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Announcing The Winners Of The 8th Annual Crunchies Awards (Matt Burns/TechCrunch)

Best Technology Achievement Winner : Stella Solar-Powered Car Runner-up : Apple Pay Finalists : The Blockchain, Rosetta Mission’s Comet Landing, SpaceX Lateral Booster Best On-Demand Service Winner : Hotel Tonight Runner-up : Postmates Finalists : Lyft, Shyp, Uber Best E-Commerce Application Winner : Casper Runner-up : The Honest Company Finalists : Flipkart, Instacart, Warby Parker Best Mobile Application Winner : Storehouse Runner-up : Acorns Finalists : Strava, Venmo, Yik Yak Fastest-Rising Startup Winner : Yik Yak Runner-up : Slack Finalists : Lending Club, Reddit, Product Hunt Best Health Startup Winner : Theranos Runner-up : Fitbit Finalists : Misfit Wearables, Rise, Zenefits Best Design Winner: Airbnb Runner-up: Medium Finalists : 1Password, Manual Camera App, Monument Valley Best Bootstrapped Startup Winner: Meadow Runner-up: MailChimp Finalists : Daring Fireball, Grammarly, Techmeme Best Enterprise Startup Winner: CloudFlare Runner-up: Docker Finalists : GitHub, OpenDNS, Slack Best International Startup Winner: Line Runner-up: Spotify Finalists : Citymapper, EyeEm, Kik Best Education Startup Winner: ClassDojo Runner-up: Khan Academy Finalists : AltSchool, Coursera, Kano Best Hardware Startup Winner: Oculus VR Runner-up: GoPro Finalists : DJI, Fitbit, Xiaomi Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Winner: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Runner-up: BuzzFeed Finalists : Giphy, Threes, Twitch Biggest Social Impact Winner: Twitter Runner-up: Tim Cook’s Public Coming Out Finalists : FireChat, Girls Who Code, Internet.org Angel of the Year Winner: Kickstarter Backers of Oculus VR Runner-up: Cyan and Scott Banister Finalists : Ashton Kutcher, Alexis Ohanian, David Tisch VC of the Year Winner: Jim Goetz (Sequoia Capital) Runner-up: Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures) Finalists : Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz), Peter Fenton (Benchmark), Peter Thiel (Founders Fund) Founder of the Year Winner: Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson and Serguei Mourachov (Slack) Runner-up: Brian Acton and Jan Koum (WhatsApp) Finalists : John and Patrick Collison (Stripe), Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), Mikkel Svane, Alexander Aghassipour and Morten Primdahl (Zendesk) CEO of the Year Winner: Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com) Runner-up: Marissa Mayer (Yahoo) Finalists : Tim Cook (Apple), Drew Houston (Dropbox), Travis Kalanick (Uber) Best New Startup of 2014 Winner: Product Hunt Runner-up: Shyp Finalists : Bellhops, OnePlus, Slack Best Overall Startup of 2014 Winner: Uber Runner-up: GoPro Finalists : Snapchat, Stripe, Tinder

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Study finds music labels take 73.1% of profits from streaming services; artists get 10.9% (Mike Masnick/Techdirt)

A small group of very vocal musicians has decided that the new target of their anger, after attacking cyberlockers, search engines and torrent sites, should be legal, authorized streaming services. They've decided that the payouts from these services are simply too low , even though almost none of these services are anywhere close to profitable, and most are handing out the vast majority of their revenue to copyright holders. The complaints are often nonsensical. Way back in 2012, we noted that the target of these musicians' anger appeared to be misplaced, as the CEO of Merlin (which represents a ton of indie labels) admitted that the real problem was that Spotify paid lots of money to labels and it was the labels not giving that money to the artists . Yet, rather than blaming their own labels (or their own contracts), these artists lashed out at Spotify and other streaming services. Just a few months ago, we covered this issue again , with even Bono admitting that the real problem was the lack of transparency from the labels. And, it appears, there's a decent reason why those labels haven't been eager to be transparent: because they're keeping most of the money . The Music Business Worldwide site has the details on a new report put together by Ernst & Young with the French record label trade group SNEP, concerning where the money from streaming services Deezer and Spotify ends up. Spoiler alert: it's not with the artists. Here's the overall share of the 9.99 Euros that people pay for a premium account on these services: As you can see, the labels get the lion's share, with songwriters/publishers splitting 10% and the performers getting less than 7%. And, if you look at the specifics of the actual post-tax payout, you can see the contrast more starkly: The labels end up with nearly 75% of the total payout, with actual artists and songwriters left with the scraps. Of course, since this project was paid for by SNEP, which represents the major labels, it then tries to spin this as being not only perfectly fair, but a good thing for the artists themselves.

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Farmers seek DMCA exemption to modify or repair high-tech proprietary agriculture equipment that is making DIY repairs impossible (Kyle Wiens/Wired)

A central Illinois corn farmer, on top of his combine, is silhouetted against the setting sun in Pleasant Plains, Illinois on Sept. 27, 2014. Seth Perlman/AP I squatted down in the dirt and took stock of my inadequate tools. Over my left shoulder a massive John Deere tractor loomed. I came here to fix that tractor. So far, things weren’t going as planned. I’m a computer programmer by training, and a repairman by trade. Ten years ago, I started iFixit, an online, DIY community that teaches people to repair what they own. Repair is what I do, and that I was being rebuffed by a tractor was incredibly frustrating. I tossed my wrenches and screwdrivers. The conventional tools of my trade had no power here. This job called for something different. Armed with wire, alligator clips, a handful of connectors, and a CANbus reader, I launched myself back into the cab of the tractor.

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Uber Will Add Panic Button And Location/Journey Sharing In India On February 11 (Jon Russell/TechCrunch)

Late last year, Uber announced plans for tighter safety measures in India following the rape of a passenger using its service  in December. Now it has confirmed that two major features — an in-app panic button and journey/location sharing — will roll out to users in India on February 11 The company went public with the launch date after Times Of India reported that the Mumbai transportation department was considering a ban on its service over its apparent approach to safety. Authorities are reportedly “not happy with Uber representatives’ responses during various meetings held to consider measures for passengers’ safety.” Uber cleared the air on its plans to settle “some misconceptions” around its safety policy — which already includes more stringent background checks and a dedicated emergency response team. That will be boosted when the in-app panic button, which alerts local police when triggered, and a ‘safety net’ feature, which goes beyond Uber’s existing ‘share my ETA’ feature to let customers share details of their location and trip with up to five other people, go live in India next week. The company previously said that these features will be rolled out worldwide at a later date, but India is the first priority in response to heightened concerns about safety following the rape incident. Times Of India also reported that Uber has irked Mumbai authorities with its reluctance to install physical panic buttons in its drivers’ cars, something that new regulations have made mandatory in the city. Notes from the transportation department reportedly read that Uber “appears to want to put the onus of passenger safety on a cab’s owner and driver.” Uber argued, however, that requiring physical panic buttons would be confusing because many drivers use multiple taxi app services. Since each one button is connected to a single taxi app service, that would necessitate multiple physical panic buttons in many cars, it argued. “In a situation of distress the rider would have to pick the correct operator’s panic button to be able to get help on time. In a car that works with India’s four top taxi app services that’s 25 percent chance of success; and a decision that has to be made and executed in a split-second, if at all,” Uber said in a blog post. Uber did propose a single panic button — installed by the driver and connected directly to the local police — as a better option. However, it then hit out at officials in Mumbai, adding that “forward looking regulatory authorities in India are already embracing this position and requiring technology platforms to have in-app safety features.” The Uber returned to the road in New Delhi last month, six weeks after it was banned following the rape. The U.S

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Verizon sells landlines in CA, FL, TX, including 2.2M broadband subscriptions, to Frontier for $10.54B, wireless towers to American Towers for $5B…

Don't Miss Out — Follow us on: Facebook Instagram Youtube 4:15 PM EST February 5, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to sell landline assets and towers in two separate deals for a combined $15.6 billion, as the wireless carrier raises funds for airwave purchases and buys back shares. Verizon is selling landline assets across California, Florida and Texas to Frontier Communications Corp. for $10.54 billion in cash. The assets include 3.7 million voice connections, 2.2 million broadband customers and 1.2 million FiOS TV subscribers, the companies said in a statement. American Tower Corp. is buying rights to 11,324 wireless towers and purchasing about 165 more from Verizon for $5.056 billion in cash, according to a separate statement. Verizon will lease space on the towers for at least 10 years. The asset sales will help New York-based Verizon pay for the more than $10 billion of airwaves it won last week in a record U.S. spectrum auction. Verizon will also use proceeds to repurchase about $5 billion in stock

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Signs of China-Sponsored Hackers Seen in Anthem Attack (Bloomberg Business)

(Bloomberg) -- Investigators of Anthem Inc.’s data breach are pursuing evidence that points to Chinese state-sponsored hackers who are stealing personal information from health-care companies for purposes other than pure profit, according to three people familiar with the probe. The breach, which exposed Social Security numbers and other sensitive details of 80 million customers, is one of the biggest thefts of medical-related customer data in U.S. history. China has said in the past that it doesn’t conduct espionage through hacking.   The attack appears to follow a pattern of thefts of medical data by foreigners seeking a pathway into the personal lives and computers of a select group -- defense contractors, government workers and others, according to a U.S. government official familiar with a more than year-long investigation into the evidence of a broader campaign. The latest theft continues a string of major breaches of companies including Target Corp., Home Depot Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. that have touched the private data of hundreds of millions of Americans and increased pressure on the U.S. government to respond more forcefully. Though President Barack Obama promised action against North Korea after the destruction of property at Sony Pictures Entertainment, corporations and the government have struggled to come up with appropriate responses to attacks that fall into a gray area between espionage and crime.

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