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The Walking Dead Lawsuit: Vertical Integration is Still Alive in the Entertainment Industry

The Walking Dead Lawsuit: Vertical Integration is Still Alive in the Entertainment Industry »

Another vertical integration lawsuit has risen to life. Frank Darabont, the writer-director-producer of the most watched show on all of television, The Walking Dead, is in court, facing off against American Movie Classics (AMC), the network that broadcasts the hit zombie apocalypse show. The Walking Dead lawsuit is the latest in a long line of “vertical integration” cases in Hollywood that arise when a TV show broadcaster also produces the show via an affiliated entity. The broadcaster pays a license fee to the production studio, which is then shared with talent. The license fees are supposed to be negotiated between broadcasters and producers to reflect the fair market value of a given series. - Read more...

FIFA’s “Turf War” on Women

FIFA’s “Turf War” on Women »

In this case, the women are the referees, and they just booked FIFA with a red card. For years, the soccer federation, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), has dealt with allegations of bribery, vote-rigging, and corruption. This October, FIFA faces a new allegation: gender discrimination. On the heels of the successful 2014 Men’s World Cup, FIFA began implementing plans for the tournament’s counterpart: the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Ontario, Canada. For example, this autumn, FIFA announced that in the 2015 tournament, female players will play on turf instead of grass. - Read more...

Game Critics and Commercial Bribery: the Original #gamergate Controversy

Game Critics and Commercial Bribery: the Original #gamergate Controversy »

Griggs, Behind the Furor Over #Gamergate, CNN.com, , Oct. 19, 2014). The controversy and the hastag #gamergate started when game designer Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend posted an article accusing her of sleeping with a Kotaku.com journalist for positive reviews. This was quickly picked up by many gamers who felt gaming critics lacked integrity either being bought off by publishers or simply rating games based off their own preferences. However, like many things on the internet, it wasn’t long before the movement was overtaken by trolls lashing out at women in the gaming industry in general. Specifically, they targeted women, like Anita Sarkeesian, who spoke out against the current default portrayal of women in videogames as stereotypes. The attacks have included everything from defamation to death threats. Brianna Wu, a female game developer, was forced to leave her home after receiving death threats that included her home address. (Beth Teitell & Callum Borchers, GamerGate anger at women all too real for gamemaker, BostonGlobe.com, Nov. 1, 2014). The Gamergate controversy has become synonymous with arguments about women’s place in videogames. - Read more...

A Potential Contract Sweetener: Rewarding Good Behavior

A Potential Contract Sweetener: Rewarding Good Behavior »

The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones breathed a collective sigh of relief this past week when a state judge ruled that a lawsuit brought against Jones by Jana Weckerly, a former stripper, was barred by the statute of limitations. Ms. Weckerly brought the suit against Jones in September, alleging that Jones had sexually assaulted her in 2009 and seeking over $1M in damages. She later made an amendment claiming that Jones and his attorneys had paid her over the past four years for her to keep her silence. In addition to arguing that the statute of limitations barred the suit, counsel for Jones and the Cowboys denied Ms. Weckerly’s allegations and described the suit as an attempt to extort Jones. Counsel also moved for sanctions against Ms. Weckerly for filing what they described as a “frivolous pleading for the purpose of harassment.” Sexual misconduct charges are not uncommon in professional sports. The dismissal of the Jerry Jones lawsuit conjures memories of similar suits against Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, and more recently, Colin Kaepernick. Charges against Bryant, Roethlisberger, and Kaepernick were ultimately dropped, but the accusations left dark shadows on otherwise illustrious careers. - Read more...

Feminism, the First Amendment, and #Gamergate

Feminism, the First Amendment, and #Gamergate »

This past August, the Internet erupted when Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic, was threatened with mutilation, rape, and other physical harm in response to her video web series criticizing the sexist implications of the way in which women are portrayed in video games. See Julie Bort, After Exposing Sexism in the Video Game Industry, This Woman Received Rape Threats on Twitter, Businessinsider.com, Aug. 27, 2014. Similarly, in 2013 Carolyn Petit, a video game reviewer for GameSpot, came under attack after giving Grand Theft Auto V a "superb" score of 9/10. Despite the high score, Petit wrote, “GTA V has little room for women except to portray them as strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humorless girlfriends and goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at.” Carolyn Petit, Grand Theft Auto V Review, Gamespot.com, Sept. 17, 2013. Gamers circulated a petition asking for her to be fired for her criticism. Sadly, it is not uncommon for critics to be attacked in real life in response to criticizing women’s portrayals in video games and suggesting those portrayals may have a negative effect on male game players. - Read more...

New Jersey Takes a Gamble on Sports Betting

New Jersey Takes a Gamble on Sports Betting »

Sports betting in the United States has become a divisive subject in recent years, partially due to the incredible revenue potential it carries. Online sports betting in the U.S. nearly tripled from 2001 to 2005, resulting in revenues upwards of $4.2 billion. The federal government has effectively outlawed sports gambling through the creation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), with the only exception being for states that already had legalized gambling when PASPA was enacted (Delaware, Nevada, Montana, and Oregon). Certain states not within the exception are eager to take advantage of this cash cow to help balance their budgets. - Read more...

After O’Bannon: Potential Effects on College Recruitment

After O’Bannon: Potential Effects on College Recruitment »

All of us sports lovers have seen the movies with college recruitment themes in the storyline. These movies highlight the drama, excitement, and limits imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) surrounding the recruitment of players to colleges and universities. (For a list of recruitment-themed movies, visit Jon Talty, The 10 Best sports movies with recruiting story lines, AL.com, July 31, 2014.) Some of the most memorable movies are Necessary Roughness (1991) and Blue Chips (1994). In Blue Chips, despite the coach’s distaste for illegal recruitment, he contacts a “friend of the program” who buys one player a Lexus, another receives $30,000.00 in a gym bag, and yet another player’s mother gets a new home and a job. Similarly, in Necessary Roughness the smaller school gets stuck with the bottom-of-the-barrel players and the larger school receives nice uniforms, a plush bus, and personal tutors. Recently, this excitement and drama came to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California with the decision on Edward O’Bannon, et al., v. National Collegiate Athletic Association; Electronic Arts Inc.; and Collegiate Licensing Company. - Read more...

User Beware: the Legality of YouTube-to-MP3 Converters

User Beware: the Legality of YouTube-to-MP3 Converters »

With the proliferation of music on massively popular file-sharing websites such as YouTube and Soundcloud, musical artists face legitimate concerns in terms of protecting their copyrighted works. It is no secret that copyright holders in the music industry have aggressively engaged in an extended online anti-piracy campaign. While this campaign originally targeted file-sharing software distributors, most famously, Napster, it has continued to evolve with the technologies available. Now, more than ever, individuals may be at increased risk of litigation for infringing activity, and they might not even be aware their activity is illegal. - Read more...