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Paramount and 'Godfather' author heirs clash in NY

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The lawyer for the late creator of "The Godfather" stories told a judge Thursday that Paramount Pictures broke a nearly half-century-old deal with the writer and should no longer get exclusive rights to make movies based on books his heirs commission.

Attorney Bertram Fields told a federal judge in Manhattan that Paramount broke a 1969 contract when it went to publishers of the newest "Godfather" book and claimed the family did not have rights to publish it. "The Family Corleone" was published in May, though proceeds remain in an escrow account pending outcome of litigation.

A Paramount lawyer countered that the company was only asserting its rights when it contacted publishers in December.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 106.77 points to 13,000.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 11.01 to 1,399.48. The Nasdaq composite slid 32.47 to 3,048.71.

Benchmark oil fell 87 cents to finish trading at $94.62 in New York. Brent crude rose 11 cents to end at $112.65 a barrel.

Heating oil rose less than a penny to finish at $3.1245 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline fell 1.77 cents to end at $3.0826 per gallon. Natural gas rose 6.3 cents, or 2.3 percent, to finish at $2.7480 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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