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We all know the Web offers up some of the thorniest legal problems around, particularly when it comes to intellectual property rights. We also know that the Web has a unique ability to cause people to take leave of their senses.

Both apply to the United Artists theater chain.

The company is claiming that its movie listings are intellectual property and, according to a report in Wired News, has gotten at least one site to remove its own listings on those grounds.

The Gate, a joint project of the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, complied with UA's request, which, in theory, was made because UA thinks the Gate's listings will conflict with UA's own plans to publish listings.

Does UA have a legal leg to stand on? We'll leave that to the experts to decide. We'd rather mull the more mundane marketing issues.

First: Movie listings are about as local as content can get. A site that has national movie listings isn't providing much of a "service" to consumers.

Second: People also will turn to a site that fills all their entertainment listing needs-like a local paper's site-before they turn to one site for restaurant listings, another for movie listings and a third for bar listings.

Third: Even if the legal experts do say UA's listings are protected property, we're worried about the precedent that might set. Next thing we'll see is city transit offices claiming their bus schedules are protected property. So much for

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