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Washington and Lee Law Review - Student Notes

Note

by Llewellyn Kittredge Shamamian

Over twenty years ago, in Leicester v. Warner Bros., the Ninth Circuit limited copyright protection for a certain sculptural complex located within a downtown Los Angeles high‑rise. The court determined that the sculpture, otherwise protected from pictorial reproduction, could be visually replicated without infringing on the artist’s copyright because it was part of its architectural context.

This Note explores two recent copyright cases where companies capitalized on painted street art, using the works as backdrops for social media advertising. The resulting litigation calls into question Leicester’s holding and the extent to which it may allow visual reproduction of non-sculptural works incorporated into architecture. This Note’s introduction addresses the rise of legal disputes in the street art community and the circumstances of these recent cases. Part II addresses fundamentals of domestic copyright law and the varied protection for certain forms of authorship. Part III discusses an important exception for the visual reproduction of architectural works and judicial application of the exception to disputes involving painted street art. Part IV argues that Leicester should not serve as the legal standard for all such controversies, and Part V articulates a clarified inquiry to limit judicial dependency on Leicester.

Note

by Chandler Gray

This Note explores recent state efforts to reshape their respective Medicaid programs through Section 1115 waivers. Specifically, this Note looks at states that wish to convert their Medicaid program to a block grant through Section 1115 waivers. Examining the lawfulness of these waivers requires analyzing the language and application of both the Medicaid Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. This Note argues that any use of Section 1115 waivers to implement a block grant program would be a violation of the Medicaid Act and thus unlawful. Further, federal approval of such programs would be deemed arbitrary and capricious. To justify this conclusion, this Note considers three recent federal court decisions striking down states’ use of Section 1115 waivers to enforce Medicaid work requirements. This Note determines that any use of Section 1115 waivers to create a block grant program would face similar legal challenges as the work requirements cases.

Note

by Luke Charette

This Note explores the reasoning and factors used by each of the federal circuits in deciding whether or not to uphold attorney-client privilege between the government and the lawyers representing it. After considering those factors, this Note argues that there should be a categorical rule that neither a state nor the federal government may invoke the attorney-client privilege in response to a criminal grand jury subpoena. To justify this conclusion, this Note outlines how current government attorney-client privilege case law, as well as the policy underpinnings of the privilege itself, dictate that a categorical rule is appropriate.

Note

by Jacqueline M. Fitch

This Note considers whether, under the direct effect clause of the FSIA commercial activities exception, a foreign sovereign must have minimum contacts with the United States in order for a U.S. court to assert personal jurisdiction over the entity.

When United States citizens initiate legal action against a foreign entity, they face a significant jurisdictional obstacle—the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The FSIA provides a general grant of immunity to foreign states and their instrumentalities from United States court jurisdiction; however, it establishes a number of exceptions where a foreign sovereign’s acts are subject to adjudication in the United States. Prior to the FSIA, the United States exercised absolute sovereign immunity, leaving any citizen injured by foreign state action with no remedy. But increased international commerce during the twentieth century led to the application of a more restrictive interpretation of immunity and the adoption of the FSIA’s commercial activities exception. The commercial activities exception contains three clauses, each providing grounds for lifting a foreign state’s immunity when a state’s commercial act impacts the United States. This Note examines the third clause of the commercial activities exception—the “direct effect” clause. The direct effect clause provides an exception to the grant of immunity for “an act outside the territory of the United States in connection with a commercial activity of the foreign state elsewhere and that act causes a direct effect in the United States.” This note argues that recognizing foreign sovereigns as “persons” under the Due Process Clause is improper, and that reading a minimum contacts test into the direct effect clause is contrary to the structure and intent of the FSIA commercial activities exception.

 

by M. Claire Flowers

Multiple federal courts have recognized and applied the inevitable disclosure doctrine in cases brought by employers against former employees under the DTSA. The inevitable disclosure doctrine allows a business to temporarily enjoin the new employment of a former employee by a competitor on the theory that the employee learned confidential information while working for that business which the employee cannot possibly forget or refrain from relying on during her employment with the competitor. The application of this doctrine under the DTSA is controversial for two reasons. First, some states refuse to recognize the inevitable disclosure doctrine due, in part, to its restrictive effect on labor mobility. Secondly, the application is controversial because some practitioners thought that the language of the DTSA preempted the application of this doctrine at the federal level.

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