WILL ICAHN RESUME BATTLE WITH TIME WARNER?

Speculation arose today (Wednesday) that corporate raider Carl Icahn may take another stab at taking over Time Warner, following word that he has purchased an additional 4.83 million shares of the company. The Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying that while he continues to be disappointed with the sluggishness of Time Warner stock, he regarded the current low price as a good opportunity to increase his holding.

WASHINGTON STATE SUES MOVIE DOWNLOAD SERVICE

Washington State on Tuesday sued Movieland.com, charging that the company installed spyware on the computers of those who signed up for a free three-day trial of its movie-download service, then harassed them with notices that they were legally obligated to pay for the service since they had not canceled it by the end of the three days. Washington State officials said that they had received thousands of complaints about Movieland.com. News reports also indicated that additional consumer complaints against the service had been filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. It has not responded to the complaint.

SHARES IN SONY DECLINE AFTER BATTERY RECALL

Shares in Sony Corp., which at first seemed to be weathering the storm over a recall by Dell Computer Co. of some 4 million laptop batteries that Sony had made, began falling at midday Tuesday and continued declining today (Wednesday). Shares in the Japanese company, which had been seeing a steady rise after reporting strong gains in its film and consumer-electronics businesses, fell 1.2 percent on Tuesday and were down an additional 1.8 percent in midday trading today.

MASSIVE SUPPORT IN HOUSTON TO PRESERVE OLDEST MOVIE THEATER

Twenty thousand Houston residents have signed a petition aimed at preventing their city's oldest film venue, the River Oaks Theater, from being demolished by developers, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Wednesday). The petition drive was begun after it was reported that Weingarten Realty Investors Inc. planned to tear down the 1939 theater, currently operated by Landmark Theaters, and replace it with a Barnes & Noble bookstore. The plans are part of a larger development proposal, the WSJ report indicated. "It's a developer's town," David Bush, spokesman for the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, told the Journal. "But the opposition is out in front on this issue."

HONG KONG FILM INDUSTRY CRACKING DOWN ON PIRATES

The Hong Kong film industry may make the MPAA look like wimps when it comes to dealing with persons who download copyrighted movies. Britain's Guardian newspaper said today (Wednesday) that notices have been sent to 42 Internet users who allegedly downloaded newly released films, demanding that they pay $3,000 for each film downloaded and warning them that they will be sued if they don't fork over the money. The Guardian said that the Hong Kong companies obtained the names of the 42 after winning a court order requiring ISPs to turn over account information about their subscribers.

CHARACTER ACTOR BRUNO KIRBY DEAD AT 57

Veteran character actor Bruno Kirby, who played Billy Crystal's best friend in When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers, died Monday of leukemia at the age of 57. Kirby also appeared as Pete Clemenza in the 1974 film The Godfather: Part II and in Good Morning Vietnam and Donnie Brasco, as well as in numerous TV shows, most recently the HBO hit Entourage.

Brian B.