Viacom's efforts to keep its TV shows and movies off YouTube has resulted in a court ruling that could have profound implications for websites in general. Under the ruling the video website must turn over to Viacom the user names (but not the actual names) of every YouTube user, their IP addresses and a list of videos that each user has watched on YouTube. Under the ruling, the data would only be disclosed to Viacom and would not be made public. Google, which owns YouTube, expressed disappointment with the ruling but did not indicate whether it plans to appeal.


NBC is returning its chime signature -- the notes G,E, and C -- to the air for the first time since the late 1990s and will use them to tag all promos for network shows, the company said Thursday. (Interestingly the notes, which first aired on NBC Radio in 1929, were said to stand for the General Electric Corporation, then a primary owner of the network, along with RCA and Westinghouse. GE now owns 80 percent of NBC; the remaining 20 percent is owned by the French conglomerate Vivendi.) In an interview with Broadcasting and Cable,Jim Vescera, head of on-air advertising for The NBC Agency, said that the move to bring back the chimes was pushed by NBC Entertainment Co-chairman Ben Silverman. "We decided that we had ignored them long enough," he said.


The Discovery Channel on Thursday canceled plans to film a documentary inside the Dallas County Jail after a judge had granted county commissioners a temporary restraining order to halt the filming. Earlier in the week the commissioners had complained that Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez had not consulted them about her agreement to allow a film crew access to the jail and raised concerns about inmate privacy and the possibility of security breaches. In an editorial on Thursday the Dallas Morning Newscommented, "Perhaps the sheriff naively believed that her final-cut authority would ensure the positive publicity she craves, but she must have known it was no coincidence her jail was chosen. No matter what was filmed, this documentary would have mentioned that Dallas County jails have failed five consecutive state inspections - including all four on her watch - and remain under federal court order for neglect and indifference." Columnist James Ragland added, "Sheriff, seriously, here's what most folks are saying: How about passing at least one state inspection before you start rolling out the red carpet for a film crew?"


While the American flag may be seen flying on television screens across the land and on the platforms of candidates for office on this holiday, the Chicago Sun-Timesis defying political correctness by noting that the flag was not originally intended as a sacred symbol of the United States. Although on Independence Day television anchormen/women may feel obliged to sport a flag in their lapels, it was virtually unknown and unseen during the 18th century and never unfurled on any battlefield during the Revolutionary War -- despite later paintings to the contrary, the newspaper observed. It was originally intended merely to identify U.S. Navy ships. The Pledge of Allegiance, the Sun-Timesnoted, did not exist until 1892 -- and at the time was intended primarily as a ritual to ensure the loyalty of immigrants.


Larry Harmon, who made Bozo the Clown a veritable household institution in the 1950s, died Thursday in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure at age 83. Although he did not create the character, he purchased the copyright and trademark to the clown in the 1950s and "cloned" (his description) a number of Bozos who appeared on local kids shows during the days before television stations across the country were linked by coaxial cable or satellite. One of his Bozos was Willard Scott, who went on to become the longtime weatherman on NBC's Todayshow. Scott later wrote that when his Bozo show went off the air, "the local McDonald's people asked me to come up with a new character to take Bozo's place. So I sat down and created Ronald McDonald."


More than a month after reporting that Angelina Jolie had given birth to twins, Entertainment Tonight finally admitted on its website Thursday that it had "been given false information about the birth." It had not mentioned Jolie's name since reports appeared in early June alleging that EThad been duped by a person passing herself off as the actress's assistant, Holly Goline.