Business briefs

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 10:21 p.m.

Hollywood repudiates deal on copyright plans

  • WASHINGTON - Hollywood spurned a high-stakes agreement disclosed Tuesday between leading music and technology companies aiming to protect copyrights on digital movies and music without new government involvement.
    The unusual compromise, brokered among the music industry and some of the largest computer companies, lists seven "guiding principles" that the companies hope lawmakers will take into account as Congress develops future technology policies.
    The powerful movie, television and home video industry, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, spurned the agreement. The MPAA has aggressively supported new government requirements for built-in locking controls on new devices, such as DVD recorders.

    Wal-Mart considering bid to buy Safeway

  • LONDON - The world's biggest retailer, U.S. giant Wal-Mart Stores, said Tuesday it may offer to buy Britain's fourth-largest supermarket chain, Safeway PLC, which already has two attracted two other suitors.
    It gave no figure for the amount Wal-Mart is likely to offer, although ASDA chief executive Tony De Nunzio said the bid would be attractive and would be funded through cash reserves. He said a bid price would likely emerge after talks with competition regulators.
    A Wal-Mart bid to buy Safeway was widely expected after ASDA rivals Sainsbury PLC and William Morrison Supermarkets PLC announced their interest in buying the company.

    Jury award tossed out in suit over car seat

  • ST. LOUIS - A judge has thrown out a jury's $8.5 million award in a case of a toddler paralyzed in a car wreck, ruling the verdict apparently included unrequested punitive damages against the driver and the maker of the car seat.
    The family of Denver John "D.J." Steele, who was 2 when injured in the November 1996 crash, plans to appeal St. Louis Circuit Judge Philip Heagney's decision to overturn the damage award and order a new trial.
    "We're disappointed because a judge essentially is taking the verdict away," Randy Rhodes, a Kansas City attorney for the Steeles, said Monday. "But we're excited about trying the issue of damages before a jury in St. Louis."
    After a three-week trial, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury last August awarded the money to Damon Steele, whose son was riding in an Evenflo Co. Inc. car seat in the November 1996 crash near Fredericktown, in southeast Missouri.

    WorldCom CEO outlines reorganization plan

  • CLINTON, Miss. - WorldCom Inc. chairman and CEO Michael D. Capellas, in a speech some analysts described as a pep rally, told employees Tuesday that the bankrupt phone carrier will file a reorganization plan by April 15.
    In an hourlong broadcast to the telecom giant's 60,000 employees, Capellas outlined a 100-day plan for WorldCom to emerge from the largest-ever U.S. bankruptcy and from the $9 billion accounting scandal that almost destroyed it.
    -Compiled from The Associated Press
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