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Paramore, former bassist embroiled in legal battle

, nrau@tennessean.com 8:54 p.m. CST March 4, 2016

Paramore and former bassist Jeremy Davis are locked in a legal dispute over whether Davis was an employee for the Nashville pop-rock band or a partner in the underlying business entitled to a share of royalties and touring revenue.

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Varoom Whoa, the business entity that operates Paramore, preemptively sued Davis in Nashville Chancery Court in February. According to the lawsuit, Varoom Whoa is fully owned by front woman Hayley Williams.

Davis left the band in December 2015 in a seemingly amicable separation announced on the band’s Facebook page.

But Davis asserts that he was a partner in the company and entitled to a split of royalties, touring revenue and other income earned by the band. Davis wanted to examine financial documents, which he was not provided. Williams and Varoom Whoa say he was a paid employee, not a partner.

Williams is the one signed to a record contract with Atlantic Records, and she pays her band members as employees.

“Nevertheless, because she wanted to foster a feeling of camaraderie within the band, at her direction, the band members’ salaries included a portion of Williams’ earnings,” the initial lawsuit says.

Davis filed a counterclaim on Friday naming Varoom Whoa, along with Williams and fellow band member Taylor York. The band’s business managers were also named as defendants.

Davis claims Paramore was founded as a partnership between him and Williams. Prior to 2008, York was an employee, until he joined as a partner in the group.

Davis says that he was responsible for decision making, including hiring advisers, musicians, stage crew and equipment managers, plus creating and managing staging and lighting and an array of other duties.

“Thereafter, and at all times relevant hereto, Davis, Williams and York shared equally in all net profits generated by the partnership, from any and all sources, including but not limited to the Atlantic agreement,” Davis claims in his countersuit.

Davis previously left the band in 2004, but rejoined a year later. In December of last year, the band posted a message on its Facebook page about Davis’ departure.

Davis isn’t the first Paramore member to leave amid acrimony. In 2010, guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro left the band amid some drama.

“We’re hopeful for Paramore’s future and we’re also excited for what Jeremy’s going to do next. Thank you all for your support and your belief in us,” Paramore said in December. “It’s kept us going.”

Varoom Whoa is seeking for a judge to declare Davis an employee who is ineligible to enjoy the benefits of a business partnership, while Davis is seeking for the company to be recognized as a partnership that entitles him to unspecified damages.

Reach Nate Rau at 615-259-8094 and on Twitter @tnnaterau.

Sourced From – http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/industries/music/2016/03/04/paramore-former-bassist-embroiled-legal-battle/81341824/

Legal Briefs Flood in to Support Apple

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Sourced From – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/05/technology/legal-briefs-flood-in-to-support-apple.html?_r=0

The arguments differed, but the main message was the same: We side with Apple.

Dozens of companies and individuals have now filed briefs in support of Apple’s position in its legal battle with the F.B.I. over privacy. The official support, at this point, did not come as a particular surprise. But the variety of legal arguments was interesting nonetheless.

As Nick Wingfield reported, Apple’s supporters challenged “every legal facet of the government’s case, like its free speech implications, the importance of encryption and concerns about government overreach.”

The government will not take these arguments lightly. Expect many of them to be addressed when Apple and the Justice Department file briefs, and when the federal court holds a hearing on the matter in California on March 22.

MTA’s ban anti-Muslim ads on subway is legal, court rules

An appeals court judge has upheld a previous ruling that the MTA’s policy of refusing all political and religious ads in the transit system is legal, meaning the agency can continue to reject controversial posters by firebrand Pamela Geller and the anti-Muslim American Freedom law Center– for now.

Geller’s attorney had appealed Manhattan Federal judge John Koeltl’s ruling last June, in which he said “No law requires public transit agencies to accept political advertisements as a matter of course.”

But the appeals court says that, given that the MTA had changed it policy disallowing all political ads in the midst the legal battle, Geller and the AFLC’s initial arguments are now “moot.”

“AFDI is, of course, free to challenge the MTA’s new advertising standards, but it must do so through an amended complaint,” the ruling reads.

The case began in 2014, when Geller’s AFDI filed suit against the MTA for blocking it from purchasing Islam-bashing ads on city buses.

MTA officials said they are happy that the court took the agency’s side.

“The MTA is pleased by the Second Circuit’s decision, which reiterated that we have acted in good faith when balancing enforcement of our advertising regulations with respect for the First Amendment,” said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg.

Sourced From – http://nypost.com/2016/03/03/mtas-ban-anti-muslim-ads-on-subway-is-legal-court-rules/

Brazil Facebook head arrested for refusing to share WhatsApp data

Police in Brazil have arrested the vice president of the social media company Facebook in Latin America.

Diego Dzodan, an Argentine national, has repeatedly refused to comply with court orders to hand over data for use in a criminal investigation into drugs trafficking, police said.

His arrest relates to the messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Facebook.

In a statement, Facebook called Mr Dzodan’s arrest an “extreme and disproportionate measure”.

Mr Dzodan’s arrest was ordered by a judge in the north-eastern state of Sergipe.

He was held as he left his house in an exclusive area of Sao Paulo on Tuesday morning.

Judge Marcel Maia Montalvao had in two previous instances issued fines against Facebook for refusing to release WhatsApp data.

The information was needed as part “secrete judicial investigations involving organised crime and drug trafficking,” he said.

In a statement, Facebook said it was “disappointed with the extreme and disproportionate measure”.

“Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have,” the company said.

In December a judge in Brazil suspended WhatsApp for 48 hours.

The Sao Paulo state judge said at the time that the company failed to comply with court orders to share information in a criminal case.

Sourced from – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35700733

Monsanto Given Legal Shield in a Chemical Safety Bill

WASHINGTON — Facing hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits, the giant biotechnology companyMonsanto last year received a legislative gift from the House of Representatives, a one-paragraph addition to a sweeping chemical safety bill that could help shield it from legal liability for a toxic chemical only it made.

Monsanto insists it did not ask for the addition. House aides deny it is a gift at all. But the provision would benefitthe only manufacturer in the United States of now-banned polychlorinated biphenyls, chemicals known as PCBs, a mainstay of Monsanto sales for decades. The PCB provision is one of several sticking points that negotiators must finesse before Congress can pass a law to revamp the way thousands of chemicals are regulated in the United States.

“Call me a dreamer, but I wish for a Congress that would help cities with their homeless crises instead of protecting multinational corporations that poison our environment,” said Pete Holmes, the city attorney for Seattle, one of six cities suing Monsanto to help cover the costs of reducing PCB discharge from their sewers.

The House and the Senate last year both passed versions of legislation to replace the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act, a law that theEnvironmental Protection Agency acknowledged had become so unworkable that as many as 1,000 hazardous chemicals still on sale today needed to be evaluated to see if they should be banned or restricted.

Democrats and Republicans—along with the chemical industry and even some environmentalists—agree that the pending legislation would be a major improvement over existing law.But from legal liability shields to state-based regulatory authority, the House and Senate versions have major differences to resolve. The remaining disputes revolve around the basics of pre-emption: Who gets to sue? Andwho gets to regulate the chemical industry?

A Monsanto spokeswoman said the company had received no special treatment from the House or the Senate.

“Monsanto does not consider either version of the bill, with respect to the effect on preemption, to be a ‘gift,’ ” the spokeswoman, Charla Lord, said.

Already, attorneys general and top environmental regulators from 15 states have written to leaders in Congress demanding changes.

“Our future work depends on striking the right balance to strengthen the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s abilities and funding, without limiting state powers in creating and enforcing needed protections,” said aletter, obtained by The New York Times, sent by the top environmental regulators in California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia.

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Some of the most vociferous objections relate to the so-called Monsanto Clause. The provision does not mention the company by name, but between the early 1930s and 1977, Monsanto manufactured almost all of the 1.25 billion pounds of PCBs sold in the United States.

The chemicals were initially admired for their ability to prevent fires and explosions in electrical transformers and other equipment. But as the use of PCBs skyrocketed nationwide in products as varied as paints, pesticides and even carbonless copy paper, evidence mounted that they were contaminating the environment and potentially causing health problemsincluding cancer and immune-system complications. The E.P.A. banned their production in 1979.

PCB litigation has surged in the last year as cities and school systems struggle to comply with directives from federal and state regulators to reduce PCB levels in sewer discharge and in caulk once used to construct schools. Separately, a group of individuals who received diagnoses of a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma sued Monsanto last year, claiming the company should pay damages.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in a June reportaccompanying its version of the legislation, asserted that neither existing toxic chemical law nor any revisions pending in Congress should be seen as a way to “pre-empt, displace or supplant” the right to sue for damages in lawsuits like the ones filed against Monsanto.

The House also voted to preserve the right to sue if individuals or local governments believe they have been harmed by a chemical, regardless of future federal regulations of the substance. But a critical paragraph added to the House bill in late May made sure past regulatory requirements by the E.P.A. would continue to disqualify legal claims, and it specifically referred to the section of the 1976 toxic chemical law governing PCBs, giving Monsanto clearer authority in the future to ask judges to dismiss lawsuits filed against it.

Congressional aides involved in the drafting said the language was inserted at the request of Republican staff members at the House Energy and Commerce Committee. One Republican committee aide disputed any suggestion that this was a gift to Monsanto, but he said he was not allowed to discuss the issue on the record.

And Ms. Lord, the Monsanto spokeswoman, said the company did not ask for the change.

Read Full  Article – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/business/monsanto-could-benefit-from-a-chemical-safety-bill.html?_r=0