Standards of Proof in Sexual Harassment Cases

Each Wednesday at 11 am PT (2 pm ET), my co-host Joey Vitale and I share legal/biz tips on the LegalHour.live to help keep you safe when doing business. Over the last two weeks, we shared advice on what you need to know and do, as an employee or employer, when it comes to avoiding and handling sexual harassment and sexual assault cases.

On this episode, we explained the different burdens of proof and how to document evidence.

Chapman University MBA Class

I had a blast joining Chapman University Professor, Niklas Myhr (aka the “Social Media Professor”), and his MBA class last Monday night. I shared real world issues and solutions to building a brand and frankly, building a business. We then wrapped things up with my fav– extensive Q&A.

Click here to see a few more pics on my Facebook page.

 

How to Tell if Someone is Lying (Tips from a Savvy Trial Lawyer)

Every single day we struggle with trying to figure out who’s telling the truth. Social media posts, the evening news, and our daily business conversations all often revolve around each of us searching for accuracy and the true facts and story.

The problem we all face is this: How do we know if people are telling us the truth?

A decision based upon someone’s lie can harm relationships, put you out of business, and destroy your reputation in the community. When it comes to politics, a lie can turn love into hate and peace into war.

As a trial lawyer, I’m always challenged to try and figure out if my jurors, witnesses, and opposing counsel are being honest. In high-profile cases, it’s tough to determine if reporters are truthful with why they want to do an interview or have me on a panel.

It’s never easy but, over the past three decades of using the approaches I’ve outlined below, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring our who is telling me the truth and who is lying. After you apply and practice what I share in this post, I think you’ll also have a much better handle on who’s a straight shooter and who’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

Some of the approaches I share with you in this post are based upon things I’ve learned from personal experience while fighting my client’s legal battles in court. Others are concepts and approaches I’ve learned from judges and from studying decades of research by talented psychologist, psychiatrist and other professionals. While you’ll never be 100% sure if the person you’re talking to or watching on television or a livestream is telling you the truth, the use of these techniques should help you get better at making this determination.

Three-Step Approach (When You Can Plan Ahead)

The easiest way for me to tell if someone is exaggerating a fact, misleading me, or straight out lying, is when I’m able to use what I call the “Three-Step” approach. Before talking with someone, I determine specific facts that are true and then when we meet, I naturally and comfortably incorporate questions about those established facts into the conversation.

I then listen to and watch how the other person responds to my questions and how he acts during the conversation. It’s a easy to follow process and you can do the same thing.

Continue reading “How to Tell if Someone is Lying (Tips from a Savvy Trial Lawyer)”

Do Politicians Need Permission to Play the Music of Well-Known Artists or Bands?

 

Modern electric guitar

With the upcoming November elections less than two months away, I thought it would be a good idea to answer this question. After all, music has the unique ability to energize, inspire and motivate a crowded convention hall and campaign. Political candidates know this and the smart ones also know that music is protected by copyright laws. Truth be told, many politicians and their teams just don’t care.

During the 2016 Presidential election, the estate of George Harrison tweeted out, “The unauthorized use of #HereComestheSun at the #RNCinCLE is offensive & against the wishes of the George Harrison estate.”

george_harrison

The day before the Republican National Convention started, the band Queen protested Trump’s “unauthorized use” of “We Are the Champions.”

The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, R.E.M. and Neil Young have also demanded that Trump stop playing their music at his rallies. In response, Trump looked the other way and blasted out “You Can’t Always Get What you Want” by the Rolling Stones after his next speech.

Regardless of your political persuasion, favorite band or song, what’s the deal? Do political campaigns have the right to play songs without the permission of the artist?

My short answer is probably not.

Music is copyrighted, and a proper license is normally required to play a band’s music. If you don’t have permission from the artist or management company, then you may be in copyright violation. An exception might include a politician playing a song from the convention hall’s catalog of licensed music.

Another little know fact is that if a stadium, arena or venue has a public-performance license through ASCAP or BMI (songwriters’ associations), it may be legally OK to play that song during a political campaign.

In addition to copyright issues, there’s also a valuable “right of publicity” asset that a musical artist may be able to protect. Under this theory, Mick Jagger, of the Rolling Stones would argue his voice being broadcasted at a political convention is part of his image, and only he has the right to benefit from that image. This is an area of law that is generally untested in the courts but, it appears to me that artists would be on strong legal grounds should they decide to hold offending political candidates liable under this theory.

Other legal arguments musical artists, bands, and right holders may assert include violations of the “Lanham Act” (confusion or dilution of a trademark through unauthorized use) and “False Endorsement” (implies that the artist supports a product or candidate).

In my opinion, the best legal and ethical way for political campaigns and candidates to acquire the rights to use a particular song or list of songs at a convention is to obtain written permission from the artist or management company via a limited license. This avoids all of the above problems including litigation and legal damages. Written permission also prevents misunderstands with the community’s perception as to which artist or band supports a particular candidate.

When all said and done, getting written permission is just the right thing to do.

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Related Live Video

Attorneys Joey Vitale and Mitch Jackson answer this question and more on this Wednesday’s LegalHour.live (live video show) 11 am PT | 2 pm ET.

Click here to watch and get a reminder!

My New Keynote at the PILMMA Super Summit 2018!

I’m looking forward to sharing a new keynote at the #PILMMA Super Summit in St. Louis titled, “Real-Time Marketing for Lawyers: How to Get Noticed, Build Relationships and Grow Your Practice” (Sept 11-14th). #law #success

Will you be there?