Morality Clauses, Part II: The Family Law Edition

When couples divorce, often the most difficult part is how the children are affected by the process and the behavior of the divorcing parents.  No one wants someone else raising their children.  However, that can be a very harsh reality to face for divorced people with minor children. 

Previously in this space, we looked at employment contracts for executives and high visibility employees or representatives, and how a company can manage the risk of illegal or otherwise improper behavior of those key persons.  With some foresight, and smart contractual drafting, the company can protect itself from bad behavior through morality clauses.   

Surprisingly, this very same issue - guarding against the poor judgment of others - appears in many, many divorce cases, particularly when there are minor children and custody issues involved. These issues can have a profound impact on many people, regardless of social status, wealth, religion or any other demographic category.

Even the most amicable divorce matter can be psychologically and emotionally challenging at times.  More often than not, those challenges can become extreme when mixed with the financial pressures that divorcing couples also face.  Add to that the difficulty of navigating custody issues, and the parties’ differing perceptions of what is in the child’s best interest, and you have a powder keg waiting for ignition.  Eventually, more often than not, this issue explodes into conflict.

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Morality Clauses & Employment Agreements: What Employers Need to Know

Employers take risks every day with the people that the company hires - including top level managers and CEOs.  So do brands and sports teams when they hire spokespeople or athletes on multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts.  Anytime there are significant dollars committed to a single person over a long period of time, real risk exists.  

One of the most impactful traits of the people you hire is their moral character.  This is especially true when the person you hire is your spokesperson, or your chief executive, or otherwise is the face of your organization.  One of the most impactful tools you have to control your contractual relationships are called morality clauses.

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The EU Parliament Rejects the Copyright Directive Proposal; Interesting Battle Between Tech Companies and Creators on the Horizon; Sir Paul Weighs In

EU Parliament Rejects the Copyright Directive Amendments

As a follow up to my previous article regarding a proposed massive copyright law overhaul in the European Union, the EU Parliament sounded rejected the proposed amendments by a 318-278 vote.  The proposed amendments go back to the committee for revision.  

The European music industry establishment calls the vote a "missed opportunity."  It is interesting to note in this article the amount of money spent on lobbying by Google and YouTube (hint: it's a lot). 

Sir Paul McCartney Weighs In

Sir Paul wrote a letter to the EU Parliament urging them to back the Copyright Directive and address the Value Gap, which is the space between content platforms that compensate artists and creators, and content platforms that refuse to do so. 

“You hold in your hands the future of music here in Europe,” writes McCartney, stressing the importance of music and culture as “our heart and soul.” 

“Unfortunately, the value gap jeopardizes the music ecosystem,” he warns. “We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. But today some user upload content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit it for their own profit.”

Expect some form of this debate to hit the United States soon. 

 

 

Copyright Law Update: the EU Copyright Directive Roils the Internet

In Europe, the EU’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted in favor of several new amendments to the Copyright Directive, which was originally adopted by European Parliament in 2001.  The amendments contain, among other things, two provisions entitled Article 11 and Article 13, respectively.  

Article 11 would essentially impose a "link tax" - yes, you read that right -  that would require  online platforms like Facebook and Google to buy licenses from media companies before linking to their stories.

Article 13 would require large platforms like Facebook and Reddit to introduce filters to flag copyrighted material that is uploaded by their users.  The companies would have to prevent such content from being published.  Currently in the EU, internets sites observe a notice and take down regime.  In other words, if a creator notices his or her copyrighted content is being posted without permission, then the internet site is required to take the infringing content down upon notice from the creator/rights holder.  This is similar to the practice in the United States. 

ANALYSIS: The European Parliament has to vote on JURI recommendation.  Currently, there is no date set for that vote.  These amendments have big implications for any business that hosts third party content and creators who are users of such sites.  While these rules have no immediate applicability in the United States, this issue is worth watching.