For your browsing convenience, the below blurbs are divided into the following categories: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media.
Bill Introduced to Make Copyright Office Split from the Library of Congress A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Tom Marino (PA, 10th District) to split off the Copyright Office as a separate legislative agency. H.R. 890, Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act, "To establish the United States Copyright Office as a agency in the legislative branch, and for other purposes," was introduced on February 6, 2017.
Court Says German Comedian Cannot Recite Lewd Poem
German television comedian Jan Bohmermann may be back on the air, but he remains barred from reciting his poem satirizing Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Bohmermann recited his poem over the air last March, after the Turkish president was already outraged by a separate video lampoon. The poem is said to make "provocative and outrageous insinuations" about the Turkish president's intelligence, sexuality, and behavior. Bohmermann was placed under police protection, and his show was suspended after the poem seemed to cause an international uproar. It was postulated that the poem affected a deal between Turkey and the European Union over immigrant migration. Erdogan initially tried to bring criminal charges under an 1871 law that prohibits Germans from insulting heads of state. Last fall, the charges were dropped when prosecutors viewed the poem as mostly hyperbole, lacking criminal intent. Erdogan continued with a civil cause of action to prevent the dissemination of the poem. A Hamburg court issued an injunction, barring Bohmermann from reciting 18 lines of the 24-line poem. Bohmermann refused to sign a cease and desist declaration, thereby sending the case back to court. Bohmermann's attorney, Christian Schertz, will not only appeal the lower court decision, but, if necessary, bring the case to the Federal Court of Justice, seeking a precedent for freedom of speech. Germany expects to soon repeal the law that protects foreign leaders from critical speech.
26 million people viewed the 59th Annual Grammys Awards, which is up almost one million viewers from last year. This year's ceremony was noted for not only who won, but for who did not win, and who did not attend.
The Museum of the Moving Image, based in Queens, has elected to remove Shia LaBeouf's art instillation, citing threats of violence. "He Will Not Divide Us," was designed to be a rebuke to President Trump. The participatory exhibition, collaborated on by LaBeouf, Luke Turner, and Nastja Sade Ronkko, mounted a video camera on an outside wall of the museum. Passers-by repeated the phrase, "he will not divide us." The quotes were meant to be streamed online for the duration of President Trump's administration. The exhibition began mid-January and was quickly politically charged. LaBeouf made appearances, and in one was arrested by the police. The museum shut down the exhibit, stating that the installation "had become a flashpoint for violence and was disrupted from its original intent." As of last Friday, the exhibition website replaced the words with "The Museum Has Abandoned Us". The Museum stated that the installation was engaging and thought-provoking, however after LaBeouf's arrest, a 24/7 police presence was required.
Betances' Arbitration Could Redefine Relief Pitching
The manner in which relief pitchers are played in pro baseball games may impact how they are valued by teams. Last year, Andrew Miller was the Cleveland Indian's best relief pitcher. However, during its World Series title run, Miller was not used in the traditional team closer role. He was called upon when Manager Terry Francona determined that there was a critical juncture in the game.
This week, another consideration of the role of relief pitchers will come when Dellin Betances's, setup reliever for the New York Yankees, arbitration panel convenes. Betances is seeking a 2017 salary determination in the amount of $5 million over the Yankee's offer of $3 million. Either result will be a win for Betances, whose 2016 salary was only $507,500. Even with a three million dollar salary, he would be the highest paid non-closer. His stats are impressive: 6'8", with a 97-mph fastball and a "knee buckling" curveball. He made the All-Star Team every year, and his record 15.5 strikeouts per nine innings was the highest one last season. He will return to being a closer, even though he suffered as slump in the last three weeks of the season, after initially excelling in his role.
Although rare for Yankees to go to arbitration, the two million dollar difference in the figures was too much to overcome. Arbitration has well established terms under the collective bargaining agreement. The process entails one hour for each party to make its case, with the player going first, followed by a 30-minute rebuttal and summation. The decision is expected quickly, within 24 hours. This decision is of particular note, because the arbitration process is based on precedent and statistics. However, newer statistics, such as fielding independent pitches and wins above replacement, will be valued, as compared to number of saves, which is the previous determining factor of a reliever's worth. Arbitration decisions are not explained, so it is difficult to know how the stats will be weighed.
College Basketball: Leading Women's Referee Arrested
Wesley Dean, an awarded N.C.A.A. basketball referee, was arrested for child molestation and enticing a child. Dean, who worked the 2003 championship between Connecticut and Tennessee and was named the 2006 Naismith's Woman Official of the Year, is currently in custody at the Cobb County Jail.
It is common that there will be some underutilized facilities after the summer Olympic games, however, the state of decay experienced by Rio is an exceptional case. There are bigger problems than the empty buildings, which are in a state of disrepair, and hopes are crumbling. Some of the Olympic Park is boarded, the handball arena is barricaded, the broadcast center has been partly disassembled, and many areas have not been maintained. Despite government promises, Rio has quickly become yet another case of abandonment. The original plans to turn the facilities into public sports arenas and schools have not materialized. There have been no interested bidders for many of the vacant properties left to be managed by government agencies. Real estate developers who, after the Olympics, hoped to convert the facilities into luxury condominiums, are now negotiating a deal with the city to sell the apartments to civil servants. The giant swimming pool that was used as the canoe slalom course in Deodoro, a poor neighborhood often heralded as a flagship site by Olympic officials, is now closed, with no announced date to reopen. The decay of the Olympic facilities comes at a time when Rio is in financial crisis, leaving little hope that there will not be blight of Olympian proportions.
Kushners Will Not Buy Miami Marlins if Seller Gets Ambassadorship
The family of Jared Kushner, son-in-law to President Trump and his senior advisor, stated that it will not proceed with the purchase of the Miami Marlins baseball team. The offered reason is that the team's current owner, Jeffrey Loria, is poised to become an ambassador to France. It has been the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus', top priority to secure a Trump administration position for Loria, a major donor to the joint Trump and Republican Party campaign. Loria had been in discussions with the Kushner family to sell the Marlins and, now, with the probable ambassador appointment, there are concerns of the appearance of a quid pro quo. Joseph Meyer, brother-in-law to Jared Kushner, stated that the family did not want the unrelated transaction to impact Loria's appointment, and, although the family remains interested in purchasing the Marlins, it would not pursue the matter at this time.
Kathie Klages, Michigan State women's gymnastics coach for 30 years, retired the day after her suspension ended. Klages's suspension resulted from what her boss described as a "passionate defense" of the sports doctor Larry Naasar. Nassar is currently being held on federal and state charges, including for the assault of a girl at his home, child pornography and destruction of evidence. Klages has been named in lawsuits for having brushed off previous complaints of abuse by Nassar.
The federal government's $100 million-dollar lawsuit will proceed against embattled cyclist Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, barred from competition, forced to pay more than $10 million in damages, and lost all sponsors since admitting publicly that he cheated to win his cycling titles. The government joined the 2010 Floyd Landis (Armstrong's former U.S. Postal Service teammate) lawsuit in 2013. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper's ruling puts Armstrong on course for a fall trial.
The Jerry Sandusky scandal (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Sandusky, No. 338 MDA 2013) continues to reverberate. Three former Penn State administrators, President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Tim Curly, are facing trial for child endangerment. Recently, they sought permission to appeal a trial judge's decision to keep in place felony charges. The trio are due to go to trial next month.
Jeffrey S. Sandusky, adopted son of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach presently serving a Pennsylvania prison sentence for sexually assaulting young boys, was charged with child sexual abuse this week. Jeffrey Sandusky faces 14 criminal counts, including solicitation, sexual abuse, child pornography, and corruption of minors. His bail was set at $200,000. His father's 2011 conviction led to the downfall of Penn State's famed coach, Joe Paterno, and toppled the football program with further charges against the former university president, vice president, and athletic director for criminally endangering children.
Olympics: Russian Runner Stripped of 2012 Olympic Gold Medal
Mariya Savinova, a 31 year-old Russian runner was found by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be doping from January 2010-August 2013. She was stripped of her 2012 gold medal, and barred from competing for four years. Caster Semenya, the silver medalist of the 2012 games, is in line to become champion, if the Olympic Games Committee elects to reallocate the medals.
Oakley Is Not Ready to Drop Feud with Knick's Owner
Charles Oakley, formerly of the New York Knicks, continues his public war with Knicks's owner, James L. Dolan. Last week, Oakley told Sports Illustrated's Crossover basketball website that Dolan reminded him of ousted former Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. His comments stem from last week's altercation at a Knicks's home game, where he was forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden. The NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, had to broker a meeting between Oakley and Dolan to try to patch up their differences. Charles Oakley, a beloved former player, was hauled out of a Knicks's home game in handcuffs, after a skirmish with security personnel. Dolan then barred Oakley from entering the arena, and went on to suggest publicly that Oakley had an alcohol problem and anger management issues. Oakley, who played for the Knicks back in the 1990's, has been estranged from the team, due to his criticism of Dolan and Dolan's management of the Knicks's organization. There has been tremendous outpouring of support for Oakley from fans and other high profile players, such as Lebron James and Chris Paul. Dolan sought to shield himself from the public outcry by inviting Latrell Sprewell to watch Sunday's game with him. Nevertheless, the firestorm continued, with calls from Rev. Al Sharpton for Oakley's ban to be lifted. The meeting, which was held on February 13th, was co-brokered by Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets owner and close friend to Oakley. Silver reported that Oakley and Dolan were contrite, and that he was hopeful that Oakley would return to the Garden as Dolan's guest in the near future. As of Feb. 17th, the likelihood of Oakley returning to a Knicks's home game anytime soon is slim.
The advertising world has to figure out its role in promulgating fake news online. 20th Century Fox's marketing strategy for its new movie, "A Cure for Wellness," entailed creating fake news sites. The fake news sites included headlines involving President Trump, vaccinations, and Lady Gaga. These sites had plausible names, like The Salt Lake City Guardian, making it difficult to distinguish between real news and fake. The fake news articles were shared on social media by people who did not realize that the stories were part of a marketing stunt. This seems to have crossed the line of marketing's long tradition of bending the truth to its purposes. 20th Century Fox has apologized for its marketing strategy, which has been criticized by many in the industry. Susan Credle, global chief creative officer for FCB (an ad agency), stated that it threatens democracy "when you start to tear down media and question what's real and not real.' One of the producers of the film, Regency, explained that it used the fake sites because the movie is about a fake cure. Nevertheless, 20th Century Fox acquiesced that, in retrospect, the strategy was inappropriate and has restructured its internal approval process in response. The fake news' web addresses have been redirected from the movie's marketing messaging to the film's official website. Tribeca Enterprises' CEO, Andrew Essex, does not see anything wrong with ruse. He stated, "There's no moral quandary here because they are not purporting to deceive people with actual news. Anyone with a pulse can see this is actual parody." Others in the industry see the tactic as ineffective and tiresome. Given the lackluster box office opening for "A Cure for Wellness", they may be right.
Andrea Tantaros's attorney in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News claims that the U.S. Attorney's Office is investigating how Fox structured payments. According to Attorney Judd Burstein, another client received a grand jury subpoena related to Fox News, and federal investigators, identified as being from the securities fraud division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, believe that Fox News structured sexual harassment claims payments as salary, "so as not to have to report them." Fox News denied receiving a subpoena, but states that it remains cooperative with any legal authorities. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.
Fox News has been trying to put the sexual harassment scandal that spurred the departure of its chairman, Roger Ailes, behind it. After the company settled with Gretchen Carlson, a former anchor who sued Mr. Ailes, in the amount of $20 million, its parent company, 21st Century Fox, hired Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct its own internal investigation. Several women, including Megyn Kelly, have come forward with similar allegations. Burstein's claim came after his hearing seeking to have the Tantaros lawsuit tried in open court. At a hearing at the New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, the court decided that the case will be resolved in arbitration, as moved by Fox News. Ms. Tantaros's suit named several Fox News executives as having marginalized her after she complained of sexual harassment. Fox News has denied the allegations, stating that Ms. Tantaros was let go for breach of contract after writing a book without approval.
Zuckerberg, Bucking Tide, Takes a Public Stand Against Isolationism
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, posted a 5,800-word letter as an update to his original 2012 founder's letter. In it, he pledges to push Facebook in a direction that will help convince individuals and governments that "progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community." He states that he wants to focus parts of Facebook in a way that help people better come together. He plans to build inclusive online communities that are supportive, safe, and informed environments. This new direction emphasizes Facebook's role in keeping communities well informed. Zuckerberg alluded to Facebook's role evolving from being just a technology or media, to being a distributor of news. Facebook's shift comes amidst the growing debate over globalization.
Yahoo is close to renegotiating its purchase deal with Verizon Communications. The original $4.8 billion-dollar deal was stalled, in reaction to two major data breaches experienced by Yahoo. Instead of undergoing a protracted legal battle in Delaware court, the titans have come to a soon-to-be-announced terms, which include reducing the purchase price by $300 million and sharing the legal costs for the data breaches. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/business/dealbook/verizon-yahoo-merger-deal.html