NEW PAPARAZZI LAW SIGNED IN SACRAMENTO
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, in his previous career as a movie star, once found himself surrounded by photographers when he tried to pick up his children from school, has signed an amendment to a 1998 law that makes it a crime for a photographer to take and sell unauthorized pictures of celebrities engaged in "personal or familial activity." The amendment says that "an assault committed with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression" of a celebrity can be punished by a fine of $50,000. Questions immediately arose over how the amendment, which takes effect in January, would be enforced, given the fact that the 1998 law was generally perceived to be toothless and a violation of the First Amendment.
ADAM LAMBERT AND MICHAEL JACKSON TO SHARE MOVIE SCREENS
American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert's "Time for Miracles" video will receive the big-screen treatment as part of the trailer for Roland Emmerich's doomsday movie 2012, which will precede screenings of the Michael Jackson documentary This Is It beginning October 28, Lambert told MTV News Tuesday. The single is due to be released on October 18 in advance of the November 24 release of Lambert's first post-Idol CD. In the video, he said, "I'm just walking through looking straight at the camera singing the song, and there's a riot going on around me -- people being tossed in front of me, looting, you know, people being arrested. ... That was pretty wild, to try to stay focused on the song while that was happening." The goings-on, he said, was intended to be "reminiscent of what happens in 2012."
CURTAIN RAISED ON TIVO-BLOCKBUSTER DEAL
TiVo's deal with Blockbuster went into limited operation Tuesday as subscribers were provided a list of movie titles that they could begin downloading for around $3.00-4.00 each to rent and $15.00 to buy. In a statement, Bruce Anderson, the head of Blockbuster On Demand, said, "We're thrilled to give consumers another way to enjoy the movies they want most now with the convenience of their TiVo remote control in the comfort of their living room." TiVo has a separate deal with Netflix, the largest online movie renter, but unlike its deal with Blockbuster, which requires customers to download movies before they can view them, Netflix allows its titles to be streamed immediately via certain TiVo models. Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, subscribers to the Canadian pay-TV channel The Movie Network -- a kind of HBO for Canada -- were able to watch movies on demand via their computers.
WILL VIVENDI POUR COLD WATER ON COMCAST-GE DEAL?
Vivendi's board of directors met in a closed-door session in Paris today (Wednesday) to discuss what it plans to do with its 20-percent stake in NBC Universal. News reports indicated that Vivendi, the former water company that has turned itself into a French media powerhouse, also plans to drop out of the bidding for a Brazilian telecommunications company. If that proves to be the case, Vivendi's need for cash from a sale of its remaining NBC Universal holdings would be substantially reduced. (It has no other announced acquisition targets.) The Vivendi board has previously indicated that it will not make any final decision until November 15, when a window for a sale opens for four weeks. Meanwhile, analysts on Tuesday indicated that if Vivendi decides to hold on to its stake, it would throw a monkey wrench into the GE-Comcast deal. Such an eventuality, Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffet said in a report to investors, "would be the worst thing that could happen to Comcast." But GE has little to gain from a sale at this point, the report suggested. "We would have preferred to see better timing on the deal, as it comes at a time when media valuations are depressed," the report said.
REDSTONE SELLING OFF CHUNKS OF VIACOM, CBS TO PAY OFF DEBT
With shares in Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. showing strong gains since the beginning of the year, Sumner Redstone's National Amusements Inc. said Tuesday that it plans to sell off a portion of its controlling stakes in those companies and use the funds to pay off creditors. The company said that it expects to earn about $1 billion from the sale. It will nevertheless continue to hold more than 75 percent of the voting control of each company after the sale is completed. The company had previously planned to reduce its debt by selling off parts of its movie-theater chain. But with real-estate rates remaining depressed, the company said that it now plans to hold on to its theaters for the time being. On the other hand, the value of its Viacom and CBS shares have tripled this year.