Saturday, May 23, 2015

Victory for Rafael Marques and Freedom of Expression in Angola!

Diamonds. Murder. Torture. Broken promises. Important officials. International players. All the elements of a gripping narrative told in a Hollywood blockbuster. Except this isn't fiction, and the person on trial was the journalist who made sure the world knew the story.

Rafael Marques de Morais, Angolan journalist and human rights defender, spent the last nearly three years defending his right to tell what happened to the miners and villagers in the Lunda Norte diamond fields region.

He alleged in a book that seven Angolan generals and two mining companies were complicit in the human rights violations he documented. Those generals and the companies then sued him for criminal defamation, first in Portugal where the book was published and then in Angola.

Click to read


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Homage or Theft? A Closer Look at the ‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict

A federal jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday ordered singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay about $7.4 million to the family of Marvin Gaye, after finding the duo's 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines" copied parts of Mr. Gaye's "Got to Give it Up."

The verdict, which was returned after several days of deliberation, represents a significant win for the three children of Mr. Gaye, who died in 1984. The children claimed that "Blurred Lines" was more than a simple homage to Mr. Gaye and his 1970s sound. Rather, they alleged that parts of the song stole directly from Mr. Gaye's 1977 song.

For now, a few questions.

Ohio High Court Strikes Down Cleveland’s ‘Jock Tax’

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Ohio's highest court on Thursday struck down Cleveland's so-called "jock tax," ruling that the city was excessively taxing visiting professional athletes using an illegal method to calculate their bills.

Retired NFL football players Hunter Hillenmeyer and Jeff Saturday have spent years battling Cleveland in court over claims that the city was subjecting athletes playing for visiting teams to disproportionately high municipal income taxes.

The city's unusual tax rule calculates a professional athlete's taxable income based on how many games an athlete plays in Cleveland. Other cities use a method based on how much time players spend in the city.

Mr. Hillenmeyer, a former Chicago Bears linebacker who retired in 2010, played one game a year in Cleveland — over a 20-game season — between 2004 and 2006. Cleveland applied its income tax to 5% (1/20) of his earnings.