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Sen. Hatch Says Destroy The Pirate's Computer
June 18, 2003

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music and movies from the Internet. The remark by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, came during a hearing on copyright abuses and represents a dramatic escalation in the frustrating battle against illegal downloads. During the hearing, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in the illegal exchange of music and movie files over the Internet. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws. In response to Sen. Hatch's remarks, Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt illegal downloads said, "No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer." "I'm interested," Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."

Pistol packin’ mama
June 7, 2003

Police arrested Verna Griffin, 54, mother of hip-hop producer Dr. Dre last month for shooting at a boyfriend in her home in Hidden Hills, Calif. owned by Dre. Griffin told the New York Post that she has been under tremendous mental stress lately. Police officials found the gun in Griffin’s car and arrested her. Griffin was released on $50,000 bail. The mother of hip-hop producer Dr. Dre has been arrested in California after she allegedly fired a round from a gun at an unspecified male friend in her home in Hidden Hills. According to press reports 54-year-old Verna Griffin fired one round at her comrade, but the alleged victim wasn't wounded.

Treach prepares solo project
June 7, 2003

When he’s not guest starring on NBC’s Third Watch or appearing in motion pictures Naughty By Nature’s Anthony 'Treach' Criss is cutting a new album titled Ogogly, which will feature Vinnie and Naughty album staples the Rotten Rascals and a contributing track by fellow Naughty By Nature member Kay Gee. Treach is reportedly fielding offers from major labels and still is considering a release on Naughty's own Nature Records. No release date has been set.

All’s Forgiven
June 7, 2003

Last month the South Carolina Department Of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services pardoned Soul Brother #1, James Brown for all his past crimes in the state, including assault, drugs and weapons charges. Brown, 70, said, "God bless America on this beautiful day. I hope my pardon shows the youth that America is a beautiful country." Brown was convicted in 1998 for entering an insurance seminar next door to his Augusta, Ga., office and brandishing a shotgun. Suspected of being high on PCP, Brown then led police on a half-hour car chase, from Augusta into South Carolina, then back to Georgia, before police shot out his vehicle’s tires. Brown had served a two-and-a-half year prison term following an arrest in 1988 on assault and drug charges. He unsuccessfully attempted to get a pardon in 2001. Friends, family and state politicians spoke to a seven-member state panel on the "Godfather Of Soul's" behalf. "I feel good!" Brown said.

American Idol
June 7, 2003

Ruben Studdard, the portly American Idol winner, and Clive Davis have signed a recording contract with J Records through Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited. Davis will produce Studdard's full-length studio debut album due in September.

Sandman Sims 'executioner' at the Apollo dies
May 31, 2003

Sandman Sims, the famed tap dancer who chased unpopular acts off the stage as the "executioner" at the Apollo Theater for years, died May 20. He was 86. Sims taught footwork to boxers Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, and his dance students included Gregory Hines and Ben Vereen. Sims, who was once a boxer, earned his stage name by dancing on sprinkled sand, a technique he pioneered while trying to mimic the effect of dancing in the rosin box before entering the ring. When he won a $5,000 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984, Sims used the money to teach dance to children in a Harlem parking lot. Born Howard Sims in Fort Smith, Ark., Sims grew up in Los Angeles and came to New York in 1947. He danced at the Apollo for 17 years, acting as the "executioner" beginning in the mid-1950s. He also stage managed the Apollo, owned a cafe, worked as a carpenter and mechanic and was a regular in the vaudeville scene. The poet Sandra Hochman wrote a play about Sims in 1986 called "The Sand Dancer."

Judge may dismiss lawsuit against Jackson
June 03, 2003

A Los Angeles judge said on Monday that she would consider throwing out a lawsuit against Michael Jackson by a former top financial advisor who claims that he is owed $12 million by the onetime king of pop. Superior Court Judge Andria Richey said she would also consider request from news organizations to televise the bitter court fight between Jackson and Myung-Ho Lee if it goes forward as scheduled on June 18.

Broadway musicians strike ends
May 26, 2003

Two months after Broadway musicians and producers reached a tentative agreement that ended a four-day strike, the musicians union has approved a new contract. Members of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians voted 394 to 160 in favor of the contract. The union went on strike March 7 in a dispute with the League of American Theatres and Producers over the minimum number of musicians required at a performance. Producers had sought to reduce the minimum musicians per sho. Musicians argued that they were being replaced by computerized "virtual orchestras." The strike -- which shut down all but one of Broadway's 19 musicals -- ended after an all-night negotiating session, during which the union agreed to reduce the minimum number of players in the 13 largest theaters to 18 or 19 musicians, down from 24 to 26 in the biggest houses.

Sondheim directs at Telluride, Turner honored
May 24, 2003

Stage and screen composer Stephen Sondheim will be a guest director at the 30th Telluride Film Festival. "Sondheim will compile a special program, a group of films, that will probably be centered on a theme that is important to him or that he enjoys," festival spokeswoman Kathy Jones said Thursday. "He also will have input with the directors of the festival on the program." Jones said she didn't know what theme Sondheim will choose. The festival won't release the names of the films that will be shown until its Aug. 29 opening day. Festival co-director Tom Luddy said CNN founder Ted Turner will receive a medal honoring his work in preserving films.

Judge orders Jackson to return
May 24, 2003

A federal judge has ordered Michael Jackson to return to Indianapolis within three weeks to give a deposition the pop star missed in a copyright lawsuit after he was briefly hospitalized because of illness. Jackson was hospitalized in Indianapolis briefly after he fell ill before the deposition could begin. He was released after a couple of hours and boarded a private jet to return to Los Angeles, Jackson spokesman Stuart Backerman said. Simon had ordered Jackson to give a deposition in a lawsuit alleging that the Jackson Five used the name of another Gary, Indiana band and two of their songs without license. Gordon Keith, the man who signed the Jackson Five to his Gary-based Steeltown Records in 1967, and musician Elvy Woodard accuse Michael, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson of infringing on the trade name Ripples & Waves, which was the name of another Gary band during the 1960s.

Ruling on CD-antitrust payout due soon
May 23, 2003

A federal judge plans to rule soon on the proposed settlement of a music antitrust lawsuit that would put roughly $12.60 in the pockets of 3.5 million consumers. Judge D. Brock Hornby heard testimony for more than three hours on the fairness of the agreement that calls for music distributors and retailers to pay $143 million in cash and compact disks. Terms of the settlement call for checks to be mailed to 3.5 million people who filed claims under the class-action lawsuit. The actual amount depends on how much money goes to lawyers and distribution fees. The payout would end an antitrust suit that was started by prosecutors in 43 states and territories and consolidated in Portland in October 2000. The suit accused major record labels and large music retailers facing competition from discount retailers like Target and Wal-Mart of conspiring to set minimum music prices. Of the total settlement amount, $75.7 million would be distributed in the form of 5.6 million music CDs sent to libraries and schools throughout the nation. The actual cash distributed to the public is expected to be around $44 million. Payments should be mailed out within weeks of the settlement's approval.

Apple's Online Music Store Sells 2 Million Songs
May 15, 2003

Apple Computer Inc. reports that more than two million songs have been purchased and downloaded at 99 cents each from its San Francisco based iTunes Music Store in just the first 16 days since it opened for business. That's essentially $2 million dollars in just two weeks, and with that kind of demand for the service, Apple sees nothing but continued growth on the horizon. Apple says that over half of the songs bought were purchased as albums, which was good news to studios who feared that selling music on a per-track basis would destroy album sales. The service has more than 200,000 tracks for sale and that includes a host of movie soundtracks. A bonus for buyers is that the service is also integrated into Apple's iTunes music software program. Right now, the service is available only for Macintosh computers, but once a Windows version is released, the service and it's phenomenal income are expected to absolutely explode. Apple says its Windows version should be out by the end of the year.

Isley Bros. No. 1 After 30 Years
May 15, 2003

The Isley Brothers' "Body Kiss" vaulted the veteran R&B group to its first No. 1 song in almost 30 years. The DreamWorks release sold 155,350 units in its first week.

Matrix Reloaded - Soundtrack Hits #8 Even Before Movie Opens
May 15, 2003

In anticipation of the release of "The Matrix Reloaded," fans flocked to buy the film's Maverick/Warner Bros. Records soundtrack, which enters the chart at No. 8 on 93,650 units scanned. The two-disc release features songs by Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, P.O.D., Rage Against the Machine and Deftones.

Feds Want Revenue From Drug Money Movie
May 14, 2003

Federal prosecutors have alleged that the recently released gangster rap movie "Crime Partners" starring Snoop Dogg, Ice-T and Ja Rule was financed with drug money, and all revenue from the project should be forfeited. The Brooklyn civil complaint in federal court alleges that convicted drug kingpin Kenneth McGriff bankrolled the low-budget, straight-to-video film, "Crime Partners." The movie was marketed by the successful Murder Inc. music label. Federal agents have learned that "McGriff's drug cash was delivered to various video shoots for the 'Crime Partners' movie," and that the money "would be used to pay for various movie expenses," the complaint said. McGriff was one of the film's executive producers; Murder Inc. helped market the film and finance the soundtrack. The papers were filed Monday by federal prosecutors as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation of Murder Inc.


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