Fan websites agree to pay $1 million penalty

  • Updated: October 3, 2012 - 7:24 PM

The operator of fan websites for pop stars Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Demi Lovato agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle federal charges that the sites had illegally collected personal information about thousands of children, the Federal Trade Commission said. In a complaint, the FTC alleged that Artist Arena, the operator of the sites, had violated a children's online privacy rule by collecting personal details -- like the names, e-mail addresses, street addresses and cellphone numbers -- of about 101,000 children 12 or younger without their parents' permission. The sites are BieberFever.com, SelenaGomez.com, RihannaNow.com and DemiLovatoFanClub.net. The agency did not accuse the pop stars themselves of any wrongdoing. The settlement still needs to be ratified in court. As part of the registration process, the four fan sites asked users to submit personal details, including their birth dates, that would enable members to create online profiles, post messages on members' walls and sign up for newsletters about the pop stars, the complaint said. Artist Arena neither admitted nor denied the agency's allegations.

Replacements reunite to help bandmate

Minneapolis music legends Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson reunited in a studio last week to record a limited-edition Replacements covers EP, which will be sold to help with the medical expenses of their former bandmate Slim Dunlap. Per Westerberg's announcement Wednesday at RollingStone.com, the group's original drummer Chris Mars opted not to take part, so local go-to guy Peter Anderson backed the duo in the one-day session in Minneapolis. The last new Replacements were for a 2006 compilation album. This time, they recorded one of Dunlap's tunes, "Busted Up," plus songs from Hank Williams, Gordon Lightfoot and the musical "Gypsy." The EP will be packaged on 10-inch vinyl, and allegedly there will only be 250 copies sold via online auction. Dunlap is still recuperating from a severe stroke in February. Said Westerberg to Rolling Stone, "Tommy and I strapped on guitars, not a word was said, and bang. We still rock like murder."

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

LEAVING LAS VEGAS: Garth Brooks is ending his run in Las Vegas. The country music superstar will play six more dates this fall at Wynn Las Vegas, concluding the three-year run Nov. 16-17. Brooks, 50, slipped out of retirement in 2009 to take the gig, which came with the gift of a jet from Steve Wynn.

IN TREATMENT: George Michael, 49, is canceling Australian shows so he can get treatment for major anxiety he's suffered since a serious health scare last year. The singer was hospitalized for three weeks in November for pneumonia. He said later that his health had been "touch and go."

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