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New Media Rights Program Receives Cy Pres Awards Totaling $500,000

New Media Rights team

The New Media Rights (NMR) program at California Western School of Law has been designated the cy pres beneficiary in three class action cases. In March, $58,000 from Barani v. Wells Fargo; in May, $435,774 from Couser v. Comenity Bank; and in June, $59,832 from Sherman v. Kaiser were awarded for a total of $553,606.

“Due to the efforts of two enterprising alumni, Abbas Kazerounian '07 and Joshua B. Swigart '02, more than a half-million dollars were secured to bolster California Western’s direct legal services to individuals, small businesses, nonprofits, and tech startups requiring assistance with privacy law,” said Niels Schaumann, president and dean of California Western School of Law. “We’re grateful to our alumni and excited that New Media Rights can continue its important work.”

Assigned specifically to the New Media Rights program, funds secured will support pro bono preventative privacy-related legal services for consumers, nonprofits, technology entrepreneurs, and content creators across the United States.

“Our work is particularly suited for these funds because of our unique focus: preventing privacy problems before they start,” said Art Neill, executive director of New Media Rights. “We don’t just wait for consumer complaints. We also focus on the organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs that are most likely to cause these kinds of issues for consumers.”

Many of NMR’s clients would forgo legal counsel without assistance from the organization. According to Neill, privacy law is such a specialized area of the law that seeking counsel is usually well beyond the financial capability of even a modestly funded enterprise or creator.

“We provide direct preventative legal services and education to consumers, and reach groups whose choices can directly improve the state of consumer privacy in California,” said Neill. “The result of this will be a greater consumer understanding of their rights under the law, and more organizations that design for consumer privacy today, preventing privacy-related problems for years to come.”

About New Media Rights
Founded by attorney Art Neill in 2007, NMR is an independently funded nonprofit program of California Western School of Law (a 501c3 nonprofit) that provides one-to-one legal services to creators, entrepreneurs, and internet users whose projects require specialized internet, intellectual property, privacy, media, and communications law expertise. NMR also takes part in regulatory proceedings at the FCC and U.S. Copyright Office to shape policy and regulation around internet and copyright issues. NMR also assists organizations that provide better access to public information, more business and government accountability, or new perspectives to the cultural landscape through the use of new technologies.