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Taking Names: Bieber won’t face charges in scuffle with photographer

- - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Prosecutors decided not to file charges against Justin Bieber after investigators found no evidence that the pop star had kicked and punched a photographer after leaving a movie theater in May, a document obtained Wednesday states.

Prosecutors had been asked by police to consider filing a misdemeanor battery charge against Mr. Bieber, but Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators found no visible injuries, video or photographs to confirm the allegations by the photographer.

Mr. Bieber, 18, was leaving the theater in suburban Calabasas with girlfriend Selena Gomez on May 27 when he had the encounter in a parking lot.

A doctor found only superficial injuries, and deputies observed no injuries on the man after the incident, the document states.

Authorities interviewed several witnesses but none reported seeing Mr. Bieber kick the man, and they noted that the photographer kept taking photos as the two singers left the location, according to the charge evaluation worksheet prepared by the district attorney's office.

"All the photos and video taken during this incident by the many photographers were obtained and reviewed," the document states. "There are no photos of a physical altercation."

The case was rejected on Oct. 22 and first reported Wednesday by celebrity website TMZ.

Tolkien heirs suing over 'Hobbit' merchandising

The heirs of late author J.R.R. Tolkien are suing the producers of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" movie trilogies over alleged exploitative merchandising.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, comes a week before the premiere of the "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in Wellington, New Zealand. The opening film in the trilogy hits theaters worldwide next month.

The estate of Tolkien is upset at what it calls "morally questionable" digital marketing, including an online slot machine, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. The Tolkien estate is seeking $80 million from Warner Bros., its New Line subsidiary and rights holder Saul Zaentz Co.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the claims.

Tolkien's family contends a merchandising agreement extends only to tangible products, such as figurines and clothing and not to electronic rights.

"Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works," the family claims in the lawsuit.

The family said lengthy discussions with the producers over the disagreement proved fruitless and that it fears the scope of online merchandising will only increase with the release of the 'Hobbit' movies.

Tolkien's heirs settled a lawsuit over the "Lord of the Rings" movies for an undisclosed amount in 2009, allowing production to proceed on "The Hobbit."

That lawsuit against New Line Cinema claimed Tolkien's trust received only an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began, but was due 7.5 percent of the gross receipts. The "Rings" films earned an estimated $6 billion from movie tickets, DVDs and merchandise.

Redford teams with college for environmental program

A California college is teaming up with Robert Redford to create a program where students can combine environmental studies with media and liberal arts.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Pitzer College, one of the seven Claremont Colleges, is creating the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability with a $10 million gift from Nicholas and Susan Pritzker, parents of a Pitzer graduate who support environmental causes.

Mr. Redford is a trustee of the college and serves as its special adviser on the environment.

The program's aim is to create environmental communicators and advocates. Its centerpiece will be a 12-acre coastal sage scrub ecosystem, an endangered habitat where students can study problems and come up with solutions.

Fiona Apple postpones tour to care for her dying dog

Fiona Apple is postponing her South American tour to be with her dying dog, Janet.

Miss Apple said in a heartfelt, handwritten letter to fans posted on her website and Facebook page Tuesday that the nearly 14-year-old pit bull is her best friend, mother, daughter and benefactor and "the one who taught me what love is." Miss Apple said Janet suffers from Addison's Disease and is near death.

The singer wrote, "I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship," and asks her fans for their blessings and patience.

Miss Apple said she is staying home "and reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel" and plans to reschedule her South American appearances.

Gold medalist Oksana Baiul suing talent agency

Olympic gold medalist Oksana Baiul is suing a talent agency claiming it mismanaged money she earned after her gold medal-winning figure skating performance in 1994.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles claims she signed contracts with the William Morris Agency shortly after her victory, but only recently discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars had gone uncollected or were improperly spent.

The lawsuit claims the Ukrainian-born skater signed the agreements without being able to read, write or understand English. She claims the agency failed to properly explain agreements to her and misrepresented the amounts she is owed.

The agency, now known as William Morris Endeavor, declined to comment.

Ms. Baiul now lives in Pennsylvania and is seeking more than $1 million, although the exact amount owed would be determined by jurors.

Compiled from Web and wire reports