Originally created 01/17/04

People in the News

GENEVA -- Former "Baywatch" star Carmen Electra has won control of the Internet name www.carmenelectra.com in a ruling by a United Nations panel, a U.N. spokeswoman said Thursday.

An arbitrator for the World Intellectual Property Organization ordered the transfer of the domain name to the 31-year-old actress, who had complained that it was being used in bad faith to divert Internet traffic to a commercial site, Celebrity1000, said WIPO spokeswoman Samar Shamoon.

The ruling upheld Electra's complaint against the company that registered the name - Network Operations Center of High Prairie, Canada.

Arbitrator Jon Lang said he had no response from the company, but he assumed it "does derive a commercial advantage from the Web site, particularly in view of the advertisements contained in it."

Lang said use of the Carmen Electra Web address "creates a likelihood of confusion that its site is sponsored, endorsed or affiliated" with her.

Electra, who was born Tara Leigh Patrick, said she'd adopted the name Carmen Electra 10 years ago.

Lang noted that a U.N. panel also had held in favor of James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan against the same Web address registrant.

A number of celebrities have already won the Internet version of their names back from Network Operations Center - also known as Alberta Hot Rods - or the man who controls it, Jeff Burgar.

They include Michael Crichton, Kevin Spacey, Pamela Anderson, Celine Dion and Bruce Springsteen. On Tuesday, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien won a similar case against the same operation.

Anyone can register a domain name for a few dollars, which has led to so-called "cybersquatters."

The U.N. arbitration system allows those who believe they have the right to a domain to get it back without having to fight a costly legal battle or pay large sums of money.

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NEW YORK -- Police Detective Greg Medavoy, Gordon Clapp's character on the television drama "NYPD Blue," will soon get his rear end exposed.

The episode, scheduled to air in March, "is shrouded in secrecy," ABC said Wednesday. But Clapp, who wrote a piece for the New York Post campaigning for such exposure, promises "it's new ground."

The 55-year-old actor plays one of the few detectives on "NYPD Blue" who hasn't been seen in the buff. Co-stars Dennis Franz, Mark Paul-Gosselaar and Charlotte Ross have all had their behinds displayed on the show.

"NYPD Blue" will return to its Tuesday time slot (10 p.m. EST) in February.

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LOS ANGELES -- Turning on the television Thursday nights felt a bit weird for "ER" star Noah Wyle, who took a few months off from the NBC medical drama last fall.

"It's very disconcerting to watch 'ER' and not see myself in it," he said Wednesday. "I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. I could enjoy it, you know, from an objective point of view, but I really felt left out."

Wyle is the only "ER" actor to stay all 10 seasons, remaining as George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies and others moved on.

"This is the longest relationship of my life," said the 32-year-old actor, who's signed to stay with the show through 2005.

"And like any long-term relationship, you have ups and downs and falling in and out of love. Obviously, it was hard when each and every one of the original cast members that I started the show with left. And I thought about leaving at various times."

What tipped the balance to get Wyle to stay?

"The money, probably," he said.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Actor Michael Madsen and "The Fast and the Furious" star Michelle Rodriguez came to town this week to tout their latest roles as a tough twosome involved with an international car smuggling ring.

But they weren't talking movies at Tuesday's invitation-only event; they were talking video games - specifically Atari's upcoming "Driv3r," which is slated for a March release.

Madsen is the voice of Tanner, who's trying to break up a car smuggling ring headed by Rodriguez's character, Calita.

"I played with it a little bit. A little ad-lib," Madsen said. "I brought some humor to it. I didn't want the character to be just one- dimensional. I tried to make him human."

Rodriguez said she's not content limiting herself to films, and described the gaming world as "humongous."

"I think if you limit yourself to doing one thing, you're a dork," she told The Associated Press.

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Anders Franzen, head of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, will head east to become director and vice chairman of the Swedish Royal Opera.

Franzen's appointment to the position of the Stockholm-based opera company was announced Thursday by Sweden's Culture Ministry.

For the first time in the Royal Opera's 230-year history, Franzen will serve as both director and vice chairman of the state-funded cultural attraction, which stages hundreds of performances annually.

Franzen, who previously oversaw Swedish symphonies in Malmoe and Norrkoeping, is replacing Bengt Hall, who will become the new culture director in Malmoe.

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SEATTLE -- Seattle Symphony music director Gerard Schwarz, a champion of contemporary U.S. composers, has been nominated by President Bush to the National Council on the Arts.

Schwarz, who is in his 19th season at the symphony, will serve on the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts until September 2006 if confirmed by the Senate.

Since Schwarz came to Seattle, the orchestra has released more than 85 recordings and has become one of the most prolific in performing and recording contemporary American music with 10 CDs nominated for Grammy Awards.

He is a co-founder of the New York Chamber Symphony and spent 25 years as music director, concluding in 2002. He was music director of the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York from 1982 to 2001, and is in his third season as music director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Scotland.

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