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Week In Review

By Jessie Schuster

Edited by Elissa D. Hecker


Entertainment

‘South Park’ Standoff: Paramount Global Fires Back in Warner Bros. Discovery Dispute

Streaming giant Paramount asks for $52 million from Warner Brothers Discovery (WDB) in a counter-claim for breach of contract regarding the licensing rights to the entire library of the animated show South Park. Everything is not as it seems for WBD, as the media company seemed to win big when they got the streaming rights to the show, but now may have to pay the price of not including important terms in the Term Sheet between WBD and Paramount.


Taylor Swift Avoids FTX… And Big Trouble

While dozens of celebrities, including Tom Brady and Larry David, are being named in a class-action lawsuit involving their partnerships with FTX, Taylor Swift avoided the issue by asking a straightforward question showing her due-diligence. When the former crypto giant approached the mega star with a $100 million sponsorship offer, Swift turned down the deal after asking if the assets were secure, a move not many others made.


Drake Sued Over Honestly, Nevermind Sample

Drake and his team approached artist Obrafour to license a sample from Obrafour’s song “Oye Ohene” in Drake’s 2022 song “Calling My Name,” but did not get permission from Obrafour to use the sample. Now, Obrafour sues Drake for copyright infringement as he claims Drake sampled vocal excerpts from “Oye Ohene.”


The Weeknd Hit with Copyright Suit Over ‘Call Out My Name’

Two music producers sue mega-star The Weekn, for using lead guitar and vocal hook elements from their 2015 song “Vibeking” in his 2018 song “Call Out My Name”. The lawsuit also involves major recording and distribution companies, including Universal Music Group and Sony Music, though none of these companies nor The Weeknd have commented publicly.


‘Rust’ Prosecutors Are Dropping Charges Against Alec Baldwin

After months of dealing with involuntary manslaughter charges, Alec Baldwin is no longer facing potential prison time, as Special Prosecutor Kari Morrissey declares more evidence than what was provided would be needed in order to proceed with the allegations against the actor.


Hollywood Writers Approve of Strike as Shutdown Looms

It has been 15 years since writers from Writers Guild of America have gone on strike, and on May 1st when their contracts expire, a walkout involving thousands of TV and movie writers may occur. The news comes after major studios have not shown any signs that they will be accommodating the writers’ requests for changes they feel are necessary.


An A.I. Hit of Fake ‘Drake’ and ‘The Weeknd’ Rattles the Music World

An A.I. generated song, “Heart on My Sleeve”, went viral on streaming services, raising legal and ethical questions for not only Drake and The Weeknd, whose voices were intimidated by the new technology, but all members of the music industry.


Is This the Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy? How the Music Industry Can Fight Back Against Generative AI

With a song completely generated by AI that sounds like it was written, rapped, and sung by Drake and The Weeknd reaching over 8.5 million TikTok views and 250,000 Spotify plays, the music industry is desperate to find ways to protect artists from these AI songs that are making money off artists’ voices without the artist being involved. The question becomes, what is the best legal approach to navigate this unchartered, futuristic territory? The right of publicity seems to be the way to go as copyright and data privacy issues are difficult to prove.


Desperate for Profits and Souring on Streaming, Hollywood Falls Back in Love with Movie Theaters

Going to the movies is finally making a comeback after the dramatic decrease in movie-goers since the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of streaming services. Since 2021, the domestic box office has seen a 589.5% increase in sales with a $2.3 billion increase since last year. While streaming services have nearly perfected their subscription model, movie studios are sticking with the theaters for an exclusive way to maximize profits.


Arts

Who Owns Those Donald Trump Interviews?

Former President Trump and journalist Bob Woodward enter a legal battle over who owns the copyright to over eight hours of interviews that were recorded for Woodward’s book The Trump Tapes. While Trump argues that he is the narrator of the recordings, the court will likely rule in favor of Woodward, for he is the author of the work.


Peering Into the Future of Novels, With Trained Machines Ready

Author Stephen Marche is choosing to work with A.I. instead of fearing it may steal his job, by creating plotlines and examples of descriptive writing and feeding the information to three different A.I. programs, which then provided the author with dialogue and full sentences for him to use in his book.


FBI Raids Art Foundation in Puerto Rico

The Michèle Vasarely Foundation in Puerto Rico had over 100 works of art seized by the FBI as a legal battle plays out between artist Victor Vasarely’s grandson, Pierre Vasarely, and Michèle Taburno-Vasarely, the second wife of Victor Vasarely’s son. The continuous dispute will determine who has ownership over the artist’s work and whether the artwork will reside in Puerto Rico or France.


With Cheers and Tears, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Ends Record Broadway Run

After 34 years on Broadway, “The Phantom of the Opera” took the stage for one last time, where the actors, stagehands, and even props received multiple standing ovations from an invitation-only audience. Andrew Lloyd Webster, the show’s composer, invited the alumni cast on stage for a final bow as he dedicated the show to his late son who passed away just weeks before.


Met’s Beloved Roof Garden Draws on Ancient Egypt and South Central L.A.

New York locals and tourists alike can take in the views of Central Park West while experiencing the art of 35-year-old Lauren Halsey, who designed the rooftop of the Met. The highest exhibit in the iconic museum pays respect to ancient Egypt, with a massive sphynx sculpture, but instead of inscriptions of Egyptian words and tombs, the walls are covered with stories of Black pop culture; an homage to the artist’s South Central L.A. upbringing.


Gucci Raid Part of Growing E.U. Antitrust Scrutiny of Fashion

Fashion giant Gucci’s offices were raided by E.U. antitrust officials as the officials continue to search for potential anticompetitive practices in the Fashion industry.


Sports

House Republicans Pass Transgender Sports Ban for Schools

With their main arguments surrounding locker room etiquette and an equal playing field when it comes to skill level, the House Republicans passed, in a 219-203 vote, to ban transgender girls and women from playing and competing in female athletics. There is no chance that a similar bill will pass in the Senate.


N.F.L. Suspends Five Players for Gambling

Players from the Washington Commanders and the Detroit Lions have been indefinitely suspended for betting on N.F.L. games.


The Meaning of the Boston Marathon Finish Line, Then and Now

Ten years after the bombing of one of the most prestigious marathons in America, The 2013 Boston Marathon runners, spectators, and staff discuss what the marathon means to them today. For many, it is no longer just a celebration of athleticism and perseverance, but crossing the finish line is now a reminder and celebration of life.


Native American Mascots Are on their Way Out. Schools Aren’t Happy

The New York Board of Regents is expected to announce that schools can no longer use Native American mascots and logos unless a specific tribe endorses the uses. Many N.Y. schools, however, are not happy about this potential change, as some parents, faculty members, and students challenge it. Others are embracing the change and the conversation continues.


End of All-Girls Swim Class Causes Controversy at Stuyvesant High School

Stuyvesant High School, an elite Manhattan public school, requires swimming in order to graduate with full honors, but the school has made a shift to a co-ed swim team, which interferes with Muslim girls’ beliefs regarding being in a bathing suit around the opposite sex. Now, the girls fear that their graduation status might be at risk due to the switch, as they are being forced to choose between their school and religious beliefs.


Germany Names Panel to Investigate 1972 Attack at Munich Olympics

Over 50 years after 11 Israeli athletes were killed in an attack by Palestinian militants at the Munich Olympics, Germany is taking action and has created a commission that will investigate the attack.


Media & Technology

Fox News Settles Defamation Suit for $787.5 Million, Dominion Says

The ongoing legal battle between Fox News and Dominion has come to an end, as Fox News decided to reach a settlement of $787.5 million, one of the largest settlements in a defamation suit to date.


After Dominion, Fox News is Fighting at least Four Other Notable Lawsuits

While Fox News no longer has to worry about the Dominion defamation lawsuit, which they settled for $787.5 million, the news outlet is still facing litigation surrounding their voting fraud claims against other election technology companies, such as Smartmatic, which seeks $2.7 billion in damages.


Netflix Sued for Defamation After Using Photo of Man in True Crime Documentary

Netflix released a true crime documentary, The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, about a convicted murderer. However, in an image used of the murderer, a man who was unconnected to the story was featured and used in the documentary. The man, Taylor Hazelwood, now sues Netflix and is seeking over $1 million for defamation and misappropriation of likeness or right of publicity.


Russian Court Rejects Wall Street Journal Reporter’s Appeal

Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested for suspicion of espionage in Russia and detained in Lefortovo prison, was denied his appeal to lift his pretrial detention. Although he has to remain in prison until his trial, Gershkovich’s lawyer has made it clear that he and his team are prepared to defend the journalist on the grounds of a right to free journalism.


Google Devising Radical Search Changes to Beat Back A.I. Rivals

Google is quickly seeing a rise in users choosing competing search engines, such as Bing, as the competitors have begun implementing A.I. technology in their result retrieval systems. The competition might not last long, however, as Google is working to modernize and also include A.I. technology. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/16/technology/google-search-engine-ai.html


Nobody Can Explain For Sure Why ChatGPT is So Good at What it Does, Troubling A.I. Ethics and Law

Concerns are being raised surrounding A.I. Ethics and A.I. Law, as there seems to be no real answer of how or why A.I. chat systems are so good at formulating full essay responses when prompted to by little information.


Spotify Boss Heads to Washington to Continue His Battle Against Apple’s App Store Policies

Daniel Ek of Spotify urges Washington lawmakers to take action as he argues that Apple’s App Store uses anti-competitive tactics by promoting Apple Music as the first option in the App Store, above Spotify.


How to Claim Your Share of Facebook’s $725 Million Privacy Settlement

Anyone who used Facebook from 2007 to 2022 can claim a share of the $725 million privacy settlement in the class-action lawsuit that Meta has agreed to pay. The lawsuit accused Facebook of sharing data with third parties, which is a violation of user’s privacy.


Twitter Removes ‘Government-Funded’ Labels from Media Accounts

Following criticism from foreign public broadcasters, Elon Musk and his Twitter team removed the labels “government-funded” and “state-affiliated” from accounts belonging to prominent organizations.


BuzzFeed News is Shutting Down, and Vice World News Could be Next

BuzzFeed is just one of many media companies that is suffering during the current economic climate, as the company recently had to let go of a large percentage of its workforce and shut down its Pulitzer Prize-winning BuzzFeed News.


Meta Launches Latest Round of Layoffs, As Company’s Market Cap Value Rebounds

Despite a $320 billion market value increase, Meta is on track to let go another large percentage of its workforce after the first round of layoffs last November that affected 13% of Meta workers.


Lachlan Murdoch Drops Libel Suit Against Australian News Site

Fox Corporation’s chief executive dropped his defamation suit against Private Media immediately following the multi-million-dollar defamation settlement to Dominion.


General News

Supreme Court Says New Jersey Can Break 70-Year Anti-Crime Pact with New York

For 70 years, New York and New Jersey worked together to prevent organized crime under the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, but now New Jersey can unilaterally withdraw from that pact.


Abortion Pill Maker Sues F.D.A. to Protect Drug if a Court Orders it Off the Market

With growing concerns over birth control, GenBioPro, an abortion pill maker, argues that the F.D.A. has “failed to confirm it will respect our clients’ rights and so we are seeking a court order.” This comes as the F.D.A. submitted filings to the Supreme Court that could end the approval of generic versions of abortion drugs all together.


Supreme Court Ensures, for Now, Broad Access to Abortion Pill

Following lower court rulings restricting abortion pills, the Supreme Court announced that Mifepristone, an abortion pill, will be remain available. This comes as abortion issues across the country have been increasing, and now potentially slowing as the pill will still be accessible.


Supreme Court Lets Rodney Reed, a Texas Death Row Inmate, Seek DNA Testing

Rodney Reed, a death row inmate, has one more chance to prove his innocence in a rape and murder case from 1996 as celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, have gained the attention of lawmakers with posts sharing his story. A Texas Court of Appeals returned Reed’s case to trial court and now the issue has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which has ruled to allow Rodney Reed to seek DNA testing.


Senate Democrats Invite Chief Justice to Testify on Supreme Court Ethics

Chief Justice Roberts has been asked to discuss Justice Thomas’s ethics before the Senate Judiciary Committee following Thomas’s connection to wealthy republican donations that paid for the justice to travel to multiple luxury destinations.


Biden to Create White House Office of Environmental Justice

A new White House Office, the Office of Environmental Justice, will be created to combat the issue of environmental hazards in communities where environmental change is causing health issues to citizens.


Biden Signs Executive Order That Aims to Make Child Care Cheaper

In his first two years of office, President Biden made a promise to make childcare both cheaper and more accessible. The president is finally sticking to that promise with an executive order directed at federal agencies to take action that will help working families with young children.


G.O.P. Blocks Feinstein Swap, Leaving Democrats in a Conundrum

Senator Dianne Feinstein was hospitalized in February and has decided to not run for re-election next year. With that news, pressure for the Senator to resign is strengthening, and her continuing absence has left Democrats in a situation where they will be short on a vote of crucial matters.


McCarthy Proposes One-Year Debt Ceiling Increase Tied to Spending Cuts

Speaker McCarthy proposes a plan to raise the debt limit ceiling while also implementing strict conditions, which he argues is the opposite of what the White House is currently doing. It is not clear as to whether the Speaker will gain support for this plan, but it is a dramatic change from President Biden’s plans to raise the limit without many other conditions.


As Migrant Children Were Put to Work, U.S. Ignored Warnings

Despite constant warnings that migrant children were being sponsored by companies that planned to use them in factories, U.S. administrations have done little to nothing to combat this issue. Yet Linda Brandmiller, a worker from a San Antonio emergency shelter for migrant children, was fired after she wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services numerous times to inform the government of the urgent matter.


Justice Dept. Presses Local Courts to Reduce Fines

An eighth amendment issue is being discussed surrounding the fines and fees that state and local judges have been charging in courts. The high fees are viewed as discriminatory and unfair towards the poor, juveniles, and People of Color.


Judge Refuses to Grant Trump Delay in Trial of Suit Accusing Him of Rape

Trump was denied a one-month delay in the trial he faces for the alleged rape of E. Jean Carroll. Federal District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan responded to the request for a delay due to a “deluge of prejudicial media coverage” by stating that the news coverage is “invited or provoked by Mr. Trump’s own actions,” and therefore there is no reason for a trial postponement.


Appeals Court Delays Ex-Prosecutor’s Deposition on Trump Investigation

For now, Prosecutor Mark F. Pomerantz will not be questioned by congressional Republicans as part of an investigation of the criminal charges against Donald Trump, as an appellate court temporarily blocked the questioning.


Testimony Suggests Trump was at Meeting About Accessing Voting Software

The White House January 6th Committee has been approached with information showing that Trump may have participated in a meeting where voting fraud was discussed and planned prior to the 2020 presidential election.


Judge Who Could Shift N.Y.’s Highest Court Left Sails Through Hearing

Judge Wilson, a current N.Y. Court of Appeals judge, may soon become New York’s first black chief justice and could play a pivotal role in the court’s shift to more left-leaning views.


DeSantis Signs Law Lowering Death Penalty Threshold in Florida

Following Gov. DeSantis signing a new law, Florida will now become the state with the lowest threshold for the death penalty, as juries will be able to recommend a death sentence with as low as an 8-4 vote.


Pentagon Details Review of Policies for Handling Classified Information

The Pentagon is reviewing its procedures for handling classified information after a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman was arrested for his connection to leaking classified documents. This policy change will lead to a temporary halt in Air Force training, as each airman will have to review the new procedures for their roles in accessing classified information.


Airman Shared Sensitive Intelligence More Widely and for Longer Than Previously Known

Airman Jack Teixera, who has been found and arrested in connection to leaking classified information in a videogame chat group has recently been found to have been sharing information for months longer than expected. It appears Teixeira began sharing information with a 600 person chat group regarding the Russian war effort in the war against Ukraine.


Elite Law Schools Boycotted the U.S. News Rankings. Now, They May Be Paying a Price

Typically, schools would be thrilled to be featured on the U.S. News and World Report rankings, but now top medical and law schools are boycotting the publication by holding back data as they feel the rankings are skewed and unreliable.


After American’s Killing in Syria, F.B.I. Builds War Crimes Case Against Top Officials

While many Americans and human rights activists have spent years infuriated at the lack of response to the torturing and killing of Layla Shweikani, it appears that the FBI has been quietly building a case against top Syrian officials for the last five. Soon, the U.S. could indict these officials for committing war crimes.


F.B.I. Arrests Two on Charges Tied to Chinese Police Outpost in New York

Two men were charged with conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government and with obstructing justice, after the F.B.I. found reason to believe the men are running a Chinese police outpost that is used to intimidate Chinese citizens while they are abroad.


Beleaguered Swiss Bank Accused of Impeding Hunt for Accounts Linked to Nazis

Credit Suisse’s history of serving Nazi interests has come back into question. A new investigation into the bank following the firing of lawyer Neil M. Barofsky raises the question of what Credit Suisse is hiding regarding assisting Nazis who fled Europe during and after WWII.


Russian Invasion of Ukraine Revolutionizes NATO Military Strategy

NATO is being left with no choice but to return to its Cold War fighting strategies as the alliance is working to protect Ukraine from Russian control. The European Council on Foreign Relations shared that the question is no longer “how much is too much,” but instead “how much is enough.”

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