News

7 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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Help4TNDay Kicks Off Saturday

Tennessee lawyers are invited to participate in Help4TNDay activities throughout the month of April. Events will bring attention to the ongoing need for free and low-cost legal services and highlight the groups that provide these services to disadvantaged Tennesseans. Opportunities include volunteering to help clients in need through Tennessee Free Legal Answers (TFLA) or at a local legal clinic. The events kick-off this Saturday with a statewide virtual legal clinic, where attorneys across the state will answer questions on TFLA from noon to 2 p.m. Simultaneously, the TBA will host an on-site TFLA Clinic and Luncheon in Nashville. To participate in the TBA event, contact Liz Todaro. Help4TNDay is a joint effort by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, the Administrative Office of the Courts, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association. 
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Registration Now Open for TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15

 
The TBA's annual Convention returns to downtown Nashville this summer! Mark your calendars for June 12-15 and prepare for four days of CLE, networking, entertainment and more at the Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street. Registration is officially open, with early bird rates available until April 30.
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Tesla Files Suits Against Former Employees for Trade Secret Theft

Tesla is suing former engineer Guangzhi Cao for allegedly stealing the source code of the company’s Autopilot technology before joining China’s self-driving car startup Xiaopeng Motors Technology Company, Wired reports. Cao is accused of uploading over 300,000 files to his personal cloud account before leaving for another job. Lawyers for Tesla also filed separate suits last week against four other former employees and the U.S. self-driving car startup Zoox Inc. The suit claims that after leaving Tesla and while working at Zoox, four employees used stolen proprietary information and trade secrets related to warehousing, logistics and inventory control operations to improve Zoox’s operations.  

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EU’s Copyright Directive Passes Final Vote

The controversial legislative package known as the Copyright Directive received final approval on Tuesday in a 348-274 vote by the European Union, The Verge reports. The overhaul contained two controversial articles that remained intact in the final version, Article 11 and 13. Article 11, sometimes called the link tax, will allow publishers to charge platforms, like Google, that display snippets and links to its news stories. Article 13, renamed Article 17 and also known as the upload filter, holds companies, like YouTube, responsible when its users upload copyrighted content. Critics argue Article 13 will stifle free speech and restrict people’s ability to share content online. Upload filters, which scan all user uploaded content for possible copyrighted content, may be implemented by companies in order to avoid penalties. EU member states must incorporate the new laws into their respective national laws within 24 months.

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Peloton Faces $150 Million Music Licensing Suit

The National Music Publishers’ Association has sued exercise bike maker Peloton for $150 million in damages over its improper use of songs, Billboard reports. The suit claims the company used more than 1,000 songs for its streaming exercise classes without obtaining the correct music licenses. CEO John Foley sent a letter to Peloton members on Monday responding to the lawsuit and informing them that classes featuring songs named in the lawsuit would no longer be available.

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LGBT Law Annual Forum 2019

Register now for the TBA LGBT Law Annual Forum to take place on June 21 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Timely topics for this year’s program will include laws concerning conversion therapy, an inside look at Vanderbilt’s Clinic for Transgender Health, ethical considerations regarding discrimination and employment law, ending the day with an LGBT community advocacy panel open to the public. The forum will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Nashville Pride Festival, allowing attendees to take advantage of the fun and activities surrounding the celebration. Don’t miss what guarantees to be an insightful forum and one of the nation’s premier Pride festivals! Here’s the key info:
 
When: Friday, June 21, registration begins at 11 a.m., CDT
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
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Business Law Annual Forum – May 9 in Nashville

 

Register now for the TBA Business Law Forum 2019.
 
This program will help business lawyers learn and refresh their knowledge about issues that may arise when drafting an LLC operating agreement. Topics will include an overview of the two extant Tennessee LLC acts and a comparison of those acts with the Delaware LLC Act; other distinctions of Tennessee law that impact the operating agreement; drafting key provisions, including distribution and allocation, employee and member compensation, and exit rights; and ethical considerations for lawyers drafting LLC operating agreements.
 
When: Thursday, May 9. Registration begins at 9 a.m.
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville

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Facial Recognition Scanning on the Rise Amid Concerns for Privacy, Accuracy

A new piece in the ABA Journal examines the rise of facial recognition software and addresses the reality that it’s likely here to stay. Prominent examples include the use of facial recognition at Taylor Swift concerts to spot known stalkers of the pop star, plans to add such capabilities to customs inspection areas at Tokyo Narita Airport, as well as numerous uses in retail. Despite advances in the technology, privacy and civil rights groups are concerned that it remains prone to error. A 2018 study, for example, showed a 34 percent error rate in identifying darker-skinned women.
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Court Seeking Comments on Proposed Rule 46A

The Tennessee Supreme Court is considering the adoption of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 46A, which would govern the electronic service of papers that are e-filed, and it is seeking comments from the legal community and the public on the proposed rule. The deadline for submitting written comments is March 22. Comments should be e-mailed to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts.gov or mailed to: James M. Hivner, Clerk, Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219-1407.
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Gov. Lee Provides Avenue for Public Feedback on Legislation

Gov. Bill Lee has taken an additional step in his commitment to “an open and transparent government,” creating a webpage for the public to view and provide feedback on legislation that has been submitted to him for consideration. Lee maintains that involving Tennesseans into the process more directly will increase accountability in how laws are made. The site will be updated regularly, as bills pass the Legislature and land on his desk.

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TBA to Introduce Legal Document Generation

The TBA will soon launch a new subscription-based product for Tennessee lawyers — automated legal forms. The initiative will use HotDocs, a custom documentation generator that creates form templates and speeds up the preparation process based on client and case data. In order to provide this valuable resource to our members, we hope to obtain your comments and ideas on forms you deem beneficial for replication. With across-the-board participation, we can comprise a substantive, comprehensive database where subscribers will have access to forms submitted by all TBA sections. Please send suggestions and comments to TBA Membership Director Mindy Fulks.

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ABA House Passes Resolution on 'Fair Use' Doctrine

The American Bar Association House of Delegates today approved a resolution encouraging courts to take a consistent approach to the "fair use" doctrine, a defense to copyright infringement that permits use of copyrighted works for free without obtaining a license or permission in appropriate circumstances, The ABA Journal reports. The resolution, passed at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas, asks that repackaging and distribution of all, or nearly all, of a copyrighted work to the copyright owner’s actual or potential market not be deemed a “transformative” act in favor of fair use, regardless of whether the copyrighted material is delivered more efficiently.
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20 Gymboree and Crazy 8 Stores to Close in Tennessee

Change this to - Gymboree Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 16 and indicated it will close over 800 total stores in the United States and Canada — including 20 in Tennessee, the Daily News Journal reports. A press release from the company said it will conduct an auction by February 25. It also revealed that it has received a commitment for debtor-in-possession financing. The company plans to sell its Janie and Jack business, including its 139 stores, as well as the intellectual property and online platform for Gymboree. The music and art classes by Gymboree Play & Music were split from the company in 2016 and should not be affected by the court proceedings.

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Intellectual Property CLE Blast – May 10

 

This blast style CLE allows you the flexibility to create your own schedule based on your individual interests and learning needs. The registration desk is open all day, so you can take the sessions you want and leave when you want. 
 
It all takes place on Friday, May 10 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville.
 
2019 CLE Sessions:
Patent Litigation Update: SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit
Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain
Adding a few prongs to your step: Substance and Preliminary Effects of the 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance
Ethics & Professionalism in Intellectual Property Law
Explaining the MMA & A General Advocacy Update
Updates Regarding Copyright-Infringement Litigation
Flying Safely in the Cloud: What Lawyers Must Consider When Moving to Cloud Computing
What's in a Name: Surnames as Trademarks
 

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NPR: Adventure Series Book Publisher Sues Netflix Over Trademark

The publisher of the book series “Choose Your Own Adventure" is sueing Netflix for trademark infringement, NPR reports. The Netflix show Black Mirror contains the episode "Bandersnatch,” which allows viewers to make the decisions for the main character. CEO and publisher of Chooseco Shannon Gilligan believes the episode’s interactive narrative format and use of the phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure” violates their trademark and causes confusion for viewers regarding whether or not the book series is affiliated with the episode. Read the full interview between Gillogan and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi of NPR’s Planet Money podcast here.

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IP, Trade Talks Between China and U.S. Continue This Week

Officials from China and the U.S. have yet to come to an agreement regarding trade and intellectual property issues, Bloomberg reports, but talks are set to resume this week. American officials confirmed the lack of progress and reported that China continued to deny the alleged IP theft and requested proof. China’s top economic emissary, Liu He, is scheduled to attend the next round of talks in Washington, D.C. this week.

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R. Kelly May Benefit Financially Despite Industry Splits

Although R. Kelly is no longer represented by his publisher and label following Lifetime’s Jan. 3 release of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed allegations of years-long history of sexual assault, Rolling Stone reports that the artist may financially benefit from the event. The six-part series drew around 20 million viewers, caused a social media uproar, topped the news headlines and invoked protests and pressure from music fans and industry professionals for Sony, owner of RCA Record, to part ways with Kelly. Sony announced the separation from R. Kelly on Jan. 18. However, the split with his label is not a major blow to the artist’s career because as the article points out, “both parties will continue to profit off of all past music releases as long as those releases are in distribution.” Additionally, in order to avoid a lawsuit, RCA may have had to make a financial settlement with R. Kelly since he had two albums left on his contract. Although his publishing company, Universal Music Publishing Group, also no longer represents him, the company is still responsible for distributing his past work (681 songs). R. Kelly and his team adamantly deny the allegations. 

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Meditation Apps Help Incorporate Mindfulness Each Day

Consider a meditation app for your phone to help incorporate mindfulness into your day. The accessibility and variety of meditation apps can make them beneficial and easy to try. Some, such as Mindbody, Stop, Breathe & Think, 10% Happier, Breethe, Omvana, Insight Timer, Sattva Meditations & Mantras, and Smiling Mind (which can be tailored to different age groups) are free. Others, such as Calm, Headspace, and the Mindfulness App, have free trials and can be upgraded to a paid subscription. Comparisons of various apps are available on www.healthline.com or www.bestproducts.com.
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Will AI Technology be the Next Disrupter in the Legal World?

There is a growing prevalence of AI (artificial intelligence) technology being utilized in the legal sector, Crain’s Cleveland Business reports. Some fear that this technology will replace attorneys with computers. However, the Cleveland office of Baker Hostetler experienced an increase in lawyers a couple of years following the partnership of its bankruptcy practice and IBM’s ROSS intelligence. This technology was able to divert mundane and tedious tasks from the attorneys, such as legal research and case law analysis. Baker’s bankruptcy practice is using the AI technology to track case law and make predictions on the outcome of current cases. While Baker is open to partnering with various legal tech companies, the American Bar Association’s 2018 legal tech survey only found that 10 percent of attorneys polled utilized AI technology in some way. In addition to firms incorporating new technology, Cleveland-based law school Case Western University is also exploring ways to slowly incorporate programming, AI and blockchain technology into its curriculum in order to stay ahead of the disruptive curve.

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Rhianna Sues Father Over Fenty Trademark

Singer Rhianna filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against her father Ronald Fenty and two business partners claiming fraud and false advertising over his Fenty Entertainment talent and production company, Reuters reports.  Rhianna uses the Fenty trademark to sell cosmetics, lingerie and sneakers. An unspecific amount of damages and an injunction to stop her father from using the Fenty name has been asked of the court. The lawsuit provides examples of Fenty Entertainment misrepresenting an affiliation with Rhianna, including falsely implying that she was involved a boutique hotel project.

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McDonald’s Loses EU 'Big Mac' Trademark to Irish Chain

The European Union Intellectual Property Office recently ruled against McDonald’s in favor of Irish fast-food chain, Supermac’s, over the use of the “Big Mac” trademark, the Guardian reports. Supermac’s had been unable to expand beyond Ireland because of this trademark, as McDonald’s had claimed the similarity between names would confuse consumers. McDonald’s can appeal the decision.

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Tennessee AG Joins Settlement with Neiman Marcus Over Data Breach

Following a 2013 database breach, Neiman Marcus Group LLC has agreed to pay a $1.5 million settlement to resolve an investigation with 43 states and the District of Columbia, including Tennessee. According to a release from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, of the 370,000 payment cards that were compromised in the breach, 1,896 were determined to be associated with Tennessee consumers. Tennessee’s share of the settlement funds is $28,659.04.
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Blog Reviews Most Important Legal Tech Developments in 2018

LawSitesBlog.com has published a roundup of the 20 most important legal tech developments in the past year, eschewing the traditional Top 10 list due to the overwhelming number of significant changes. Included on the list were analytics becoming an essential part of the legal practice, investments in legal tech topping $1 billion, the end of Avvo and the new American Bar Association rule emphasizing the duty of lawyers to be up-to-date on legal technology.
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First Copyrighted Works in 20 Years to Enter Public Domain

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain, The Smithsonian Magazine reports. It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S. The last one — in 1998, when 1922 slipped its copyright bond — predated Google. The more than two decade delay was due to lobbying from Disney in the 90's, when it fought to stop the expiration of the copyright on Mickey Mouse, who was born in 1928 and was expected to enter the public domain in 2004. Mickey is now protected until 2024.
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