Dec 15, 2021 • 7M

🗞️ An Olympic-Sized Settlement For US Gymnasts

 
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This Week: US Gymnastics closes a dark chapter, Apple can resume its monopoly, and book publishers spell out their case . Plus, the talent wars are shaking up Big Law, Sex And The City and the bike, and who should police the opioid crisis.


🏅An Olympic-Sized Settlement For US Gymnasts

A five-year legal battle that rocked the Olympic community has drawn to a close with a $380 million settlement. Hundreds of women and girls who were sexually abused by former US Olympics doctor Larry Nassar were awarded the sum, which was welcomed by U.S.A. Gymnastics and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

  • "To have to push for so long for the right things to take place, to have to push for so long to have justice happen ... it should have never taken five years,” Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to come forward and accuse Nassar, said of the settlement, reports the AP.

  • Gold medalist gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman have been very public faces of this trial, which is one of the largest child molestation cases in the country's history.

  • "We have the deepest respect for the tremendous strength and bravery these women have shown," Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the USOPC, said according to NPR. "We recognize our role in failing to protect these athletes, and we are sorry for the profound hurt they have endured."

Restructuring

The US Olympic Committee has tried to remove itself from this settlement, claiming that Nassar was not an employee of the USOPC. However, this case has changed the Committee, evidenced by the resignation of former CEO Scott Blackmun. Hirshland, the new CEO, stated that "sweeping reforms" to the USOPC's government structure are being enacted to protect athletes against "any form of abuse" moving forward. US Gymnastics (USAG) will likely face major restructuring too as it emerges from bankruptcy by year's end. "The plan of reorganization that we jointly filed reflects our own accountability to the past and our commitment to the future," said Li Li Leung, President and CEO of USAG.

The Verdict

The unbelievable courage that these women showed in speaking out and fighting for justice will hopefully protect future athletes from such abuse. However, that this case took 5 years, and that so many in power failed to act is deeply troubling.


📚Penguin Random House Questions The DOJ's Reading Of The Law

The proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster by rival Penguin Random House, two giants in the book publishing world, will actually benefit most authors, a joint statement by the companies said. The statement is part of a response by Penguin Random House to a Justice Department lawsuit that would block the $2.18 billion deal from going through. The response was filed at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

  • “American authors and consumers will pay the price of this anti competitive merger — lower advances for authors and ultimately fewer books and less variety for consumers," US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement regarding the DOJ's lawsuit, reports the New York Times

  • A lawyer for Penguin Random House noted, however, that the DOJ's theory is not only misguided, but "legally, economically and factually wrong, and it ignores the vast majority of authors who will indisputably benefit from the transaction.”

  • Bertelsmann, Penguin Random House's parent company, has bet big on this acquisition and stands to get a critical blow to its bottom line should this deal not go through.

A New Strategy

The DOJ has traditionally argued in antitrust cases that a proposed merger or acquisition would harm consumers by giving them less choice and likely higher prices. However, with this case, the Justice Department is instead arguing not that book prices will rise, but that authors will have few players competing in a bidding war over their books, and will thus receive lower advances.

The Verdict

Should the DOJ succeed in blocking this mega-merger, it may have a new precedent to wield in future antitrust cases. Best-selling authors will keep a few extra bucks in their pocket too.


🕹Epic Games Won't Be Taking A Bite Of The Apple…Yet

Apple can continue being the sole processor of in-app payments on its iOS…at least for now. So says a federal appeals court which has paused an injunction placed by a lower court in a case between the tech giant and Epic Games. 

  • “Apple has demonstrated, at minimum, that its appeal raises serious questions on the merits of the district court’s determination,” the ruling says, according to The Verge.

  • In September, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers banned Apple from "prohibiting developers from including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing". 

  • While Apple hasn't released figures, it's believed its App Store and the cut it receives from in-app purchases has netted the company $22 billion (likely 80% of which was profit) in 2020 alone, says Vox.

The Security Claim

In its appeal, Apple argued that its closed ecosystem is for the benefit of its users. "Our concern is that these changes would have created new privacy and security risks, and disrupted the user experience customers love about the App Store,” a statement from an Apple representative said, reports The Verge. 

The Verdict

Apple is facing one of the strongest challenges to its App Store monopoly ever. However, it's hard to imagine that one of the world's biggest companies is not going to put up a serious fight to protect one of its major profit centers.


📤 What Else We're Forwarding

More Legislation: Should state and local prosecutors be the ones going after Big Pharma, the New York Times asks. The paper argues that lawmakers are a much more efficient way to hold the companies behind the opioid crisis accountable.

Talent Scouts: The talent war is shaking up Big Law, according to Law.com. Major firms are fundamentally rethinking how they structure themselves as winning talent becomes more competitive.

Legal Spin: Can Peloton sue HBO, wonders The Hustle. The company took a stock price hit after its product was part of a less-than-flattering scene in the Sex And The City reboot.


🎧 Music We’re Working To

Today we’re listening to Gaspard Augé, a French electronic music producer (and graphic designer!) He is best known as one half of Justice, the duo that united rave and rock in the early 2000s. He released his debut solo album Escapades earlier this year, and it’s larger than life. Inspired by disco and progressive rock, the release defies all common sense and convention, making it an incredibly enjoyable LP!

Escapades - Gaspard Augé
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music


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See ya next week!

✌🏽 Raad