PARAMOUNT CHANGES ITS (I)TUNE(S)

Paramount announced Tuesday that it will join Disney in providing movies for downloading from Apple's iTunes Store. However, it indicated, it will not provide its latest releases, only its older films, which will retail on the store for $9.99. At the MacWorld convention in San Francisco on Tuesday, Apple chief Steve Jobs said that the iTunes store had sold more than 1.3 million downloads of Disney movies since October. Meanwhile, Jobs took the final wrappings off Apple TV (formerly iTV), a $299 device that can beam downloaded movies directly from personal computers to TV sets. The device has connections for high-definition TV sets, suggesting that the iTunes store may soon begin selling movies in the HDTV format. Jobs also unveiled another new device called the iPhone, that can download content, including movies, music, and data, directly from the Internet and also be used as a phone, a web browser, and a 2-megapixel camera.

HIGH-DEF DVD'S FACE SECURITY "MELTDOWN," SAYS RESEARCHER

Suggesting that the movie industry may be spending millions of dollars developing encryption techniques to prevent DVDs from being copied, only to have the codes quickly cracked, Princeton University computer experts said Tuesday that software posted on the Internet by "Muslix64" represented "the first step in the meltdown" of the new AACS encryption standard used to protect Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition DVDs. Infoworld magazine quoted Princeton graduate student Alex Halderman, who has written numerous papers on CD and DVD protection technologies, as saying that it's only a matter of time before decryption codes become public and Hollywood is faced with unauthorized copying of AACS-protected movies.

REPORT: WAL-MART SUPPORTING PIRATE WEBSITE

Wal-Mart, which sells more DVDs than any other retailer, has been advertising on Pirate Bay, the Swedish-based company that indexes pirated movies available for illegal downloading on the Internet, Daily Variety disclosed today (Wednesday). The trade paper observed that in one instance, Wal-Mart's ad for The Simpsons DVD collection was served on the same page with search results showing how the same collection could be downloaded free. "While the ads encourage a legal behavior -- buying DVD's," Variety commented, "they support the site, which lists more than 130,000" illegal movie files.

BRUCKHEIMER CONFIRMS: RICHARDS TO APPEAR IN PIRATES 3

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer picked the unusual setting of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Tuesday to confirm that Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards will appear in the next Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, At the World's End. There have been numerous rumors appearing on various websites that Richards had been cast as the father of Captain Jack Sparrow, the character played by Johnny Depp. Depp had previously remarked that he had modeled his character, at least in part, on Richards. In an interview with the London Daily Mirror last June, writer Ted Elliot said, "Johnny wanted him for Dead Man's Chest, but there was no room in the story for him. But there is in [Pirates of the Caribbean] 3."

PRODUCER CARLO PONTI DEAD AT 94

Legendary Italian film producer Carlo Ponti, whose films included Federico Fellini's La Strada, David Lean's Dr. Zhivago, and Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup, has died in Geneva, Switzerland at the age of 94. His wife, actress Sofia Loren, and their children were with him at the end.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.