TV Weather Anchor Hiring Decisions Are Acts in Furtherance of Free Speech

Thanks to a California intermediate appellate court’s recent reversal of a Los Angeles County trial court, CBS is halfway towards the early dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit filed by a man CBS declined to hire for a weather anchor position.  The case is Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting Inc. The plaintiff, Kyle Hunter, filed a gender and age discrimination complaint against CBS Broadcasting Inc. asserting that CBS violated the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  He alleges that two local CBS television stations in Los Angeles…
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$50M Settlement Approved in NFL Retirees’ Publicity Rights Suit

A Minnesota federal judge approved a $50 million settlement in a case over the publicity rights of more than 25,000 NFL retirees. Calling it a “historic settlement,” the judge stated it is “very creative and it’s very exciting to see this opportunity being provided to retired players for the first time.” Despite the objection of 19 players, on November 1, 2013, the judge granted final approval of the settlement. The judge noted that “only one-tenth of one percent of the class objected and less…
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Judge Allows NCAA Athletes’ Antitrust Claims to Proceed

A U.S. District Judge in California, Claudia Wilken, rejected all of the NCAA’s arguments to dismiss antitrust claims against it in connection with the use of student athletes’ names and likenesses.  According to the athletes, the NCAA and others are making huge profits by selling rights that should belong to the players.  On October 25, 2013, Wilken ruled that those claims could proceed to the next stage of litigation. The athletes contend that antitrust laws are applicable because they are forced to give up their…
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Ryan Hart Did Not Consent to $40 Million EA Settlement

Ryan Hart, a former Rutgers quarterback, told the New Jersey federal court that he was “completely uninformed” about negotiations and a settlement impacting his case against Electronic Arts (EA).  In his October 21, 2013 filing, Hart did not object to the settlement, but he opposed an action to replace him as the named plaintiff. The $40 million settlement, announced last month, will remove EA and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) from Hart’s case and two others if approved.  Hart’s case was filed…
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Tiger’s 2013 Grade: “C” for Cheater?

Chances are that Tiger Woods has never gotten an “F” on any test or examination in his life. After all, he’s won 79 PGA Tour events, is a 14-time major champion and, prior to turning professional, spent two years as an undergraduate at Stanford University, one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions. This is at least part of the reason that Brandel Chamblee’s 2013 season-in-review “report card”, published last week on Golf.com, in which he gave Woods a grade of “F” for the season,…
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FX facing mark’s F-X-Xtinction?

The name seemed silly from the moment those commercials started to run. You know them — the ones with the cast members of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia speaking to each other in what sounds, to the naked ear, like Swedish. The ad spots changed as the summer season rolled out on FX, but the punchline of each promo was always the same, with one cast member saying the name of the channel that the great comedy show was moving to. Repeat after Danny DeVito:…
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Disney Suing Musical Company for Infringement

Last week, entertainment giant Disney file suit against a Pennsylvania based Entertainment Theatre Group, doing business as American Music Theatre (AMT).  In its complaint, Disney alleges that AMT’s production, Broadway: Now and Forever, infringes its rights and is seeking damages. AMT is staging Broadway: Now and Forever, a show that billed as a “larger-than-life theatrical compilation of unforgettable music from the hottest new blockbusters to all-time favorite classics.” “Broadway: Now and Forever recreates the greatest moments ever on stage.” The show…
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EA & CLC No Longer “In the Game” With College Athletes

After a long legal battle with college athletes, Electronic Arts (EA) and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) are calling it quits.  On September 26, 2013, the companies announced that they reached a settlement agreement with the former college athletes.  If the judge approves the settlement, the NCAA will be forced to defend the suits on its own. Four years ago, former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, EA, and CLC focusing on college athletes’ rights and compensation.  O’Bannon sought…
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SiriusXM: “It Ain’t Me Babe”

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, the principal songwriters and vocalists of 60’s pop group The Turtles, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in the Southern District of New York, against SiriusXM Radio, Inc., the satellite radio giant, captioned Flo & Eddie Inc., et al. v. SiriusXM Radio, Inc.; and Does 1 through 10, No. 13 CIV 5784, in mid-August. Perhaps signaling the urgency and seriousness of the situation, this past week attorneys from the New York-based law firms Weil, Gotschal and Manges LLP…
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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…
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