Union Strikes, Hollywood Style

The Writers Guild of America recently made history by striking, and bringing a halt to the production of television shows in Hollywood.  The Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West came together to gain rights in new media distribution of their work. [1]  This article will look at this instance of a union strike and discuss the law surrounding union strikes in the United States.

The Writers Guilds were predated by the Authors League of America, which was founded in 1912. [2]  This organization turned in the Screen Writers Guild in 1920. [3]  The Guild organized in response to cuts being made by movie studios to reduce the pay of writers and actors during the Great Depression. [4] In 1954, after many disagreements by the different writers groups within the Guild, the factions of television, movie and radio writers came together to form the Writers … Read the rest

Wait ‘Til Next Year: When Will Comcast and The Big Ten Network Reach an Agreement?

I. Introduction

When the college footballs season kicks off in August, Midwestern
cable customers may finally get the chance to see what all the fuss
over the Big Ten Network (BTN) is about.  After over a year of tense
negotiations, published reports indicate that the BTN and Comcast are
nearing a deal to air the channel on the Midwest's largest cable
provider.[1]  Upon becoming the first conference to announce the
creation of its own cable station, the Big Ten counted on the appeal of
being able to guarantee its fans the ability to see nearly every game
played by conference teams.[2]  When negotiations commenced with
Midwest cable providers, however, Comcast and its competitors balked at
the BTN's high asking price and broad distribution demands.[3]  The
ensuing stalemate prevented most Midwest fans who do not have satellite
cable from viewing the much-anticipated Ohio State-Wisconsin football
game in November.[4]  Additionally, the Wisconsin-Indiana

Read the rest

Financing Space Assets and Private Business Entities – Part II

III. Debtor’s Rights and Related Rights

A. Background  

     Since space assets require huge amount of money, the space industry takes a great effort to get finance for manufacturing and maintaining them. Large scale entities use their own surplus and other smaller ones tend to form a consortium to get finance.[1]  If they don’t get enough finance, they will cooperate with private-sector investors like investment banks but private-sector investors want to have a security agreement on the specific space asset or the future cash-flow from operating the asset or equipment to make sure to collect money.[2]  Most satellite manufacturers such as Boeing Satellite Systems, Motorola, and Mitsubishi Electronic actively participate in the project financing with major investment and commercial banks such as Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc, UBS Investment Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman, Sachs & Co.[3] 

     However, it is hard to determine which jurisdiction or law is … Read the rest

Art Imitates Art: Bollywood Finds Inspiration in Hollywood Films

       Many Americans do not know about Bollywood, but the rest of the world definitely does.  The largest movie industry in the world, Bollywood movies sell 3.6 billion tickets in comparison to Hollywood's 2.6 billion tickets in the year 2004. [1]  It is estimated that this year Bollywood made £1.26 billion [2] (approximately $2.6 billion US), and Bollywood has a projected growth of nineteen percent each year. [3]  Part of the way that Bollywood is able to keep making movies that gross lots of money is to take successful films from Hollywood and remake them into Bollywood blockbusters.  Movies such as Entrapment and ET have been made into Bollywood productions by changing the story to make it more akin to a musical than straight theater and making the characters more identifiable to Indian culture.  Almost eighty percent of all Bollywood films has been "inspired" by a Hollywood Read the rest

The Legal Attack on Fantasy Sports

In the last thirty years, fantasy sports
have evolved from a little known hobby into a $1.5 billion
industry.[1]  While historical accounts differ, CNN claims that the
first fantasy league began in 1980 and involved the use of baseball
statistics.[2]  Fantasy sports grew drastically during the 1990s, as internet technology gave rise to services that could conduct quick
statistical updates and provide fantasy managers with up-to-the-minute league
scores and standings.[3]  By 2005, there were more than 12.6 million
Americans competing in fantasy sports leagues, spending nearly $500 per
player.[4]  The rapid growth of the fantasy sports industry has spurred
litigation that threatens viability of the industry as a whole.  In this article, I will discuss a recent case in which a
federal court was asked to declare fantasy sports to be a form of
illegal gambling.

The legality of fantasy sports came under direct attack in a 2007 case before … Read the rest

Financing Space Assets and Private Business Entities (Part I)

I. Introduction

A. Space Technology and Law

     Have you ever thought about who owns the satellite when you listen to the satellite radio, or watch satellite television? While society benefits from the satellite technology such as satellite television, radio, navigation, phone and so on, international organizations, governments and space industry are disputing over the ownership of the satellites, what space assets are, and how to get financing. Likewise, defining space assets and the protection of financiers to space assets is very new and critical for the entertainment and space industries. This is because of the tremendous capital and interest of investors is related to space assets and they have great potential to be developed more.
     Although the space technology contributes to the entertainment industry only with the satellite technology for now, it is being developed and improved. A lot of investors are willing to involve the … Read the rest

The Federal Communication Commission: Changing Television Through Censorship?

Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech or the press…." [1]  However, the Federal Communication Commission ("FCC") often steps in and creates regulations that prohibit foul language on television.  The recent Academy Awards cut away from a thank you speech by Sally Field to a black screen as a result of the topic of her speech.  A new documentary, entitled "The War", is to air on Public Broadcasting Station ("PBS") in an edited form to remove foul language.  This article will look at these instances and question the necessity of the FCC to prohibit such speech in these contexts and how the courts have viewed this issue in the past.

The FCC was created by the Communications Act of 1934 [2] and has the responsibility of "regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, cable." [3] The FCC initially took up the role of regulating … Read the rest

How Can We Protect Fashion Designs With Trademark Law?

     Gucci’s shoes, Louis Vuitton’s bag, and Chanel’s clothes . . . no one would deny the fact that the fashion industry continuously invests tremendous amounts of capital to intellectual creativity and marketing. Such investments earn the industry a tremendous amount of money. As brand names and trademarks become more recognized, trademark owners struggle to find strategies to protect their trademarks and designs from appropriators.

    Today, trademarks and brand names have become a major international matter. Trademark owners are justly concerned about others appropriating their trademark in light of the substantial monetary investment required to cultivate and promote public awareness. This is the fundamental reason for protecting marks.[1]
In practice, however, it is difficult to regulate trademark appropriation internationally as marks, especially famous marks, are becoming globalized. This situation creates several international organizations and regulations, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)[2] and International Trademark Association –
Read the rest

Paparazzi Cause Need for New Federal Laws

The tenth anniversary of Princess Diana’s death once again stirs questions regarding paparazzi and the right of publicity for celebrities.  Many magazines are in the business of exploiting the personal lives of celebrities, publishing photos and stories about them in every walk of life.  Tabloid magazines make millions of dollars each year from magazine sales fueled by images of big name celebrities on their covers.

The right of publicity arose out of the case Haelan Laboratories v. Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., where two chewing gum companies went to court over exclusive contracts to use baseball players’ likenesses to sell their gum. [1]  The court struck down the idea that a celebrity only has a right of privacy interest in their own images and decided that celebrities have a property interest in their images since they have a “pecuniary worth.” [2]  In this manner, courts recognized Read the rest

America’s Pastime of a Time Past: Baseball has lost its special place in the American courts, but why? (Part 1 of 2)

I. Introduction

Baseball has enjoyed a
special place in the hearts of American sports fans.  It is touted as
America’s pastime.  As Americans, judges are not immune to either the
love of the game or the special status it holds in American culture. 
While other sports faced antitrust regulation with respect to the
reserve clause, baseball was exempted by the courts. [1]  The reserve clause restricts the right of the player to contract with a team other than the one he is currently signed with.[2]  Justice Blackmun, in his famous opinion in Flood v. Kuhn, pays homage to the baseball gods with a nearly seven-page-long introductory section entitled “The Game.”[3]  This storied past of baseball (MLB) no longer holds sway as recent rulings evidence.  Specifically, in the CBC v. MLB Advanced Media,
a federal district court recently held that MLB did not have … Read the rest