Libel, defamation and the boundaries of social media remain in the spotlight — the ACLU recently filed a lawsuit for a man arrested for making comments about New Hampshire police on Facebook. Defamation laws vary from state to state, but expect this one to go to the U.S. Supreme Court for the final say.
At the age of 102, the famed actress Olivia de Havilland has continued to fight for her rights against the entertainment industry. Unfortunately today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate her lawsuit against the makers of FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan. Ms. de Havilland asserted that this show’s exceedingly unflattering portrayal of her was defamatory and demeaning. Using a very specialized California free speech law designed to nip defamation lawsuits in the bud, Ms. de Havilland’s lawsuit was upheld by the trial court, but then thrown out at the appellate level. Appeals to the California Supreme Court and now the U.S. Supreme Court have been futile.
Despite her loss, kudos should go to a woman who fought the studios as a young actress, and who has kept up a good fight to the bitter end.
The question now is whether or not this is sets a bad precedent for famous figures who are portrayed in an extremely negative light. Putting words in someone’s mouth may become an approved means for creating a stir to gin up the ratings. These cases turn on facts, so it remains to be seen how this will impact future bad actors.
Recent case law demonstrates our difficult California legal system. Read this difficult opinion and learn about how we are trying and perhaps failing to protect our youth:
It is an old “chestnut” in the law that phone books cannot be copyrighted — they are just lists of data including plain names and numbers. However, today in Experian v National Marketing, No. 16-16987 (D.C. No. 2:13-cv-00618-SPL, the Ninth Circuit held that plain-seeming Experian databases of consumer information could have enough creativity to become copyrighted material:
“The novel federal question in this appeal is whether lists
of names with addresses are copyrightable when they are the
product of a sophisticated process to ensure accuracy and
utility. In other words, whether such lists are more like a
telephone book, that the Supreme Court has held lacks any
creative spark, or more like Joyce’s Ulysses that changed the
course of 20th century literature. The answer, it turns out,
lies somewhere in between, but closer to a telephone book.”
This odd quote doesn’t tell the whole tale, as this opinion is good news, bad news, good news. Good news: Experian’s databases were culled and curated just barely enough to be entitled to copyright protection. Bad news: there is no copyright theft because National did just enough to make its data different (a very low bar). But good news in the end: Experian might still be able to prove that National stole its trade secrets.
So after these twists and turns, Experian might just now try and enjoy a quote from Ulysses as it looks forward to another round of lower court trials and tribulations:
“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.”
Today’s article in the LA Times reports on a new bill that might offer the beginnings of real solutions for thousands of homeless people with mental illness. Controversial at its core, a 1967 mental health bill signed by President Reagan set boundaries in who could be confined ‘against their will’. These standards would be broadened for the purpose of providing medical care.
Too many people are dying on California streets — people who could be easily saved. Take a look at this bill and see for yourself whether it is a real start at a solution for those most in need.
One of the most little known resources for artists is free and low-cost attorneys through California Lawyers for the Arts. With free and low-cost seminars and referrals, check out this terrific low cost resource for new and established artists in all aspects of culture and creativity:
Two recent articles in the Los Angeles times report that there have been 28,000 complaints to the City regarding the City’s new forced monopoly trash hauling program. Columnist Steve Lopez says that the “honeymoon is over” and the “execution doesn’t look so hot.” Reporter David Zahniser’s article is an in-depth critique of the system and again notes how “trash bills have soared for some customers.”
The Shining Law Firm has been fighting this ordinance on behalf of impacted commercial property owners and their tenants, HOAs and apartment owners since June of 2017. If you have been impacted by this ordinance, call the Shining Law Firm and tell us your story. We are fighting to have this unconstitutional program overturned, and return your right to vote on taxes under California’s Proposition 218.
Following last Friday’s packed hearing at City Hall, Los Angeles City Councilmembers are finally waking up to the chaos that has been created due to the failed rollout of the largest City program in decades. Owners of commercial property, multi-residential apartment buildings, tenants who pay waste bills and HOAs have been gouged with increased assessment and fees of 400% or more. The City Council has claimed to be unaware of these increases — however, the evidence collected by the Shining Law Firm has proved that they are either being duped by the new franchise waste haulers or that they are complicit in the illegal secret tax grab.
To join the fight against the City of Los Angeles’ illegal tax grab hidden under the guise of recycling for all, call or email the Shining Law Firm today.
Read more about the Council’s growing problems here:
On Monday, October 30, 2017, the Los Angeles Downtown News published a detailed article on how the City of Los Angeles has doubled, tripled and even quadrupled waste hauling costs on commercial property owners. The Shining Law Firm on behalf of the Apartment Owners Association, commercial property owners and their tenants has filed a class action lawsuit demonstrating how the new “recycLA” program is really an illegal tax grab. The lawsuit shows how the City has violated the Right to Vote on Taxes Act which became part of the California Constitution in 1996.
In this article, you can read quotes from property owners both large and small. They describe in their own words how they are being hit hard with surprise rate hikes, newly added on fees, burdensome requirements and a lack of any way to challenge the City’s actions. Who is to blame for the failed implementation of this program? Read and decide for yourself, and contact the Shining Law Firm if you are a witness to the failures of this program and would like to tell your story.
Susan Shelley, columnist for the Southern California News Group, has called for a reversal of the new City of Los Angeles waste hauling system called “recyLA” and formerly called “Zero Waste.” Ms. Shelley’s article hits the nail on the head. However, on behalf of the Apartment Owners Association of California and all impacted commercial property owners, HOAs and apartment owners, the Shining Law Firm is spearheading an effort in the courts to stop these unconstitutional increases. Read more about Ms. Shelley’s ideas using the link below and stay tuned here for more developments.