“Duck Dynasty” is A&E’s biggest hit, but since they suspended Phil Robertson from participation in the show for making comments disparaging homosexuals and questioning whether blacks really had it so bad in the days of segregation and Jim Crow, the network has been receiving a lot of criticism from Robertson’s fans and the status of the show is still up in the air. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren went “On the Record” with entertainment lawyer Steve Olenick to discuss the potential legal battle between A&E and the stars of “Duck Dynasty” and figure out exactly who has the advantage if the matter goes to court.

Fans of Robertson state freedom of speech as a reason he should be allowed to express whatever opinions he’d like, but Olenick believes that the network’s moral contract with the duck-hunting family allows them to fire the stars on the spot if they say or do something A&E doesn’t want to be affiliated with.

“Even though this is a bizarre situation, it’s very simple,” explained Olenick. “A&E’s perspective is, if they have a morals clause that is very broadly drafted — in which it is, because if they want to get rid of him, it’s like an at-will contract, goodbye, Phil, you are fired — versus if there is a reverse morals clause, whereby Phil has a morals clause in his agreement with A&E, that allows him to actually rip up the contract if they do something bad.”

As for the potential threat of whether or not Robertson and his family can just go to another network and continue the show under a different name, Olenick states:

“No, no. [A&E] will hold the intellectual property. Intellectual property will be everything associated with this. So if there is any type of theme, slogan or anything associated with this, they can’t shop it over to someone else and them pick it up. That’s a huge lawsuit waiting to happen.”

As of this morning, an online petition for A&E to reinstate Robertson on the show was just shy of its goal of gathering 250,000 signatures. The #IStandWithPhil petition states that “Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family – a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole.” and asks the network “immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to Duck Dynasty, and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”

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The NCAA was formed as an organization in order to protect players, so it’s not surprising that their recent statement in a wrongful death lawsuit being filed by the family of a former student football player, in which they claim that it’s not their legal duty to physically protect student athletes, is being met with extreme criticism.

The family of former Frostburg State football player Derek Sheely filed a lawsuit two years ago against the NCAA, helmet manufacturer Schutt Sports, and three Frostburg State coaches after Sheely was repeatedly allowed to return to a full-force collision drill between two players, despite bleeding “profusely” from his forehead. Sheely died after suffering a brain injury during practice.

On Wednesday, The Washington TImes, who has been watching the progress of the suit since it was filed, printed the NCAA’s shocking and controversial response to the lawsuit after acquiring the 30-page court document.

“The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes, but affirmatively states that under the NCAA Constitution each member institution is responsible for protecting the health of its student-athletes and that for decades it had provided appropriate information and guidance on concussions to its member institutions.”

The NCAA claims that the institution itself cannot be responsible for injuries on an individual basis, stating that it is up to schools to actually implement the proper precautions and create a safe environment.

What do you think about the NCAA’s statement – are they right to deny responsibility over the safety of student athletes?

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Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners recently set out to find which app US mobile users use most frequently, and their poll of 500 users who activated a mobile phone during the third quarter helped them reach a very resounding answer – Facebook is everyone’s app of choice!

Facebook scored the top spot by a long shot, ranked the top app by 45 percent of the mobile users polled. The second most popular app, Twitter, only came in at 13 percent (just over a fourth of the number one app’s total), followed by Candy Crush at 11 percent.

“Facebook just dominates mobile phones, in terms of most frequent use, not just downloads,” CIRP partner and co-founder Mike Levin said in a statement. “For most other apps, including some well-known ones like YouTube and Pandora, fewer than 10 percent of phone buyers included them among the most frequently used.”

And that’s not all that Facebook has to be proud of – the company also topped the charts as one of the most popular app developers, as the company’s Instagram app landed in fourth place at around 8 percent. Between Facebook and Instagram, the company dominated 54 percent of the “most frequently used” list. Google also fared fairly well overall in the report, with 28 percent of those surveyed citing their properties – YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, and Google Maps – as one of their three most used apps.


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Most people know that talking about politics can be a bit taboo in polite conversation, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come up often – especially with family and co-workers. Despite popular believe, you don’t have to sound pretentious or off-putting when discussing (not arguing) politics, and doing so can broaden our horizons and expose us to different opinions. Here are some ways to talk politics with your peers without causing a fight.

  • Go Back to Civics Class. People are very quick to blame spending/taxes on the President, even though Congress holds the power of the purse (and the House is the only chamber that can introduce bills that have to do with the budget) – the President can draft and propose the national budget to Congress, but cannot change taxes and spending by himself. The only way to see through this kind of political confusion is with education – try to regain an understanding of what the basic branches of government are, what they’re responsible for, the powers they hold, and the checks and balances among them.
  • Study Sources that Offer Multiple Viewpoints. Confirmation bias is our own natural tendency to seek out and prioritize sources of information that back up our own opinions and preconceived notions, while marginalizing information and evidence that may contradict our long-held opinions and positions. You need to be able to check your bias at the door and be open to information that may contradict your position. You don’t have to change your opinion just because there’s a flaw in your argument, you just have to be willing to acknowledge it.
  • Take Your Emotions Out of the Equation and Stick to Facts. When you’re talking to people about politics, make the conversation as fact-based as possible; fervor is what leads to heated arguments, while facts and information are the components of a calm and reasoned discussion.
  • Separate People and Parties from Their Policies. Be willing to take even politicians you vote for to task openly when you disagree with them, and support them when you do. Policies are things that can transcend offices, people, and even parties.Focus on the issues that matter to you, rather than just focusing on a political party, and you’ll be a more well rounded citizen, a more informed voter, and a more level-headed conversationalist.
  • Disengage When You’re At An Impasse. Our brains are addicted to being right, but much of our goal here is to shut down that need to “win” a conversation – there’s a big difference between discussing and arguing, and staying on the civil side of that line is key to maintaining your composure and having informative, intelligent discussions with people. If your politics are personal to the point where you have no desire to associate or speak with people who disagree, your best bet is to avoid talking about politics whenever possible; you never know when you may be confronted with a coworker, friend, or family member you’ll never be able to talk to again.

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Google’s legal battle against the Authors Guild, who sued the big tech giant in 2005 claiming copyright infringement, is finally over. A New York federal judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit on Thursday, allowing the search giant to continue its quest to scan the world’s books.

Back in 2002, Larry Page decided that Google should digitize every book in the world to make them searchable, and the project went public late in 2004. But in 2005, The Authors Guild took legal action against the company, temporarily paralyzing the project. In the lawsuit, the Authors Guild tried getting $750 for each copyrighted book made digital, as they believed Google’s online library was in violation of “fair use” of copyrighted works by providing snippets of works. This would have added up to an enormous sum, as Google had scanned more than 20 million books.

Circuit Judge Denny Chin found that Google’s book-scanning project contributes to new audiences that offer new sources of income for authors and publishers.

“Google’s use of copyrighted works is highly transformative,” wrote Chin. “Words in books are being used in a way they have not been used before.”

Google was quick to remark on the legal victory, stating:

“This has been a long road, and we are absolutely delighted with today’s judgement. As we have long said, Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age, giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow.”

Author’s Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken revealed that the group plans to appeal the decision, writing:

“We disagree with and are disappointed by the court’s decision today. This case presents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court. Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”

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