Anthony R. Caruso, Esq Bio:

Anthony R. Caruso is a NFLPA Certified Agent, (NFL Player Agent) and an accomplished business transactions attorney with a broad range of significant experience, including negotiation and drafting of all types of deals and contracts including matters such as acquisitions and sales, intellectual property, land use and development, and licensing and franchising. In addition, He has successfully negotiated and structured all types of sports, entertainment and corporate-related projects.

Specifically a noted entertainment lawyer and sports attorney, he has experience in representing artists and performers, coaches and athletes, and various other talent, as well as film, theatrical and television production, music, sports marketing, sports leagues and investment groups involved in sports and entertainment projects. A sampling of his notable transactions include establishing a leading internet based services company, representing a major sports league, film and television projects, multi-year licensing and sponsorship agreements, negotiating franchise and leasing agreements, and structuring private capital transactions for the acquisition and/or establishment of various ventures.

Mr. Caruso gained international attention as an entertainment attorney in his representation of Amy Polumbo, Miss New Jersey 2007, regarding a blackmail situation over Internet photos. He provided all legal counseling and negotiations, strategy, media supervision and crisis management, appearing in all major print and media outlets such as People Magazine and NBC’s Today Show. Mr. Caruso has appeared on Fox, CNBC and NBC as well as various radio shows, and is routinely requested by various syndicated television, news and print media outlets for his advice and comment on current issues.

Mr. Caruso previously served as counsel to former New Jersey Governor James Florio, and was a founding executive of an internet-based real estate services company that revolutionized the way real estate was sold utilizing the technology of the internet. He is the former owner of a professional minor league basketball team. He has served on the boards of various charitable organizations and banking institutions.

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Title Publisher Date
Collegiate Collisions on the Field and in the Courtroom: Will Labor Peace Save Student-Athletes from Further Injury? Journal of Business and Technology Law of the University of Maryland School of Law February 17, 2015
The Donald Sterling Dilemma US Daily Review May 22, 2014
Inside the Minds: Entertainment and Media Law Contract Strategies November 1, 2007
Recruiting Case Takes Center Stage June 1, 2007
The New NBA Wardrobe: Less Bling is an Enforceable Thing Commentary January 30, 2006
How to Succeed in Local Redevelopment June 26, 1995

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Lawsuit Pushing to Enhance Fan Safety at MLB games
Posted on Monday February 08, 2016

fan safety at MLB gamesfan safety at MLB gamesWhat's the problem with fan safety at MLB games?

A lawsuit has pushed Major League Baseball to increase fan safety at MLB games.

While all major league baseball stadiums in the U.S. do have safety netting behind home plate, the amount varies and there are seats that may be considered dangerous located elsewhere. An Oakland Athletics season-ticket holder filed a class action lawsuit in July, asking that the league's teams improve safety measures for fans. Though MLB filed a motion for dismissal in October, the litigation must have had some sort of effect, because Commissioner Robert Manfred recently suggested that teams extend safety netting in their ballparks.

MLB makes changes as legitimacy of 'the Baseball Rule' is questioned

"The Baseball Rule" has long existed to protect teams from lawsuits. The rule assumes that individuals who purchase tickets to a baseball game are going to the event to watch the sport. This means it is on the fans to recognize when a ball or shard from a broken bat is flying toward them. This assumption may have been sensible years ago, but these days there are myriad in-game distractions that may cause fans to take their eyes away from the action for a short period, such as smart phones or ballpark amenities. The changes in how fans view the game in-person have led to questions about the validity of the Baseball Rule in the modern game. Now Manfred is making an effort to improve fan safety by suggesting teams extend nets, though there is still some onus on the fans, as evidenced by a planned education program.

Regarding netting, Manfred suggested that teams extend the barriers to their ballparks' dugouts. While the suggested changes aren't extensive, they are a sign that MLB understands that fan safety is in decline at ballparks and the league is responsible for doing something about that. The Baseball Rule may still be in effect for many fans who attend games, but next season here will be a slight increase in those who can take comfort in the fact that they're seated behind a protective net.

Future of ballpark protections uncertain as teams extend netting

Whether the league decides to mandate the extension of netting or implementation other fan safety measures in the future is less certain. Even with the larger nets, there will be a large number of fans in-danger of being hit by bat debris or foul balls come the 2016 season.

If you believe you were wrongfully injured while attending a baseball game, or that you are in danger at future games you plan to view, talk to an experienced sports law attorney for more on fan safety and the Baseball Rule.

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Stadium Funding: How It’s Done
Posted on Wednesday February 03, 2016

stadium fundingstadium fundingUnderstanding stadium funding

Stadium funding has become a controversial topic, especially among taxpayers, due to the burden is often placed on them and their preference that someone else foot the considerable bills.

Private vs. public: Paying for a stadium

Professional teams' facilities are expensive, both through construction and afterward. Funding can essentially be split into two categories: private and public. Whom the bigger burden falls on often depends on the location of the stadium. In recent years, however, there have been pushes to ease the financial stress that public funding can have on taxpayers. These individuals generally would be pleased to keep their beloved football, baseball, hockey or basketball organizations in their hometowns, but the cost of doing so may be too much and they are left to wonder, "Why are we paying for this?"

The Obama administration's 2016 budget includes a provision which aims to ease the burden on taxpayers by eliminating the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports facilities. These bonds are typically paid back by cities and states over the course of several years through a series of levies. Purchasing investors, meanwhile, don't pay taxes on their income, making these tax-exempt bonds a more affordable way to get sports facilities built. However, they have also led to taxpayers covering large chunks of stadium funding costs.

Who funded stadiums built in the last 18 years?

A Conventions, Sports & Leisure International study broke down NFL stadium funding from 1997 to 2015. For example, it noted that the $1.6 billion total cost of MetLife Stadium was covered completely by private funding. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Raymond James Stadium, built in 1998, was publicly funded, with a price tag of $194 million, with the money coming from a 0.5 percent county sales tax increase, tourist revenue, a state sales tax revenue bond and investment income.

Seven of the eight stadiums built from 1997 through 2001 were mostly covered by the public, ranging from 100 percent for the Buccaneers' facility to 61 percent for the Pittsburg Steelers' Heinz Field, built in 2001. Meanwhile, only half of the stadiums built from 2002 through 2015 were built using majority public funding, and none were 100 percent covered by taxpayers. Since the start of 2002, the largest percentage the public paid to cover an NFL stadium was 81 percent, for the Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium. This facility was covered by a 3 percent Marion county hotel tax increase, a 2 percent county car rental tax increase, 1 percent increases to admissions tax and restaurant taxes in Marion county and six surrounding counties and Colts license plate sales.

However, year-to-year, who funds sports facilities seems to be more random, possibly due to local regulations and regional preferences. If tax-exempt bonds are actually eliminated from sports facilities funding budgets, the burden will likely shift more to private investors.

If you want to learn more about who is funding stadium construction or renovation in your state or city, speak with an experienced sports law attorney for information.

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Adjustments Made to NCAA Draft Eligibility Rules for Basketball Players
Posted on Thursday January 28, 2016

NCAA Draft Eligibility RulesNCAA Draft Eligibility RulesNCAA Draft Eligibility Rules Changed

The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently adjusted its rules on declaring for the NBA draft.

At times college basketball players attempting to determine their likelihood of being drafted may have felt stymied by NCAA eligibility rules. Previous association rules placed an April limit on players' ability to remove their names from the draft while maintaining eligibility to play college basketball the following season. That means a freshman trying to decide whether or not to enter into the draft would have to finalize that choice by April, while the draft combine is typically in May and the event itself in June. The combine offers players the best chance to gauge their chances at being drafted.

New rules will make it easier for students to decide whether to enter the draft

The new NCAA eligibility rules will make it easier for players to determine what their chances of being drafted are. This was achieved by pushing back the deadline for a student to remove his name from the draft. This will give players more time to decide whether to stay with their schools for another season or keep their names in the draft, which would cancel their eligibility to play college basketball the following season but would give them the chance to play in the NBA.

Draft-eligible players are invited by the NBA to the combine to test their skills against their peers and display their talents to NBA scouts.

Cody McDavis, a member of the Division I Men's Basketball Oversight Committee, explained in an NCAA press release on the change that the deadline pushback will prove beneficial to amateur basketball players who hope to make the leap to the professional level, but are unsure about their chances.

"[The rule allows] student-athletes to realize their dreams without punishing them for having such dreams" he said. "Almost every men's basketball student-athlete has dreamt of playing in the NBA. This proposal allows them to attempt to make those dreams a reality without taking away their ability to come back and play in amateur collegiate sport if they happen to be unsuccessful."

The new rule will push the deadline for removing one's name from the draft to ten days after the combine. This gives students the chance to participate in the event and come away from it with a much better understanding of their prospects for being drafted. Students will also be able to enter the draft and combine multiple times without affecting their eligibility, which means that if one year a player decides he wants to stay for another season and removes his name from the draft, he can reenter again later on.

College practices leading up to the combine allowed by NCAA

The NCAA also adjusted rules pertaining to practice. Students invited to the combine will be allowed to work out with their college coaches from the time of invitation until the decision to withdraw from the draft. These offseason workouts will be subject to the same rules as in-season practices. The time limit will be four hours per day for up to 20 hours weekly. The new practice rules will ensure students can receive top-flight training leading up to the combine without leaving their classes. In a win-win rule change for the players, it will provide academic continuity as well as assurance that they are in the best shape possible leading up to the combine.

If you have questions about NBA draft eligibly or other NCAA rules speak with an experienced sports law attorney.

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Meeting with Sports Agents & Timing a Draft Declaration
Posted on Wednesday January 27, 2016

meeting with sports agentsmeeting with sports agentsWhen should you begin meeting with sports agents?

The college football regular season is entering its final stages, and with the end of the season so close, some players may be thinking about the next NFL draft.

When is it OK to declare for the draft?

Once the CFB season ends, players can begin speaking with agents and putting together their strategies before the Jan. 15, 2016, deadline for declaring for the next draft. Players should be careful though - if they begin speaking with an agent too soon, or try to declare before they are eligible, they can run into problems with the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its many rules. It is important, for example, to ensure eligibility before declaring for the draft and taking the next step to the NFL.

Players cannot declare for the NFL draft out of high school, or even after their first years in college. They have to play for their schools for a set amount of time before they are allowed to declare for the draft. Eligible players have been out of high school for at least three years, and have reached the limit for number of college football seasons allowed. However, under certain circumstance players who have not used up all of their college eligibility may be allowed to declare for the draft early, if they receive permission from the league. Players who are draft-eligible, or who have declared early, work with the league's player personnel staff to ensure they are, in fact, allowed to enter the draft under NCAA and league rules.

The time to speak with an agent

Between now and Jan. 15, numerous college football players will both declare for the draft and begin speaking with agents. The latter task, choosing an agent, must also be approached thoughtfully. Players are allowed to speak with an agent as long as the player does not discuss hiring or other matters relating to agent representation. Introductions and informational discussions are permitted. However, such communication could prove fruitless if it is determined the individual is breaking the rules.

Determining when to speak with an agent and when to declare for the draft may be confusing for some players. It is important to remember, waiting until after the final game of the final season of eligibility is a good rule to stick to. Before that, football-focus should be directed toward becoming a better player and helping the team win.

For more information on the NFL draft, choosing an agent and other related concerns, speak with an experienced sports law attorney.

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Transformative Social Media & Copyright Law
Posted on Friday January 22, 2016

transformative social mediatransformative social mediaWhat makes for transformative social media?

An iconic photo is at the center of a potential shift in the relationship between what is considered transformative social media and a violation of copyright law.

Social media is a complex topic in terms of copyrights. Text, videos, photos and other copyrighted materials are often posted on Facebook or Twitter without much consideration for the owners. This sort of behavior generates liability for infringement. This issue has come to the forefront of copyright law with North Jersey Media Group's lawsuit against Fox News, and now the network's attempted defense at trial, and brings into question whether using somewhat altered copies of photos on social media can be called "transformative."

Why is the potentially transformative nature of the posting of copyrighted material important? Because this is an essential element of fair use, the argument for copying protected works. If the use of the material can be considered transformative, it counts as fair use and, as a result, is not a violation of copyright law. Consider, for example, Warren Publishing Co. v. Spurlock d/b/a Vanguard Productions, which pitted a niche magazine publisher focused on monsters against a book publisher in copyright litigation.

An illustration of transformation

The defendant published a book called "Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos." Gogos was the creator of the cover art for issues of the monster magazine. Some of that work was published in the book, which prompted the magazine to sue. The book publisher received permission for the monster art from the creator, but not from the magazine. The plaintiff argued that under copyright under work-made-for-hire principles, the book publisher should have sought the magazine's permission. However, the judge ruled that because the art was used in a retrospective of Gogos' life and work, and not for the same purpose as it was created, the usage was transformative. That made the book publisher's copying of the monster art fair use..

What makes a social media post transformative?

So, is the same true of copying protected photos, video, music or more within social media postings? The copyrighted material in question, in this case, is a photo taken by Thomas Franklin, that depicts firefighters raising the American flag atop the ruins at the World Trade Center site following the Sept. 11 attacks. Fox News posted copies of the photo to Facebook on the anniversary of that day, alongside copies of another iconic picture showing soldiers raising the American flag at Iwo Jima.

Fox News had argued that its use of the 9/11 photo, alongside its World War II predecessor, of sorts, as well as a #neverforget hashtag and commentary, was enough to ensure that the post constituted transformative use of the picture. However, New York Federal Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled against the defendant. He explained that featuring the two iconic photos side-by-side was not an original idea. He also stated that the use of a hashtag and additional commentary wasn't enough to ensure fair use, either. The hashtag was used on myriad social media posts that day and the network's commentary was not much more than an agreement with others commenting on the anniversary of the attacks.

The ultimate decision on whether Fox was wrong in posting the photo could provide a basis for future lawsuits concerning the use of copyrighted material on social media. How much does the poster have to add to make copying the material transformative? A ruling against Fox News would lift the bar from what Ramos' opinion seemed to illustrate as the bare minimum to higher standards.

If you think your copyright has been violated through a social media post, or in some other way, consult an experienced entertainment law attorney for more information.

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Adjunct Faculty, New York University

NFLPA Certified Agent (NFL Player Agent)

Advisory Board - Trinity Financial Sports and Entertainment Management Company

Adjunct Faculty, Belmont University

Advisory Board, Capital One Bank

Member, Monmouth University Real Estate Institute

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