GOOGLE SPURNS NEW VIACOM DEMAND
Google has refused to provide Viacom with information about whether YouTube employees have uploaded clips of Viacom-owned movies or television shows to the online video service, according to CNET News. Google has said that it agreed to turn over information about viewing activity to Viacom, provided that it could be "anonymalized." The website quoted sources as saying that if "Chad Hurley, one of YouTube's co-founders, uploaded a copyright video or viewed them, Viacom's lawyers believe they have a right to know about it." The British website ZDNet commented today (Monday), "For years, rumors have circulated in the technology sector that some YouTube employees salted the site, especially in its early days, by posting clips from popular TV shows in order to bring attention to the site. No evidence of this has ever surfaced."
DVD TARGETS TV TORTURE PLOTS
Ken Robinson, a former Army Special Forces intelligence officer, who created the shortlived series E-Ring in 2005 for Jerry Bruckheimer Productions and NBC, has been using his experience to try to convince network television executives and program producers that the usual portrayal of torture as an effective method to obtain information from prisoners is ineffective and often counter-productive, the Chicago Tribune reported today (Monday). In one episode, a U.S. soldier being tortured by his captors offers bad misinformation to stop the torture. (The series was canceled in the U.S. before the episode aired, the newspaper observed.) Robinson and other former intelligence officers are now being featured in a DVD, Primetime Torture, being distributed to 1,200 educators and military trainers, in which they argue the case against torture and say that Hollywood's favorable depiction of torture in shows like 24 sends the wrong message to military members who view them.
THE MUPPETS: THE SMITHSONIAN EXHIBIT
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington on Saturday unveiled its latest exhibit, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World," featuring 14 of Henson's famous Muppet creations, including many of those from Sesame Street, such as Bert and Ernie and Kermit the Frog. The exhibit, scheduled to remain at the Smithsonian until October, before traveling on a three-year tour to seven other cities, displays Henson's creative process. "We're showing how he went from drawing to a cartoon to a puppet to a moving image," project director Deborah Maconic told the Associated Press. Since the Muppet characters are subject to fading, they are being displayed under special lighting and are being treated as if they were historic treasures, placed behind glass enclosures. "We consider every single thing in here to be precious," Maconic said.
ONETIME ENEMY COUNTRY HOSTS MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT
Nearly a billion people tuned in to watch Donald Trump's Miss Universe contest, broadcast from the Diamond Bay Resort in Nha Trang, near Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam Sunday night, at which Venezuelan beauty Dayana Mendoza received the crown as the annual contest's 57th winner. In the minds of many, the glittery contest appeared to be symbolic of the former communist country's transition to a free-market economy. Although Vietnam's leaders continue to refer to themselves as communists, and one of Ho Chi Minh City's major attractions is an exhibit devoted to the country's defeat of the U.S. in 1973 and alleged war crimes by American forces, the war appeared to be ancient history to those presenting the contest, whose primary Vietnamese sponsors included commercial real-estate developer Hoan Cao Co., the Southern Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank, and the 584 Transport Engineering and Investment Stock Company. In a commentary posted on the Huffington Post, satirist Harry Shearer reminded readers, "The last time I think a primetime NBC show originated anywhere in Vietnam, it was a Bob Hope special. He was entertaining the troops on some base -- Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay? -- asking them, 'How 'bout that Raquel Welch, isn't she wild?'"
TONY SNOW SUCCUMBS TO CANCER AT AGE 53
Tony Snow, a Fox television commentator and host who served as President Bush's press secretary for 17 months beginning in April 2006, died Saturday after a long battle with colon caner. He was 53.