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June 04, 1996|Times Wire Services

Ticketing: A federal judge in St. Louis on Monday threw out a class-action suit against Ticketmaster, ruling that consumers have no grounds to pursue antitrust claims against the Los Angeles-based ticket giant. The case, a consolidation of 16 class-action suits, alleged that Ticketmaster exercised a monopoly over ticket distribution and used its market power to gouge consumers with excessive service fees. Ticketmaster argued that its contracts are negotiated in a fully competitive market--an opinion supported not only by the judge, but also by the Justice Department, which dropped its antitrust probe of Ticketmaster 10 months ago.

Music: Walt Disney Co. on Monday won a court fight over the videotape rights to songs from two classic full-length cartoons, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Pinocchio." The Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal by a music publishing company owner who holds the copyright on the songs and who argued that a 1930s licensing agreement did not give Disney the right to use the music on the videotapes without paying royalties. The agreement did give Disney the right to use the songs in motion pictures. In refusing to hear the dispute, the high court stayed out of an escalating nationwide dispute about the collision between old copyrights and new technologies that weren't invented until years, or even decades, after licensing agreements were negotiated.

Cable: Continental Cablevision Inc. is balking at carrying NBC and Microsoft Corp.'s proposed 24-hour news channel. The nation's fourth-largest cable TV company, which serves 4.3 million customers, said it isn't legally bound to convert an existing channel, NBC's America's Talking, to the news channel because one is news and the other is talk shows. "We have some significant concerns about what impact that has on our customers, and that has led to the ongoing discussions with NBC," said Rob Stoddard, spokesman for the Boston-based cable operator.

Electronics: The company that gave the world the Walkman is taking personalized entertainment into a new dimension with its latest gadget: an individual movie screen mounted in a headset. Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. said Monday it will launch a personal liquid-crystal display monitor this month that will allow individual viewing of movies and videodiscs. The PLM-50 Glasstron, to be introduced in Japan only on June 21, will feature a display monitor contained in special headgear. It will play back images from a videocassette recorder or a video compact disc player.

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