Kessler v. Duffer: A Conspiracy Theory and the Origin of Stranger Things

The success and mass cultural appeal of Netflix’s Stranger Things is in part due to the way in which it incorporates familiar story tropes and cinematic techniques to create a show that feels simultaneously fresh and nostalgic. While the influence of cultural giants like Steven Spielberg and Stephen King is obvious, at least one man feels that the show’s creators, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, took more from him than mere inspiration.            .. Read More

Who is a “Film by?” The Writers Guild vs The Directors Guild

The Preamble: The WGA on Possessive Credits The Writers Guild of America’s 2017 Theatrical and Television Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) begins with a preamble focusing on an oddly specific topic: “Possessive Credits.” The agreement as a whole is sprawling and broad, and clocks in at nearly 700 pages. This places it somewhere between Crime and Punishment and War and Peace in terms of sheer length. That being the case, it is striking that.. Read More

Davis v. Electronic Arts, Inc.

On August 17, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied class action certification for the retired National Football League (NFL) players suing Electronic Arts for using their likelihood in their Madden NFL series videogames, and dismissed Electronic Arts’ summary judgement motion in the case Davis v. Electronic Arts, Inc. This decision follows a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judgment from 2015 affirming the district court judgment protecting.. Read More

Spotify’s IPO!

Spotify (SPOT), the music streaming service, is expected to begin trading on April 3. This IPO is one to watch by all fans of music, technology, and finance.   What is Spotify?   Spotify is a music, podcast and video streaming service from Stockholm, Sweden. It came to the United States in 2010 and has been booming ever since.  Spotify has about 159 million monthly active users and 71 million subscribers for its.. Read More

Sports Gambling: The Anti-Commandeering Argument Against PASPA

Background Information   In 1992, Congress passed PASPA amid concerns that the legalization of sports gambling at the State level would spread. This legislation prohibited most States from licensing sports gambling. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 3704 (1993). In 2012, the New Jersey State legislature enacted New Jersey’s Sports Wagering Law, permitting State authorities to license “sports gambling in casinos and racetracks and casinos to operate ‘sports pools.’” NCAA.. Read More

Murphy v. NCAA: The Case that Could Transform Sports Betting Across the Nation

The fight for widespread legalization of sports betting in this country received a huge boost this past June when the Supreme Court, to the surprise of many and over the objection of the Solicitor General, agreed to hear New Jersey’s lawsuit. Murphy v. NCAA, formerly Christie v. NCAA, is set to be decided in the near future. The judges’ decision to hear the case, and the sentiments of many of the judges during.. Read More

Speaking About Politics: A Fireable Offense?

President Trump’s remarks that NFL owners should fire players who chose to kneel during the national anthem and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ statement that Jemele Hill’s tweets disparaging Trump were a “fireable offense” pose an important question: can a private-sector employee be fired based on his or her political speech? The simple answer is yes; an employer may impose restrictions on speech relating to politics and decide to terminate employment.. Read More

Theatrical Parody in an Age of Uncertain Fair Use in the Second Circuit

Fair use doctrine has been challenged and stretched by the technological leaps and bounds of recent years. In the recent Second Circuit case, Author’s Guild v. Google, the court grappled with the issue of whether Google Books snippets were fair uses of the copyrighted works. These determinations are far beyond the scope of what is contemplated by the Section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act, which sets forth factors courts should consider when.. Read More

Video Games: A Growing Market and its Intellectual Property Needs

The video game industry is a rapidly growing market. The rising prize pools of video game tournaments and the popularity of streaming personalities are just a couple of the signs of this growth. Game revenues are expected to hit $108.9 billion in 2017, an increase of nearly $8 billion from 2016. That is a near eight percent increase, with smartphone and tablet gaming seeing a twenty percent increase. The global player base is.. Read More

The Implications of Van Zant v. Pyle on the First Amendment

  In August 2017, the District Court for the Southern District of New York enjoined Cleopatra Films from producing and distributing Street Survivor: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. The film was going to tell the story of the 1977 airplane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines – two members of the iconic band Lynyrd Skynyrd – and four others. The survivors had consented in 1987 to.. Read More