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    Principal

    Hillary represents sports & entertainment talent, entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and established brands as well as angel, venture capital and private equity investors. She serves as the Chair of the firm’s Sports, Arts & ...

California Adopts Bill Allowing Athletes to Earn Money from Marketing Promotions or Endorsement Deals

On Monday, September 30, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 206, the "Fair Pay to Play Act," which is a bill that could fundamentally transform collegiate athletics amateurism rules. The bill allows college athletes to earn money from the use of their name, image or likeness through sponsorships and/or endorsements, which is in direct conflict with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (the "NCAA") amateurism rules.[1] The Fair Pay to Play Act will go into effect in 2023 and will apply to all 58 California NCAA-affiliated schools.[2]

The Fair Pay to Play Act does not require colleges to pay their athletes, but rather will prohibit schools from upholding rules preventing student athletes from participating in intercollegiate athletics because the athlete is being compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness.[3] This prohibition will apply to institutions and organizations affecting California student athletes, including the athlete’s academic institution, the NCAA and collegiate athletic conferences such as the Pac-12.[4] However, colleges will be able to control the types of sponsorships or endorsements students may enter into, so that student deals will not directly conflict with preexisting school sponsorship deals.[5]

The Largest College Admissions Bribery Scandal Erupted in the United States With a Number of Celebrities as Targets

In the early weeks of March, news broke of the largest college admissions scandal in the country's history, nicknamed "Operation Varsity Blues".  At least 40 people were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for their alleged participation in the scheme. Among those charged was actress, Lori Loughlin, who is most famous for her role as Aunt Becky on ABC's hit sitcom series Full House. Charges against her allege that, in order to get her children into the University of Southern California ("USC"), Loughlin paid $500,000 to have her daughters designated as crew recruits, although it is reported that they did not participate in that sport. One day after 14 parties involved in the scheme agreed to plead guilty, 16 parents, including Loughlin and her husband, were charged in a second indictment for conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering. Loughlin has refused to plead guilty and plans to fight these charges.

DomainBack in the olden days of last year, there was no particular reason for entertainment industry players to be particularly interested in the actual administration of the Internet, unless they were just curious.  Now, it benefits every brand owner to understand and pay attention to the basics of how new domain names come into being, who selects them and how they become public. 

Lawsuits by unpaid interns have become as trendy as kale salad and Taylor Swift’s bangs, particularly in the broadcast and entertainment industries.  For instance, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment (now iHeartMedia, Inc.), Fox Entertainment Group, Inc., Hearst Corporation, NBCUniversal, Inc., and International Creative Management Partners, LLC have all been hit with lawsuits by former unpaid interns claiming they were not paid minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  While unpaid internships in the coveted entertainment industry have long been popular among high school, college and graduate students as a means to gain valuable experience and “build” one’s resumé, the increasing volume of unpaid wage claims may make companies reluctant to use unpaid interns, perceiving them as a risk not worth taking.  However, that view might be short-sighted, because interns may be key to the future of a company.  If an internship is structured properly, both parties (the student and the company) can benefit, although the employer company may not receive an immediate advantage from the internship.  Companies often benefit from the energy and new and creative ideas of student interns and derive intangible satisfaction from helping to train the next generation of entertainment industry professionals.  Similarly, interns who complete the internship with a positive experience “spread the word” about the company’s virtues to other students, friends, family members and colleagues they encounter wherever they end up in their careers.

Picture1Joey is an 11-year-old jazz piano prodigy from Indonesia. His debut album came out Tuesday, and was the number one jazz album on iTunes. This week, he was also featured on the front page of The New York Times and had an interview with the Today Show that aired yesterday morning. The Today Show feature said Joey is “Taking the jazz scene by storm!” and “On his way to becoming the best jazz pianist of our time!”

Billboard reports that music industry leaders are considering a single worldwide weekly release day for new albums.  The International Federation of the Phonograph Industry (IFPI) is proposing a uniform release day of Friday in a move that departs from the existing disjointed jurisdictional variation resulting from each territory’s ability to select its own release day.  As a result, albums are currently released on Friday in Australia and Germany, Monday in the United Kingdom, and Tuesday in the United States. The unification initiative is supported by the Recording Industry Association of America and executives in the major music territories and at the major labels.

Spotify has launched a new commission-free service that permits music artists to make their merchandise and live concert tickets available to fans through the Spotify platform.  Through Spotify’s partnership with direct-to-consumer marketing platform, Topspin Media, artists will now be able to link from their Spotify artist page to a webstore, enabling them to provide fans direct access to CDs, vinyl records, t-shirts, posters, stickers, writstbands, and other merchandise through Spotify.  Participating artists will manage “preview” merchandise images, item titles, and descriptions that will be linked to the applicable webstore.  Spotify will moderate submissions to ensure the authenticity of offered merchandise.  It is anticipated that the merchandise offerings will appear on an artist’s page 24 to 48 hours after submission by the artist.  Currently, the service limits artists to offering a maximum of three merchandise items at a time.

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The Sports, Arts & Entertainment group at Foster Garvey provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.
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