United States: Media and Law Round Up – May 2020

13 05 2020

The impact of the coronavirus continues to receive much coverage this month. Car manufacturer Tesla was ordered to keep its main California plant closed but has opened it anyway. Amidst the ongoing operations issues companies faced due to the virus, US unemployment figures have reached 14.7%. It is estimated that over 20.5m jobs were lost in the month of April.

Amidst these difficulties President Donald Trump continues to be critical of China, the BBC reports. This week was marked be partial re-openings across all states, more details of which can be found on the CNN website.

The media has commented on the escalating tension with China with the BBC highlighting Chinese state media criticising comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation lawsuit against Nine newspapers has been delayed due to coronavirus and national security concerns. Concerns were raised that a remote hearing may breach national security rules. The suit concerns allegations made by Nine newspapers that Roberts-Smith committed war crimes in Afganistan between 2009 and 2012. The Guardian’s commentary can be found here.

A new federal data protection bill, the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act, has been introduced to the Senate. Law Street Media presents insightful analysis of the Act. CPO Magazine has considered where the US ranks in the Global Data Privacy landscape, highlighting plans for a federal data protection bill as central to its continued progression.

This month in the Courts

Many trials have been suspended with the most recent guidance being available on the US Courts website. A list of coronavirus oriented orders including on the suspension of operations and extension of deadlines, can be found here.

Wilson v Williams No. 20-3447- the Sixth Circuit declined to overturn a district courts preliminary injunction which ordered federal officers to remove certain at-risk inmates from a coronavirus ridden prison in Ohio.

Daniels v Disney No.18-55635, the plaintiff claimed that the Moodsters, a number of cartoon characters colour coded to emotions, resemble those of characters of Disney and Pixar’s movie Inside Out. The Moodsters were pitched several times to Disney. The Ninth Circuit concluded that there was no copyright infringement here– the Moodsters idea “is too lightly sketched” to qualify for copyright protection.

This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.


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