Among the many legislative bills signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on his way out of office, no less than five of them take aim at preventing sexual harassment and depriving bad actions from being covered up. The summary below provides an overview of the important new laws likely to affect CA employers.

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Continue Reading #MeToo Movement: CA Continues to Chip Away at Sexual Harassment in Employment

In August 2017, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. referred to himself as “Floyd Crypto Mayweather” and said in an Instagram post that he was going to make a “$hit t$n of money” from an Initial Coin Offering. The Securities and Exchange Commission noticed, and the boxer narrowly avoided a financial knockout by settling with the agency for promoting such ICOs without
Continue Reading Influencers Beware: Feds Crack Down on Celebrities Shilling Digital Currency

Despite periodic rumors to the contrary, employers are typically not interested in policing their employees’ off-duty-conduct or in becoming their employees’ thought-patrol.  However, there are occasions in which an employee’s ostensibly “personal” off-duty statements can force an employer’s hand.  When that happens, both employees and employers are often confused about the line between unpleasant statements about which they can do
Continue Reading Employers Can Discipline Employees’ Private Speech…Sometimes

I recently attended a presentation by retired judge Jacqueline Connor on the effect of social media in the legal system. After listening to her talk about a number of highly amusing cases, I went online to see just how many such cases are now out there. I was shocked to find that in the month of February 2014 alone, there were over 100 legal opinions issued in the U.S. just involving Facebook. While some of these cases were more disturbing than amusing, there were a few gems that cried out to be written about.
Continue Reading Fun with Facebook

Much of the independent video game world is up in arms regarding the recent news that large UK game developer has “trademarked” the word CANDY.  Many see this as an attempt by a Wonka-esque behemoth to grab control of a common word in order to crush its smaller competitors like some piece of common confectionary.  While there may

Continue Reading Did Really “Trademark” the Word Candy?

Comedian Dmitri Martin has a great joke about the expression “sort of.” Although normally a fairly meaningless expression, saying “sort of” after certain things suddenly becomes very important. Such as after the phrase “I love you,” or “You’re going to live,” or “It’s a boy.” I immediately thought of this joke after reading a recent order issued by a federal court in Illinois. The order declared that Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, 221B Baker Street, the evil Professor Moriarty, and other elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved works have fallen into the public domain.

Sort of.
Continue Reading Federal Judge Declares Sherlock Holmes Characters in Public Domain. Sort of.

California gives you the right to profit from your own identity.  But what if you assume somebody else’s?

Rick Ross is famous for rapping about cocaine.  Ricky D. Ross is famous for selling it.  Ross (the cocaine dealer) alleged that Ross (the rapper) misappropriated his name and likeness for his own financial benefit.  Or as one person wrote: “Rick
Continue Reading “Hustlin’” to a Legal Victory: Rick Ross and the Right of Publicity

College sports is big business.  Student-athletes generate truckloads of cash for their schools, but are prohibited by NCAA rules from sharing in the haul.  In fact, if the student-athlete learns that someone is commercially exploiting his or her name or picture, NCAA rules require the student “to take steps to stop such an activity in order to retain his

Continue Reading Electronic Arts Fumbles in Lawsuit Brought by College Athletes (again)

Last month, I wrote about some notable examples of film and television producers being sued or threatened for using other peoples’ creations without permission.  Examples included Emerson Electric suing NBC after Claire from Heroes stuck her hand in an “InSinkErator” brand garbage disposal; Coca Cola Companythreatening legal action against an Italian film distributor over a film in which

Continue Reading Requiem for a Ridiculous Lawsuit

Have you ever noticed how people rarely sing “Happy Birthday to You” in movies and television?  Instead, people usually sing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” even though no one actually sings that song in real life.  Nevertheless, this falsification of reality happens all the time.  My favorite example was when the crew of the Enterprise

Continue Reading Happy Birthday…You’re Being Sued!