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Week In Review

By Angela Peco Edited by Elissa D. Hecker

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


Corbello v Valli

The case about whether the musical "Jersey Boys" infringed on the plaintiff's copyright of Tommy DeVito's biography might be heading to the Supreme Court after the plaintiff filed a certiorari petition. The Ninth Court previously found no infringement, finding that an author who holds work out as nonfiction cannot later claim that the work was fictional for purposes of copyright protection.

Asian-American Artists, Now Activists, Push Back Against Hate

The rise of racist attacks on Asian-Americans has prompted a number of Asian artists to leverage different art forms and social media to raise awareness of issues impacting their community. The article describes that "today's wave of activism seems less concerned about representation ... than on larger issues like the surveillance of immigrant neighborhoods, income inequality, and criminalization of sex work."

Taylor Swift's Rerecorded 'Fearless' is the Year's Biggest Debut So Far

The album gave Swift the third No. 1 in 9 months and accomplished the goal she had set out to accomplish - bury the original "Fearless" by rerecording and selling songs from her first 6 albums, which were controlled and sold by her original record company.

Grant Program for Live-event Businesses Pushed Back

The Small Business Administration announced that it would reopen the application system on Monday, April 26th after the first attempt was foiled by technical glitches. The $16 billion federal grant program will support music club operators, theater owners, and others in the live-event market.


Looted Antiquities From Afghanistan Are Returned

The Manhattan district attorney's office and Department of Homeland Security handed over 33 objects to the Afghan ambassador at a ceremony in New York. The antiquities were illegally exported or stolen and are valued at $1.8 million. They were seized from a Manhattan art dealer who is currently jailed in India on smuggling and theft charges.

Museums Confront a Legacy of Slavery

Museums are reckoning with their holdings of African-American remains, especially those of enslaved individuals. One of these holdings is the Morton Cranial Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, a collection of 1,300 skulls whose "study" helped establish the discredited "race science". The Smithsonian Institution is said to be debating a statement on its own African-American remains, with repatriation being one of the options.

Allegations Against Biographer Halt Shipping of Philip Roth Book

Allegations against Blake Bailey have caused his publisher, W.W. Norton, to stop shipping and promoting his new best-selling book about Philip Roth. Two women alleged that Bailey sexually assaulted them. There are also questions surrounding his behavior toward middle school students as a teacher in the 1990s. Bailey has also been dropped by his literary agent.

Mike Pence's Publisher Refuses to Cancel Memoir After Staff Protest

Simon & Schuster says that the book deal with Mike Pence will go ahead, despite some of its employees calling for the contract to be cancelled and saying the publisher had "chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Pence."

Pandemic Buoys Older Books, Leaving Newer Authors in Limbo

Book sales over the last year have favored celebrities and best-selling authors, "while new and lesser known writers struggled." Publishers predict that if online shopping continues, readers will continue to gravitate toward the most popular titles or will search by author and subject matter, both of which limit the range of titles that they would have otherwise been exposed to in physical retail.

Staatsballett Berlin and Dancer Reach Settlement Over Bias Allegations

Dance Chloe Lopes Gomes will stay with the company for another season and receive financial compensation of about $19,000. Gomes spoke out after her contract was not renewed, alleging that "she had experienced a number of racially insensitive incidents ... [including] being obliged to whiten her skin" for roles and "being told during rehearsals that any mistakes she made were more noticeable because she was Black."

$400,000 Swindle Puts Spotlight on Literary Phishing

The article describes how organizers of different British literary awards have been targeted by scammers, with one of them transferring prize money to a PayPal account after someone posed as the winner in an email.

Wildfire Ravages Archival Library in Cape Town

Cape Town University's special collections library was most impacted. It housed primary sources documenting South African history as well as first-edition books, films, and photographs.


European Super League Collapses After Premier League Teams Walk Away

Leading English football clubs, joined by Spanish and Italian counterparts, announced that they would be creating a European Soccer League (ESL). The ESL would have been made up of 20 teams, of which there would be 15 founder clubs that could never be relegated to a lower league. Five others would qualify for the ESL every year. The ESL collapsed 48 hours after it was announced, when more than half of its 12 founding clubs announced that they would be backing out, following fan protests. UEFA, the organization in charge of European football, said all 12 teams will face consequences for joining the ESL. UEFA will continue to run the Champions League tournament, under a new format.

JPMorgan Apologizes for Its Role in Super League

The bank said that it misjudged the situation and how fans would react, after pledging billions to finance the breakaway soccer league.

World Players Association Urges Action to Avoid 'Superspreader' Event at Tokyo 2020

The group has released best practice guidelines to protect the health of athletes at the Games and called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to improve conditions.

IOC Upholds Rule 50 Prohibiting Athlete Protests at Olympic Games

Athletes will continue to be banned from staging protests at the Tokyo Games, either from the medals podium or the field of play.

University of North Carolina Creates Group Licensing Program for Former College Athletes

Over 100 student-athlete alumni from the University of North Carolina "have agreed to support to a groundbreaking multi-year agreement with marketing and licensing agency The Brandr Group to create a voluntary group licensing program." The former athletes see this as a vehicle to profit from their marketability. The program will seek "group licensing opportunities in apparel and non-apparel categories".

Texans' Watson Denies Assault Allegations

In his latest filing, quarterback Deshaun Watson called the allegations made by 22 women as "simply not true." The suits were first filed anonymously, but state court judges recently ruled that the women must publicly identify themselves in accordance with Texas law. Watson received the names of his accusers last week and says in the court filing that some plaintiffs are motivated by money, have bragged about working with him, and have offered to work for him even following the alleged misconduct.

Antonio Brown Settles Lawsuit with Sexual Assault Accuser

The wide receiver has settled a lawsuit brought by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, who accused Brown of rape and sexual assault. The National Football League's investigation into the case continues.

Seattle Bar Sues National Hockey League Kraken Over Name Use

Kraken Bar & Lounge has sued Seattle's new hockey team for trademark infringement and tortious interference. It claims that the team's flagship restaurant, the Kraken Bar & Grill, has damaged the bar "by calling into question its ability to maintain its Seattle, punk-rock, dive-bar image among existing patrons," noting in the lawsuit that new patrons started visiting the bar in hockey-themed attire after the team announced the name of the restaurant.

Clash in the Hamptons Over a Proposed Casino

The dispute is between Hamptons residents and the Shinnecock Indian Nation, the latter of which wants to build a casino on its reservations in the Hamptons. Tribal leaders want to move quickly "in an effort to get a jump on competitors seeking state licenses to build other casinos" in or close to New York City. A group of 200 homeowners say that the casino would lead to traffic, noise problems, disturbances, and crime.

Kobe Bryant Estate Is Not Renewing Nike Partnership

The estate has elected not to renew the endorsement extension and future releases of branded footwear and apparel made by Nike will likely be halted. It is being reported that the Bryant family will launch its own brand of merchandise using Kobe's name, image, and likeness and has already filed for trademarks for logos and terms associated with Bryant.

Simone Biles Swaps Sponsors

The gymnast has left Nike for Athleta, a division of Gap, noting alignment with the latter company's values. Athleta will sponsor a post-Olympic exhibition tour for Biles.


Supreme Court Justices Express Dim View of News Media

A new study on the Supreme Court's characterization of the press tracks every reference the Court has made to the news media since 1784 and finds "a marked and previously undocumented uptick in negative depictions of the press."

Federal Trade Commission Nominee Warns of Big Tech's Growing Power

During her confirmation hearing this week, Lina Khan focused on the potential risks of tech companies dominating not just their sector but also adjacent markets, signaling a tough-on-tech stance for the nominee to the Federal Trade Commission.

Global Tipping Point for Reining in Big Tech

The article describes how a record number of countries are moving simultaneously to limit the power of the tech industry.

Seven House Republicans Pledge to Take No Donations from Big Tech

The announcement was a "sign of the growing distance between some conservatives and big business," with the lawmakers saying that "the companies had limited the reach of conservative voices" and "abused their market power."

California Court Denies Facebook's Motion to Dismiss in Copyright Case

Planner 5D filed suit against Facebook after the Copyright Office rejected its application to register its alleged work. Planner 5D then requested reconsideration from the Copyright Office. Facebook argued that the infringement action was premature until the Copyright Office rendered a final decision, and moved to dismiss on that basis. The court found that the Copyright Act is silent about whether finality is required before maintaining an infringement action, and ruled that Planner 5D had met the prerequisites to proceed with its infringement claim.

Social Media Post Urging Violence Against Senators Could Put Man in Prison

The article focuses on Brendan Hunt's upcoming trial. Hunt did not participate in the January 6th Capitol riot, but he did post an 88-second online video titled "Kill your senators" 2 days after the riot. At issue in the federal trial is whether the post crossed the line from free speech into illegal threats.

App 'Parler' To Return to iPhones After App Makes Changes

Apple announced it that had approved Parler's return to iPhones after the app "agreed to more aggressively police content on the network." The original concerns stemmed from communications exchanged around the time of the Capitol riot.

Village Voice Back on the Newsstand

It is the first print issue since August 2017, when the paper was made digital-only. The paper will be published quarterly for now. The issue includes an article on New York's mayoral race and another "revives the paper's tradition of shaming landlords."

Europe Proposes Strict Rules for Artificial Intelligence

The European Union released draft regulations to govern the use of artificial intelligence, including in high-risk areas, like law enforcement and court systems, where companies would have to provide risk assessments and guarantee human oversight. "Live facial recognition in public spaces" would be banned. Non-compliant companies could face fines of up to 6% of global sales.

Guilty Verdict for Hong Kong Journalist

The article describes a "frontal assault" on the media as China stifles dissent in the city. The latest example is the conviction of producer Choy Yuk-ling, who works for a public broadcaster known for its investigative reporting.

General News

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Found Guilty of Murdering George Floyd

The jury deliberated for 10 hours before returning a verdict of guilty on all 3 counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Under Minnesota's sentencing guidelines, the presumptive sentence for second-degree murder is 12.5 years.

Supreme Court Rejects Limits on Life Sentences for Juvenile Offenders

In a 6-3 decision, the Court said that a sentence of life without parole is available to judges without a determination that the juvenile offender has no prospect of rehabilitation. The decision signaled "the end of a trend that had limited the availability of severe punishments for youths," including the juvenile death penalty and mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Supreme Court Signals its Support for Limiting Green Cards

At issue is whether immigrants who entered the country unlawfully and were allowed to stay temporarily for humanitarian reasons can apply for green cards. Individuals who were eligible to stay did so under the "temporary protected status" program. At least one federal appellate court has found that these individuals are not eligible to apply for lawful permanent residency because immigrant law requires applicants to have been "inspected and admitted" into the U.S.

American Civil Liberties Union Asks Supreme Court to Let It Seek Secret Surveillance Court Records

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rejected the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU's) claim that it has a "First Amendment right of access to petition for disclosures of rulings affecting Americans' privacy rights." The ACLU is now petitioning the Supreme Court to review whether the public has a right to access the court's decisions, which rule on the legality of government surveillance. The federal court was created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which imposed a warrant requirement for wiretapping on American soil in certain investigations. Since arguments before the court tend to disclose secret evidence in counterintelligence or terrorism investigations, it has operated in private.

Republican Bills Sharpen Penalties for Protesters in Flurry of Bills

Republican-led states are introducing punitive measures governing protests. Two states have already granted "immunity to drivers whose vehicles strike and injure protesters in public streets." Another proposal is to bar anyone who has been convicted of unlawful assembly from state employment. A similar bill prohibits those convicted from accessing hosting assistance, unemployment benefits or student loans.

Attorney General Garland Leads Commemoration of Oklahoma City Bombing

Garland vowed to combat domestic extremism at the commemoration. This came after an intelligence report warned Congress that extremist groups pose a rising threat.

House Approves Statehood for District of Columbia

Despite the vote, Republican opposition is expected to stall the measure in the Senate. The legislation is part of a long-held goal, by the Democrats, to establish a 51st state in an effort to expand voting rights. The new state would be called "Washington, Douglass Commonwealth."

Senate Passes Bill to Target Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

The measure, supported by a bipartisan vote, "will establish a position at the Justice Department to expedite the agency's review of hate crimes and expand the channels to report them." The funding will support hotlines, officer training to identify hate crimes, and public education campaigns.

Inside Biden's Reversal on Refugees

The Biden administration is being criticized for failing to reverse some Trump-era restrictions on immigration. As an example, although the administration had said it would increase refugee admissions to 62,500 people over the next 6 months, it was announced this week that it would keep the existing 15,000 refugee limit.

Biden Commits to Cut Emissions

Biden committed to cutting emissions by half by the end of the decade, with the administration announcing that climate change was at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

NASA's Mars Helicopter Completes Second Flight

Ingenuity will now begin its main mission "of searching for signs of past life in a dried-up river delta along the rim of the crater."

SpaceX Crew Docks at the International Space Station

The 4 astronauts will stay at the space station for 6 months. This is first private sector entity to safely transport people to space.

U.S. Readies Small-Business Grants as Paycheck Protection Program Nears End

As the Paycheck Protection Program winds down, the government will start taking applications for small-business grants, beginning with 2 new industry-specific relief programs - one for venue operators and the other for the restaurant industry.

Justice Department Launches Investigation into Minneapolis Policing

Attorney General Garland announced that the Justice Department will launch a broad inquiry into the Minneapolis Police Department, signaling stricter federal oversight of local forces. The investigation will look into whether Minneapolis police "routinely use excessive force or treat minorities unfairly," and will also "scrutinize police training and accountability practices."

New Police Reform Laws Seize on Calls for Change

Calls for change continue even as states have passed over 140 police oversight bills since the killing of George Floyd. The article describes the various measures, including a law mandating that police wear body cameras (Illinois) and a law that makes it easier for citizens to sue officers (New York).

On the federal front, President Biden is pressing Congress to advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill was passed by the House in March but has yet to receive a vote in the Senate. Provisions in the bill would end qualified immunity, which protects officers from most civil suits; ban certain police techniques and made federal funding contingent on local and state police agencies outlawing them too; create a national misconduct registry for police; and enhance "pattern and practice" investigations by giving the Justice Department subpoena power.

State Department Authorizes U.S. Embassies to Fly Pride Flag

The decision reverses the Trump administration's position. Secretary Blinken noted it was not a requirement and chiefs of missions can decide if the "display is appropriate in light of local conditions."

Afghanistan Pullout Gives Guantanamo Detainees Hope for Release

If the legal basis for indefinite detention is to prevent combatants from returning to the battlefield, and that battlefield no longer exists, can prisoners make a case for their release? This is the premise of the article, which explores the implications of President Biden's recent announcement that the U.S. will withdraw all forces from Afghanistan by September 2021.

Cuomo Faces Inquiry Over Use of State Resources for Pandemic Book

The state attorney general is investigating Governor Cuomo's use of state resources to write and promote the book. The inquiry began after staff members disclosed that they were assigned various tasks, including editing early drafts and printing and delivering manuscript pages. Cuomo says that any work done by government employees was voluntary and incidental.

Prostitution Will No Longer Be Prosecuted in Manhattan

The Manhattan district attorney's office announced that it will no longer prosecute arrests for prostitution or unlicensed massage. The office also dismissed more than 900 open cases for those offences under the new policy. The practice going forward will be to offer services to individuals arrested for prostitution. The office clarified that it will continue prosecuting crimes related to prostitution, "including patronizing sex workers, promoting prostitution and sex trafficking."

Coronavirus Update

Federal Inspectors Fear Factory Ruined More Vaccines

A new report says that more Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses may have been compromised at Emergent's factory in Baltimore.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Cleared for Use Again

The vaccine will come with a warning label about the risk of a rare blood-clotting disorder among young women.

Reconfiguring New York's Courts to Meet Health Concerns

New York has spent $1 million to reconfigure 11 courtrooms in order to allow jury trials to resume. As an example, it has done away with the jury box, seating jurors spaced out on an elevated platform instead. All courtrooms are stocked with sanitizer, gloves, and masks (as court rules statewide require masking). In Manhattan federal court, it was decided that witnesses would remove their masks while testifying but could still wear clear face shields while testifying from Plexiglass booths with a HEPA filter. Judges have also selected several alternates who can potentially replace jurors who test positive for COVID-19.

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