Week In Review

By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News

Register Karyn A. Temple Announces Departure from the Copyright Office

Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple announced that she will be leaving the Copyright Office on January 3, 2020, to accept a new position with the Motion Picture Association. Temple has worked at the Copyright Office since 2011, first in the Office of Policy and International Affairs where she advised Congress on important copyright law and policy issues and was involved in several treaty negotiations, including the successful Marrakesh treaty that Congress implemented last year. She served as Acting Register of Copyrights from October 2016 until March 2019, when she was appointed Register. During her tenure, she spearheaded modernization efforts, oversaw improvements such as new public outreach mechanisms, the elimination of the registration backlog, and reduced registration processing times. Temple noted, "I have been continuously inspired by the excellent staff of the Copyright Office. They have served the American people well and are dedicated to the administration of the Copyright Act. It has been an honor for me to work at the Copyright Office, and, while I am looking forward to the next chapter, I will greatly miss all of the talented staff of the Copyright Office. I am truly grateful for the support and friendship of the entire Copyright Office staff during my tenure here."


Weinstein Reaches Tentative $25 Million Settlement with His Accusers

The deal would not require Weinstein to admit wrongdoing or pay anything to his accusers personally. With preliminary approval from the major parties involved, it would still require court approval and final signoff by more than 30 actresses and former employees who accuse Weinstein of offenses ranging from sexual harassment to rape. The agreement would be part of a larger, $47 million settlement intended to close out his film studio's obligations.

Weinstein's Bail Doubled Over Handling of Ankle Monitor ]

Prosecutors asked for Weinstein's bail to be increased from $1 million to $5 million after Weinstein left the house without part of his ankle monitor on multiple occasions and allowed its battery to expire several times.

Bill Cosby Loses Appeal of Sexual Assault Conviction

A Pennsylvania appellate court has unanimously rejected Bill Cosby's appeal of his 2018 sexual assault conviction, upholding the verdict. Cosby argued that he had been denied a fair trial after testimony regarding prior alleged crimes was introduced, saying the acts recounted by the women were too disparate to represent a pattern. The three-judge panel found instead that the women's accounts established a "distinct, signature pattern," in which Cosby acted as a mentor to gain their trust and then used drugs to sexually assault them. Cosby is currently serving a three-to-10-year prison sentence.

Cuba Gooding Jr. Faces More Accusations of Unwanted Touching

Prosecutors indicated in a court filing that there are 19 additional women accusing the actor of unwanted sexual touching. They ask for these women to be able to testify, testimony which will help show a "pattern of behavior". The decision is expected in January. Gooding Jr. faces charged of groping three women in 2018 and 2019.

Television Show "Survivor" Failed Its #MeToo Test

The article examines just how evasively and ineptly the show handled sexual misconduct allegations on its set, by downplaying female contestants' complaints and letting a male contestant off with a warning. The more recent episode ended with an announcement that the same male contestant, Dan Spilo, was ejected from the show. Newspapers have since reported that he was accused of inappropriate touching of a crew member.

Hollywood Award Season Low on Female Nominees

Despite both critical and commercial success, many projects with female talent at the helm were largely sidelined when the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations were announced this season. Most notable was the lack of women in the best director category, and how most Oscar contenders this year are male-driven stories.

Billboard Album Chart Will Now Count YouTube Streams

Starting January 3, 2020, music video streams will be counted toward Billboard's weekly album charts, including the Billboard 200. YouTube, Apple Music, and Tidal streams will all be considered. 1,250 clicks from a paying subscriber from any of those platforms, or 3,750 clicks from a non-paying user, will be the equivalent of one album sale.


Beetlejuice Being Forced Out of Theater

Though unusual to "evict" a well-performing show, the Shubert Organization has ordered "Beetlejuice" to vacate the Winter Garden Theater by next June in order to make way for "The Music Man," starring Hugh Jackman. The Shubert Organization is relying on a "stop clause" that allows it to oust a show whose grosses fall below a certain amount, even though recently the show was doing significantly better.

U.S. Sanctions Art Collector with Ties to Hezbollah

Treasury officials say the diamond dealer and art collector, Nazem Said Ahmad, used his art gallery in Beirut to hide assets and launder money used to finance Hezbollah. The U.S. says that Ahmad provided funds personally to the secretary-general of the Hezbollah, who the U.S. says helped instigate anti-government protests in Lebanon.

Charges Against Dealer Yves Bouvier Dropped

The charges stemmed from Bouvier's business with Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, who claimed that Bouvier had overcharged him by about $1 billion. Monaco authorities dropped the charged of fraud and money laundering after finding that the investigation had been conducted in a biased way. Bouvier, for his part, wants Rybolovlev investigated for corruption in his dealings with Monaco law enforcement.

Indonesian Cave Paintings May Be World's Oldest Figurative Artwork

Discovered by archaeologist Hamrullah, the artwork was found in the limestone cave system of an Indonesian island and depicts eight figures approaching wild pigs. It dates back around 44,000 years and is considered the "oldest pictorial record of storytelling and the earliest figurative artwork in the world".


World Anti-Doping Association Bans Russia From Global Competition for Four Years Over Doping Violations

The country was handed a four-year ban from international competition for tampering with a Moscow laboratory database and hiding hundreds of potential doping cases. While the country's flag, name and anthem will not appear at the Tokyo Olympics, its athletes will still be able to compete if they can show they are not implicated in positive doping tests.

The men's soccer team, expected to participate in World Cup competition, will keep its name in qualifying matches but will then play under a neutral name if it qualifies for the 2022 Cup. In terms of UEFA play, because the World Anti-Doping Association does not recognize UEFA as a major sporting organization, Russia remains eligible to compete under its flag and host the European competition.

Critics point out that the ban still allows Russia to compete in all of the biggest events, albeit without its flag and anthem, and that a similar ban in Pyeongchang did not dissuade Russia from cheating.

USA Gymnastics Hearing on Coach Maggie Haney Rescheduled to January

Witnesses were scheduled to appear via video conference before a three-member panel hearing allegations of verbal and emotional abuse against New Jersey-based coach Maggie Haney, who has trained multiple Olympic and world champion gymnasts. The governing body is also investigating whether the coach threatened to retaliate against athletes if they came forward with allegations.

Major League Baseball and Union Agree to New Policy on Opioids, Marijuana Use

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the player's union announced a new drug policy that would add opioid testing for major leaguers and would not punish marijuana use in the major or minor leagues. On the opioid front, the new rules call for treatment rather than suspension. Marijuana use would be permitted for pain relief.

National Hockey League Commissioner: The League "Will Not Tolerate" Abusive Behavior

Speaking after the Board of Governors meeting this week, National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman relayed the NHL's four-point plan of action, which includes establishing an anonymous hotline for players and team personnel to report inappropriate conduct, as well as mandatory annual training on inclusion and harassment. Thought the NHL has signaled that engaging in this conduct or failure to report such conduct will be basis for discipline, the range of punishment is not yet clear.

Former National Football League Players Face Health Care Fraud Charges

Ten former Former National Football League (NFL) players are accused of defrauding one of the NFL's benefit plans for retired players by making $3.4 million in fake claims. Most claims involved medical equipment that was either never prescribed or never ordered. Once they were reimbursed, the players would send kickbacks to whoever was orchestrating the scheme.

West Point Removes Racist Motto From its Football Team Flag

The military academy used a flag bearing the letters "G.F.B.D." on the upper lip of a skull with cross-bones. The slogan stands for "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" and was originally used to emphasize teamwork, but school officials recently learned that the motto was associated with white supremacy.

400 Nike Employees March to Protest Support for Alberto Salazar

The demonstration on Nike's Oregon campus was fueled by the company recently rededicating a building to track coach Alberto Salazar, who has been accused by several athletes of bullying and body-shaming them. Salazar was also banned for four years for anti-doping violations by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

France to Investigate Qatar's Successful Bid for 2022 World Cup

Several high-profile names are part of a French investigation into how Qatar won the right to host the World Cup. They include the Qatari prime minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Michel Platini, the former head of European soccer, and a soccer star in his own right. Over half of FIFA's executive committee members who voted on the 2022 bid have been accused of or prosecuted for corruption.


Melania Trump Stays Silent Following the President's Comments Toward Greta Thunberg

Many find it puzzling and ironic that Melania Trump, whose focus while in the White House has been an anti-cyberbullying campaign, has stayed quiet following the president's online attacks of environmentalist teenager Greta Thunberg.

Atlanta Newspaper Threatens Legal Action Against Warner Brothers Over "Richard Jewell"

The movie tells the story of a security guard, Richard Jewell, who discovered the bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics and was then wrongly suspected of planting it. The newspaper takes issue with the movie's depiction of its reporting on the bombing, including the inclusion of a fabricated detail about a reporter offering sex to a federal agent in exchange for a story.

Fox Nation Host Britt McHenry Sues the Network, Alleging Sexual Harassment

McHenry is accusing her former co-host Tyrus of sexual harassment, adding that Fox News did not respond appropriately to her claims, in effect retaliating against her while giving him his own show.

YouTube Adopts New Policy to Curb Harassment on its Platform

The policy applies to video content and comments, in an attempt to restrict hate speech, extremist content and child exploitation. Enforcement will consist of hiring "raters" to screen flagged videos for prohibited content.

Bipartisan Bill Targets Online Spread of Child Sex Abuse Materials

The law would require companies to retain information about exploitative photos and videos found on their platforms for 180 days (doubling the current time requirement), and report on those images to a federal clearinghouse. Legislators are responding to an explosion in online child sexual abuse material and want to give investigators more time to gather evidence through these changes.

Attorney General Barr and Facebook Escalate Disagreement Over Encryption

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Barr ahead of a Senate hearing about encryption, Facebook executives reiterated their opposition to a so-called "backdoor" into their messaging services for law enforcement. Facebook maintains that creating this access would make users vulnerable to hacking and real-life harm at the hands of criminals and repressive regimes.

China Displaces Turkey for Imprisoning the Most Journalists in 2019

The latest survey of the Committee to Protect Journalists found that of the 250 journalists imprisoned around the world, China had imprisoned 48. Saudi Arabia and Egypt were also among the worst offenders. Turkey's numbers fell after the country effectively shut down all independent reporting.

China Takes Issue with Criticism Over Xinjiang Camps

Chinese officials have launched an aggressive media campaign to counter a narrative that the government is detaining large numbers of the country's Muslim minority group in indoctrination camps. The chairman of Xinjiang government spoke out publicly against U.S. congressional efforts to place sanctions on Chinese officials, saying these are vocational training centers that people attend voluntarily.

India Charts its Own Path on Data Privacy

India will introduce legislation that restricts how companies can collect and use information from the country's residents, but it is also expected to allow the government to exempt itself from the rules. The bill creates rules that resemble the European model. Global internet companies would have to seek explicit permission from individuals for most uses of personal data and allow users to ask for their data to be erased. The government would be able to exempt any public entity from data protection rules for reasons related to national security of public order.

A Look at Disinformation Campaigns Ahead of UK Election

The article describes how Britain's political parties and candidates themselves are resorting to the spread of misleading information leading up to the election, including doctored videos and manipulated accounts.

Ethiopia's Leaders Critical Towards Social Media in His Nobel Speech

Abiy Ahmed warned in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize that social media is being deployed to sow hate and division, and that this has the impact of undermining the country's political transition. Ahmed was being recognized for his effort in establishing diplomatic and trade relations with Eritrea after brokering an end to the two countries' long-running border dispute. He has also been known to shut down or use social media to his advantage.

General News

House Judiciary Committee Approves Impeachment Articles

The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance two articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House vote is expected on Wednesday.

The charges stem from President Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate Vice President Biden and his son's ties to the Ukraine and using security aid as leverage. The panel also stated that President Trump's efforts to stonewall the investigation undermined the separation of powers and limited his accountability.

Justice Department Releases Legal Opinions on Executive Privilege

The Office of Legal Counsel's legal opinions support the position that executive privilege bars "Congress from interviewing witnesses and collecting documents from the executive branch". The Justice Department relied on the opinions in Federal District Court when arguing why White House Don McGahn need not comply with a congressional subpoena issued in the House impeachment investigation.

Supreme Court to Rule on Release of Trump's Financial Records

The Court's ruling, expected in June, will give a definitive answer on whether the president must comply with three sets of subpoenas demanding that he release eight years of business and personal tax records. The subpoenas are connected to an investigation into candidate Trump's role, and the role of the Trump Organization, in making "hush-money payments" in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Trump Administration Moves to Expand Migrant Family Detention

The Administration intends to expand the system of facilities where families are detained. Last month, the Justice Department appealed a decision that upheld the 20-day time limit on family detentions. President Trump is reportedly still committed to ending the practice he calls "catch and release" and last year announced a plan to quintuple the number of family detention beds across the U.S.

Justice Department's Inspector General Report Accuses the FBI of Gross Incompetence but Debunks Anti-Trump Plot

The report concluded that the FBI had sufficient reason to start an investigation into links between President Trump and Russia in July 2016, but that the standard for this was extremely low. The inspector general also found that in conducting the investigation, the FBI handled many aspects of it very poorly, including a wiretap application. Ultimately, the report dismissed the theory that the investigation was politically motivated.

Trump and Barr Escalate Attacks on the FBI Over Report on Russia Inquiry

Both the president and Attorney General Barr leveled harsh criticism against the work of the FBI, calling the FBI's actions a "clear abuse" of the wiretap application process that amounted to "spying". Barr has tapped the U.S. attorney in Connecticut to lead another investigation into the Russian inquiry, which will likely extend this debate as to the credibility and merits of the Mueller investigation.

House Democrats and White House Reach Agreement on NAFTA Successor

The revised US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) includes new enforcement provisions that include monitoring of labor practices in Mexico and penalties for non-compliance. All three countries' legislatures need to vote on the agreement.