Unnecessary Toughness: Throwing the Flag on the NFL’s New Personal Conduct Policy

By: Jack Meyer

In the wake of the Ray Rice incident and subsequent domestic violence arrests involving several other NFL players during the 2014 season, the NFL encountered a public relations firestorm. The NFL faced widespread public criticism that domestic violence among NFL players had become an “epidemic” and that the male dominated league was indifferent to the issue.[1] Commissioner Roger Goodell nearly lost his job after his perceived mishandling of the Rice incident, and public pressure forced the NFL take significant action to address domestic violence offenses among its players.[2]

This pressure led the NFL to hastily implement a player conduct policy specifically aimed at addressing crimes against women, such as domestic violence and sexual assault. The NFL admittedly used this new policy as a public relations maneuver, knowing full well that the policy did little to actually prevent domestic violence and was only aimed at publicly … Read the rest

The Social Network: Defamation or Right to Privacy

 

In 1952, James Hill, his wife and two children were held hostage by three escaped convicts in their Pennsylvania home. In an interview following the incident, Mr. Hill stressed that “the convicts had treated the family courteously, had not molested them, and had not been at all violent.” Time, Inc. v. Hill, 385 US 374. The convicts were later apprehended and two convicts were killed. The Hill family kept away from the spotlight and sensationalism surrounding the story, moved to Connecticut and resumed a private life. In 1953, author Joseph Hayes published a novel, The Desperate Hours, which depicted a family of four held hostage by three escaped convicts in their home. Hayes’s storyline differed from the actual events by incorporating violence including a beating and a verbal sexual assault to the family by the convicts. The book became a play, also titled The Desperate Hours, which eventually … Read the rest

Failure to Communicate

I. Introduction

The development of the Internet has led to exponential growth in the amount of information available to any one person. With the Internet, entire new market sectors have sprung up almost overnight. The Internet has (for many) made our lives more convenient –  one can make many, if not all, purchase online, access the news and weather reports, plan a vacation, work from home, communicate with friends and family, and access a plethora of information that would otherwise be unavailable to them – with the Internet the possibilities are almost limitless. Bearing this in mind, researchers, businessmen, and consumers are constantly searching for ways to better utilize the Internet for their own benefit. The desires of the various demographics seeking to better utilize the Internet are not always inline, and are in fact often in competition with one another.

Prime examples of the competing interests can be Read the rest

MR. ME TOO[1]: Are We Going to Pay Artist For Radio Play of Their Songs?

By: Brittany A. Estell

I. Introduction

On October 24, 2009 the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyer Association (BESLA) hosted a seminar [2] titled “Give the Drummer Some: The Legislative Beat on Performance Royalties and Copyrights for Artists.” [3]  The panel was comprised of supporters and a proponent of HR 848: The Performance Right Act.  In general, supporters, Michael J. Huppe Jr. Esq. and Kendall Minter Esq., argued that performers should get a percentage/royalty from radio stations depending on how much profit they make a year. [4]  In contrast, the proponent, Skip Finley, argued that record labels and artists are gaining free marking and promotion of artist by putting them on the radio; therefore, artists should not receive payment for play on the radio. [5]  This article discusses the Performance Rights Act, which is in the legislature process and has been passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee October 15, 2009. [6]  This article Read the rest

Can I Get a Piece of That? Policies on Sampling and How it Affects Creativity in Hip Hop

By: Brittany A. Estell

I. Introduction

Jay-Z’s Blueprint III [1] was released on September 11, 2009 with an abundance of featured artists as well known producers.[2] Exactly two months after his release date, this huge name will be at Assembly Hall performing for thousands of students, fans, adults, and professors. [3] In 2005 there was a grave controversy about DJ Danger Mouse’s mixtape The Grey Album, [4]  a compilation created by sampling Jay Z’s The Black Album [5] and the Beatles’ The White Album [6][7] DJ Danger Mouse was sought out by record companies who owned both Jay-Z and The Beatles’ music for copyright infringement, after his mixtape became popular all over the internet as well as the radio airwaves. [8]  More about DJ Danger Mouse and his legal troubles and how it relates to sampling will be discussed at length below.  Today, on Blueprint III, [9] Jay Z has … Read the rest

SAG Power Struggle Spills Into Court Amidst Talk of Strike

I. Introduction

In February 2008, when the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ended the acrimonious three-month strike that crippled American television production, a sense of relief spread throughout the entertainment industry.[1]  Hollywood studios had achieved three years of labor peace with writers, television production would resume, and the Oscars could air undisturbed.[2]  Any feelings of elation were short-lived, however, as the industry collectively turned its head toward the impending expiration of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) contract that summer.[3]  Despite the express desire of both parties to avoid a reprise of the writers’ strike, the June 30 expiration date came and went without a new agreement between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).[4]  SAG members have now been working under an expired contract for over seven months, with the threat of another strike persistently looming.[5]  Further complicating matters has been a power struggle between hardliners … Read the rest

Ticketmaster’s Legal Woes

I.  Introduction
 

For many, Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. (Ticketmaster) is the first place that people look when they want tickets to an event.  It is the largest and most well-known broker of event tickets in the industry.  Ticketmaster sells tickets for more than 80% of the major arenas and stadiums in the U.S. [1] However, it has come recently been hit with a $500 million lawsuit in Toronto, Canada, after fans complained that Ticketmaster was deliberately directing customers into its subsidiary site, TicketsNow in violation of anti-scalping laws. [2]  Not only is Ticketmaster now facing this class-action lawsuit, but it also is in danger of being hit with charges by the Canadian as well as the U.S. government.[3]  Compounded with the recent backlash against its new merger with LiveNation, Ticketmaster is currently facing a host of legal problems.[4]
 

II.  The Canadian Class-Action Lawsuit
 

The lawsuit began with one

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Chipping Away at the RIAA’s “Making Available” Theory of Copyright Infringement

I.    Introduction

On September 8, 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 261 individuals
for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.[1]  In the five years
since, the RIAA has sued, settled, or threatened litigation against
over 30,000 Americans for alleged violations of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act.[2]  These actions have attracted a great deal of public
attention, largely due to the fact that the suits have hit very close
to home for many Americans.  Unlike prior lawsuits, which targeted
software programs such as Napster and Grokster, this new chapter in the
file-sharing saga has focused on ordinary people.[3]  The targets of
the RIAA’s legal claims run the spectrum of everyday people who are not
typically the subjects of copyright actions, including children,
parents, grandparents, single mothers, professors, and college
students.[4]

The RIAA’s strategic offensive against music consumers has spurred a
firestorm of debate

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The Obama “Celebrity” Ad and the Right of Publicity

I. Introduction

With the 2008 presidential campaign expected to break spending
records, it is no surprise that both major political parties are
flooding swing-state airwaves with television advertisements.  While
recent elections have produced the much-discussed "swift boat" and "3
a.m." commercials, the McCain campaign took a unique approach with the
summer release of the so-called Barack Obama "celebrity" ad.[1] In
response to the enthusiasm generated by large U.S. and European crowds
at Obama's public appearances, the McCain campaign featured images of
Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in an ad that characterized Obama as
"the biggest celebrity in the world."[2]  Such unauthorized use of
celebrity images in political advertisements has been the subject of
recent debate, as any potential legal actions implicate the tension
between the right of publicity and the First Amendment.

II. Principles of the Right of Publicity

The right of publicity, sometimes referred to as misappropriation,
is

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Probing Spygate: Will the NFL Indemnify Key Witness?

I.    Introduction

From the moment of its initial disclosure, the National Football
League's (NFL's) so-called Spygate incident had the potential to be one
of the more notorious sports scandals in recent memory.  During the
first game of the 2007 season, a videographer on the New England
Patriots sideline was caught taping the hand signals of New York Jets
offensive coaches, a violation of Article 9 of the NFL Constitution and
Bylaws.[1]  The intrigue was apparent: the league's modern-day dynasty
had been caught red-handed, begging the question of whether the
Patriots had broken league rules at any other times during its
championship era.  The NFL's first-year commissioner, Roger Goodell,
addressed the issue quickly, fining the team and head coach Bill
Belichick a combined $750,000 and taking away a first-round draft
pick.[2]  Despite its rapid action, the NFL's handling of the situation
added to the mystery.  After announcing the penalty, the

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