NBA 2K16 Embroiled in Another Lawsuit, This Time Over its Music

On June 20, 2016, musician John J. Simon filed suit against Visual Concepts Entertainment and 2K Games Inc., makers of NBA 2K16, for one single cause of action for copyright infringement. In his complaint, Simon alleges that the NBA 2K16 game includes, without his permission, portions of a song he wrote in 1978 for which he received no compensation. Visual Concepts and 2K Games, subsidiaries of major video-game maker Take-Two Interactive Inc., released NBA 2K16 in September 2015 with the song “Clean Living” by RJD2 as the game’s title track. Simon, a classically trained pianist, jazz musician, and electronic music composer claims that portions — ranging from 1.1 second to 7 full seconds — of his song “Everything You Are to Me” appear in “Clean Living.” Soon after its release ...
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A New Type of Speech for Leo: DiCaprio Ordered to Testify in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Defamation Case

160337332 On June 16, 2016 a New York federal judge ordered international superstar and recent Oscar winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio to answer questions about the writing of the 2013 hit movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Despite his objections that he neither wrote nor directed the movie and he would not be helpful to the case, the judge ordered for DiCaprio to be deposed at a time convenient to his schedule. This order stems from a $50 million defamation lawsuit brought by Andrew Greene against the filmmakers of the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Paramount Pictures. Greene was the former head of corporate finance at Jordan Belfort’s — the character played by DiCaprio — Stratton Oakmont Inc., the rise and fall of which is the centerpiece of the film. ...
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PGA Tour Caddies Looking to Get Back in the Fairway of Human Billboard Case

iStock_000003352653_Large (2) On June 15, 2016 PGA Tour caddies filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit urging the appeals court to reverse dismissal of their lawsuit. Their argument is based on the caddies’ belief the California Judge presiding over the case was too quick in his dismissal, failing to give the caddies a chance to present all of their relevant evidence prior to dismissal. Previously, the caddies filed an anti-trust class action lawsuit for misappropriation of their likeness and images in commercial activities by using them as “walking billboards.” They seek a share of the $50 million annual revenue generated from the PGA Tour’s requirement that caddies wear bibs which display sponsors’ logos. The caddies feel that by making them advertise some of the most profitable companies in the world, without due ...
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Illegal Procedure: Riddell Cannot Juke Around Football Helmet Suit

A West Virginia U.S. District Judge, John T. Copenhaver Jr., said that Riddell Inc. cannot escape the youth football helmet suit filed against the company. On Friday, June 17, 2016, Judge Copenhaver found that the proposed class action, brought by a youth football league, contains claims that are plausible. Midwestern Midget Football Club Inc.’s filed suit against the helmet maker in 2015. The suit alleges that the helmet company overcharged consumers for football helmets, justifying the premium cost with the results of a statistically inaccurate concussion study. Midwestern claims that the league purchased helmets based on Riddell’s advertising that the Revolution brand helmets reduced the risk of player concussion by 31 percent when compared to other brands of youth football helmets. The study that the company used to base concussion ...
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NCAA: What To Do With $9 Million?

The marathon antitrust case commenced in 2009 between the NCAA and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon and other former student athletes continues to this day. Several disgruntled former student athletes are suing the NCAA for wrongfully profiting off their likeness. The former students argue that the NCAA wrongfully used and profited from their names, images and likeness in various ways — including video games like EASports — without being compensated for it. Last May, U.S. District Judge Wilken ordered the NCAA to immediately pay out $9 million of more than $42 million in fees it owes pending a decision by the Supreme Court. The NCAA interprets this ruling to mean that the $9 million be paid out if the Supreme Court takes up the case and affirms the Ninth Circuit’s ruling ...
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Russian Track & Field Team Banned from Rio Olympics in Unprecedented Decision

102283878 In an unprecedented decision, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Friday, June 17, 2016, that Russia and the Russian Athletics Federation has failed to show enough progress to warrant lifting the November 2015 provisional doping scandal suspension. Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make the final call about Russian’s participation in the Rio Olympics, the decision bars the team from competition. The track-and-field team was provisionally banned from competition following a 2015 report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA’s report found that athletes, coaches, doctors, and the Russian Federal Security Service were systematically involved in a doping cover up. Additionally, WADA found the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to be non-compliant. The investigation was triggered by whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, a former RUSADA employee, and his wife, ...
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L.A. Rams Lawsuit Stays in Federal Court, For Now

On Monday, June 20, 2016, a Missouri federal judge ruled to keep a proposed class action lawsuit against the soon-to-be Los Angeles Rams in federal court during an appeal. There had been a previous order on May 10 to remand the case back to state court on jurisdictional grounds, but U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White decided the potential for extra costs and duplicative litigation was enough to stay the order while waiting on a decision from the federal appeals court. The lawsuit was originally filed by four St. Louis residents who claim to have been misled by top executives of the Rams, primarily owner Stan Kroenke, into believing the team would stay in St. Louis. They claim reliance on false statements by Kroenke and executive Kevin Demoff induced them ...
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Miami Marlins Sue Ex-Season Ticket Holder — The Case of Mickey Axelband

iStock_000014002689_Full Mickey Axelband is self-proclaimed lifelong baseball fan. When the Miami Marlins were formed in 1993, he bought two season tickets and was excited to be part of the new franchise. Now, Mickey finds himself the defendant of a lawsuit. The plaintiff? None other than his beloved Miami Marlins. In 2012, the Miami Marlins opened up their new stadium—Marlins Park. Axelband agreed to upgrade his two season-tickets and pay $24,000 per season for the pair of seats. As part of the upgrade, the Marlins promised various amenities, in addition to the seats. The ticket agreement was for a two-season duration. The amenities included preferred parking, a special entrance to the stadium, and a pre and postgame buffet in an exclusive lounge. According to Axelband, the promised amenities quickly disappeared. The special ...
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DraftKings Automated Text Class Action Continues

iStock_000045832868_Large DraftKings has been subject to ongoing legal scrutiny and the legality of online fantasy leagues hosted by companies like DraftKings and FanDuel has been debated over the past years. Along with questions surrounding potential anti-gambling law violations, stakeholders are also questioning the truthfulness of the aggressive advertisement tactics employed. In October 2014, Izsak expressed his displeasure with DraftKings advertising tactics by filing a class action suit in Illinois federal court. He claims that on September 1, 2014, he received an unsolicited text message from DraftKings, inviting him to play fantasy sport. Izsak claims a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and common law conversion. According to Izsak, DraftKings used automated equipment to send unsolicited text messages en masse – without human intervention – to unsuspecting people, thus violating ...
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$1.85 Million Award against American Sniper Author Overruled

closeup of a gavel on cash, from above The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a jury award for defamation and tossed a claim of unjust enrichment against the estate of Chris Kyle, the bestselling author of “American Sniper.” On June 13, 2016, a majority of the three-judge panel held that the plaintiff, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, improperly referenced Kyle’s insurance policy during the trial. This decision reversed a jury award of $1.85 million against former U.S. Navy SEAL Kyle. The court ordered a new trial on the defamation claim; but, found no basis to award Ventura for the unjust enrichment claim. In Kyle’s bestselling memoir, Kyle claimed that he punched a man named “Scruff Face” in a California bar after the funeral of a SEAL. According to Kyle, Scruff Face criticized the Iraq War and ...
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