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Month: March 2014

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Should your small business accept Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has been making national headlines.  Supporters of the trending peer-to-peer cryptocurrency continue to sing praises of its benefits, while critics have highlighted a number of problems that have plagued the Bitcoin movement. Since its inception in 2009, businesses have been on the fence about whether to accept Bitcoin as payment for their goods or


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Pandora v. ASCAP: Big blow for the PRO

On March 14, 2014, a federal court in New York City ruled that streaming internet radio service Pandora will pay ASCAP, a performance rights organization (“PRO”), a rate of 1.85% of Pandora’s total revenues through 2015 in exchange for access to ASCAP’s catalog of songs.  PROs and song owners aren’t happy with the decision. Some


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“Student-athletes” no more: Employees with the right to unionize

Peter Ohr, the Chicago regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), has dismantled the long-held “student-athlete” classification for Northwestern University football players.  In his decision this Wednesday, Ohr found that scholarship football recruits are employees, opening the door for the unionization of collegiate football players at private schools. The highly notable and controversial


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Cast in a bad light: A documentary star’s defamation claims

The award-winning documentary The Queen of Versailles chronicles the extraordinary, “rags-to-riches-to-rags” tale of timeshare baron David Siegel’s super-mansion.  Siegel’s company went on the offensive against the documentary’s filmmakers after an unexpected change in the film’s direction.  This month, an arbitrator for the Independent Film and Television Alliance has cut to the chase, putting an end


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Is M.I.A. morally accountable to the NFL for her Super Bowl performance?

Two years ago, the NFL launched a behind-the-scenes, $1.5 million arbitration proceeding against recording artist M.I.A. for flipping the bird during the Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show. Now, the League wants an additional $15.1 million in damages for the hand gesture.  M.I.A.’s response papers filed last week argue that the NFL’s increased price tag lacks


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The film subsidy rat race

Visual effects (“VFX”) artists are speaking out against film subsidies.  On the day of the 2014 Academy Awards, the VFX community rallied in Hollywood to voice their concerns over the negative impact they say film subsides are having on the industry. These individuals are forming a trade group called the Association of Digital Artists, Professionals


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Frank Ocean checks out of lawsuit with Chipotle

Chipotle is suing Frank Ocean in Los Angeles.  The R&B singer-songwriter backed out of his contract to record a cover of the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory classic “Pure Imagination” for the fast casual restaurant chain’s advertising campaign. Ocean contends that he had a right to walk away and keep the cash, but the


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SAG-AFTRA’s new Code of Ethics could seriously affect management businesses

On March 4, 2014, SAG-AFTRA enacted its Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct to “better promote an honest and ethical relationship” between the Union’s members and their managers. By signing the Code, personal managers pledge to uphold a number of practices, from serving in good faith, to maintaining confidentiality and privacy in client dealings. 


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The FCC tackles the NFL blackout policy

The NFL may have to revise its blackout policy for the televised broadcasting of games, which is now officially under attack by the FCC. Under the NFL’s current policy, games that haven’t sold between 85% and 100% of their tickets within 72 hours of kickoff won’t be televised in the local market.  The FCC, however,


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With California copyright decision, actors in minor roles take center stage

On February 26, 2014, actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who held a small role in the controversial movie trailer for Innocence of Muslims, successfully appealed her federal lawsuit against Google when the Internet giant failed to yield to Garcia’s YouTube takedown notices. Critics, quick to call the Garcia v. Google ruling “boneheaded,” have noted that the


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