Supreme Court To Decide Where File-Swapping Blame Lies

Several major Hollywood studios and record labels have filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court of a recent federal court decision which held that the makers of file-swapping software are not liable for the illegal actions of their customers. Free speech advocates are encouraging the high court not to review the case, saying that it represents a direct attempt to intimidate software makers and the public. There are also timing questions surrounding the petition, which was filed after the controversial Induce Act stalled in the U.S. Senate last week.

Sacramento Controversy Has Arts Groups Looking For Distance

Since the Sacramento Bee began to raise serious questions about the business ethics and practices of the new Sacramento Symphony, the arts community has been forced to choose sides in the increasingly divisive debate. A glance at the newspaper’s letters page reveals that, while some in the community just want to listen to music, there is a distinct desire on the part of other orchestral groups in the area to completely disassociate themselves from the beleagured symphony.

SF Symphony Chorus May Strike

The professional members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus are threatening to strike next week’s performances if progress is not made in their ongoing contract negotiations. 30 of the chorus’s 180 members are paid, and those singers are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists. There is no word on whether the unionized musicians of the symphony itself would cross a potential picket line.

GoogleLit On The Way

Google is launching a new search engine which would allow anyone to search the content of books online, and observers are saying that the move “could help touch off an important shift in the balance of power between companies that produce books and those that sell them.” The service works by searching the scanned pages of books provided to Google by publishers, and offering links to online sites where the books could be purchased. Publishers are giddy over the concept, which could allow them to eventually sell books directly to consumers, but the whole enterprise may be yet more bad news for traditional booksellers.

Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee? The Box Office, Apparently.

Edward Albee apparently isn’t the box office draw he once was, according to the producers who have abruptly canceled the playwright’s new off-Broadway production before it began. Albee is reportedly more than a little bit annoyed with the decision, reportedly asking, “Since when is anyone supposed to make money on an Edward Albee play?”

Broadway Theaters To Be Renamed For Bean-Counters

The Shubert Organization has announced that it will be renaming two of its Broadway theaters after the company’s own executives. “The Royale will become the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, and the Plymouth will be renamed the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.” Theaters have traditionally been named after those who impact theater on the artistic side of things, and the reaction to the announcement has been mainly in the realm of disbelief. “Several prominent producers and publicity agents, all of whom refused to be identified for fear of angering the powerful Shubert Organization, responded with disbelief, laughter or both.”

Will Stern Jumpstart Satellite Radio?

When shock jock Howard Stern announced this week that he would be departing his syndicated radio show to join the lineup of Sirius Satellite Radio, it marked a seismic shift in the broadcasting landscape. Satellite is still in its infancy, and while it has been growing steadily, it has yet to attract an audience the size of Stern’s current one. And unlike other well-known hosts who have defected to satellite recently, Stern has the potential to bring a sizable chunk of the middle American radio audience with him to the other side.

How To Review Michael Moore

How should critics approach the new wave of decidedly skewed “documentary” films in an age of political polarization and intolerance? Many readers complain that such films are nothing but propaganda, and they’re not exactly wrong, but should reviewers be expected to chase down the truth of every supposed fact in every nonfiction film? And can such pictures really be reviewed simply as movies, or must they be separately graded as political documents. It’s a tricky issue…