On Jan. 1, the copyrights expired for tens of thousands of works released in 1923, including classic films, plays, songs and books from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille, George Gershwin, Louis Armstrong, E.E. Cummings and Agatha Christie. These works are now in the public domain, which means that anyone can broadcast, republish, distribute or remix them without first having to seek permission or pay any royalties to the original rights holder. This was the first set of creative works to enter the public domain since the Copyright Term Extension Act was passed in 1998, which extended the length of a copyright from 75 years to 95 years, or from 50 years after the author's death to 70 years. At the time, the stated intention of the law was to protect the economic interests of the entertainment industry, but some critics nicknamed it the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" due to Disney's extensive lobbying efforts on its behalf. Disney's copyright on Mickey Mouse, who first appeared in the 1928 animated short film Steamboat Willie, is scheduled to expire on Jan. 1, 2024.


The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Fiat Chrysler agreed to pay $305 million to settle allegations that it used illegal software on 104,000 diesel-powered Dodge Rams and Jeep Grand Cherokees to cheat on emissions tests in violation of the Clean Air Act, as well as another $6 million for the illegal import of 1,700 noncompliant vehicles. The company also agreed to implement a recall and repair program to fix the affected vehicles, offer extended warranties on the repaired vehicles, and take steps to mitigate excess pollution from these vehicles, which could add another $185 million in costs. In addition, Fiat Chrysler will pay $19 million to California to settle similar state regulatory violations. In a separate announcement, the automaker also agreed to pay $280 million to settle a lawsuit brought by vehicle owners. The case mirrors the 2017 emissions cheating scandal that cost Volkswagen up to $30 billion in regulatory fines, legal costs, and vehicle buybacks and repairs.


The U.S. Department of Labor reported that there were 5,147 fatal workplace injuries in 2017, a slight decrease from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016. The fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.6 in 2016. Transportation...

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