Film songs are part of the Indian cultural life. The news about Ilayaraja’s assertion of copyright and sending notices to singers like SP Balasubramaiam (SPB) and KS Chitra to stop singing songs with his music have sent shock waves among film music lovers and to many singers whose livelihood depends on their freedom to perform film songs or its remakes.Leaving the moral issue aside, Ilayaraja’s action raises these important questions: Whether he has the legal right to stop public performance of songs with his music? Whether his copyright assertion eliminates the possibility of live performance of songs by other singers? Will his action assure him the expected revenue? Whether the Government of India has a role to protect the interest of music lovers and other performers?The first issue to be dealt with is based on the authorship of the song.The song includes musical work, lyrics and the sound of the singer, which is the performance, in which the composer himself is coined … [Read more...] about Ilayaraja’s Copyright Assertion: A Nuanced Perspective
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Some courts have ruled that waivers or releases of Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) claims (such as those found in separation agreements, severance agreements, and settlement agreements) must first be approved by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) or a court to be enforceable. Other courts have held they are enforceable without such approval.In Taylor v. Progress Energy, Inc., 493 F.3d 454 (4th Cir. 2007), the Fourth Circuit held approval is required. This is based on a DOL regulation, which states, “Employees cannot waive, nor may employers induce employees to waive, their rights under the FMLA.” (quoting 29 C.F.R. § 825.220[d]). The court explained:The FMLA, following the FLSA [Fair Labor Standards Act] model, provides a “minimum floor of protection” for employees by guaranteeing that a minimum amount of family and medical leave will be available annually to each covered employee… As with the FLSA, private settlements of … [Read more...] about Settlement or Release of FMLA Claims may require DOL or Court Approval
The FAR Council has published a proposed rule that would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) to expand the scope of contractor employees covered by personal conflict of interest rules. The proposed rule implements section 829 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which required the Secretary of Defense to review existing rules pertaining to personal conflicts of interest for contractor employees, issued under section 841(a) of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. In particular, section 829 instructed the Secretary of Defense to determine whether existing rules should be extended to non-acquisition functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions, personal services contracts, and/or contracts for staff augmentation services. At present, contractors must identify and prevent personal conflicts of interest only with respect to certain “covered employees”—those … [Read more...] about Proposed Rule Would Expand FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) Provision Governing Personal Conflicts of Interest
Are Federal Express drivers independent contractors? That is the potentially very expensive question to be answered by a federal case in South Bend, Ind., where a judge is to hold a hearing later this month about whether similar claims from drivers in 29 states that they are actually employees should be combined in a single class action.Unlike United Parcel Service, a major competitor, FedEx considers its drivers to be independent contractors, not employees, explains Bloomberg. That helps keeps costs down for FedEx, because drivers purchase and maintain their own trucks, for instance, and are not paid any benefits.However, drivers in the suit say they essentially are treated as employees, and characterize their situation as a fraud perpetrated by the company to avoid complying with laws concerning employees, according to Lynn Faris, an Oakland, Calif., lead attorney. “What they have now is a sham,” says Faris. “It’s illegal.”The lawsuits seek unspecified … [Read more...] about Are FedEx Drivers Really Contractors?
A major theme of the last 12 months’ oil and gas press has been that of Saudi Arabia’s titanic struggle to hold its market share against the onslaught of the huge U.S. supply increases from shale gas. This has projected the U.S. to top dog of global oil production, a status unthinkable even five years ago, albeit probably for the short term.Saudi Arabia’s challenges were then augmented by the West’s improving relations with Iran, its regional challenger, and now its expected return to the market in 2016. This has been interwoven with a royal succession and a new dose of terrorism attacks at a time when the Government is still wary of recurring echoes of the Arab Spring of 2011 and of the major cyberattack on Saudi Aramco in 2012.A year is a long time in the oil and gas industry. August 2014 saw Saudi Aramco announce that it was to spend US$40 billion a year for the next 10 years in capital programmes. The year ended with the Saudis projecting a US$40 billion … [Read more...] about Saudi Arabia Oil and Gas – The Eye of the Storm?