Kristyn Fields is a former Garvey Schubert Barer legal extern who worked out of the firm's New York office. She was a law student at Brooklyn Law School.
Since the Aereo case, the debate over whether online television services should be regulated in the same way that cable providers are rages on in California federal court, with the recent case against the streaming service FilmOn X (“FilmOn”). FilmOn is facing copyright infringement claims from television networks and countering those claims by asserting that it is eligible for the same compulsory license as other broadcast providers. On July 16, 2015, Judge George Wu agreed with FilmOn’s defense, ruling that the company should be treated as a traditional cable provider and is entitled to a Section 111 compulsory license.
Descending into the atrium of the tower bearing his name, Donald Trump prepared to announce his candidacy for president. Blaring above the reporters’ din, Neil Young’s ferociously populist 1989 “Rockin’ in the Free World” ripped through the speakers.
The content of Trump’s announcement raised hackles in at least two countries. Among the incensed was Young himself—icon of the anti-war movement and avowed Bernie Sanders supporter—who had not consented to Trump’s use of his famous rock anthem.
As boyfriends, girlfriends and the curious-the-world-over google “how to get to the dark web” and “Ashley Madison” in order to find the data dump the Impact Group unleashed on the “dark web” late Monday night, we thought it was a good time to remind the teams that service entertainers and athletes what they can do when your client’s private moments find their way to the very public Internet.
Sports gear is constantly being improved. Athletes and others, such as trainers, spend a considerable amount of time with equipment and are often the sources of new ideas and gear. But with the advent of smart phones, casual athletes can envision new services related to sports, and one of these ideas recently resulted in a granted patent.
Back in the olden days of last year, there was no particular reason for entertainment industry players to be particularly interested in the actual administration of the Internet, unless they were just curious. Now, it benefits every brand owner to understand and pay attention to the basics of how new domain names come into being, who selects them and how they become public.
As anticipated, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB") decision of June 2014 cancelling six trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins team was appealed by Pro Football, Inc. In August 2014, Pro Football, Inc. filed a lawsuit in federal court against the five Native Americans involved in pursuing the TTAB cancellation in an effort to try to overturn the TTAB's holding that the term “Redskins” is offensive to Native Americans and thus is not eligible for trademark registration under the federal Lanham Act. Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act prohibits protection for terms that “may disparage” or bring people into contempt or disrepute. 15 USC §1052; TMEP §1203. On July 8, 2015, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled against Pro Football, Inc., affirming the TTAB's ruling that the REDSKINS marks do disparage Native Americans and that such a decision is not unconstitutional.
A New York federal judge recently ruled in Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment Ltd., 1:14-cv-00568 (United States District Court, S.D. New York, 2015) that the off-Broadway play “3C” was a permissible parody of the classic 1970s TV comedy “Three’s Company.”
Deflategate has taken its well-deserved place in the annals of all-time sports infamy. The recent allegations against Tom Brady have not only polarized NFL fans and players alike, but have given legal professionals reason for pause as to the manner in which the investigation was conducted and the burden of proof that was applied. The mantra repeatedly used in the report filed by league investigator Ted Wells was “more probable than not.” This burden of proof standard is akin to “by a preponderance of the evidence,” the burden of proof used in civil trials where a plaintiff only needs to convince a jury that his legal argument is more plausible than the defendant’s version, even if the percentage in his favor is only 51%. Conversely, in criminal trials, the burden of proof that is applied is much more onerous given the higher stakes involved. A prosecutor is required to prove his case “beyond a reasonable doubt” to merit conviction of the alleged offender. One could reasonably argue that Ted Wells should’ve applied a raised burden of proof, equivalent to “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to implicate Tom Brady in this scandal, given the severity of the allegations and the erosive impact on the Rushmoreian legacy of arguably the greatest quarterback of his generation, if not in the history of the NFL.
The Department of Justice recently disclosed that the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating whether the St. Louis Cardinals hacked into the Houston Astros’ computer network to steal information about the Astros’ players. According to the New York Times, officials believe that “vengeful front-office employees for the Cardinals, hoping to wreak havoc on [former Cardinals executive and current Astros general manager] Jeff Luhnow …” orchestrated the hack. The breach apparently occurred in 2013. The sports implications are interesting, but the data privacy implications are crucial. Specifically, the nearly nonexistent protection that the Astros allegedly afforded its valuable confidential information should give pause to any business that, without intensive verification, believes its information is safe.
Lawsuits by unpaid interns have become as trendy as kale salad and Taylor Swift’s bangs, particularly in the broadcast and entertainment industries. For instance, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment (now iHeartMedia, Inc.), Fox Entertainment Group, Inc., Hearst Corporation, NBCUniversal, Inc., and International Creative Management Partners, LLC have all been hit with lawsuits by former unpaid interns claiming they were not paid minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). While unpaid internships in the coveted entertainment industry have long been popular among high school, college and graduate students as a means to gain valuable experience and “build” one’s resumé, the increasing volume of unpaid wage claims may make companies reluctant to use unpaid interns, perceiving them as a risk not worth taking. However, that view might be short-sighted, because interns may be key to the future of a company. If an internship is structured properly, both parties (the student and the company) can benefit, although the employer company may not receive an immediate advantage from the internship. Companies often benefit from the energy and new and creative ideas of student interns and derive intangible satisfaction from helping to train the next generation of entertainment industry professionals. Similarly, interns who complete the internship with a positive experience “spread the word” about the company’s virtues to other students, friends, family members and colleagues they encounter wherever they end up in their careers.
The Sports, Arts and Entertainment Group at Garvey Schubert Barer provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.