Saturday, January 3, 2009
The New York Post reports that advertising executive Robert Pritikin, who's known for writing the "Rice-a-Roni" jingle, may pursue a suit against Tom Cruise and others involved in the making of the film "Valkyrie" for using a copy of Hitler's globe in the film. Mr. Pritikin now owns the globe, and copyrighted it after he purchased it in 2007. He's now trying to sell it. Read more here in the Post article and here at TMZ.
The Guardian reports on the opposition to Facebook's policy of removing photographs that show breastfeeding mothers. Facebook says it could and might remove only those photographs that showed "Photos containing a fully exposed breast, as defined by showing the nipple or areola," which violate terms of service ("on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material)." Users have responded that "breastfeeding is not obscene!" Read more here.
Friday, January 2, 2009
The AP reports that editors at two Vietnamese newspapers have been fired, apparently for criticizing the treatment of reporters who covered a high profile corruption case. Both reporters were subsequently convicted of "abusing freedom and democracy;" one received jail time and the other re-education. Read more here.
Vicki Iseman, the woman whom the New York Times indicated had a close relationship with Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, is now suing the paper for defamation. The Times says it "stands by" its February story. Read more here in a Guardian story.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Viacom, Time Warner Cable Argue Over Fees; Explain THAT to Your Family's Sponge Bob and Dora the Explorer Fans
Cable subscribers in the Southeast, New York, southern California, and Texas may be the victims of a battle between Viacom and Time Warner Cable over fees. Viacom wants higher fees to continue to allow Time Warner to carry such popular channels as Nickolodeon, Comedy Central, Spike TV, VH1, and MTV; Time Warner won't agree, it says because of the bad economy. Here's more from NPR. Here's a link to Viacom's statement on the subject. I could not find a statement on the matter on Time Warner's website. As of midnight, January 1, subscribers may lose access to these networks. Happy New Year.
The Observer covers former CBS anchor Dan Rather's lawsuit against that network here. The article suggests that the suit "will cast a further shadow over the Bush legacy" as it explores Mr. Rather's allegations that the network attempted to bury stories in response to political pressure.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Muntadhar al-Zeidi's trial has been postponed, as authorities try to figure out what charges he should face. The journalist, who is now famous for having thrown his shoes at President Bush, who ducked, was reported likely to face charges of insulting a foreign head of state. An appellate court will now issue a ruling on the matter. In addition, it's now unclear that Mr. al-Zeidi was beaten while in custody, as indicated earlier. It's possible that the injuries he has suffered were inflicted while he was being apprehended. Read more here in an AP report.
The BBC may be facing another controversy after radio host Victoria Derbyshire said she was told she could have a "crib sheet" (or cheat sheet) if she thought she needed one while competing on the celebrity version of the popular show "Mastermind." Ms. Derbyshire told producers she was anxious about knowing enough about her chosen subject, Thomas Hardy's novels, and was told she could have such a sheet. A BBC spokesperson, however, responded that "Celebrity Mastermind does not provide contestants with 'crib sheets' and all contestants work hard in the run-up to the recording ... If a contestant is struggling to find adequate information production can point them towards these in order to prevent them from using unsuitable material." Ms. Derbyshire eventually did not participate on the program. Celebrity participants, like regular participants, are supposed to have knowledge about their chosen subjects, but we assume the public would not want to see a favorite celebrity look ignorant on camera. Read more in a Guardian article here. Here's another article on the subject from the Daily Mail.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Berkley Publishing is cancelling the publication of Angel at the Fence, a Holocaust memoir, which its author has admitted is fabricated. Herman Rosenblat, who is a concentration camp survivor, said he made up the story that forms the basis of the book some years ago. Apparently it got away from him. The story was so touching that it moved many and got Mr. Rosenblat a great deal of publicity, including appearances on Oprah, but it also raised doubts, and the doubts were what eventually caused factchecking, and ultimately cancellation of the book's publication. Harris Solomon is producing a movie based on the book; the movie will go ahead, but will be labeled fiction. Read more here in a New York Times article and here in a CBS.com story.
Eighteen-year-old Kelly Marshall is asking the Daily Star for an apology for statements it made about her and certain statements it attributed to her concerning the man convicted of killing eleven-year-old Rhys Jones. Young Rhys was shot in a Liverpool parking lot more than a year ago. Sean Mercer was convicted in a highly publicized trial and sentenced to 22 years in prison. Ms. Marshall says she did not refer to Mr. Mercer as a "hero" and that he is not her boyfriend. The paper has not yet responded. Read more here in a Guardian story.
The longstanding suit over rights to "Watchmen" seems to have been resolved, at least temporarily, in favor of Fox. Judge Gary Feess issued a preliminary ruling finding that Fox does have "copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the 'Watchmen' motion picture." In order to keep to its proposed schedule to release the film in March, Warner Brothers would need to settle with Fox quickly, or file an appeal.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that "Gilmore Girls" producer Gavin Polone is suing both Warner Brothers and its network, and the CW for fraud. Mr. Polone claims that the studio failed to pay him substantial amounts of money he was due under a 2000 agreement.