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In the news

Published August 25, 2006

AOL to sell movies and television shows

AOL will start selling movies and TV shows through its new video portal under deals it has forged with major Hollywood studios.

The deals are with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

Users will be able to download selected titles for $9.99 to $19.99 each, comparable to fees at online services CinemaNow, MovieLink and Guba. Though users will own the titles, meaning viewing won't be automatically disabled after a day or two, the movies can be played on only four personal computers or portable devices that support Microsoft's Windows Media Player technology. They may not be burned onto DVDs, a restriction that so far has limited the appeal of movie downloads.

AOL will also sell Fox television shows for $1.99 an episode.

Judge bars sale of old Taylor Hicks recordings

A federal judge has temporarily barred a producer from selling songs recorded by American Idol winner Taylor Hicks when he was still just a gray-haired bar crooner from Alabama.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins issued the ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by Hicks against William Smith of Nashville after two songs written and sung by Hicks showed up for sale on the iTunes Web site.

Smith, in an interview Thursday with the Associated Press, said the songs were no longer for sale. The judge scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30 on whether to make her order permanent.

Hicks said Smith and his companies, William Smith Productions and Baldwin Entertainment, wrongly tried to make money selling three songs that Hicks wrote and recorded with Smith - The Fall, Son of a Carpenter and In Your Time.

Smith doesn't have rights to the music, Hicks said.

Smith said he has signed contracts with Hicks, however. Smith also said he released the songs mainly to help fend off critics' bad reviews of Hicks' single, Do I Make You Proud, released after he won Idol in May.

Smith said he's not sure how many copies of the songs were sold, but Hicks will get any royalties he is due.

A sworn statement by Hicks' attorney, Michael J. Douglas, said the recordings were poor-quality demos.

Miss America pageant to stay in Las Vegas

The annual Miss America pageant will return to the Las Vegas Strip for its 2007 contest, organizers said Thursday.

The crowning will air live on Country Music Television from the Aladdin Resort & Casino on Jan. 29, organizers said.

The 85-year-old beauty contest jilted its hometown of Atlantic City, N.J., for Las Vegas last year in search of a younger audience, a fresh look and lower production costs.

"I can't tell you how happy everyone is to be returning to Las Vegas," Art McMaster, chief executive of the Atlantic City-based Miss America Organization, told the Associated Press.

McMaster said the pageant would stick with the back-to-basics makeover that producers delivered in 2006, scuttling a plan announced in April to incorporate elements of reality television into the pageant.

"For at least another year we're going to keep with tradition," McMaster said.


[Last modified August 25, 2006, 01:49:52]

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