Pandora Faces Lawsuit for Exposing Users’ Terrible Tastes

Pandora is one of the many websites that either allow or require its users to sync their services to their website, but this poses a problem for those who are embarrassed about their guilty pleasures. One guy in Michigan even thinks it’s a violation of privacy, which is why he’s suing Pandora for letting his pals check out his music tastes.

The man’s name is Peter Deacon, and he’s claiming that Pandora’s integration with Facebook “resulted in the disclosure of ‘sensitive listening records’ to his friends.”

He also says that Pandora had a separate feature that allowed anyone to search for and access users’ profile pages by their email addresses. Profile pages include material like favorite groups and listening history.

Deacon argues that Pandora violated Michigan’s Video Rental Privacy Act, which prohibits companies that offer books, music or videos from disclosing customers’ identities without their consent. That law was enacted in Michigan more than 20 years ago, at around the same time that Congress passed the federal Video Privacy Protection Act. The Michigan law is broader than the federal statute, which only applies to movies.

Michigan’s statute provides for damages of $5,000 per violation; Deacon is seeking class-action status.

You know what other music program has this same feature? Spotify.

I don’t know if you can relate to Deacon’s woes, but let’s just say that your friends happen to spend a lot of time at their boring office jobs browsing through Spotify and sending you bad songs like Faith Hill’s “There You’ll Be” (from the Michael Bay-directed Pearl Harbor) or Jermaine Jackson’s “Daddy’s Home” because they think you’d share their affection for Diane Warren-penned ballads and smooth R&B jams with incestuous undertones, respectively. Or, perhaps (hypothetically, of course) you just want to reminisce about the mid-’90s when strong independent women were all over the pop and country charts, and the only way to do that is to listen to the entirety of Shania Twain’s catalogue in one afternoon (the cool kids call it “Twaining”).

Suddenly you’ve got friends GChatting you and saying, “Um, why are you listening to Dido right now?” And you’re like, “Huh, what? It’s not 2001, ha ha ha,” but you’re secretly panicking and thinking, “HOW DO THEY KNOW THIS?” Then you realize that all of your songs are going straight to Facebook and there are at least a few hundred people who are probably wondering why you’ve been listening to Sheryl Crow and the original cast recording from Rent so much.

If you’re looking to keep your Twaining under wraps, here’s the quickest way to keep Spotify from publishing your listening choices to Facebook.

The 19 Worst ‘Maxim’ Cover Models of All Time

Over the last two decades, Maxim has featured a bevy of beauties on its covers, from Hollywood starlets to sexy female sports stars. But like the unfortunate souls found on Playboy’s worst cover-girl list, Maxim does suffer the occasional miscast. Although it may be interesting to see Fergie in a bra, even the mag’s target audience might think twice about incorporating her into one’s genteel nighttime fantasies. But Fergie’s hardly the only gal who maybe didn’t turn in her best work fronting for Maxim.


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image 1. Lucy Lawless (April 1999) – Stunning during her tenure as Xena: Warrior Princess, and would probably be a strong contender for the upcoming Wonder Woman film were she still in her prime. Suffice to say, it isn’t Lucy’s looks that landed her on this list; rather, it’s the Xena thing. That role was a feminist’s wet dream, reaching new levels of man-hating with each subsequent episode. Even if we were willing to look beyond that (which we’re not), the appearance of Xena in a men’s magazine contradicts her cultivated image as a feminist icon. What it ultimately boils down to is that this spread isn’t arousing unless you like having your nuts crunched.


2. Melissa Joan Hart (October, 1999) – Most children of the 90s remember her from Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It’s that nostalgia factor which makes it impossible to look at Melissa Joan Hart without recalling some of our more awkward pre-pubescent moments. For those of us who were already adults during the early 90s, it’s even harder to look at her without feeling like a dirty old man.

image 3. Lara Flynn Boyle (December 1999) – On this cover, Lara Flynn Boyle looks like she’s battling (or embracing) an impressive cocaine habit and a severe eating disorder. Who knows what got trimmed off or slimmed down in Photoshop, but still, time for a sammich.


4. Helena Bonham Carter (August 2001) – There are lots of women out there with looks that walk the fine line between strange and hot. Helena Bonham Carter is one of them. Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk characterized Marla Singer, the character Carter played in the film version, as having “big eyes the way they have in Japanese animation.” Not only does Tim Burton’s longtime partner and muse aptly match this description, but her spread in Maxim probably fulfilled every necrophiliac’s fantasy.

image 5. Christina Aguilera (January 2003) – Despite her superior vocal skills, Christina Aguilera was always eclipsed by her former rival, Britney Spears. In a desperate attempt to surpass her, Aguilera bronzed her skin, sported a skunk tail, and left little else to the imagination. The end result left her looking more like an Orange County douchette than an A-list pop star. While her album, Stripped, was commercially and critically a hit, her Maxim spread was a sad afterthought.

image 6. Shania Twain (June 2003) – Faith Hill was hot back in the day, but we draw the line there when it comes to country musicians. Shania Twain isn’t at all bad looking, but she doesn’t belong on the cover of Maxim. Besides, she was pushing 40 by the time the magazine came to print — gasp! — and to be honest, she was always more the marrying type than ideal cover skank.


7. Michelle Branch (January 2004) – At the height of her success, Michelle Branch packed more talent than most of her Autotuned counterparts. Yet, while attractive, she was hardly a sex symbol. Her Maxim appearance seemed like a disconnect with her otherwise wholesome image, as she’s no Britney or Paris otherwise.

image 8. Marge Simpson (April 2004) – Readers flip through Maxim to ogle at ‘shopped flesh and blood, not pen and ink. Though give Maxim props for a novel idea that Playboy ripped off five years later. Still, if we were into cartoon poon, we’d buy stocking up on hentai.

image 9. Avril Lavigne (October 2004) – Like most commercially successful female artists, she’s a good-looking girl. But her mall-safe version of sk8er punk makes her both a little young and a little twee, even for Maxim.


10. Girls of The Apprentice (December 2004) – Bottom of the barrel time, and that’s saying something. Really, what can be said about highlighting the questionable charms of a reality show that favorably depicts Donald Trump’s business acumen by comparing it with even lesser lights such as these? Even Snooki would be preferable.

image 11. Nicky Hilton (August 2005) – As if one Hilton sister wasn’t enough. If Nicky was looking to outdo Paris, then she should have done a sex tape, not a photo shoot.

image 12. Nicolette Sheridan (November 2005) – After multiple plastic surgeries, Nicolette resembles a tightly taxidermized otter. Plus, Maxim readers generally steer clear of Lifetime and Desperate Housewives.

image 13. Haylie Duff (January 2006) – Much like Nicky Hilton, Haylie Duff is the celebrity sister that nobody knew existed. While Hillary Duff has made a lucrative career as a tween idol, most readers are probably unable to remember any of Haylie’s films besides Napoleon Dynamite (2004). Her appearance in Maxim was yet another attempt to ride the coattails of her sister’s fame.


14. Lacey Chabert (January 2007) – Claudia from Party of Five grew up and really filled out. Unfortunately, most people remember Lacey as the little sister with the annoyingly screechy voice. As scorchingly hot as she grew up to be, looking at her in that way felt like acknowledging a younger cousin’s new boobs.


15. Fergie (April 2007) – Most people’s gut reaction to Fergie is that she’s good looking for her age. Sadly, this compliment crumbles when you find out she’s only 32. That’s what happens when you supposedly have a forehead lift, breast augmentation, nose job, and extreme Botox. The end result comes uncomfortably close to a West Hollywood tranny.

image 16. Sarah Silverman (June 2007) – While we love Sarah for making us laugh and for being one of the few attractive comedians out there, she could have shown more skin for her Maxim cover. What photographer thought it would be a good idea for her to pose in the remnants of a gorilla suit? No furries.


17. Lindsay Lohan (September 2007) – Oh Lindsay, how far you’ve fallen from your glory days as a Mean Girl. Her appearance in Maxim was clearly nothing more than a desperate attempt to revive her floundering career. To make matters worse, she looked less like the Lindsay we briefly loved and more like Amy Winehouse’s heroin buddy.


18. Heidi Montag (February 2008) – Someday, decades from now, someone will have to explain to the children just who Heidi Montag was — and that no, the pre- and post-surgery Heidis are not two different people. Note near identical similarity to Lara Flynn Boyle’s oh-it’s-ok-that-you’re-looking-at-my-butt pose above.


19. Ashley Greene (November 2009) – You may not care, but Ashley Greene had a role in Twilight. One supposes that enough unfortunate straight males were dragged to the movie by their significant others that they vaguely recognize her on the cover of Maxim, and hence impulse-buy.

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Beyond Rachel Uchitel & Tiger Woods: More Philandering Millionaires

Some of you may have spent the weekend being decidedly ostrich-like, burying your head underground while this sordid Tiger Woods-Rachel Uchitel car crash went from “On Fire” to “Volcanic” on Google Trends. Sadly, the holiday must come to an end and you must dust dirt off your eyelids and witness this spectacle. Tiger’s not the first fella to stray: millionaires since time immemorial have had a unique relationship with the institution of marriage. Let’s examine some of the sordid extramarital tales and thin-as-filo-wrap vows made by millionaires other than Woods.

Name: Alun Phillips Occupation: Heir to his father’s estate, including his $45 million fortune Style: In 2000, Phillips described himself as “an eccentric” in front of the court. I suppose that’s one way to spin this: He handcuffed his wife to the bath and then killed her. This was all in order to avoid paying a hefty divorce settlement, as he was making preparations to start a new life with his new girlfriend.

Name: Neil Ellerbeck Occupation: Chief Investment Manager, HSBC Style: This year, Ellerbeck was tried for strangling his wife to death. Both he and his wife carried on simultaneous affairs. While he made over $500,000 yearly as a banker at HSBC, she was independently wealthy. The breaking point: When she made it clear that she wanted to start divorce proceedings.

Name: Kobe Bryant Occupation: Shooting Guard, L.A. Lakers Style: It’s a tale as old as time. Man marries woman. Man has kids with woman. Man has extramarital fling with other woman. Other woman alleges man sexual assaulted her and man’s reputation as wholesome sports hero is forever tarnished. But man’s wife vigilantly stays by his side.

Name: John Edwards/Mark Sanford/Eliot Spitzer Occupation: Shady politicians Style: Not all extramarital affairs have to be so grisly! Also, it would be redundant to class Edwards, Sanford, and Spitzer separately. They’ve all recently enjoyed similar notoriety for cheating on their wives (with mistresses or prostitutes), thereby inspiring a tide of pity parties for the misses, Elizabeth Edwards, Jenny Sanford and Silda Spitzer.

Name: Mutt Lange Occupation: Record producer Style: I know we were going to try to veer away from the moral wasteland of showbiz, but the dissolution of Mutt Lange’s marriage to Shania Twain is too mired not to get into. Lange’s the one responsible for helping ex-wife Twain cross-over into the golden pastures of pop. In this delicate soap, Lange cheated on Twain, which led to a divorce. Which then led Twain to sensibly hook up with Lange’s mistress’ husband. Oh, the South (and Switzerland)! With its Wonderbread charm, all-American values, etc.

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Star Crossings: Matching Celebrity Hookups

Professional matchmaker Amy Laurent offers advice for Hollywood’s confirmed bachelors and those recently in the doghouse.

What’s in store for Guy Ritchie? Well, he was always Mr. Madonna, but he has in his own accomplishments. He needs to date someone less famous. He’s been seeing actress Kelly Riley, who is great because she’s not such a superstar. I really like him with Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef. She’s divorced from Salman Rushdie and definitely doesn’t need to be with another writer. And look, I hate to promote adultery, but I kind of like Madonna with A-Rod.

Yeah, it’s pretty hot. They are both huge, but in different industries. Plus physically I always pictured her with a darker guy.

Do you think David Duchovny and Tea Leoni will stay together? I don’t know. If they do, she’s gonna need to support him. Sex addiction is like alcoholism; it’s an everyday struggle. He’s so sexy though, it’s understandable, plus there’s that show he’s on.

Yeah, and apparently he’s got a huge one. If they don’t stay together, and after a while he’s ready to date seriously, I love him with Meg Ryan. He needs a natural beauty, and she’s been through her own stuff.

And she got down in that movie In the Cut. Speaking of getting down, Hugh Hefner is single again. He should just have fun. Holly moved out because he wouldn’t marry her. Now he has 19-year-old twins living at the mansion. I say go for the twins.

Sage advice. What about George Clooney? He says he never wants to marry. Humans are humans, and sometimes they need a partner. A guy like him doesn’t deserve to be 70 and alone. He’s recently gotten back with Krista Allen, and I think he craves that kind of close friendship. But I think he does best with non-celebs. He can have everything he wants and keep his privacy. Of course, I sort of like him with Anne Hathaway …

She could definitely use a good man. They’d be like the cool version of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Jeremy Piven is in New York right now doing Speed-the-Plow on Broadway … should the girls in the Meatpacking District look out or what? He loves his fame. He worked hard for a long time, and now that he’s big, he wants to enjoy it. And he has enjoyed it. You see him on the circuit in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago with models, hot girls, yet he always brings his mom to the award show. I would like to see him with Karina Smirnoff from Dancing with the Stars. She’s hilarious and fun. I think there would be plenty of passion, but humor will keep him coming back.

What can a girl do to get Lance Armstrong coming back? I don’t know. He was great with Sheryl Crow. Obviously he needs someone beautiful but also active. She’s got to keep up with him.

Like Matthew McConaughey? No comment. I like him with Jennifer Aniston, but she is a friend of Sheryl’s, so that might be tough. I could see him with Shania Twain, who’s got that all-American look, or Christina Applegate, who is pretty, sweet, and also a cancer survivor. He should stay off Ashley Olsen. He needs to keep it over 30.

Should Bret Michaels keep it over 30? He’s not gonna find love on a TV show. Those girls are a little rough around the edges. I like him with Katy Perry. She’s sexy, she can hang with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, but could be more than just a groupie.

Plus she’s kissed a girl. She might be down for a three-way with Brandi C.