GUEST EXPERT ANALYSIS: Why the Lockout Strategy did not work for the NFL and why the NHL is in a Different Position

Looking for a repeat of its successful bargaining strategy of locking out players, the National Football League locked out its 121 part-time referees in June following the expiration of the National Football League Referees Association contract on May 31, 2012.  Three months later, the NFL decreased its demand for concessions and increased its wage proposal in order to end this work stoppage before the replacement referees made another bad call on the field that changed the outcome of another game.  Most people credit the call…
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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … barber? Barbershop Sued by DC Comics over Superman Marks

DC Comics has filed a trademark infringement suit against a Florida barbershop owner in federal court.  The suit accuses the owners of “Supermen Fades to Fros LLC” of using signs, promotion materials and logos which bear DC Comics’ trademarked “Superman” materials. DC Comics requested that the shop owner cease the use of the marks on multiple occasions without result.  DC’s complaint notes that “DC has never at any time authorized defendants to utilize the infringing promotions in conjunction with any barbershop business and/or the sale…
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League Blows Whistle on Replacement Refs, Strikes Deal with Regular Officials

Thanks to the poor performance of their replacements, the NFL’s regular officiating crews have reached an agreement for a new deal in place with the League.  While the deal will not be official until it is ratified by a vote of the officials’ union on Friday in Dallas, a regular crew will take the field for tonight’s game in Baltimore to the relief of players, coaches, and fans alike. A series of blown calls, including the dramatic touchdown/interception fiasco at the end of Monday night’s…
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Pacquiao v. Mayweather Lawsuit Update – Round 2

Just a week after being ordered by the Court to pay $114,000 in legal fees for failing to appear at a deposition, it appears that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has reached a settlement with Manny Pacquiao.  A pretrial agreement noted that the boxers are in the process of settling the defamation case brought by Pacquiao in December 2009.  Pacquiao filed suit alleging that Mayweather accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs. The terms of the settlement are confidential.  However, a statement released on behalf of the Mayweathers…
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Yankees Accused of Cheating Stadium Workers Out of Tips

Concession workers at Yankee Stadium have sued the team, claiming they are being cheated out of the tips automatically added to their bills.  Thirty two current and former waiters in the Yankee Stadium’s exclusive box seats have filed a lawsuit demanding their share of the team’s concession profits. New York Yankees Partnership and Legends Hospitality LLC (“Legends”) was formed by the team in 2009 to operate the concessions at the new Stadium.  Legends is owned by the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, and Goldman Sachs, and…
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Recent Deals Demonstrate Need For Cap on Contract Length

The Minnesota Wild made waves this offseason by signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical 13 year, $98 million contracts.  Shortly before that, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Sidney Crosby to a 12 year, $104.4 million contract extension that will pay him through the age of 38.  These contracts epitomize a problem that has bedeviled the NHL ever since the salary cap was introduced following the 2004-5 lockout: salary cap circumvention.  And, to no surprise, the NHL once again locked out the players when the…
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Ghost Rider Creator Consigned to Copyright Hell with Appellate Decision

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest (for the Southern District of New York) by refusing to revive copyright claims brought by comic book writer and “Ghost Rider” creator Gary Friedrich.  The ruling confirmed that Friedrich had both (a) signed over whatever rights he had in the character in a 1978 agreement with Marvel, and (b) alternatively, had waited too long to sue over those rights and could therefore not dispute…
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Pacquiao Wins Round Against Mayweather in District Court

On September 19, 2012, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ordered Floyd Mayweather to pay $113,518.50 in attorneys’ fees and costs as a result of refusing to show up for a deposition in a suit filed against him by fellow boxer Manny Pacquiao.  The underlying action is one for defamation – alleging that Mayweather told multiple parties, including reporters, that Pacquiao uses performance enhancing drugs. Mayweather insisted that he missed the deposition last fall because he had been too busy training.  However, investigators “obtained photos of…
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Author Fails in ‘Avatar’ Copyright Suit Against Cameron and Fox

U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real recently granted director James Cameron’s and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.’s motion to dismiss in a copyright action, holding that a disgruntled author and screenwriter was unable to demonstrate that “Avatar” was “substantially similar” to his novel, “Bats and Butterflies.” “Bats and Butterflies” is a story about a bullied boy who travels to a magical land called Altair where he befriends a tribe of aliens that look like butterflies.  At the end of the story, the boy battles against…
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Writers Call Foul on FX Over ‘The League’

Writers Joseph Balsamo and Peter Ciancarelli filed a copyright infringement suit in the U.S. District Court in New York against cable network FX, accusing the network of using their idea for a television show as the basis for its popular program “The League.” “The League” premiered in October 2009, and the fourth season is scheduled to air next month. According to the writers, they filed a television treatment titled “The Commissioner” with the Writers Guild of America in December 2006.  The treatment was also posted…
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