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On September 30, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a statement repealing its sports blackout rule, a rule that the National Football League (NFL) has defended and relied on since 1975. The blackout rule strengthened the NFL’s own blackout policy, which prohibited local broadcast stations from televising a game that did not sell between 85% and 100% of its tickets at least 72 hours before kickoff. Similarly, the FCC rule prohibited cable and satellite operations from airing any game that was blacked out on local broadcast stations. Although the FCC’s rule applied to all sports, the NFL has not only relied upon it the most, but also fought the hardest to preserve the rule.

On August 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that may impact the way website users are bound by Terms of Use.  In Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., Plaintiff had purchased two items during a "fire sale" on the Barnes & Noble website, received an order confirmation and then received another e-mail the following day notifying him that the order had been cancelled.  Plaintiff proceeded to file a putative class action lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, alleging deceptive business practices and false advertising.  In response, Barnes & Noble moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the Barnes & Noble website Terms of Use.  Plaintiff argued that he never clicked on the link to the Terms, and he had no notice of the Terms or the arbitration provision.  The district court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff, finding that, even though the site contained a hyperlink to its Terms of Use on every page, including through completion of the purchase process, the Plaintiff did not have actual notice of the Terms, nor did the existence of the hyperlinks provide him with constructive notice (i.e. implied notice) of the Terms, and Plaintiff was therefore not bound by the arbitration provision.

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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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