authority-quickly-eroding-significant-change-is-ahead-for-major-college-sports/

Taxing College Athletes After NCAA v. Alston, https://www.forbes.com/sites/taxnotes/2021/07/20/taxing-college-athletes-after-ncaa-v-alston/?sh=2c09808b328c

NIL, COVID-19 pushing NCAA to drastic change, https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/college/2021/07/20/nil-covid-19-pushing-ncaa-drastic-change-so-whats-next-mark-emmert/8012045002/

After Supreme Court Loss, NCAA Deregulation Is Inevitable Next Step, https://www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2021/07/18/after-supreme-court-loss-ncaa-deregulation-is-inevitable-next-step/?sh=60e993de441d

At the Olympics, Gender Equality Is Not So Equal, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/22/sports/olympics/olympics-athletes-gender.html

New Developments in the Lawsuits and Allegations Against the Blackhawks and Former Video Coach Brad Aldrich, https://www.bleachernation.com/blackhawks/2021/07/22/new-developments-in-the-lawsuits-and-allegations-against-the-blackhawks-and-former-video-coach-brad-aldrich/

IOC Rule 40 Irks Athletes and Spurs Ambush Marketing, https://www.sportico.com/business/sponsorship/2021/ioc-rule-40-ambush-marketing-1234635038/

College Sports Insurance Market Post-NCAA v Alston, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/supreme-court-s-ruling-ncaa-v-alston-may-shake-largely-untapped-insurance-market

Judge rules against holding La Liga, other club games in United States, https://www.espn.com/soccer/spanish-primera-division/story/4435583/judge-rules-against-holding-la-ligaother-club-games-in-united-states

Sports Governing Bodies:Anti-trust/Competition Law, https://www.mondaq.com/uk/antitrust-eu-competition-/1090780/sports-governing-bodies-competition-law-and-regulation

Texas, Oklahoma SEC Move Would Make Super Conference for New NCAA Era, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2021/texas-oklahoma-sec-money-1234635142/

Facing forfeits: How the NFL is applying pressure to players, teams over vaccinations, https://theathletic.com/2723932/2021/07/22/facing-forfeits-how-the-nfl-is-applying-pressure-to-players-teams-over-vaccinations/

Astros Sign Stealing Lawsuit Judge Rules Against Fans, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/astros-signstealing-lawsuit-1234634811/

Jackson State blocks reporter from covering Deion Sanders at media day, https://www.clarionledger.com/story/sports/college/jackson-state/2021/07/20/jackson-state-football-deion-sanders-swac-media-day-clarion-ledger/8036389002/?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot

Olympic Team USA Pay Disparity Between Men & Women Competing in Same Sport, https://www.natlawreview.com/article/equal-pay-team-usa-act-reintroduced-ahead-tokyo-olympics

Vitali--Aided by Baffert Court Order--Resurfaces at Saratoga, https://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/vitali-aided-by-baffert-court-order-resurfaces-at-saratoga/

KHRC charges N.Y. drug lab, Baffert team with tainting split sample, https://www.drf.com/news/khrc-charges-ny-drug-lab-baffert-team-tainting-split-sample

WADA: Intervened to stop some Russian athletes, https://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/31866219/wada-intervened-stop-some-russian-athletes-suspected-doping-going-tokyo-olympics

July 25, 2021

Week In Review

By Ariana Sarfarazi
Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Second Circuit Decision in Shull v. Sorkin

The Second Circuit has affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss copyright claims that had alleged that the show "Billions" infringed Plaintiff's book and character. The Plaintiff, well-known performance coach and psychological expert on human decision-making, Denise K. Shull, brought suit against Showtime, the network's corporate parent CBS, "Billions" creators Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, and Showtime executive David Neviens, alleging copyright infringement and claiming that the show is an unauthorized derivative work based on key elements of her 2012 book, Market Mind Games. Shull further alleged that the show's portrayal of the character Dr. Wendy Rhoades is substantially similar in manner as Shull portrays the fictional characterization of herself in her book. The Second Circuit found that the district court properly concluded that "Billions" and Market Mind Games are not substantially similar because the plot of the book is wholly dissimilar to that of "Billions", the total concept and feel of Market Mind Games are quite different from "Billions", and that other aspects of the character, namely the gender and occupation, are generalized and non-protectible. The Second Circuit further found that any copying between the two works is de minimis, and that any stock similarities between Dr. Rhoades and the fictional version of Shull cannot support a plausible infringement claim.

Shull v Sorkin.pdf

Weinstein Sent to California to Face Sex Crime Charges

Authorities transported Harvey Weinstein, disgraced movie producer, from prison in Erie County, New York to Los Angeles where he will stand trial again for several counts of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and other sex crimes, in incidents involving five different women that took place between 2004 and 2013. Weinstein was previously sentenced to 23 years in prison in New York after more than 90 women have accused him of misconduct or assault. If convicted again in Los Angeles, he would serve the sentence in California after completing his prison term in New York.


California Sues Activision, Citing 'Frat Boy' Work Culture

The State of California has sued Activision Blizzard, a video game maker that produces the game "Call of Duty", over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. After a two-year investigation, the State claims that Activision has fostered a "frat boy work culture" where executives sexually harass women, male employees openly joke about rape, and where male employees openly drink alcohol while engaging in inappropriate behavior toward women. The lawsuit alleges that, in addition to being subject to sexual harassment and needing to continually fend off unwanted sexual advances by male co-workers, women at the company were also routinely paid less than men for similar work and were less likely to be promoted.


Hollywood Studios Can Require Vaccines for Everyone on Set

Hollywood's major unions have agreed to a short-term plan that allows studios to require everyone a production set to be vaccinated. The agreement will be in effect through the end of September and will allow studios to relax pandemic protocols on production sets, even as the Delta variant climbs and Los Angeles increases safety measures, such as by decreasing the rate of regular coronavirus testing and loosening mask mandates in outdoor settings.


Testing Britney Spears: Restoring Rights Can Be Rare

After 13 years, Britney Spears has asked to be released from her California conservatorship without undergoing a psychological evaluation, which experts say is unlikely to be granted, because mental health assessments generally serve as the key piece of evidence that a judge considers in deciding whether to restore independence. As the evaluation process to determine whether an individual subject to the conservatorship has "restored to capacity" is often convoluted and sometimes subjective, exits from conservatorships are extremely rare. Key evaluation criteria, such as what constitutes "capacity", who performs the psychological assessment, who chooses the evaluator, impacts of a mental health diagnosis, whether a judge must accept the evaluator's findings, the legal standard a judge applies to reach a decision, and whether a less restrictive approach than a conservatorship will be considered all vary across states.


Judge Orders Leader of Cultlike Group to Pay $3.4 Million to His Victims

A federal judge has ordered Keith Raniere, the leader of the cultlike group Nxivm, to pay $3.4 million in compensation to 21 victims. This restitution includes payments to remove brandings of Raniere's initials that were seared into some women's skin and intended to serve as permanent pledges of loyalty to Nxivm and a secret sect within it called the Vow, or D.O.S. Raniere was convicted in 2019 of sex trafficking and racketeering after ordering D.O.S. members known as "slaves" to perform sexual acts on other members of the cult, and was sentenced to 120 years in prison.


One of China's Big Stars Faces #MeToo Trouble and Brands are Fleeing

At least 11 companies, including the luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, and Porsche, have suspended or terminated contracts with Chinese-Canadian singer Kris Wu after an 18-year-old has accused him of targeting and pressuring her for sex. Wu, who rose to fame as a member of the K-pop band EXO and who has a huge following on social media, is accused of targeting young women by inviting them to his house to assist with their career aspirations, then pressuring them to drink cocktails until unconscious and having sex with him. Wu has denied all allegations and has threatened to sue the accuser, a University student in Beijing, for defamation.



Initiatives for Disabled Artists Is Expanded

The Ford and Mellon Foundations are expanding the Disability Futures Initiative, a fellowship established last fall to support disabled artists, and the foundations will now commit an additional $5 million to support the initiative through 2025, which will support two additional cohorts of 20 fellows. The fellowship is an 18-month initiative that will provide 20 disabled artists, filmmakers, and journalists selected from the across the United States with $50,000 grants.


Rules for Audiences Can Spin Heads

In New York City, different venues have taken different approaches to balancing lingering coronavirus concerns with business plans for reopening, leading to a confusing and frustrating summer for consumers where vaccination and mask requirements all vary by venue. Although the State of New York does not mandate that a venue check a person's vaccination status, both large and intimate venues, such as Madison Square Garden, Radio City, Little Island, and Feinstein's/54 Below have taken this approach. Other venues, such as The Public Theater, have arranged for both full capacity/vaccinated and socially distanced sections. For other venues where proof of vaccination is not required, unvaccinated patrons must show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test and must wear masks. Rules are subject to change as the pandemic continues to evolve.


Klan Bust at Tennessee Capitol Removed

The bust of a Nathan Bedford Forrest, a slave trader, Confederate general, and early Ku Klux Klan leader, and two U.S. Navy admirals were moved from the Tennessee Capitol and installed at the Tennessee State Museum. The move comes after the Tennessee State Building Commission voted in favor of relocating the busts after years of protests, and the removal of the two admirals was intended to avoid singling out the Confederate general.


The Complex Reality of Virtual Art

British artist Damien Hirst's use of NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, which rely on blockchain technology to designate an official copy of a piece of digital media that would otherwise be cheap or free, raises questions about the risks and rewards of investing in digital art forms. For Damien's works, after a certain period of time, collectors of the NFTs will be required to decide whether to keep the NFT or the physical painting and whichever they don't choose will be destroyed. This new practice raises the question of whether it is better to keep the NFT or the physical artwork and which will be a more valuable investment. Investors of NFTs therefore need to understand the substantial risks of investing in the new art form.


Asians in Music: Heard, but Not Seen?

Despite the fact that artists of Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and other Asian descent are well represented in classical music (with Asian musicians making up the majority of many orchestras and conservatories in the world), and despite the world-wide success of many Asian star musicians, such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Midori, and pianist Lang Lang, many Asian musicians face routine racism and discrimination in the industry. Stereotypes of Asian musicians as foreign, soulless, and mechanical are deep-rooted in classical music, many musicians are targets of harassment and racial tropes and slurs, and several describe losing career opportunities because they are not "white enough". While some Asian musicians say that they have rarely experienced overt racism, they nevertheless express feeling like an outsider in their own industry and have begun speaking out for change by speaking with leaders of cultural institutions, forming their own alliances of Asian artists, and taking to social media to challenge continued stereotypes.


Actors' Equity Expands Eligibility for Membership in Diversity and Inclusion Effort

Actors' Equity Association, the labor union for actors and stage managers, is expanding its membership to include any actor or stage manager who can demonstrate they have worked professionally in the United States. Under this new "Open Access" policy, union membership will no longer be limited to working for an Equity employer or to members of a sibling union. By expanding membership, this new policy is considered by the Union to be a pillar of its diversity and inclusion efforts. According to Equity, because the entertainment industry is disproportionately white, previously requirements for Equity membership contributed to the systemic inclusion exclusion of BIPOC artists by maintaining a system whereby mostly-white theatrical employers were effectively the gatekeepers of Equity membership.


U.S. Moves to Return Relic Said to Be Stolen From Cambodia

U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan are planning to return to Cambodia a 10th-century Khmer sacred sandstone statue known as "Skanda on a Peacock", said to have been plundered and sold by a collector who was accused of trafficking in stolen artifacts. The statute was taken in 1997 from an ancient Khmer temple and later sold to collector Douglas A.J. Latchford, who in 2019 was indicted on charges that included smuggling and conspiracy related to a scheme to sell looted Cambodian antiquities. Latchford has since died and his daughter has turned over her father's holdings of Khmer antiquities, valued by some at more than $50 million, to Cambodia. An unnamed person who inherited the statue has also voluntarily relinquished any claim to it.


Hitting Some Sour Notes with Brexit

With the U.K.'s exit from the European Union last year, touring Europe is now extremely complicated for U.K. bands and musicians, who now not only have to apply for visas, but must now also learn complicated new rules around trucking and exporting merchandise. For example, new rules mean that a British tour van carrying audio and lighting equipment or merchandise can only make three stops in Mainland Europe before it must return home. The new rules, which stem from a trade deal between the European Union and the British Government, are frustrating U.K. musicians and a new campaign know as Let the Music Move has been launched for the British government to compensate artists for the new extra costs and to renegotiate the tour rules.


Webber Delays 'Cinderella' Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber has delayed the opening for his much-anticipated "Cinderella" musical, which was slated to open in London's West End this month, after a cast member tested positive for the coronavirus. Webber has been actively campaigning against Britain's coronavirus restrictions, such as only permitting theaters to seat audiences at 50% capacity, and requiring shows to cancel performances if one member of the cast came into contact with someone who tested positive. Webber subsequently announced that the production will not resume performances on August 18th.



Hong Kong Police Arrest Five Over Children's Books

Hong Kong police have arrested five members of a speech therapists' union for publishing a children's book, which police claim instills the hatred of the government in children. The book tells the story of fluffy white sheep who were constantly harassed by wolves, who tore down their houses, ate their food, and even spread poison gas, which led 12 sheep trying to defend their village to flee by boat before being captured and sent to prison. Hong Kong authorities say the sheep represent 12 activists who were arrested at sea while trying to escape to Taiwan and the wolves are the Hong Kong police. The move comes as Hong Kong authorities continue to crack down on political speech and stamp out dissent expressed during 2019 mass protests.



Michigan Football Players Are First to Monetize from Jersey Sales

Football players for the University of Michigan are now able to profit for their names, images, and likenesses when jerseys bearing their names are sold by The M Den, an officially licensed University of Michigan retailer with a big collection of merchandise. Michigan football players are the first in the nation to monetize off jersey sales pursuant to a direct agreement between The M Den and the players themselves (not the University of Michigan).


Federal Judge Dismisses Relevant Sports' Antitrust Claim vs. U.S. Soccer

A federal judge in Miami has dismissed an antitrust claim by Relevant Sports, a soccer match promoter, against the U.S. Soccer Federation for failing to sanction a proposed Spanish league match between Barcelona and Girona in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Court ordered Relevant to submit the dispute to the FIFA players' status committee for arbitration to resolve the matter, add FIFA to the lawsuit, or show that the court has jurisdiction over FIFA when the soccer's governing body is not a party to the suit.


National Football League Puts Stiff Penalties in Place for Unvaccinated, Jolting Teams

Although the National Football League (NFL) has stopped short of requiring that its players and other team personnel receive Covid-19 vaccinations, a new memo from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell details drastic penalties for team with unvaccinated personnel, stating that outbreaks traced to an unvaccinated player or staff member could warrant a game forfeiture for their team if a game cannot be rescheduled, which could result in players' not being paid. Additionally, if an unvaccinated player or staff member is shown to have caused an outbreak that forces a schedule change, the team experiencing the outbreak will be held financially responsible for the other team's expenses. If an outbreak occurs among vaccinated individuals in a "breakthrough" infection, the NFL will minimize and competitive and fiscal disruption for both teams. While the memo does not mandate vaccination, the NFL,for all intents and purposes, is requiring vaccinations for teams or risk significant penalty, and notable NFL players have publicly expressed their opposition to vaccination mandates. Additionally, unvaccinated players still face several restrictions, including daily testing, capacity limitations in weight rooms, and a requirement to travel on a separate plane.


Former Seton Hall Hoops Star Myles Powell Sues School, Says Staff Misled Him About Injury

Myles Powell, a former Seton Hall men's basketball star, is suing the university, claiming that his coach and the team's medical expert allowed him to play on a serious injury, a torn meniscus in his right knee, therefore worsening his condition and dashing his hopes of a National Basketball Association (NBA) career. Powell claims that he was told his injury is minor, but argues that such an injury should have kept him out for the remainder of the season to avoid exacerbating the injury.


New Law Allows Sports Uniform Modifications for Religious and Cultural Reasons

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill into law that allows high school-level student athletes to make their athletic uniforms more modest for religious and cultural reasons. The new law allows student athletes to consult with their school boards rather than having to file a complaint with the Illinois High School Association, which governs sports in the state.


Suffering After Delay of Olympics, Dentsu Faces Another Test

Dentsu, an advertising giant in Japan and the Games' exclusive advertising partner, stood to be Japan's biggest winner of the Games but expectations have fallen short as numerous advertising campaigns and promotional events have been cancelled or pared down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of Dentsu's clients, including top-sponsor Toyota, have pulled ads in Japan for fear of backlash against them as 80% of the Japanese public opposes holding the Olympics amid a state of emergency in Tokyo.


Norwegian Handball Players Reject Bikini Bottoms, and Are Fined for It

Norway's women's beach handball team was fined by the European Handball Federation, with each player fined 150 euros, for wearing shorts rather than the mandatory bikini bottoms. The Norwegian Handball Federation, which has repeatedly complained about the bikini bottom requirement since 2006, will pay the fines. The International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms, while men can wear shorts. Norway's team had been planning for weeks to wear shorts citing an unfair double standard, and according to the International Handball Foundation, the Norwegian team is the only team that has complained about the uniforms.


Olympians Take a Knee Against Racism, Under New Policy Allowing Protests

Players on the British women's soccer team took a knee on the first day of competition at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in protest against discrimination and racism, and their opponents from Chile joined them. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) previously eased its rules on "athlete expression", and under the new guidelines, athletes in Tokyo can take a knew or perform similar gestures as long as their actions do not target specific people or countries and are not disruptive.


Brisbane Wins Right to Host 2032 Olympic Games

Bristbane, Australia has been chosen to host the Olympic Games in 2032. Brisbane previously bid to host the 1992 Olympics, but lost to Barcelona. Australia has previously hosted the Olympics twice before - in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000 --- and will become the first country after the United States to have hosted the Games in three different cities. Hosting the games in Brisbane is expected to cost $5 billion.


Tokyo Games Boasts Gender Participation for First Time

The IOC has added 18 new events to the Tokyo Games in a push towards gender equality for the first time in the history of the Games. There are now an equal number of men and women for every sport, excluding baseball and softball, because of differing roster sizes.


Games Strive for Gender Equity, But Equality Still Seems Far Off

As the Olympic Games nears gender parity for the first time ever in its history, a series of gaffes by IOC officials and persistent gaps in the makeup of the IOC reveal that the Games are not yet so gender equal. While almost 49% of the nearly 11,000 athletes competing in Tokyo are women, only 33.3% of the IOC's executive board and only 37.5% of the IOC's committee members are women. Additionally, IOC executives have wrestled with gender-related blunders, such as when the IOC vice president essentially ordered the premier of Queensland, Australia to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games after she said she would not attend; the president of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee was replaced after he publicly suggested that women speak too much in meetings; and the creative director for the opening ceremony stepped down after he called a plus-size fashion designer a "pig". Further, Olympic athletes who are new mothers have also complained about Covid-related restrictions in Tokyo that have prohibited them from bringing their young nursing babies to the Games, but the IOC reversed its decision in June, thereby allowing mothers to bring their infants.


Tokyo Olympics Open at Last, with Somber Air and No Fans

The Opening Ceremony of the 32nd Summer Olympics took place with no fans and virtually no cheering audience, with fewer than 1,000 dignitaries and invited guests attending in a stadium built to seat 68,000. The Ceremony marked the official start of the Olympics, with more than 11,000 athletes from 205 countries expected to participate in 33 sports over the next two weeks in Tokyo, an event that is widely opposed by the Japanese public.


Top Director of Ceremony Fired for Skit on Holocaust

The day before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, organizers of the Games dismissed the creative director of the ceremony, Kentaro Kobayashi, after video footage emerged of him making fun of the Holocaust in a comedic act in the 1990s where he joked about "massacring Jews". Kobayashi, who has since apologized for the routine, is the fourth major creative to be dismissed or forced to resign from the Games because of offensive remarks. Keigo Oyamada, a composer who wrote music for the opening ceremony, resigned this week after footage of him confessing to severe bullying and abuse of disabled classmates from the 1990s surfaced on social media. In March, Hiroshi Sasaki, the previous creative director of the opening ceremony, stepped down from his role after a magazine revealed that he called a popular comedian and plus-size fashion designer a "pig". Additionally, Yoshiro Mori, the former president of the Tokyo organizing committee, resigned earlier this year after making sexist comments about women.


A Trump-Like Quandary Over Racism and Sports Roils Johnson in Britain

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire for failing to condemn crowds who booed England's national soccer team for kneeling to protest racial injustice during the European Championship. Political experts say there are alarming parallels between Britain and the United States, including both countries seeing the rise of a conservative populist leader refusing to defend the free speech rights of national sports teams (with former President Donald Trump speaking out against NFL players taking a knee in the United States).



Justice Department Outlines New Limits on Seizures of Reporters' Records

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has issued a broad ban on federal prosecutors using subpoenas, warrants, or court orders to seize reporters' records from their employers or from communications firms in an effort to uncover their confidential sources in leak investigations. By issuing this new practice, "the Department of Justice will no longer use compulsory legal process for the purpose of obtaining information from or records of members of the news media acting within the scope of news-gathering activities." However, certain exceptions apply, such as if a reporter is under investigation for an unrelated crime; if a reporter is suspected of committing a crime like "breaking and entering" to gather information; if the department is seeking to authenticate already published information -- a situation that arises sometimes in television news broadcasts of footage that can be evidence of a crime; or if reporters themselves have been deemed to be agents of foreign power or members of foreign terrorist groups.


U.S. and Key Allies Accuse China in String of Global Cyberattacks

The Biden Administration has accused the Chinese government of breaching Microsoft email systems used around the world, in the process detailing the relationship between Chinese intelligence and criminal hacking groups that operate from Chinese territory, and has organized a broad coalition of nations, including the European Union and all NATO members, to condemn the cyberattacks. However, the U.S.-led coalition has stopped short of taking concrete steps to punish China. The U.S. has criminally charged individual Chinese hackers for the attacks but has not yet issued sanctions or taken diplomatic action against China because of China's ability to retaliate.


How China Turned Into Cyber Threat To America

China, which has long been one of the biggest digital threats to the United States, was once condemned by the United States for online espionage, the bulk of which was conducted by the People's Liberation Army using low-level phishing emails against American companies to steal intellectual property. China has since, however, transformed into a mature digital adversary, with attacks now carried out by an elite satellite network of contractors at front companies and universities that work at the direction of China's Ministry of State Security. Now, in addition to phishing attacks, the espionage attacks employ sophisticated techniques like exploiting security holes in Microsoft's Exchange email servers and VPN security devices, which are harder to defend against, and that allow Chinese hackers to remain undetected for longer periods of time.


U.S. Details China's Role in Hacking of Pipelines

The United States claims that China has issued numerous state-sponsored cyberattacks that have breached dozens of oil and gas pipeline companies in the past decade and is warning pipeline owners to increase the security of their systems to protect against future attacks on U.S. pipeline infrastructure. This warning comes as the federal government tries to revitalize the pipeline industry after a Russian-based ransomware group attacked the business operations and forced the shutdown of a pipeline network that provides nearly half of the oil and gas supply to the East Coast thereby causing long gas lines and shortages.


Reporter Sues Washington Post, Claiming Discrimination

Felicia Sonmez, a Washington Post reporter covering breaking political news, has filed a $2 million discrimination suit against the newspaper and some of its top high-level editors, claiming that they discriminated against her by barring her from covering stories regarding sexual assault after she herself went public as a victim of assault. The lawsuit argues that she had been subjected to a hostile work environment after she publicly stated that she was assaulted by a fellow journalist while living in Beijing, with editors retaliating against her by banning her from covering sexual-assault related stories, such as Christine Blaséy Ford's sexual misconduct allegations against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She also alleges that the newspaper suspended her after she tweeted a link to a news article detailing sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant shortly after his death and failed to provide her with security after she was inundated with rape and death threats.


Twitter Penalizes Lawmakers for Virus Inadequacies

Twitter suspended Republican lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene for 12 hours for posting coronavirus misinformation, which violates Twitter's policy against sharing misleading information about the coronavirus. Greene had tweeted that Covid-19 was not dangerous for people unless they were obese or over age 65 and said vaccines should not be required. As the White House has called on social media to do more to combat the spread of misinformation on their platforms, Greene claimed that Big Tech companies are working with the White House to attack free speech and to restrict any message that is not "state-approved."


New Plea to Vaccinate on Fox News

After months of relaying to viewers that Covid-19 vaccines are dangerous and that Americans are justified in refusing them, Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy are now encouraging viewers to get the Covid-19 vaccine as the Delta variant spreads. It is not immediately clear what has prompted the change in messaging, and although the White House has expressed concern over Fox News's messaging, there have been no high-level conversations between Fox News Media and the White House regarding its coverage.


Fourth Arrest in Hack of Twitter That Led to Short Shutdown

A 22-year old British man was arrested in Spain in connection with the hacking of more than 100 Twitter accounts in July 2020, which led to a temporary shutdown of the social media service, as well as cyberattacks on popular TikTok and Snapchat accounts. The arrestee is the fourth individual charged in the Twitter hack and faces charges in the United States of hacking, extortion, and cyberstalking. A group of hackers is accused of breaking into Twitter's systems by tricking employees into providing login information and using an administrative tool to take over the accounts belonging to key political figures and celebrities including former President Barack Obama, Kanye West, and Elon Musk, and using the accounts to conduct a Bitcoin scam.


National Basketball Association Studio Host at the Center of Interoffice Friction is Leaving ESPN

Maria Taylor, a popular studio host and ESPN reporter, has left ESPN after disparaging remarks were made about her by a colleague became public. In a conversation that ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols did not know was being recorded, Nicholas (who is white) said that Taylor (who is Black) got the role of hosting the NBA finals instead of her because ESPN executives were "feeling pressure" on diversity. Taylor's departure from ESPN was expected after a year of internal tension boiling among ESPN employees who cover the NBA, who grew frustrated by ESPN's handling of the situation. Many ESPN employees believed that the network was protecting Nicholas after ESPN took considerable time to respond internally to the controversy, though the network did eventually pull Nicholas from her duties as the NBA Finals' sideline reporter and issued a memo that Taylor was selected to host "NBA Countdown" for the finals on merit alone. Taylor's move comes after her contract with ESPN expired, and ESPN executives were unable to work out a deal for Taylor to stay with the company.


The Contest Over Our Data After We Die

Recent use of Anthony Bourdain's digitally regenerated voice in a new documentary about his life is the latest example of a celebrity being digitally reincarnated. In recent years, we have seen numerous people digitally resurrected as 2-D projections, 3-D holograms, C.G.I. renderings, and A.I. chat bots. We have also seen other more affordable forms of digital reincarnation, such as the animation of family photos of relatives long dead, and creation of other deepfakes. Uses of such forms of digital reincarnation has sparked debate about what should happen to someone's personal data when they die and raises important questions like who does our personal data (such as social media posts) belong to after we die? Further, does digital reincarnation of a deceased celebrity or public figure violate their posthumous right to privacy? While U.S. law does not currently recognize the deceased's right to privacy, we are starting to see people attempting to assert agency over their digital legacies, and such technology is opening doors for us to consider these ethical questions through a new lens.


Over $1 Billion in Ads on the Line in the Olympics

The Olympics have long been an ideal forum for companies to promote themselves, but this year advertisers are anxious about the more than $1 Billion they have collectively spent to run ads on NBC and its Peacock streaming platform after calls to cancel the Olympic Games have intensified as more athletes test positive for Covid-19. The event, which is taking place in empty arenas in the midst of a deadly pandemic, is deeply unpopular with Japanese citizens and many public health experts who fear a superspreader event, and sponsors/advertisers are concerned about public backlash. Some companies, such as Toyota, one of Japan's most influential companies, has since abandoned its plans to run Olympics-themed TV commercials in Japan for fear of backlash. In the United States, however, for companies like NBCUniversal, which has paid billions of dollars for the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States through 2032, marketing plans are moving ahead as usual. Although the situation is "not ideal", many companies claim that skipping that the Olympics is "not an option", given the worldwide reach of the Games.


Activist Loses Libel Case to a Refugee In the U.K.

A British far-right activist, Tommy Robinson, lost a libel case brought by a teenage refugee from Syria who was filmed being attacked at his school after Robinson falsely claimed the Syrian teen had himself violently attacked classmates. Robinson will be required to pay around $137,000 in damages and was ordered to pay the teen's legal costs. Robinson is the founder of the English Defense League, a nationalist group known for anti-Islam and anti-immigration stances, and has become a prominent figure internationally for supporters of similar fringe ideologies, including the far right in Europe and the United States.



Biden Brings in Antitrust Team to Test Titans

President Biden has assembled an aggressive antitrust team to lead the Justice Department's antitrust division, signaling the administration's willingness to clash with corporate America to promote competition across the economy. The appointments of top antitrust lawyers like Jonathan Kanter, Lina Khan, and Tim Wu demonstrates the Biden Administration's growing concern that the concentration of corporate power in technology as well as other industries, such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, healthcare, and finance has hurt consumers and stunted economic growth and follows a recent executive order containing 72 initiatives meant to stoke competition in a variety of industries, increase scrutiny of mergers, and restrict the widespread practice of forcing workers to sign noncompete agreements.


Amazon Ends Arbitration for Customer Disputes

Amazon will no longer require customers to resolve their legal complaints against the company through a private and secretive arbitration process, but instead would have to pursue disputes with the company in federal court. Amazon has not announced its reason for dropping the arbitration requirement, but such a shift signals a significant retreat from a previous dispute resolution strategy that put consumers at a huge disadvantage and often helped the company avoid liability.


Walmart Loses Suit on Firing of Employee with Disability

A former Walmart employee who sued the company for discrimination on the basis of disability has been awarded $125 million by a jury, which will be reduced to $300,000, the maximum amount allowed under federal law for compensatory and punitive damages. The employee, who has Down Syndrome, worked at Walmart with the same routine schedule for 16 years and received raises and positive performance reviews during that time, was fired after Walmart instituted a computerized scheduling system that modified her work schedule. The abrupt change in schedule resulted in significant hardship for the employee, who thrives on routine. Walmart had refused to switch her back to her old schedule and fired her for excessive absenteeism. The jury found that Walmart failed to provide the employee with reasonable accommodation, even though she needed one because she has Down Syndrome and it would not have posed a hardship to the company.


Records Show the Summers are Hotter Than They Used to Be

The summer of 2021 is on pace to be the hottest summer on record, with summers in the Northeastern U.S. now hotter than in the deep South not so long ago. July in particular has been brutally hot in many places, with temperatures reaching 116 degrees in Oregon and 130 degrees in Death Valley, matching the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth. Numbers aside, the extreme heat is not just unpleasant but dangerous, fueling wildfires across the United States, such as the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon, which is creating its own weather system by spawning lightening and generating a fire whirl or a vortex of air and flame that looks like a fiery tornado. Climate researchers have concluded that this level of extreme heat would have been "virtually impossible without climate change."


Scientists Have Finally Filled in All the Gaps in the Human Genome

After two decades, a team of 99 scientists has deciphered the entire human genome. In the process of completing the full draft sequence, scientists have uncovered more than 100 new genes that may be functional and identified millions of genetic variations between people, which likely play a role in diseases. The project will enable scientists to explore the human genome in much greater detail, particularly given that large chunks of the genome had previously been blank but are now decipherable.


Regulators Prepare Response to Surge in Stablecoin Use

Top U.S. financial regulators have met to discuss stablecoins, asset-backed digital cryptocurrencies that derive their value from underlying currency or basket of assets and that are exploding in popularity so much so that economic officials see them as a risk to financial stability. U.S. regulators discussed the rapid growth of stablecoins, potential uses of stablecoins as a means of payment, and potential risks to end-users, the financial system, and national security. The Treasury Department plans to issue recommendations for stablecoins in the coming months.


Alzheimer Drug Approved Despite Doubts It Worked

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has greenlighted the use of Biogen's Aduhelm or aducanumab, a controversial new Alzheimer's drug and first new drug for Alzheimer's patients in 18 years, despite longstanding concerns among FDA officials that the drug doesn't actually work. Alzheimer's experts and other scientists are calling for investigations into how the agency approved the treatment with so little evidence that it actually helps patients. An investigation by the New York Times found that the process leading to the drug's approval took several unusual turns, including a decision for the FDA to work far more closely with Biogen than is typical in a regulatory review.


$26 Billion Deal Reached to Drop Opioid Lawsuits

Three major drug distributors (Cardinal health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson) as well as Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical giant, have reached a $26 billion agreement with states that will release them from all civil liability related to the opioid epidemic. The agreement comes amidst a decades-long public health crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and lays the framework for billions of dollars to begin flowing into communities for addiction treatment, prevention services, and other expenses related to the epidemic. If the agreement is finalized, thousands of local governments and states will drop lawsuits against the companies and will pledge not to bring any future action. The distributors have been accused of turning a blind eye as pharmacies ordered millions of pills for their communities, despite being required by law to monitor quantities of prescription drug shipments. Johnson & Johnson, which supplied opioid materials to other companies and made its own fentanyl patches, is accused of downplaying the products' addictive properties to doctors and patients.


In New York, Settlement In Suit Tops $1 Billion

New York will receive more than $1 Billion as part of a pending $26 billion settlement deal intended to resolve thousands of lawsuits by states and local governments against drug companies involved in the opioid crisis. If the settlement deal is approved by enough states and municipalities, the payout to New York by drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp., and AmerisourceBergen, as well as drug maker Johnson & Johnson will take place over the next 17 years to help communities pay for addiction prevention and treatment services to mitigate the harm caused by the opioid crisis. The settlement comes in the wake of more than 3,000 lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry for its contribution to the epidemic and after thousands of New Yorkers have been killed by opioids in both their street and prescribed forms.


Labor Relations Board Says Inflatable Rats Are Allowed

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that unions can position large synthetic inflatable rats, used to communicate displeasure over employment practices, near a work site even when the targeted company is not directly involved in a labor dispute. While picketing companies involved in labor disputes (known as a secondary boycott) is illegal under U.S. labor law, the Board ruled that the use of oversized inflatable rats is not a picket, but rather a permissible effort to persuade bystanders, thus dismissing claims that the rat's use was illegal coercion and finding that the rat is a protected form of expression.


U.S. Drops Pursuit of the Death Penalty in Seven Cases

The Department of Justice has declined to pursue the death penalty in seven cases, signaling a shift in the federal government's use of capital punishment at the federal level. Under former President Donald Trump, federal prosecutors were previously directed to seek the death penalty in all cases in which they won convictions, and the federal government executed 13 inmates in the last six months of Trump's administration, including three in his last day, after a previous two-decade hiatus in federal executions. The Biden Administration has, however, in addition to declining to seek the death penalty in cases where it had already been authorized, announced a moratorium on federal executions and has ordered a review of the way that death sentences are carried out.


Democrats Push for Voting Rights in Georgia

Senate Democrats are pushing in Georgia for a new voting rights law, seeking to make the case for a federal elections overhaul in Congress from the example of a state at the heart of the voting rights battle. At a Georgia state hearing, state lawmakers warned the Senate Rules Committee that Georgia's new restrictive, newly enacted voting law is a deliberate attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise Black voters, cause chaos at the ballot box, and consolidate their grip on power and demanded that Congress intervene. However, Senate Republicans have blocked voting rights legislation that Senate Democrats have previously proposed at the federal level, and not only dismissed the hearing in Georgia, but even boycotted it.


Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Reject Roe v. Wade

In its petition for review, the Mississippi Attorney General urged the Supreme Court to overturn its "egregiously wrong" decision in Roe v. Wade, to do away with the constitutional right to abortion, and to sustain the state's new law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case in the fall after lower courts blocked the Mississippi statute for being squarely at odds with Supreme Court precedent. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, asks the justices to decide "whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional", and will give the expanded conservative majority on the Court the chance to confront whether the Constitution protects the right to end pregnancies.


Judge Blocks Stringent Law on Abortions In Arkansas

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Arkansas from enforcing its strict new abortion law that would ban nearly all abortions in the state except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency, finding that the law would cause "imminent irreparable harm" to doctors and their patients. Arkansas is one of several states that have passed abortion restrictions in a challenge to the constitutional right to the procedure established in Roe v. Wade, and judges have temporarily blocked similar restrictions in Ohio, Alabama, and Texas.


Lost Lives, Lost Culture: The Brutal Legacy of Indigenous Schools

The recent discoveries of unmarked graves at government-run schools for indigenous children in Canada have led to the resurfacing of parallel memories in the United States. In the century and a half that the U.S. government ran boarding schools for Native Americans, hundreds of thousands of children were housed and educated in a network of institutions created to "civilize the savage", with at one time in the 1920s nearly 83% of Native American school-age children attending such schools. Thousands of Native American children were products of this experiment of forcibly removing children from their families and culture in order to "assimilate" them, and thousands died while attending these schools in the U.S. Survivors living today are reckoning with lost culture, since they were not even permitted to speak their language at school as children, but are now reclaiming their identities.


Struggle to Prosecute Rape Endures Despite #MeToo

Statistics and accounts from victims show that prosecutors in New York City still struggle to prove sexual assault allegations, even though the MeToo movement led to a greater awareness about the prevalence of rape, an increase in reports to the police, a new hope that people accused would be more frequently held accountable. Most NYC prosecutors' offices rejected a greater percentage of sex crime cases in 2019 than they did a decade before, and in Manhattan, prosecutors dropped 49% of sexual assault cases that same year and increase from 37% in 2017. The low prosecution rate reflects the inherent challenges of prosecuting sexual assault, often where the attacker is not a stranger, where drugs/alcohol are involved, and where they are no third-party witnesses to the event. Critics argue that the high drop rate reflects prosecutors' unwillingness to tackle these challenges, with the city's district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., who has since declined to run for re-election, facing harsh criticism over his office's handling of sex crimes.


Federal Aviation Administration Clears Path for Link From Subway to La Guardia

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a plan by New York Governor Cuomo to build a $2.1 billion AirTran linking midtown Manhattan to La Guardia Airport in just 30 minutes, and construction on the elevated rail link could begin as early as this summer. The federal approval came over the objections of environmentalists and other elected officials, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have raised questions as to why the AirTrain was the only plan for getting travelers to and from the airport. Port Authority officials have defended the route for the AirTrain as being the least disruptive to the neighborhoods that surround the airport.


Inquiry Into Kavanaugh By FBI Draws New Ire

Nearly three years after Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh's tumultuous confirmation to the Supreme Court, the FBI has disclosed in a letter to Senate Democrats that the agency referred to White House lawyers the most "relevant" of the 4,500 tips the agency received during its investigation into Kavanaugh, but what happened to such referrals remains unclear. This disclosure has sparked concern from Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who question the thoroughness of the vetting by the Trump White House.


Republicans Boycott Riot Investigations in Clash with Pelosi

Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved to bar two Republican Representatives, who are former President Trump's most ardent loyalists and most vociferous Republican defenders in Congress, from joining a select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot. In a rare move, Pelosi announced that Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, both of whom amplified Trump's false claims of election fraud, could not be trusted to participate in the investigation. The decision angered some Republican Representatives, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who claimed that the investigation was nothing more than a political exercise to hurt the GOP and has announced that Republicans will boycott the investigation panel altogether.


Suspect Tries to Compare Capitol Attack to 2020's Violence in Portland

A Dallas man charged with storming the Capitol and facing off with officers inside has raised a selective prosecution defense, claiming that he has been charged with violent crimes because of his conservative beliefs while leftist activists in Portland, Oregon had similar charges stemming from last year's violence either reduced or dismissed. The comparison between the violence in Oregon and at the Capitol has long been a staple argument among right-wing media figures and Republican politicians, but this is the first time that a federal court has been asked to consider the merits of that argument. While selective prosecution defenses rarely succeed, the government has acknowledged the unrest in Portland as "serious" but has justified its charging in the Capitol riot cases because the defendants threatened not only the safety of the Capitol, but also "democracy itself."


Man Gets Prison for Role in January 6th Riot

A Capitol rioter who was the first to be charged with a felony after breaching the Senate floor and who plead guilty to storming the Capitol on January 6 with the intention of stopping the certification of the Electoral College vote was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison. His penalty could be a guidepost for the sentences of scores of similar defendants, though this defendant in particular was a first-time offender who had pleaded guilty and was therefore given some leniency in sentencing, which may not be applicable to other defendants facing similar charges.


Bezos Reaches Space but Sees It As a Small Step

Jeff Bezos, founder and former chief executive of Amazon and the richest human in the world, briefly launched into space from West Texas in a spacecraft that was built by his own rocket company, Blue Origin. Blue Origin, which was founded by Bezos more than 20 years ago, seeks to be a leader of space travel beyond short flights for space tourists, and has already tried to win contracts for a moon lander for NASA astronauts and launching satellites for the Department of Defense on large reusable rockets. However, Blue Origin has simply failed to upend the space industry the way that Elon Musk's company, SpaceX, already has, which regularly takes NASA astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station, has already deployed more than 1500 satellites to provide internet service everywhere, and its developing a rocket called Starship for missions to Mars and elsewhere.


U.S. Accuses Trump Insider of Hidden Ties

Thomas Barrack, a top Trump fundraiser, close friend of the former president, and the chairman of Trump's inaugural committee, has been indicted on lobbying charges after failing to register as a foreign lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as other federal charges, including obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. The indictment accuses him of using his access to then-President Trump to advance foreign policy goals of the UAE, including inviting UAE officials to give him a "wish list" of foreign policy moves they wanted the U.S. to undertake, then repeatedly misleading federal agents about his activities. Barrack joins a long line of former-Trump officials and associates facing criminal charges.


Her Political Signs Offend. Is It Protected Speech?

Andrea Dick, a die-hard supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, has covered her New Jersey home in pro-Trump, anti-Biden political banners signs, some of which use the "f" word, and to which Dick's neighbors and community members object as crude. The town's mayor has received numerous complaints about the signs, and while local officials have asked Dick to take down several signs for violation of a local anti-obscenity ordinance, she refuses to on the ground of her First Amendment right of free speech. A municipal court judge has given the property owner, Dick's mother, a week to remove the banners or face fines of $250 a day, finding that free speech is not an absolute right. Dick, however, has vowed to fight it in court on free speech grounds, which some experts say Dick will likely win, given current constitutional standards.


Free Speech Is Put to the Test in South Korea

Conspiracy theories about South Korea's history are spreading online, and the South Korean government is pushing criminal penalties to crack down on "historical distortions" and misinformation, a test of the country's commitment to free speech. For example, the 1980 uprising in Gwangju known in textbooks as the "Gwangju Democratization Movement", where citizens took to the streets to protest a military dictatorship and were shot down by security forces, is being recharacterized by right-wing extremists not as a heroic sacrifice for democracy, but a "riot" instigated by North Korean communists who had infiltrated the protest movement. In response, South Korea's government has rolled out new legislation aimed at cracking down on misinformation and mandating prison sentences for people who spread "falsehoods" about historical events. Free speech advocates and conservative critics have accused the South Korean president of using censorship of history as a political weapon.


Pressed to Act, Haiti Announces New Government

Claude Joseph, the prime minister who took control of Haiti's government immediately after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7th, is stepping down in an effort to join a new unity government intended to keep Haiti stable. Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon and politician, will be Haiti's new prime minister. Some Haitians say the move is being influenced and even directed by foreign countries, including the United States, and the move was met with anger by some Haitian activists, who lamented that the government did not consider what the people wanted before announcing itself.


Leftist Political Outsider Wins Presidency of Peru in Repudiation of Elites

Pedro Castillo, a leftist political outsider, has won the presidency in Peru by a landslide after defeating Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a right-wing former president and towering symbol of the Peruvian elite. Castillo, the son of peasant farmers who never learned to read, burst onto Peru's national political scene as an anti-establishment candidate, despite having no political experience and never having held office, and is vowing to overhaul the political and economic systems to address poverty and inequality. Castillo will become Peru's first left-wing president in more than a generation and his election is the clearest repudiation of the country's existing establishment in 30 years. However, critics claim that Castillo is unlikely to have the support of the Peruvian Congress, military, media, and the elite in promoting his ambitious socialist reforms.



Biden Predicts FDA Will Give Final Approval for Virus Vaccines by the Fall

President Biden says that he expects the FDA to give final approval for coronavirus vaccines by the fall, which are currently authorized for emergency use. Biden also stated that he expects children younger than 12, who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine, to be cleared for emergency use. Biden did not give any specific reasons for his statements.


Biden Advisers Expect Booster Will Be Needed

The Biden Administration expect vulnerable populations (people who are 65 and older or who have compromised immune systems) to need a third Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot after research data from Israel suggests that the vaccines, particularly Pfizer, are less effective after about six months. This statement is a sharp shift from just a few weeks prior, when the administration announced there was not enough evidence yet to back the need for boosters.


Facebook Says Biden is Scapegoating Over Vaccine Falsehoods

Facebook is pushing back after Biden officials denounced the social media giant for spreading misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines, with President Biden himself making remarks that the social media platforms were "killing people." In a blog post, Facebook called on the administration to stop "finger-pointing" and blaming a handful of American social media companies, and argued that it has actually taken measures to contribute to vaccine acceptance among Facebook users in the United States, such as by prohibiting anti-vaccination ads and removing posts with misstatements about the vaccines.


Total Covid-19 Cases Rise to 71 at Tokyo Olympics

As of July 20, 2021, organizers of the Olympic Games in Tokyo announced that 71 people tested positive for Covid-19, including an American gymnast. Those who tested positive went into a 14-day quarantine.


Stocks Tumble as Virus Fears Revisit Wall Street

After stocks rose 14% from January through June as investors seemingly expected a smooth rebound from the Covid crisis, fear of continued crisis has again jolted financial markets amidst news of outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant all over the world.


Biden Legal Team Decides Inmates Must Return to Prison After Covid Emergency

The Biden Administration's legal team has decided that about 4,000 nonviolent inmates who were released to home confinement to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 will be required to return to prison a month after the official state of emergency for the pandemic ends. The Biden Administration has based this assessment on interpretation of federal law, not policy preference. Given this announcement, to avoid returning to prison for those whose sentences last beyond the pandemic emergency period, Congress would have to enact a law to expand the Justice Department's authority to keep the inmates in home confinement beyond the emergency period, or President Biden could use his clemency powers to commute their sentences to home confinement.


Indiana University Can Require Vaccine, U.S. Judge Rules, but Appeal Is Looming

A federal judge has upheld a mandate by Indiana University requiring that students and staff members on campus be vaccinated against the coronavirus this fall, but an appeal is underway as mandates remain divisive across the country. Proponents of the mandate cite the outweighing of individual freedom by public health concerns, whereas the students challenging the mandate argue the case turns on the right to bodily integrity and autonomy. Other universities, including those in Indiana, have declined to issue mandates, but instead require that students who are not vaccinated undergo regular testing.


New York Mayor Urges Employees to Require Shots

Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging New York City's private businesses to require their workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, signaling that he would introduce similar measures for municipal employees. The move is a departure from previous city policy shying away from such a mandate, but reflects growing concern that New York is on the verge of another pandemic with the continued spread of the Delta variant.


Virus Surge Complicates Return-to-Office Plans

A wave of the contagious Delta variant is causing businesses to reconsider when they will require employees to return to the office, and what health requirements should be in place when they do. With the rise of the Delta variant, companies are grappling with whether to push back return-to-office dates, whether to require vaccines for all employees, and whether to require masks while indoors.


Workers at City-Run Hospitals to Need Vaccine or Test

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a new policy requiring that all employees of city-run hospitals and health clinics be vaccinated against the coronavirus or tested on a weekly basis. While 60% of the workforce has been vaccinated, nearly two million adult New Yorkers remain unvaccinated. New York City, which has been reluctant to make vaccinations mandatory for anyone, has stopped short of issuing mandates seen in other cities, like San Francisco, where all municipal employees are required to get vaccinated.


Canada Says It Will Reopen the U.S. Border

Beginning on August 9th, Canada will allow fully vaccinated travelers back into the country after over a year of strict controls at the border. Canada is permitting citizens and permanent residents of the United States to enter Canada as long as they have been fully vaccinated by approved companies (Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson) for at least 14 days before travel and provide proof of vaccination upon entry. Canada hopes to allow visitors from other countries beginning on September 7th, a date that could change depending on pandemic conditions.


India Deaths From Covid May Exceed Three Million

In a comprehensive examination of the true death toll of the pandemic in India, the Center for Global Development (CGD), a Washington research institute, estimates that the number of people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic in India so far is likely to exceed three million, nearly 10 times the official Covid-19 death toll. CGD attempted to quantify excess deaths from all causes during the pandemic based on state data, international estimates, serological studies, and household surveys. Experts have long expressed concerns that the Indian government is widely underreporting the death toll, and official government numbers have been called into question repeatedly.


Italy Orders Proof of Vaccination or Negative Test to Go Out

The Italian government has announced that will require people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test in order to participate in social activities, including indoor dining, visiting museums, and attending shows. The move comes after a similar announcement was made by the French government. The expanded use of Italy's "health pass", which Italian authorities refer to as the "green certification" is meant to encourage further vaccination and to combat the spread of the Delta variant.


July 30, 2021

Theater News for the Week of July 30th

By Bennett Liebman

Broadway Will Require All Audiences To Be Vaccinated For Covid, https://deadline.com/2021/07/broadway-covid-vaccinations-vaccine-required-audiences-broadway-league-1234806600/

Broadway theaters will require audience members to be vaccinated, https://broadwaynews.com/2021/07/30/broadway-theaters-will-require-audience-members-to-be-vaccinated-masked/

Broadway In Hollywood To Require Proof Of Vaccination At Its Shows, https://deadline.com/2021/07/broadway-in-hollywood-to-require-proof-of-vaccination-ticketholders-hamilton-1234802899/

Actors' Equity & B'way League Announce for Reopening, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Actors-Equity-the-Broadway-League-Announce-Safety-Plans-for-Reopening-Including-Mandated-Vaccines-for-the-Workforce-20210729

COVID Vaccines Are Mandated for Broadway Workforce, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lifestyle/arts/covid-vaccines-mandated-broadway-workforce-actors-equity-broadway-league-deal-1234990406/

'Ethel Waters' set to usher in 'new era' for Cap Rep, https://dailygazette.com/2021/07/26/musical-biography-ethel-waters-set-to-usher-in-new-era-for-cap-rep/

See which NY theaters, museums, arts venues landed $1.2 billion, https://www.syracuse.com/politics/2021/07/see-which-ny-theaters-museums-arts-venues-landed-12-billion-in-federal-covid-relief-grants.html

It's opening night at Shea's Performing Arts Center, https://www.wkbw.com/news/local-news/its-opening-night-at-sheas-performing-arts-center-for-the-first-time-in-over-400-days

Sunday in the Trenches With George, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/28/theater/james-lapine-stephen-sondheim-sunday-in-the-park.html

'Pass Over' Is the First Broadway Play to Open Post-Lockdown, https://www.vulture.com/article/pass-over-antoinette-chinonye-nwandu.html

Will Broadway theater be closed again?, https://californianewstimes.com/will-broadway-theater-be-closed-again-due-to-the-indian-coronavirus-stamp/454716/

How Broadway is working to ensure that covid doesn't bring the curtain down, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/broadway-covid-prevention/2021/07/29/083eeb70-eeea-11eb-bf80-e3877d9c5f06_story.html

D.C. Theatregoers Still Hesitant to Return in 2021, https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/07/29/d-c-theatregoers-still-hesitant-to-return-in-2021/

COVID-19 Delta variant threatens theater plans, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/newsletter/2021-07-24/essential-arts-covid-delta-variant-theater-concerts-essential-arts

Due to variant concern, DC theatergoers still reluctant to return, https://dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2021/07/28/due-to-variant-concern-dc-theatergoers-still-reluctant-to-return-says-new-study/

Amar Ramasar, City Ballet Dancer, To Retire, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/27/arts/dance/city-ballet-texting-scandal-amar-ramasar-retire.html

A critic responds to a dad's defense of his playwright son, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-07-26/column-a-father-writes-to-a-critic-who-panned-his-sons-play-the-critic-responds

With three new musicals, Washington reemerges as major Broadway tryout town, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/musicals-broadway-tryout-washington/2021/07/21/93459db2-e8a6-11eb-97a0-a09d10181e36_story.html

Actors' Equity Blows Open the Doors, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/musicals-broadway-tryout-washington/2021/07/21/93459db2-e8a6-11eb-97a0-a09d10181e36_story.html

Front Porch partners with the Huntington Theatre with an aim toward becoming a sustainable Black arts organization, https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/27/arts/front-porch-partners-with-huntington-theatre-with-an-aim-toward-becoming-sustainable-black-arts-organization/

Theater podcasts gain popularity, https://dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2021/07/29/theater-related-podcasts-gain-popularity/

Andrew Lloyd Webber says COVID vaccine passports for theatres 'inevitable', https://news.sky.com/video/andrew-lloyd-webber-says-covid-vaccine-passports-for-theatres-inevitable-12361570

Australia's arts sector shredded by Covid shutdown, https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/jul/26/funding-for-australias-arts-sector-needs-a-public-led-reboot-to-survive-report-finds

Sports News for the Week of July 30th

By Bennett Liebman

Who Decides What a Champion Should Wear?, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/29/fashion/olympics-dress-codes-sports.html

The NCAA College Basketball Bribery Scandal: The Scheme that Continues to Shake Collegiate Sports, https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/item/the-ncaa-college-basketball-bribery-scandal-the-scheme-that-continues-to-shake-collegiate-sports

NBA players profiting from 'slave labor' in China, Lhttps://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-china-watcher/2021/07/29/lawmakers-nba-players-profiting-from-slave-labor-in-china-493767

Simone Biles was abused by Larry Nassar and abandoned by American Olympic officials, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/2021/07/29/simone-biles-larry-nassar-fbi/

Can transgender girls play girls' sports?, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/26/states-are-still-trying-ban-trans-youths-sports-heres-what-you-need-know/

NFL vaccine policy: Players not required to be vaccinated, https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/verify/sports-verify/nfl-vaccine-policy-covid-rules-2021-season/536-6bca74df-c694-4113-bfa9-1a3262699930

Nassar has paid just $300 in penalties but spent $10,000 in jail, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/jul/29/larry-nassar-victim-payments-prison-account-money-gymnastics-abuse

US Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, Larry Nassar loom over Olympics, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2021/07/27/usa-gymnastics-larry-nasser-abuse-scandal-looms-over-tokyo-olympics/5375279001/

Data Analytics Fuel Athlete-Driven Revolution in Contract Negotiations, https://www.sportico.com/business/tech/2021/harnessing-the-power-of-personal-data-stars-score-record-breaking-contracts-1234635796/

American Top Team Offer to Hurricanes Includes Perpetuity Clause, https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2021/american-top-team-miami-1234635562/

Avoiding Landmines in the Collegiate Name Image and Likeness Roll-Out, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/avoiding-landmines-in-the-collegiate-1255953/

Navigating the New World of Name-Image-Likeness for Student-Athletes, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/navigating-the-new-world-of-name-image-9939837/

Uniform College Athlete Name, Image or Likeness Act, https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/navigating-the-new-world-of-name-image-9939837/

NCAA Student-Athlete Name, Image and Likeness, https://www.uniformlaws.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=835c150f-5643-da23-b7b6-0d0eccc611be&forceDialog=0

Wasserman: The Quinn Ewers conundrum and how NIL impacts the recruitment of elite high school athletes, https://theathletic.com/2737154/2021/07/28/wasserman-the-quinn-ewers-conundrum-and-how-nil-impacts-the-recruitment-of-elite-high-school-athletes/

ESPN Big 12 Legal Dispute Keeps Boiling With Magnus Rejection, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/espn-big-12-1234635819/

ESPN Response To The Big 12, https://www.espnfrontrow.com/2021/07/espn-response-to-the-big-12/

Daniel Snyder John Moag Motion for Sanctions Dismissed, https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2021/daniel-snyder-john-moag-1234635720/

Weight Lifting, an Original Olympic Sport, May Be Dropped, https://ww.nytimes.com/2021/07/28/sports/olympics/weight-lifting-olympics.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuonUktbfqohkT1UZCybORd89sgbBgvzexaQ9jWS5MyWURjZeiuAUDZSB_UiIYq5yYsMy1C_dRMNENPVnYs1O-dJlHh4nTRi08NzDkY4ZIi4xpMXvAzlu0puQDfUzoTa1KzSwc-46zra07lePbmC8XfPf1ydxJl11sNAyIwHRrH8Mwa7PE-N32cAvnqtyQ8AnGkpTIXWCrPLqCB1hOduZbRG66gQ-Xu1RWDy7jsfLovtbM10UUQSaOSs5tWUs69pcOMcVNbL8LHMjfcn4hbYTDw94PU8lW944VhWc5aqABj8EFDk&smid=tw-share

NYSPHSAA to vote on allowing high school athletes to benefit off name, https://cnycentral.com/sports/high-school/nysphsaa-to-vote-on-allowing-high-school-athletes-to-benefit-off-name-image-likeness

MLB: Indians' new name may be a boon for Cleveland Guardians roller derby team, https://sports.yahoo.com/the-original-cleveland-guardians-this-roller-derby-team-could-cash-in-on-indians-name-change-030536652.html

The Fight For NIL Rights Reaches A New Class: High Schoolers, https://www.outkick.com/the-fight-for-nil-rights-reaches-a-new-class-high-schoolers/

Miami Bookie Has $13 Million, 61 Gold Bars And More Seized By Feds, https://www.thelines.com/miami-bookie-13-million-61-gold-bars-seized-2021/

Prairie Meadows took illegal bets for 32 years, https://www.timesrepublican.com/news/todays-news/2021/07/prairie-meadows-took-illegal-bets-for-32-years/

About July 2021

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

June 2021 is the previous archive.

August 2021 is the next archive.

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