From our "Do the Right Thing, Sly" files: The living, breathing inspiration for the Rocky film series is looking to sue creator Sylvester Stallone for $15 million. According to the AP, one Chuck Wepner is accusing Stallone of illegally using his name to promote the films and other merchandise.

There are aspects to the story we don't understand, not the least of which is the notion that using the name Chuck Wepner to promote anything ever squeaked past studio brass. But if what the man says is true -- and Stallone essentially admits that it is -- there should be plenty enough to go around. To date, the Rocky franchise has grossed $1 billion.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Amazon Beats

In the war between online booksellers AMZN) and BNBN), we can today declare Amazon the winner. While it's still basking in the glow of its third-quarter profit, the other site -- having yet to turn a profit in its six-year existence -- is being taken private by parent company Barnes & Noble(NYSE: BKS).

Barnes & Noble announced this morning that it would like to pay $2.50 a share for the remaining 25% chunk of that it doesn't already own. That represents a $115 million transaction. Barnes & Noble recently bought back 37% of the online unit from Bertelsmann AG, so the news that the company will go ahead and gobble up the rest of its online outlet isn't a complete shock. will continue to peddle books electronically, and will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of the larger enterprise. It has been making progress recently, trimming expenses and losses. However, it never was able to gain on the leader, and ate dust from the get-go., for instance, anticipates sales of between $415 million to $435 million for the full year; Amazon's revenues from just its third quarter alone reached $1.1 billion.

It's amusing to look back at the predictions for Amazon's swift demise when Barnes & Noble decided to launch its online store. People discounted the mind share that Amazon had already cemented in so many online shoppers. And they overestimated the power of a brand to translate from the "real" world to the cyber one.

Amazon has come out on top, and its shareholders have, too. has been trading at under $5 a share for three years now, while Amazon has soared. Amazon and its defenders must feel vindicated today.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers have certainly benefited from Amazon's dominance, with the stock up 258% since David Gardner's October 2002 recommendation.

Quote of Note

"Neither blame or praise yourself." -- Proverb

Apple Helps Napster

Did Apple(Nasdaq: AAPL) fear Napster, or what? How else to explain the official press release yesterday, explaining -- in an almost "hey, look at me!" fashion -- that "Music fans purchased and downloaded 1.5 million songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store during the same period that Napster reported selling 300,000 songs during its first week of operation."

Apple seems almost surprised at its success, but it shouldn't be. Napster may have once been the biggest name in the game. Heck, it was the game. This was the service that kicked off the file-sharing revolution and enjoyed dominant market share until the record industry -- Time Warner(NYSE: TWX), Sony(NYSE: SNE), Vivendi's(NYSE: V) Universal Music Group, EMI, and Bertelsmann's BMG -- forced it to shut down in 2001. Now, after Roxio(Nasdaq: ROXI) bought the company at a bankruptcy auction and secured deals with the major labels, it has reopened for business.

Yes, the name may be worth something, but millions of music fans have done just fine without it for two years, and it's going to have to fight for new business just like anyone else.

iTunes, meanwhile, is well-established as legal file-sharing's top dog. It has 80% market share, according to Nielsen SoundScan, even after Napster's re-launch. It blew away the music industry's lame initial attempts by offering a large catalog of songs at reasonable prices, all while allowing users to burn those songs onto CDs or transfer them to portable devices.

Apple's market dominance is certainly far from secure, but it's off to a great start. It need not issue press releases that give free publicity to fledgling competitors.

Discussion Board of the Day: Apple

Do you think Apple's self-esteem could use a little work? Share your thoughts on the Apple discussion board. Only on

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More Fool News

For a list of all our stories from today, see Today's Headlines.

And Finally...

Today on

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