Eighth Circuit Retires Former Player’s Claims Against NFLPA

On September 23, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that rejected NFL retirees’ claims against the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).  The retirees alleged that they were wrongfully excluded from settlement negotiations during the 2011 NFL lockout.  As a result, they claimed they lost out on at least $600 million in benefits. Two lawsuits were filed during the lockout.  One suit was brought by active players against the NFL and the other by retired players against the NFL and its teams.  Since the suits contained similar antitrust claims, they were consolidated. After consolidation, the active players settled their claims with the NFL and re-designated the NFLPA as their collective bargaining agent.  The NFLPA signed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the NFL that incorporated terms from ...
Continue Reading...


Run DMC(A): No Safe Harbor for Vimeo against EMI?

It started with a simple equation: “Vimeo is video + you.” Yet this formula and model for the new “user-generated content”-fueled Internet has morphed into a case that could very well test the limits of the protection afforded to “service providers” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This past week, a federal judge found that a particular “safe harbor provision” of the DMCA, which has been invoked successfully by user-generated content providers like YouTube and Veoh in their respective quests to protect and insulate themselves from their user’s alleged infringement, may not be available to Vimeo in its case, Capitol Records, LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC d/b/a Vimeo.com, et al., No. 09 Civ. 10101, in the Southern District of New York. The court denied summary judgment on 55 ...
Continue Reading...

New Jersey’s Sports Betting Law Is Dealt Another Blow

New Jersey’s wager to legalize sports gambling was struck down by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On September 17, 2013, the federal court ruled that New Jersey’s betting law conflicts with the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PASPA restricts sports betting in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, signed the sports-betting law in January 2012. The law permits betting on professional and college sports at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. Bets would not be taken on games involving New Jersey colleges or college games played in the state. The NCAA, and four major sports leagues, responded to New Jersey by filing suit. They argued that PASPA preempts the New Jersey law. Additionally, the spread of legalized betting ...
Continue Reading...

Godzilla vs. Mechahopzilla

Beer Advocate, the Godzilla of beer reviewers, gave Mechahopzilla, the newest IPA entry from the New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Company (NOLA) a score of 89 percent and an overall rating of “very good.” But there was at least one company that was not overjoyed with the summer success of a beer known as Mechahopzilla and, as a result, NOLA appears to have gotten itself in some hop-filled, boiling water. This week, the popular brewer was dragged into federal court, in the Eastern District of Louisiana, by Toho Co., Ltd. (Toho), a Japanese corporation and motion picture studio, which alleged claims of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, a violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, as well as violations of several state unfair trade practice statutes. So what does a Japanese motion picture studio have against ...
Continue Reading...

Former Steelers Player Loses Appeal for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Pennsylvania

On August 29, 2013, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled against former Pittsburgh Steelers player Ainsley T. Battles in a claim for workers’ compensation benefits based on a ruling that Battles’ injury did not result in a compensable loss of earnings. The Steelers signed Battles to a one-year contract in 2004-2005, however, his season unfortunately ended during Week One when claimant tore his left hamstring.  The team physician, Dr. James Bradley, performed surgery three days after the injury and Battles underwent a lengthy period of rehabilitation from 2004 into the summer of 2005.  The Steelers did not re-sign Battles, but permitted him to continue his rehabilitation and provided a $50,000 severance payment.  Ultimately, claimant was medically cleared to play in the NFL on August 20, 2005, but was unable to ...
Continue Reading...

Judge Orders NFL Retirees to Drop Two Cases

A U.S. District Judge in Minnesota dismissed two new cases relating to the publicity rights of NFL retirees.  On September 6, 2013, the judge said the cases were filed too early and violated the terms of an earlier order. The two cases arose out of unhappiness with a settlement in an earlier case.  In that case, ex-players alleged that the NFL wrongfully used their likenesses in marketing materials.  On April 8, 2013, a settlement was preliminarily approved for the dispute.  According to the settlement, a special licensing agency for the rights of ex-players is to be formed along with a $42 million fund for the benefit of the retirees.  As part of the preliminary approval, the court barred new cases while the settlement was pending.  On October 17, 2013, the ...
Continue Reading...

Marvin Gaye Estate to Robin Thicke: Let’s Get It On

Robin Thicke was back in the news this past week. No, we’re not talking about his provocative appearance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards, which garnered him — and his performance partner — attention the world over. A recent development regarding the undisputed song of the summer, “Blurred Lines,” has Thicke wondering whether he’s “Got To Give It Up.” It was reported that the Estate of Marvin Gaye rejected a “six-figure” offer to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit against Thicke. This comes on the heels of Thicke’s filing a lawsuit earlier this month entitled Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and Clifford Harris Jr. vs. Bridgeport Music, Inc., Frankie Christian Gaye, Marvin Gaye III, Nona Marvisa Gaye, and Does 1 through 10, inclusive, CV13-06004, in which he, along with ...
Continue Reading...

Parents Television Council Wishes MTV & Miley Really Would Stop

The Parents Television Council (PTC) was not impressed with MTV’s annual Video Music Awards show (VMAs). The conservative watchdog group, known for its protests against various television programs, blasted the Viacom-owned cable network for its raunchy telecast on that premiered on August 25, 2013. This time, the PTC is protesting former child star Miley Cyrus’ performance on the 2013 VMAs that included sexually suggestive conduct. The one-time Disney star repeatedly grabbed her crotch and “dry-humped” singer Robin Thicke, as he sang his hit song “Blurred Lines.” PTC’s Director of Public Policy, Dan Isett, stated “MTV marketed adults-only material to children while falsely manipulating the content rating to make parents think the content was safe for their children…TV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate ‘twerking’ in a ...
Continue Reading...

Advantage, Williams Sisters?

As Serena Williams effortlessly marched on to the third round of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow yesterday, it was a recent victory for the Open’s number-one seed on (or in) another court that caught the Sports Law Insiders attention in the last couple of weeks. On August 13, in the case entitled United States Tennis Association Incorporated v. VSW Productions LLC, M& M Films, Inc., Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, 13 CV 4124, District Judge Nelson Roman of the Southern District of New York granted leave to counsel for the production company founded by Venus and Serena Williams, as well as a second production company and several producers therein (defendants), to make a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed in June by the United States Tennis Association (USTA).  As ...
Continue Reading...

NFL Settles for $765 Million in Concussion-Related Lawsuits

The National Football League has agreed to settle the massive class action litigation brought against it by more than 4,500 former football players who alleged that the league intentionally downplayed the risks of concussion-related head injuries and their long-term effects on cognitive decline. Former United States District Judge Layn Phillips, the court-appointed mediator, announced that the NFL will contribute $765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL players. The settlement will also pay for medical and safety research, and cover litigation expenses for the former players. The proposed settlement still needs to be approved by United States District Judge Anita Brody. Lawyers were due back in court on September 3. Instead, Judge Phillips announced in court files on August 29 that the case has settled. She ...
Continue Reading...