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Tag Archives: hollywood

EFF Outlines Plan to Fix the Broken Patent System (Dave Maass/Electronic Frontier Foundation)

New ‘Defend Innovation’ Whitepaper Addresses Vague Software Patents, Patent Trolls San Francisco - The U.S. patent system is in crisis, but there are clear steps Congress and the White House can take to mitigate the impact of vague patents, patent trolls, and a weak legal process to protect competition and creativity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) explains in a new report released today. The

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Profile of John B. Goodenough, who invented the lithium-ion battery and is now trying to build a powerful new super-battery (Steve LeVine/Quartz)

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The chances are you have never heard of—nor, until looking at this page, ever seen—John Bannister Goodenough. But you know his work. In fact, you almost certainly own some. Consider the last six or seven decades of technological and scientific leaps: the polio vaccine, space rocketry, the Arpanet (predecessor of the internet). But in terms of social and economic consequence, not to mention pure ubiquity, two inventions stand out, inventions without which the lives of a majority of the world’s population—crossing lines of age and ethnicity, religion, moral underpinning, medical condition, political affiliation, taste, style, national identity—would be utterly different. An adapted excerpt from Steve LeVine’s new book “The Powerhouse” (Viking). The first of these outsized inventions is the transistor, which, created in 1947 at Bell Labs, transformed electronics, a foundation of the global economy and contemporary civilization. The second is the lithium-ion battery. Commercialized by Sony in 1991, lithium-ion took the clunky electronics enabled by the transistor and made them portable. Unlike the transistor, the lithium-ion battery has not won a Nobel Prize. But many people think it should. The lithium-ion battery gave the transistor reach

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Startups and Self-Loathing at the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards (Nellie Bowles/Re/code)

There was a moment last night — when comedian T.J. Miller (who had called an Uber co-founder’s girlfriend “bitch” multiple times) was smashing a TechCrunch piñata as a hundred people walked out of his performance — that the Crunchies, and the presenter, seemed almost to fall apart. Still there seems to be an insatiable appetite for satire in the tech world, especially for someone who can make fun of all these new piles of money, and the show went on. “You’re run by money,” said Miller, one of the stars of HBO’s comedy series “Silicon Valley.” “We make fun of it with ‘Silicon Valley’ the show. That’s why you invited me here. That’s how fucked up all of you are, that you’re literally like, shall we bring the jester?” The Crunchies, held at Davies Symphony Hall in downtown San Francisco and hosted by TechCrunch, is an annual award show for the startup world, with categories like Best VC and Best Mobile App. It’s a silly, tongue-in-cheek affair, much like the Teen Choice Awards, and everyone (even those jockeying for prizes) makes fun of them. But people show up. Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick , Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel , Salesforce founder Marc Benioff , venture capitalist Ron Conway , and Tinder co-founder Sean Rad all arrived on time and suited up last night. And though the event can be written off as a little-league mess, it’s the best microcosm of the troubled, funny and extremely affluent startup world, which is still struggling to define what a startup is. Outside the symphony hall, a group of around around 40 anti-eviction protestors rallied around a man with a loudspeaker who called himself Con Ronway and dressed in a white wig to mimic the venture capitalist Ron Conway. He shouted out his own set of awards like the “Urban Regression Award” to Y Combinator “for turning a sophisticated and mature city into a frat house.” Winners, wearing pig masks, took their prizes

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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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In wake of hack, Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal to step down (Tatiana Siegel/Hollywood Reporter)

Amid the fallout of the Sony hacking crisis,  Amy Pascal  will step down from her post as co-chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment.    The move has been widely expected ever since the studio became engulfed in one of the worst cyber attacks in corporate history and certainly the most embarrassing hit ever taken by a major Hollywood institution in the digital age. As often is the case with ousted studio heads, Pascal will launch a major new production venture at the studio. Pascal, whose deal was up in March, will transition to the new venture in May. “I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” she said in a statement. “I have always wanted to be a producer. (Sony Entertainment CEO) Michael (Lynton) and I have been talking about this transition for quite some time, and I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to pursue my long-held dream and for providing unparalleled support. As the slate for the next two years has come together, it felt like the right time to transition into this new role. I am so grateful to my team, some of whom I have worked with for the last 20 years and others who have joined more recently. I am leaving the studio in great hands. I am so proud of what we have all done together and I look forward to a whole lot more." Lynton sent an email this morning to staffers announcing that Pascal is exiting.

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Kim Kardashian game maker Glu Mobile to introduce a Katy Perry game in late 2015 (Sapna Maheshwari/BuzzFeed)

The company behind “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,” the addictive mobile game that’s been downloaded more than 28 million times, is partnering with Katy Perry on a similar game. Glu Mobile said in a statement today that it will introduce the game, which will include Perry’s voice and likeness, in late 2015 as part of a five-year partnership with the singer. Glu noted in an earnings presentation today that Perry has more than 170 million fans on various social platforms compared with Kardashian’s 78 million, which could make it an especially lucrative deal. Perry “is a cultural icon and we expect to translate key elements of her success into an innovative, highly entertaining mobile experience,” Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi said. “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” has been a cash cow for Glu Mobile, which successfully turned a national fascination with Kim Kardashian West into an app that many found just as addictive as say, Candy Crush Saga. Through the game, players work to achieve fame in virtual Hollywood under the tutelage of a pre-programmed, animated Kim. They travel to Kim’s regular haunts and interact with her sisters and mother. While it’s free to download, users can spend actual money on energy and outfits for their virtual selves to really make it in Tinseltown. This fame and simulated interaction with the life of Kim has proved coveted. The Kardashian game raked in $74.3 million in sales for Glu last year, or more than one-third of its revenue, and spent seven months on a list of the nation’s top 30 grossing iPhone games, the company said today. (The figure may be disappointing to some, however; one analyst told Bloomberg News this summer that the game might bring in $200 million in in-app purchases.) Executives noted on today’s call that “a real living, breathing, evolving person” is “perfect for game play.” They added that the company performs a “careful analysis” of where celebrities are going in the next three to five years when determining partnerships

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An Exclusive Look at Sony’s Hacking Saga – Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair An Exclusive Look at Sony's Hacking Saga Vanity Fair “One of the guys working in editorial rushed in and told me to deactivate the Wi-Fi on my cell phone and iPad ,” Goldberg recalls. ..... They used the media as their messenger, e-mailing alerts to writers at various Web sites—Gawker, BuzzFeed, Mashable ... and more »

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Overstock.com to launch video on demand and video streaming services in mid 2015 (Alex Ben Block/Hollywood Reporter)

Must Reads Here Are the Movies and TV Shows Leaving Netflix in February Final Box Office: 'American Sniper' Even Bigger, Hits $107.3M Over MLK Weekend TV Pilots 2015: The Complete Guide Oscar Nominations 2015: The Complete List Kevin Hart on Bill Cosby, Avoiding Controversy and How Sony Apologized for "Whore" Comment The Making of 'American Sniper' The Making of 'Birdman' The Making of 'The Imitation Game' War Over Hollywood Sign Pits Wealthy Residents Against Urinating Tourists: "One of These Days Someone Will Get Shot"

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Uber says their San Francisco revenues now running at $500M per year, more than triple taxi revenues in the city (Henry Blodget/Business Insider)

DLD Travis Kalanick The valuation of car-hailing service company Uber has always given skeptics apoplexy.  One of the most commonly invoked takedowns of the ever-increasing and mind-blowing valuation levels the company has achieved — $40 billion at last count — is this: "Investors are valuing Uber as if it's bigger than the whole taxi market!" The implication? Investors are nuts. Well, investors are indeed valuing Uber as if it's bigger than the whole taxi market. But it turns out that that's not nuts. In its most mature market, San Francisco, the 4-year old Uber is already bigger than the whole taxi market. Much bigger, in fact. According to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who spoke at the DLD Conference in Munich yesterday, the whole taxi market in San Francisco is about $140 million per year. Uber's revenues in San Francisco, meanwhile, are now running at $500 million per year. That's more than 3-times the size of the taxi market. And Uber's revenues in San Francisco are still growing at about 200% per year. Kalanick dropped some other startling statistics about Uber yesterday: Uber's rides in San Francisco are growing 3X per year Uber's rides in New York are growing 4X per year Ubers' rides in London are growing 5-6X per year Uber has recently launched "Uber Pool" that will allow riders to share rides and, thus, reduce their costs. This ride-sharing, in which drivers will pick up other riders along the first rider's route, will also increase the utilization and productivity of Uber's cars.   Pooling will continue to drive down the cost of using Uber vs. owning a car — thus, eventually, perhaps, removing some cars from the road

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