Month: June 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Of Interest: Celebrities On Social, Tattoo Dispute, Art Basel Sneaker Lawsuit

Sports & Entertainment Law

Members of the Sports & Entertainment Law Section found the following, recent third-party articles to be of potential interest to the section:

FTC Warns Celebrities Over Social Media Endorsements

Court Looks To Ink Decision In Tattoo Copyright Dispute  

Adidas Steps On the Toes Of Art Basel In Sneaker Lawsuit

Prize Promoter Trudges Forward With March Madness Sweepstakes Lawsuit

Visa Options For Athletes 

Nevada Passes New Law That Provides Flexibility For eSports Wagering 

‘This could be heaven or this could be hell’ for Hotel California

Boogaard Ruling Blurs NHL Liability In Head-Injury Suits 

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. v. ComicMix LLC 

National College Players Association Urges Prospective Student-Athletes To Negotiate Scholarship Terms With Colleges 

Copyright Compulsory License Sports Surcharge 

Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Real: Drake’s Use Of Jimmy Smith’s Commentary On ‘Real Music’ Considered Fair Use 

Game Over For Tax-Exempt Financing of Professional Sports Stadiums? 

MacCord’s List: IP Notices & News From Art MacCord

By Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 38 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Please click on the links below for the most recent updates.

Examination Guidance for Section 2(a)’s Disparagement Provision after Matal v. Tam and Examination Compliance with Section 2(a)’s Scandalousness Provision While constitutionality Remains in Question

Copyright Office Releases Redlines for Draft Compendium

Copyright Office Releases Report on Section 1201 (Section 1201 provides legal protection for technological protection measures (TPMs) used by copyright owners to prevent unauthorized access to or use of their works.)


Paralegal School Memories

By Kimberly M. Johnson

Do you remember your property law instructor? I do.  He was an old school kinda guy who believed each of his paralegal students should know everything about contracts and title research. Our dedication (and grades) were tested each week when he gave us projects to complete at the local courthouse. Mind you, I had a part-time job and other classes. Hmmph. What made him think that his class was the only one?   Let’s just say, I put a little more effort in reading a contract after taking his class.

For some of us, paralegal school was a natural extension after high school.  For some more of us, it was the first door we opened as we  marched into a second career.  For me, it was a step that allowed me to expand my interviewing, writing and researching skills that I used as a staff writer for a daily newspaper. After completing a graduate program,  I applied and was accepted to Midlands Technical College’s paralegal program in South Carolina.  I liked the fact that the paralegal program director is a local attorney and was a former newspaper reporter.

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Academic Freedom In Interesting Times

By William Joseph Austin Jr.

A 50th anniversary came and went this past fall without fanfare or commemoration. But for several weeks in October and November of 1966, Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress,” written circa 1650’s, was a “national sensation.”[1]

On Oct. 17, 1966, the television station WRAL reported that a UNC English instructor had assigned his students to write a paper on seduction using this 17th-century poem.[2]  Subsequent investigation by a departmental committee determined in November that the instructor, Michael Paull, had not given the students that assignment, but asked them to use the poem to explain imagery and six figures of poetic speech.[3]

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Libations and Litigation Are Twin Passions for NCBA Member Deborah Sperati

NCBA Members In Focus 

Ask Deborah Sperati if she would rather run a craft brewery or practice law as a partner at Poyner Spruill, and she answers with a question: “Why choose when you can do both?”

As co-founder, legal counsel and chief cultural officer of Koi Pond Brewery in Rocky Mount, Sperati blends her passion for craft beer and her 18 years of experience as a civil and commercial litigator. A North Carolina native who grew up in Greenville, Sperati earned her law degree from UNC School of Law and has practiced for 18 years. At Poyner Spruill, she leads the Brewery, Winery and Distillery Practice Group, which offers her critical insight into the challenges facing the state’s growing group of beer, wine and spirits artisans. Here, she offers some insight on how she keeps these dual pursuits alive.

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Congratulations To Alicia Lewis, 2017 Distinguished Paralegal Award Recipient!

Each year the Paralegal Division seeks nominations for its annual Distinguished Paralegal Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievements, professionalism and contributions by a North Carolina paralegal both professionally and personally within  the recipient’s community. The award includes a membership to the NCBA Paralegal Division, including one section membership, for the following year. The recipient is presented with a plaque commemorating their receipt of the award at the Annual Meeting.

This year’s recipient is Alicia Lewis, a paralegal with Anderson Jones, PLLC in Raleigh. She was presented the award by her attorney and nominator, Todd Jones, during the 2017 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina on May 5, 2017.

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Damned If You Do: Supervisors Could Be At Risk For Reporting Sexual Harassment

By Michael A. Kornbluth and Joseph E. Hjelt

On June 7, 2017, Judges Traxler, Motz and Agee on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision which could make employees think twice before they report other individuals’ complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace. The facts of the case, Villa v. CavaMezze Grill, LLC, No. 15-2543, 2017 WL 2453254 (4th Cir. Jun. 7, 2017), are alleged as follows:

In October of 2013, Judy Bonilla, a former employee at Cava Mezze Grill in Merrifield, Va., told Patricia Villa, a low-level manager at Cava Mezze, that the restaurant’s General Manager had offered her a raise in exchange for sex. Villa then approached Rob Gresham, the restaurant chain’s Director of Operations, to report the conversation with Bonilla and convey her suspicions that the same quid pro quo offer had been made to another former employee. Gresham is close friends with the General Manager who was accused of sexual harassment. In investigating Villa’s report, Gresham interviewed Bonilla and the other individual Villa suspected had been offered a raise in exchange for sex. Sergio Valdiva, Area Manager, accompanied Gresham in the interview with Bonilla to serve as a translator. In their interviews with Gresham and Valdiva, both employees denied the allegations and denied having ever said anything to Villa. At the close of the investigation, Gresham fired Villa, telling her that he concluded that she fabricated the story.

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MacCord’s List: IP Notices & News From Art MacCord

By Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 38 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Please click on the links below for the most recent updates.

Revision of Patent Cooperation Treaty Procedures: Final rule.  Effective July 1, 2017

Updated Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Manual of Procedure (TBMP)  June 2017


Avoiding the Bullseye: Cybersecurity Lessons From the Target Litigation

David M. Furr is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s newly created Privacy and Data Security  Committee, which begins work in the upcoming bar year. 

By David M. Furr

Traditional retail in the United States has had two distinct issues negatively affecting its survival in this decade. First, the proliferation of E-commerce companies has severely reduced the profitability of the traditional brick and mortar businesses as shoppers’ habits are fundamentally changing. In the first four months of this year, nine retailers have filed for bankruptcy — Payless Shoes, hhgregg, The Limited, RadioShack, BCBG, Wet Seal, Gormans, Eastern Outfitters and Gander Mountain — with the closing of hundreds of stores.Many other retailers are shuttering stores at such a record pace that 2017 is being bannered as the year of retail bankruptcies.2

Second, retail has been particularly hard hit by cybersecurity breaches because of the wealth of Personal Identity Information (PII) collected and, unfortunately retained, by the retailers. The 2013 massive compromise of retail giant Target’s systems has been litigated in the courts and subject to an extensive Multi-State Attorney General task force action that has produced record payouts to plaintiffs.

The purpose of this paper is to use the Target litigation as a backdrop of the cybersecurity measures a business must have in place if it is to protect adequately the PII of its lifeblood — the customers. While common tort and specific statutory theories serve as the foundation for these claims, the sophistication of the Plaintiff counsels’ deep dive into the actual technology facts serve as an important road map to safe cybersecurity.

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The Devil and the Details: Constructive Discharge, Punitive Damages and the Mark Of the Beast

By Kevin P. Murphy

According to Revelation, the wild beast will seduce mankind to follow its evil ways and will cause everyone, small and great, wealthy and poor, free and servant, to have the Mark of the Beast imprinted on their right hand or on their foreheads. Revelation 13:11-18. According to the 4th Circuit, career coal miner Beverly Butcher Jr. had the right to opt out of a new biometric hand scanner policy implemented by Consol Energy, Inc. in light of his sincerely held religious belief that placing his hand in this scanner would mark him as a follower of the antichrist, to be tormented with fire and brimstone for all eternity. U.S. EEOC v. Consol Energy, Inc., No. 16-1230 (4th Cir. June 12, 2017).

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