Morning Media Newsfeed: Amazon Halts Disney Titles | Brady’s Death Ruled A Homicide

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Amazon Halts Some Disney Movie Preorders (WSJ) Inc. has halted preorders for some DVDs and Blu-ray discs from media giant Walt Disney Co., including popular titles such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in an apparent contract dispute. CNET However, preorders of digital versions on Amazon Instant Video are still available. The situation is reminiscent of an apparent dispute between Amazon and Warner Home Video in which preorders of discs for The Lego Movie, Transcendence, and 300: Rise of an Empire vanished from the site earlier this summer. Amazon hasn’t publicly commented on that situation, but it’s thought that the move is intended to apply pressure on Warner to gain greater margin on each sale. Time Amazon has been engaged in an increasingly acrimonious dispute with Hachette over eBook pricing, with Amazon restricting the sale of Hachette books until the two parties arrive at terms. More than 900 authors, including Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen King, have signed an open letter criticizing Amazon’s policies. Amazon hasn’t yet publicly commented on the apparent dispute with Disney. Variety Disney, on its U.S. homevideo site, is directing customers to Walmart and Best Buy for pre-orders of Maleficent and other upcoming releases. Muppets Most Wanted also is available for pre-order from Target. Deadline Hollywood Discussions will be continuing between Amazon and Disney throughout the week to try to resolve the pricing issue.

James Brady’s Death Was A Homicide, Medical Examiner Rules (NBC Washington)
The death of James Brady — President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary who was wounded in the attempt on Reagan’s life in March 1981 — was a homicide, a medical examiner ruled Friday. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media A Virginia medical examiner ruled that Brady was killed by injuries he suffered 33 years ago, meaning that John Hinckley Jr., the gunman who shot Brady, could now be charged with murder in federal court. Hinckley, 59, is currently in a mental ward at St. Elizabeths hospital in Washington. Mediaite Following the shooting, Brady remained unable to move the left side of his body and was confined to a wheelchair until he died last week at the age of 73. He dedicated his life to gun control reform, championing the Brady Bill of 1993 that required background checks for firearm purchases. NYT The U.S. attorney’s office said Friday that it was “reviewing the ruling on the death of Mr. Brady” and had no further comment. Hinckley was found not guilty in 1982 by reason of insanity on charges ranging from attempted assassination of the president to possession of an unlicensed pistol. The verdict was met with such outrage that many states and the federal government altered laws to make it harder to use the insanity defense.

Amazon Drags Authors, Readers, George Orwell Into Fight With Hachette (Re/code)
In an apparent pre-emptive strike, Amazon is appealing to readers and authors to take its side in an increasingly acrimonious pricing dispute with book publisher Hachette. Mashable In an open letter posted late Friday night, the Amazon Books team framed its ongoing dispute with Hachette as being about stopping the publisher from overcharging for books. Amazon then took the unusual step of revealing the email address of Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch, encouraging readers to share their complaints with him directly. NYT The freshest part of Amazon’s call to arms was the history lesson. It recounted how the book industry hated mass-market paperbacks when they were introduced in the 1930s, and said they would ruin the business when they really rejuvenated it. Unfortunately, to clinch its argument, it cited the wrong authority: “The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if ‘publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them.’ Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.” This perceived slur on the memory of one of the 20th century’s most revered truth-tellers might prove to be one of Amazon’s biggest public relations blunders since it deleted copies of 1984 from readers’ Kindles in 2009. WSJ “Stop using [Hachette] authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle,” one of the talking points said. “eBooks can and should be less expensive,” Amazon said in the letter. GigaOM On Sunday, a letter denouncing Amazon’s tactics in the ongoing negotiations between it and book publisher Hachette ran as a paid, full-page advertisement in The New York Times. Signed by more than 900 authors, the “Authors United” letter called Amazon out for blocking sales of Hachette titles, singling out authors “for selective retaliation” and “inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery.”