No Future for Fur in the Golden State?

UPDATE:  On October 12, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 44 and Governor Newsom stated in social media: “I just signed #AB44 — one of the strongest animal rights laws in US History — making California the first state in the nation to ban new fur sales.” The ban goes into effect in 2023 and fur retailers have more than two years to sell any furs they still have in their inventory.  After the law goes into effect, manufacturers and retailers will face fines of $500 to $1,000 for every violation of the law.

Before the 1849 California Gold Rush, American, English and Russian fur hunters were drawn to Spanish (and then Mexican) California in a California Fur Rush, to exploit its enormous fur resources. Before 1825, these Europeans were drawn to the northern and central California coast to harvest southern sea otters and fur seals, and then to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta to harvest beaver, river otters, marten, fisher, mink, gray fox, weasels, and harbor seals. It has been said that California’s early fur trade, more than any other single factor, that opened up the West to world trade. Continue Reading

See You Later Alligator? After A While Crocodile? Will Penal Law 653o(b)(1) Take Effect?

Section 653o of the California Penal Code makes it a misdemeanor to import into the state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or sell within the dead body or a product thereof, of a variety of animals. Commencing on January 1, 2020, Section 653o(b)(1) shall make it “unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with an intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator.” This bans any shipment of alligator or crocodile into, possession of alligator or crocodile with an intent to sell, or to sell within California. A number of bills to either delay the effectiveness of the law or repeal it recently have been killed or tabled by the California Legislature. Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds that a Copyright Claimant May Commence an Infringement Suit Only After the Copyright Office Registers the Copyright

On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held unanimously that “a copyright claimant may commence an infringement suit … when the Copyright Office registers a copyright.” Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wallstreet.com, LLC(Slip. Op. at p. 1 (syllabus)). The Court also held unanimously that, upon registration of the copyright, “a copyright owner can recover for infringement that occurred both before and after registration.” Id. This decision resolves a long-standing circuit split between the application approach, which allowed a copyright owner to sue for infringement upon submission of a copyright application, and the registration approach, which allows an infringement suit to proceed only after the Copyright Office granted the registration.   Continue Reading

FTC Swats Public Relations Firm and Publisher for Misleading Olympic-Themed Mosquito Repellant Product Endorsements and Native Advertisements

On November 20, 2018, the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) proposed two FTC consent orders against two Georgia-based companies, Creaxion Corporation (“Creaxion”) and Inside Publications, LLC (“Inside”) and their principals[1] concerning the promotion and advertising of Health Pro Brands, Inc.’s new FIT Organic mosquito repellant during the 2016 Zika virus outbreak and allegations that they had misrepresented paid athletes’ endorsements as independent consumer opinions and commercial advertising as independent journalistic content.[2] The proposed FTC consent orders prohibited Creaxion and Inside from making any false representations in the future and required that they ensure all endorsers disclose all material connections going forward and monitor compliance by any endorsers. Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Dismisses Nationwide Class Action Arising Out of Alleged Spying by E-Commerce Retailers

In a victory for online retailers, a New York federal court recently dismissed three putative class action lawsuits brought on behalf of website visitors whose mouse clicks, keystrokes, and electronic communications were tracked by a third-party marketing company. The cases were filed against three e-commerce retailers—Casper (a mattress manufacturer and retailer), Tyrwhitt (a men’s clothing company), and Moosejaw (an active outdoor retailer)—and against a marketing company named NaviStone. NaviStone offers computer code that allows e-commerce retailers to determine the identities of consumers who visit their websites and track their online behavior. The plaintiff alleged that the code offered by NaviStone, and embedded in the retailers’ websites, functioned as an illegal wiretap enabling the retailers and NaviStone to “spy” on website visitors in real time as they browse. The lawsuits alleged violations under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the federal Stored Communications Act (SCA), and New York General Business law (NYGBL).

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New York State Employers Take Note!!! Compliance With New Sexual Harassment Law Required By October 9, 2018

As described in a previous blog post, New York’s 2019 Budget created significant new responsibilities for employers in the state with respect to sexual harassment prevention. As of October 9, 2018, all employers in New York State are required to: (i) circulate a policy prohibiting sexual harassment that complies with state requirements; and (ii) conduct annual sexual harassment training for all employees in accordance with state standards. Continue Reading

Kim Kardashian West Won the First CFDA Influencer Award: Will A CGI Supermodel Be Next?

It is no secret that the world of fashion is full of surprises. On Monday, June 4, 2018, Kim Kardashian West won the Council of Fashion Designer of America (“CFDA”) first-time Influencer Award and commented: “I’m kind of shocked I’m winning a fashion award when I’m naked most of the time.”[1] Fashion advertising and marketing rely more and more upon social media and influencers for the ability to connect with consumers in an authentic manner.[2] As a result, fashion models and celebrity influencers are in high demand. Now, a new group of unique model influencers are taking the fashion world by storm. Yet, it is unlikely that any of these new influencers will ever win the CFDA Influencer Award. Continue Reading

Monumental Shift in Sales Tax Collection Requirements for Remote Retailers

On June 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., overturning a 26 year-old decision holding that a retailer must have a physical presence in a state in order to have a sales or use tax collection obligation. The Wayfair decision has an immediate and major impact on retailers of all sizes, but also leaves open numerous unanswered questions.

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The Dynamex Decision: The California Supreme Court Restricts Use of Independent Contractors

On Monday, April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the matter of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles. In a voluminous, 82-page decision, the California Supreme Court reinterpreted and ultimately rejected the Borello test for determining whether workers should be classified as either employees or independent contractors for the purposes of the wage orders adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) in favor of a worker-friendly standard that may upend the existing independent contractor labor market.

In particular, the Court embraced a standard presuming that all workers are employees instead of contractors, and placed the burden on any entity classifying an individual as an independent contractor of establishing that such classification is proper under the newly adopted “ABC test” which will be discussed in further detail below. Continue Reading

#MeToo Mobilizes State Legislatures, Creates New Training Obligations For Employers

On April 12, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the 2019 budget for the State of New York (the “Budget”) which dramatically changed the landscape of obligations which New York employers are to their employees.  Beyond allocating financial resources, the Budget includes a new change to New York law requiring New York employers to conduct annual sexual harassment training for all employees in accordance with state standards.  Viewed as a response to the #MeToo movement, the Budget tasks the New York State Department of Labor and New York State Division of Human Rights with creating an interactive model sexual harassment training program for employers in the state, which shall contain the following elements:

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