Category: Legal

Protecting Your Company from Cyberattacks

| December 23, 2019

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS 
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — It is being reported by Jerry Del Colliano that radio giant Entercom has suffered its second major cyberattack in the last three months.  The attack which occurred over the weekend appears to be another ransomware attack.  In a September ransomware attack, it was reported that the hackers demanded a ransom of $500,000 to return control of affected systems which included email, phones, production, billing, and other crucial systems.  These ransomware attacks are not isolated incidents.  In the last year, other major radio companies including Townsquare Media and Radio One were hit with similar ransomware attacks, as were numerous smaller radio stations.  You are never too big or too small to be a victim of a ransomware attack.

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Learning from Entercom’s Ransomware Attack

| September 17, 2019

by Steven J.J. Weisman
Legal Editor
TALKERS magazine

 

BOSTON — Although not officially confirmed by the company itself, numerous reports indicate that media giant Entercom Communications has suffered a ransomware attack by unknown cybercriminals demanding a reported $500,000 ransom that the company is refusing to pay.  One of the more interesting aspects of this ransomware attack is the amount of the demand, which is much higher than most ransomware demands.  According to security company Coveware, the average demand this year is $12,762 — double the average demand in 2018.

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The Fall of Craig Carton

| November 9, 2018

by Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS 

Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — While his lawyer, Robert Gottleib, has said that he will appeal the conviction of former WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton by a federal court in New York earlier this week, a jury’s verdict of guilty after five hours of deliberations on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit fraud most likely brings a sad end to a once-promising career.

Carton and his co-conspirators represented to investors that they had special relationships with the promoters of major concerts of artists such as Adele, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Barbra Streisand that enabled them to purchase large blocks of tickets at low prices and then resell the tickets at tremendous profits that would then be passed on to the investors.  The truth is that there were no contracts to purchase any tickets and the money received by Carton was used for his own personal expenses including extensive gambling debts.

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Is it Against the Law for Terrestrial Radio to Say “Shithole” on the Air in Covering Trump Story?

| January 12, 2018

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

BOSTON – It is hard to give a definitive answer to the above question which is part of the problem because the indecency standards for broadcast radio are not particularly clear.  In 2012 when the Supreme Court ruled on this matter in response to enforcement decisions against Fox and ABC, the Supreme Court, unlike the lower appeals court did not rule that the present indecency rules violated the First Amendment.  Instead, by a vote of 8-0 they ruled in favor of Fox and ABC thus overturning the FCC’s decisions and fines against the networks on the grounds that the standards were too vague and there was not sufficient notice when the FCC changed its interpretation of its rules.    Specifically, the court indicated that, “This opinion leaves the Commission free to modify its current indecency policy in light of its determination of the public interest and applicable legal requirements.”  The FCC has not made any substantial changes to its indecency rules and has kept them in force, largely without any controversy for the last six years.

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The Law Behind the Matt Lauer Firing

| November 30, 2017

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — The watershed moment in the history of sexual harassment that started with the rapid downfall of Harvey Weinstein has claimed another victim in Matt Lauer, although let’s be clear, Matt Lauer is not the victim in this case, it is the women whom he is alleged to have harassed over a long period of time who are the real victims.

Many of us were startled to learn early Wednesday morning that NBC had terminated the contract of longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer.  The termination followed close on the heels of an allegation of sexual harassment that was brought by another NBC employee against Lauer. The female NBC employee, along with her lawyer Ari Wilkenfeld, met with NBC’s human resources and legal department Monday night for several hours to discuss the allegations.

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What Is Your Liability When Endorsing a Product?

| November 3, 2017

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — A recently story published here in TALKERS magazine described the problems coming from an advertisement on Tampa radio station WHPT “102.5 The Bone” on which talk host Drew Garabo endorsed a private investment fund that the Securities and Exchange Commission has deemed a fraud.  The SEC obtained a temporary restraining order halting the marketing of the investment and has frozen the assets of Patrick O. Howard and the two companies he used to sell the private funds at the core of what the SEC is calling a scam.  According to the SEC, Howard and his companies not only promised huge profits with minimal risk, but also represented that almost all of the money paid by investors would be used to purchase interests in the portfolio companies’ revenue streams and that all of the promised profits were backed by insurance.

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Jemele Hill and the First Amendment

| September 15, 2017

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — As talk hosts whether you are a political talker or a sports talker, such as Jemele Hill of ESPN, you are constantly exercising your rights under the First Amendment which we all support.  If so, why has there been so much controversy about Hill’s tweets where in a matter of five minutes on Monday she tweeted:

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/other white supremacists.”

“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.  His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”

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Sports Talk Host Could Face Tough Penalties

| September 6, 2017

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — Earlier today, WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton, half of the extremely popular morning talk show “Boomer and Carton” was arrested by FBI agents and charged along with Michael Wright with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit those crimes.  The criminal complaints also describe an unnamed third person designated in the complaints as “CC-1” who is alleged to have conspired with Wright and Carton.    In a separate action involving the same alleged scam, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought civil charges against Carton and Joseph Meli.  Most likely it is Meli who is “CC-1” from the criminal complaints.

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A Difficult Week for Alex Jones

| May 3, 2017

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — Last week, a Texas jury took primary custody of his three children — ages 9, 12 and 14  — away from talk host and Infowars founder Alex Jones and awarded joint custody to Jones and his former wife, Kelly Jones.

In the first day of the trial, Alex Jones’ attorneys were quick to combat the characterization of their client as unstable by indicating that he was a “performance artist” akin to Jon Stewart or Rush Limbaugh.  Rather than being a raving madman, they argued he was merely a performer combining “humor, bombasity, sarcasm and wit.”  However, later that very night Alex Jones posted a video in which he contradicted his lawyers, saying “they’ve got articles out today that say I’m fake, all of this other crap.  Total bull.”  He went on to criticize the media and say, “the media is deceiving everywhere.  I 110 percent believe what I stand for.”

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Howard Stern’s Taxing Lawsuit

| February 23, 2017

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — When Judith Barrigas called the IRS on May 19, 2015 to discuss the possible misapplication of her income tax refund by the IRS  for the year 2014, she had no idea that her 45-minute conversation with IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe would end up being broadcast to the more than 1 million listeners of the Howard Stern show.  This unlikely occurrence was due to the fact that apparently prior to taking her call, Forsythe had called the Howard Stern show and, as often is the case, was put on hold.  Then, apparently while using another phone line, Forsythe took Barrigas’ call and spoke to her about her income tax issues for approximately 45 minutes without being aware that their conversation was being picked up by the other phone and broadcast to the listeners of the Howard Stern show.

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