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Beckman Denies Troubles… ‘Project Runway’ Copyright Case

Is the financial pressure growing on Prometheus Global Media, which publishes The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Adweek?

A BECKMAN DENIAL: Is the financial pressure growing on Prometheus Global Media, which publishes The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Adweek? Insiders insist the clock is ticking but chief executive officer Richard Beckman told WWD that Prometheus is not experiencing any financial difficulty and employees will not be let go in any kind of organized fashion to improve finances. “We’ve had the ebb and flow of any normal media company. But not a large ebb and flow,” said Beckman.

During a phone call with Beckman, he said he was sitting next to “three financial guys” talking about the business plan for the branded entertainment business that will be introduced in the next month or two, and which he will now head after giving up his day-to-day duties — at least for what Prometheus claims is for now; they have been assumed by Prometheus backer Jimmy Finkelstein.

Beckman hasn’t come up with a name for the new division yet. “We have a fairly large partner but we’re waiting to announce it, just getting the i’s dotted and t’s crossed,” he said.

Beckman reiterated that rumors of financial stress and layoffs are false. “It’s a business that hired a lot of people in a very short amount of time. So people have come and gone, but there’s nothing unusual happening.”

AMY WICKS

NOT MY ‘PROJECT’: A Missouri-based photographer slapped A&E Television Networks LLC, the parent channel of television series “Project Runway,” with a copyright infringement lawsuit Friday.

Filed in federal court for the Eastern District of Missouri, photographer Marcie Cobbaert claimed that the TV network posted at least four of her photographs taken of “Project Runway” contestant Laura Kathleen Planck on its Web site with a stamp that indicated they belonged to Lifetime, A&E’s subsidiary channel. The plaintiff said she never gave permission to Planck, Lifetime or A&E to use the pictures. In fact, she made her objections known through letters sent in May and June to the defendants.

Cobbaert is asking the court for statutory damages of no less than $750 or more than $30,000 per act of infringement, and statutory damages of no more than $150,000 per act of willful infringement. Calls to A&E were not returned by press time.

— ALEXANDRA STEIGRAD

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