Google & Viacom Settle Seven Year Old Copyright Suit

On March 18, media giants Google and Viacom announced the settlement of a seven year old copyright dispute regarding content posted on YouTube.  In 2007, Viacom sued Google for copyright infringement accusing the company of posting Viacom programing on YouTube without permission.  The moneyless settlement ends the dispute with what the two companies are referring to as a collaborative effort. The original suit was filed against YouTube, a Google owned company, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for the alleged infringements.  Viacom accused YouTube…
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Collegiate Athletes Bring in a Ringer for New Action Against NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) is currently defending student amateurism on several fronts across the country in legal battles with big potential monetary implications.  In one ongoing lawsuit, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon leads a class action on behalf of former and current NCAA players, alleging that the organization’s practice of licensing and profiting from student images and likenesses without their consent violates federal antitrust laws.  Elsewhere, Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter organized a union movement at the school and requested that the National…
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FTC Will Continue to Monitor Sports Equipment Concussion Protection Claims

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testified before Congress about its efforts to ensure the accuracy of concussion protection claims made in connection with sporting equipment.  Richard Cleland, Assistant Director for Advertising Practices in FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, testified before a Congressional Subcommittee and outlined efforts the agency has taken. As concussion awareness has grown, manufacturers have increasingly been making claims about the concussion protection ability of their products.  “Given the dangers that concussions pose for young athletes engaged in sports, it is…
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Judge Judy Suing to Protect Her “Prestigious Persona”

Judith Sheindlin – better known as “Judge Judy” – may soon be standing on the other side of the bench.  On March 12, Sheindlin filed her first lawsuit through which she is accusing fellow Connecticut attorney John Haymond of using her image in advertisements without permission. According to Sheindlin, Haymond and his firm have been airing advertisements in Connecticut and Massachusetts during broadcasts of her show.  Despite a warning to stop in March 2013, the firm continued to run the ads.  The unauthorized ads allegedly…
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City of San Jose resumes its fight against MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

Last fall U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of San Jose against Major League Baseball (MLB) in which the city claimed that MLB had wrongfully prevented San Jose from enticing the Oakland A’s to relocate to Silicon Valley. Judge Whyte had reasoned that MLB’s antitrust exemption – a status bestowed on the league in a 1922 Supreme Court decision – barred the suit and required that the action be dismissed. On March 5, city attorneys filed a brief…
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Stanford Runner Becomes First Active Division-1 Athlete to Sue NCAA Over Concussions . . . Then Backs Out Of Suit!

Jessica Tonn, a senior cross-country and track and field runner at Stanford University, became the first active D-I athlete to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over concussions when she filed a lawsuit against the NCAA in federal court on March 5.  In an abrupt twist, her involvement in that litigation lasted two days when she decided that she no longer wished to be a plaintiff in the class action. Tonn’s involvement as an active student would have certainly made history, especially given that…
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The Real Story behind the NFL Players’ Association “$100 Million Research Grant” to Harvard Medical School

The NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) recently announced that it would provide a $100 million grant to Harvard Medical School to fund research aimed at improving the health and safety of NFL players.  Now, an “Outside the Lines” report has revealed that the NFLPA never intended to pay the entire grant amount.  Instead, the NFLPA’s public announcement – conveniently timed on the night before the Super Bowl for maximum press coverage – appears to have been a PR stunt aimed at pressuring the NFL into fronting…
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Dolphins Owner Proposes New Deal to Fund Stadium Renovations

Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross has come up with a new proposal to fund the $400 million renovations to Sun Life Stadium.  Last year, Ross asked for government assistance to fund nearly all of the cost.  However, now Ross says he is willing to privately finance the renovations if the team can stop paying property taxes on the stadium. Ross has been pushing for government assistance since acquiring 95% ownership of the Dolphins in 2009.  That push was heightened in 2012 when Miami was in…
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High Crimes on the Golf Course?

On February 8, golfers at the Tarpon Springs Golf Course were issued a stern warning by club general manager Chuck Winship upon entering the clubhouse: betting on league play was no longer allowed.  Apparently, Winship was under investigation by the Tarpon Springs Police Department for permitting casual gambling by club members.  Commenting on the investigation, Winship noted, “Originally . . . I thought it was a joke.”  It wasn’t, however – Winship later learned that the investigation had been passed on to the Pinellas-Pasco State…
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Former ‘Mob Wives’ Star Sues Grand Theft Auto V Producers

Karen Gravano, former actress on the TV show Mob Wives, and daughter of real life mobster Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, sued the Rockstar Games Co. over the use of a character in the mob-themed “Grand Theft Auto V” video game – a character Gravano asserts was modeled after her without her permission. The complaint asserts that the make-believe “Antonia Bottino” incorporated Gravano’s image and life story into the game without consulting Gravano or providing her any compensation.  The filing noted, “[n]otwithstanding the fact that…
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