Score one for Aimster. An Albany, N.Y., judge has ruled that the Internet song-swap service has a legitimate reason to file a copyright infringement suit against the major record companies. U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn refused pleas from the Recording Industry Association of America to throw out the case. Kahn said he made the decision to "enable a party who is challenged, or endangered in its enjoyment of what he claims to be his rights, to initiate the proceedings against his tormentor and remove the cloud by an authoritative determination of plaintiff's legal right," according to The Associated Press.
R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck appeared for a second time Monday in a British court stemming from an April incident on a British Airways flight . He was ordered to return July 31 for further judgment on charges of assaulting air crewmembers while flying April 21 on the British Airways plane, Reuters reports. Buck, 44, has publicly apologized for his behavior on the flight, admitting he was embarrassed by his actions.
A New York district court judge decided late last week that the World Wrestling Federation--which had filed a lawsuit against the Parents Television Council after it claimed that the wrestling organization was responsible for several children's' deaths--was not accountable for the tragic incidents, Variety reports. Said Judge Denny Chin: "The First Amendment does not protect statements that are false and defamatory even if they are made in the context of a public debate about issues of general concern.'' The WWF filed the lawsuit after several sponsors declined to fund the organization following the PTC's claims. "We're suing them for punitive damages because of the advertising dollars the WWF lost,'' said WWF lead attorney Jerry McDevitt. Both parties were ordered to settle their disputes June 22 in a Manhattan federal court.
After much controversy, a parody of the classic Margaret Mitchell novel Gone With The Wind will hit bookstores shortly. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled Friday that Alice Randall's novel The Wind Done Gone did not infringe copyright laws, and was suitable for publishing by Houghton Mifflin Co., Reuters reports. Randall's novel takes a satirical African-American view on Mitchell's Civil War-era story.
Though a federal judge ruled in April that author Alice Randall's parody of Gone With the Wind was creative piracy, some big-name corporations have rushed to Randall's side, according to the BBC. Her novel, The Wind Done Gone, has gained support from such companies as Microsoft, CNN, Dow Jones, Tribune, the New York Times and others. Each corporation has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in an Atlanta circuit court, citing the need for protection of the First Amendment.
As the TV "upfront" continues in New York City, ABC has announced its fall schedule, adding three new dramas, two new sitcoms and cutting back Who Wants to be a Millionaire to two nights a week.
CBS also has its schedule falling into place, with the network making its official announcement Wednesday. Fox Television will reveal its schedule on Thursday.
Here's a look at ABC's lineup:
The Wonderful World of Disney will stay put on Sundays in the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot. Alias, about a college student (Dude, Where's My Car?'s Jennifer Garner) who moonlights as a secret agent, will replace Millionaire at 9 p.m. Rounding out the evening, the top-rated Emmy-winning drama The Practice will remain in the 10 p.m. spot.
Mondays will still lead with Millionaire, followed by Monday Night Football.
Tuesdays will begin with Dharma & Greg, followed by the midseason hit What About Joan?, starring Joan Cusack. Jason Alexander's new sitcom, Bob Patterson, about a motivational speaker, will most likely end up in the 9 p.m. spot, doing battle against NBC's Frasier. Spin City or ABC's other midseason hit, The Job, starring Denis Leary, will follow at 9:30 p.m. Whichever sitcom is not on the Tuesday night 9:30 p.m. slot will be take the 9:30 p.m. slot on Wednesdays. Tuesdays will end with the new Steven Bochco legal drama, Philly, starring NYPD Blue alum Kim Delaney.
Wednesdays will begin as family night with Damon Wayans' sitcom My Wife and Kids, followed by the new Jim Belushi sitcom, The Dad, from Touchstone/Brad Grey Television. The Drew Carey Show will stay put in the 9 p.m. slot, with the 9:30 p.m. slot to be taken by either Spin City or The Job. Bochco's NYPD Blue will return in November to take the 10 p.m. Wednesday spot, replacing 20/20. The Barbara Walters-hosted newsmagazine will return midseason.
Thursdays will start with Whose Line Is It Anyway?, followed by a new sketch series from popular Whose Line … player Wayne Brady. The second installment of Millionaire takes the 9 p.m. slot, with the Primetime Live newsmagazine ending the evening.
On Friday, ABC will dump its comedy lineup. The night will kick off with the second installment of the reality show The Mole, followed by the new Warner Bros. drama Thieves, starring John Stamos. Emmy-winning drama Once and Again will take the 10 p.m. slot.
Saturdays will remain a movie night for ABC.
Midseason orders include a new Sally Field drama, The Court, and possibly two new comedies from Peter Tolan, The Web and HMO. Also planned is another reality show, The Runner, produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The show revolves around one person's race around a country, looking for prizes and trying not to get caught.
Saying goodbye is The Geena Davis Show and the medical drama Gideon's Crossing.
CBS also is shaping up its fall schedule with a planned five new dramas and two new sitcoms. One of the more anticipated new shows is the Lou Diamond Phillips-headlined Wolf Lake, a spooky X-Files-esque drama about investigators who look at the mysterious doings of wolves in the Pacific Northwest.
Also included on the drama list is: The Agency, delving into the CIA; a Richard Dreyfuss vehicle, The Education of Max Bickford; and The Guardian, about an attorney who works for child advocacy. On the new sitcom list is another Ellen DeGeneres starrer, Ellen, Again, and a Daniel Stern comedy, Community Center. Stern stars as a newly separated father who runs a community center.
Fox is looking at a few new dramas, including 24, Pasadena and Emma Brody, with new comedies being Bernie Mac, Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Greg the Bunny.
Although the film is already in production in Canada, Harrison Ford's upcoming K-19: The Widowmaker has run into legal trouble. Inna Gotman, a writer/producer who is suing K-19's production company, Intermedia Films, won a significant legal battle Wednesday in an Los Angeles Superior Court room, as a judge found Gotman had a legitimate case in her claim that Intermedia stole her original idea for the film. Though Intermedia denies the accusations--and pleaded with the judge to throw the case out--the judge saw in Gotman's favor, according to Inside.com. No release date has been set for K-19, which tells the tale of the Russian submarine of the same name and its 1961 nuclear crisis.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. had cocaine in his system when he was arrested April 24 on a charge of suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, Culver City, Calif., police said Thursday. Reuters reports that Downey, 36, had submitted urine samples to police immediately following his arrest. The samples, after analysis by toxicology experts, indicated cocaine was in Downey's system, Reuters said. He is expected in court Tuesday to face charges on this latest arrest--his second on drug charges since Thanksgiving.
Williem Forrester (Connery) is a hermit living in the same Bronx apartment he grew up in. He's also a well-known author famous for publishing just one book. Now in his old age he spends his days at the typewriter and looking out his window watching life go by. Through a series of events he befriends Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) and soon starts editing the budding scribe's writing samples. Forrester immediately recognizes Jamal's talents as well as the areas he can improve. Jamal soaks up his mentor's guidance but also sets out to help his friend's fear of venturing out of his apartment and embracing life once again.
One would expect to see more from a veteran actor like Connery in this film. However what he delivers is a similar character we've seen in several of his films: an authoritative figure with a underlying sarcastic sense of humor (see "Entrapment"). The real scene-stealer in this one is newcomer Brown. The young actor shines in his major film debut portraying a kid from the Bronx with talent that stretches from the point of his pen to the basketball court. Anna Paquin is well cast as the down-to-earth daughter of the school director who catches Jamal's eye.
Director Gus Van Sant delivers a drama that could have spent more time in the editing room. Clocking in at a little over two hours it takes too long to reach its resolution that pretty much can be predicted halfway into film. Watching Connery transform from a reclusive bitter man into a life-embracing softie is as cliché as Hollywood films come. Van Sant's best move was introducing the American audience to Brown and the marvelous presence he brings to the big screen. This young actor is one to look out for in the years to come.
It's officially over for Jane Fonda and Ted Turner. Fonda filed for divorce from the CNN tycoon earlier this week in Atlanta's Fulton County Superior Court, ending 15 months of separation, The Associated Press reported. According to Fonda, 63, and Turner, 62, their marriage crumbled when Fonda became a Christian. "We went in different directions. I grew up," she told AP.
"Titus" stuntman injured
A stuntman practicing a dangerous car maneuver for the Fox series Titus wound up in a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday. Brian Carson, 44, was rehearsing the stunt at the Los Angeles County raceway-hitting a speed of 60 mph-when his car slammed into a ramp rigged with explosives. According to Entertainment Tonight, Carson suffered serious head injuries and multiple bone fractures. Carson has performed more than 2,000 stunts for the small screen.
Kathleen Turner: proud pop?
Actress Kathleen Turner will take on a role she's never tackled before in a May 17 episode of Friends: a transvestite man. People reports that Turner, 45, will play Matthew Perry's father in the hour-long episode, in which the characters played by Perry and Courteney Cox Arquette discover daddy's little secret after years of no contact. Morgan Fairchild will star as Perry's mother.
Goldie Hawn in the director's chair
First-time screenwriter Goldie Hawn, who has completed her script Ashes to Ashes, also will earn the title first-time director. According to Entertainment Weekly, Hawn's film will follow the travels of a bitter woman who reluctantly takes her ex-husband's ashes to Nepal. Jeremy Pisker (Bulworth) co-wrote the screenplay with Hawn.
Eminem: moving away
Following the path of such fellow musicians as Madonna, rapper Eminem has told British papers that he's intent on moving out of the United States to roost across the pond in England. According to Britain's Sun tabloid on Thursday, Eminem is looking for a suitable apartment in London for the time being, then will branch out and go house hunting in the more exclusive neighborhoods nearby. Says the Grammy winner: "I love Britain."
All Saints/Prodigy wedding
A spokeswoman for singer Natalie Appleton of the girl group All Saints has confirmed that she and Prodigy band member Liam Howlett are engaged. Says Appleton of her hard-rocking beau: "I'm very excited. I love him to bits and I've never been happier." The nuptials are to take place sometime next year.
Rosie's return to Nickelodeon
In a bizarre move, Rosie O'Donnell, who had backed out of hosting the 14th annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards last week due to a hand injury, has recanted her refusal and will indeed emcee the event. According to Entertainment Tonight, O'Donnell, 39, was given the green light by her doctors to travel to Los Angeles to host the show. A doctor will accompany her throughout her trip.
Michael Jackson gets dumped
King of Pop Michael Jackson has to search for a new entertainment management company to handle his affairs, according to People. His representation, The Firm, which also handles as the Backstreet Boys, dumped Jacko after just a year of managing his career. The Firm refused to comment, but Jackson was nice enough to thank them anyway for the effort it put forth on his behalf. He has recently been working on a new album that should be released sometime this fall.