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Everything posted by NelsonG

  1. According to one estimate, Americans call 911 about 240 million times every year. Sending emergency services to the right location sounds straightforward, but each 911 call is routed through one of thousands of call centers known as public safety answering points (PSAPs). “Every 911 center is very different and they are as diverse and unique as the communities that they serve,” said Karin Marquez, senior director of public safety at RapidSOS. One PSAP that serves New York City is a 450,000-square-foot, blast-resistant cube set on nine acres, but you also have “agencies in rural America that have one person working 24/7 and they’re there to answer three calls a day,” Marquez noted. Founded eight years ago, RapidSOS processes more than 150 million emergencies each year across approximately 5,000 PSAPs. The company’s technology helps call centers integrate requests from cell phones, landlines and IoT devices. “Its technology is almost certainly integrated into the smartphone you’re carrying and many of the devices you have lying around,” Managing Editor Danny Crichton writes in a four-part series that studies the company’s origins and ensuing success: Full Extra Crunch articles are only available to members Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription Part 1: The early years and why a consumer app company turned to govtech and integrated services for technology and device companies. Part 2: How RapidSOS made its pivot and why its current business model has performed so well. Part 3: To transform 911 services, RapidSOS established dozens of corporate and individual partnerships. Part 4: Examines the future of 911 and RapidSOS in light of limited infrastructure funding. “I’ve honestly never met a company like RapidSOS with so many signed partnerships,” says Danny, who initially wrote about the firm six years ago. “It’s closed dozens of partnerships and business development deals, and with some of the biggest names in tech. How does it do it? This story is about how it built a successful BD engine.” Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week! Walter Thompson Senior Editor, TechCrunch @yourprotagonist How to prepare for M&A, your most likely exit avenue Image Credits: Reinhard Krull / EyeEm (opens in a new window) / Getty Images The headlines might be littered with mega deals, IPOs and SPACs, but in all likelihood, you will exit your startup via a relatively smaller merger or acquisition, Ben Boissevain writes in a guest column. “The IPO market is healthy again, but M&A still represents 88% of exits: So far this year, there were 503 IPOs and 5,203 deals,” writes Boissevain, founder of Ascento Capital. “While it is good to strive for a billion-dollar-plus sale, a successful IPO or a SPAC deal, it is practical to prepare your startup for a smaller transaction.” Duolingo boosts IPO price target in boon to edtech startups Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window) U.S. edtech company Duolingo bumped up its IPO price range Monday morning, targeting $95 to $100 per share, up from previous guidance of $85 to $95 per share. “The fact that Duolingo is raising its IPO price range indicates that we are more likely on the path for a strong offering than a weak one,” Alex Wilhelm notes. Data-driven iteration helped China’s Genki Forest become a $6B beverage giant in 5 years Image Credits: VCG (opens in a new window) / Getty Images Many Extra Crunch readers will not have heard of China’s fastest-growing bottled beverage company: Genki Forest is a direct-to-consumer startup that started selling its sodas, milk teas and other products just five years ago. Today, its products are available in 40 countries and the company hopes to generate revenue of $1.2 billion in 2021. After closing its latest funding round, Genki Forest is valued at $6 billion. Industry watchers frequently compare the upstart to giants like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, but founder Binsen Tang comes from a tech background, having funded ELEX Technology, a social gaming company that found success internationally. “China doesn’t need any more good platforms,” Tang told his team in 2015, “but it does need good products.” Leveraging China’s robust distribution network, lighting-fast manufacturing capabilities and a vast pool of data that enables holistic digitization, Genki Forest sells more than 30% of its products online. “Everything feels right about the company,” said VC investor Anna Fang. “The space, the founder, the products and the back end … they exemplify the new Chinese consumer brand.“ Sequoia’s Mike Vernal outlines how to design feedback loops in the search for product-market fit Sequoia’s Mike Vernal joined us on TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising to discuss how founders should approach product-market fit, with a specific focus on tempo. It doesn’t mean fast in the kind of uncontrolled, reckless, crashing sense. It means fast in a sort of consistent, maniacal, get-a-little-bit-better-each-day kind of way. And it’s actually one of the top things that we look for, at least when evaluating a team: How consistently fast they move. As China shakes up regulations, tech companies suffer Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window) Alex Wilhelm spent the end of last week and the beginning of this one looking at Chinese regulations targeting its edtech sector, aiming to understand “precisely what is going on with the various regulatory changes.” “For startups, the regulatory changes aren’t a death blow; indeed, many Chinese tech startups won’t be affected by what we’ve seen thus far,” he writes. “But on the whole, it feels like the risk profile of doing business in China has risen.” Automakers have battery anxiety, so they’re taking control of the supply Image Credits: Porsche AG To ensure a steady supply of batteries, automakers are increasingly looking to joint ventures. “Like if you’re VW, and you say, ‘We’re going to go 50% electric by whatever year,’ but then the batteries don’t show up, you’re bankrupt, you’re dead,” Sila Nano CEO Gene Berdichevsky said in a recent interview. “Their scale is so big that even if their cell partners have promised them to deliver, automakers are scared that they won’t.” Pro tips from the team behind Kickstarter’s most funded app Image Credits: AndreyPopov / Getty Images The team at memoryOS “spent countless hours researching down the rabbit hole of crowdfunding tips and tricks” before it successfully became the most-funded app on Kickstarter, the company’s CEO, Alex Ruzh, writes in a guest column. “We’re sharing our approach (and secrets) to building a successful crowdfunding campaign because we know just how tough it can be to launch your own product,” he writes. SOSV partners explain how deep tech startups can fundraise successfully Startups developing so-called deep tech often find it challenging to raise capital for various reasons. At TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising, two experienced investors, SOSV partners Pae Wu and Garrett Winther, spoke on the subject and advised startups facing a challenging fundraising path. Checkout is the key to frictionless B2B e-commerce Image Credits: Dilok Klaisataporn (opens in a new window) Processing payments, credit and authorizations for B2B purchases is all handled electronically, but that’s not a panacea. For example, volume sellers prefer to work through traditional accounts payable systems instead of paying the service fees smaller companies accept as the cost of doing business. However, the combination of fraud and identity protection with credit handling and digital payments “creates a powerful network, the type that can not only build trust but enable one-click transactions at scale,” says Andrew Steele, an investor at Activant Capital. Cowboy Ventures’ Ted Wang: CEO coaching is ‘about having a second set of eyes’ At TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising, Cowboy Ventures’ Ted Wang spoke about why he encourages founders in his portfolio to work with executive coaches. I don’t think you need to limit advice from people who are “been there, done that.” I think it is really important to get input from those people, but in terms of personal development, I think you want insight from people who understand how human beings listen and learn and grow. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=5NQviHEeSUY:LgrDCjMLa6k:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=5NQviHEeSUY:LgrDCjMLa6k:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/5NQviHEeSUYView the full article
  2. Today after the bell, Microsoft reported its fiscal Q4 2021 earnings, the period corresponding to the second calendar quarter of this year. Microsoft posted revenues of $46.2 billion in the period, along with net income of $16.5 billion and earnings per share of $2.17. The company’s revenues grew by 21% compared to the year-ago quarter, while its net income expanded by a more toothsome 47% over the same time frame. The company’s results beat expectations, which Yahoo Finance reports were revenues of $44.1 billion and earnings per share of $1.90. Shares of the software giant fell after the news, perhaps due to the company’s results missing so-called whisper numbers; that Microsoft has traded at or near all-time highs in recent sessions puts the current 3% after-hours drop into context. Tech shares were broadly weaker in regular trading today, a session in which Microsoft shed just under 1% of its worth. Microsoft is so large a company that its top-level results are hardly clear, so let’s dig in a little more. First up, Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, posted 51% revenue growth in the quarter compared to the corresponding year-ago quarter, a figure that would dip to 45% if one was to remove currency fluctuations, according to the company. The 51% figure, per initial analysis, is the company’s best Azure growth result since its fiscal Q3 2020 quarter, or the first calendar quarter of last year. From that perspective, it’s hard to fault Azure’s growth over the last three months. Picking through the rest of the company’s results, we can rank its three main divisions’ revenue growth results as follows: Intelligent Cloud: 30% growth, a figure driven in part by Azure’s growth. Productivity and Business Processes: 21% growth, led by LinkedIn (46% growth), and the Dynamics 365 CRM product (49% growth). More Personal Computing: 9% growth, led by search growth (53%, excluding traffic acquisition costs). The weaker spots in the larger Redmond revenue review are not hard to spot. Office Consumer revenue expanded by 18%, a figure that feels somewhat modest; Windows OEM revenue slipped by 3%; and Surface revenue fell 20%. But those lowlights were not enough to derail the company’s aggregate growth picture and titanic profitability. How profitable is Satya Nadella’s company? Microsoft spent $10.4 billion on share buybacks and dividends in its most recent quarter. That’s a somewhat confusing amount of money, frankly. And at this point, we’re a bit flummoxed why Microsoft is buying back shares. Its market capitalization is a bit more than $2 trillion, implying that at best the company can gently chip away at its share count over time at huge expense. Surely there is a better use for its cash? Regardless, the company’s results indicate that the recent run of big technology companies posting impressively large and lucrative results is not behind us. That may help provide investor confidence for technology companies more broadly. Which, you know, would not be a bad thing for startups. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=jpPeOhnkdmI:p4syfcNFGC0:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=jpPeOhnkdmI:p4syfcNFGC0:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/jpPeOhnkdmIView the full article
  3. Twitter’s recent acquisition spree continues today as the company announces it has acqui-hired the team from news aggregator and summary app Brief. The startup from former Google engineers launched last year to offer a subscription-based news summary app that aimed to tackle many of the problems with today’s news cycle, including information overload, burnout, media bias and algorithms that promoted engagement over news accuracy. Twitter declined to share deal terms. Before starting Brief, co-founder and CEO Nick Hobbs was a Google product manager who had worked on AR, Google Assistant, Google’s mobile app, and self-driving cars, among other things. Co-founder and CTO Andrea Huey, meanwhile, was a Google senior software engineer, who worked on the Google iOS app and had a prior stint at Microsoft. Image Credits: Brief While Brief’s ambitious project to fix news consumption showed a lot of promise, its growth may have been hampered by the subscription model it had adopted. The app required a $4.99 per month commitment, despite not having the brand-name draw of a more traditional news outlet. For comparison, The New York Times’ basic digital subscription is currently just $4 per week for the first year of service, thanks to a promotion. Twitter says the startup’s team, which also includes two other Brief employees, will join Twitter’s Experience.org group where they’ll work on areas that support the public conversation on Twitter, including Twitter Spaces and Explore. While Twitter wouldn’t get into specifics as to what those tasks may involve, the company did tell TechCrunch it hopes to leverage the founders’ expertise with Brief to build out and accelerate projects in both those areas. Explore, of course, is Twitter’s “news” section, where top stories across categories are aggregated alongside trending topics. But what it currently lacks is a comprehensive approach to distilling the news down to the basic facts and presenting balance, as Brief’s app had offered. Instead, Twitter’s news items include a headline and a short description of the story, followed by notable tweets. There’s certainly room for improvement there. It’s also possible to imagine some sort of news-focused product built into Twitter’s own subscription service, Twitter Blue — but that’s just speculation at this point. Twitter says it proactively reached out to Brief with its offer. As part of its current M&A strategy, the company is on the hunt for acquiring talent that will complement its existing teams and help to accelerate its product developments. Over the past year, Twitter has made similar acqui-hires, including those for distraction-free reading service Scroll, social podcasting app Breaker, social screen-sharing app Squad, and API integration platform Reshuffle. It also bought products, like newsletter platform Revue, which it directly integrated. The company even held acquisition talks with Clubhouse and India’s ShareChat, which would have been much larger M&A deals. “We’re really glad we ended up at Twitter,” Hobbs told TechCrunch. “Andrea and I founded Brief to build news that fostered a healthy discourse, and Twitter’s genuine commitment to improve the public conversation is deeply inspiring,” he said. “While we can’t discuss specifics on future plans, we’re confident our experience at Brief will help accelerate the many exciting things happening at Twitter today,” he added. Hobbs said the team remains optimistic about the future of paid journalism, too, as Brief demonstrated that some customers would pay for a new and improved news experience. “Brief pioneered a fresh vision for journalism, focused on getting you just the news you need rather than as much as you could withstand,” remarked Ilya Kirnos, founding partner and CTO at SignalFire, who backed Brief at the seed stage. “That respect for its readers made SignalFire proud to support founders Nick Hobbs and Andrea Huey, who are now bringing that philosophy to the top source of breaking news — Twitter.” To date, Brief had raised a million in seed funding from SignalFire and handful of angel investors, including Sequoia Scouts like David Lieb, Maia Bittner and Matt Macinnis. As a result of today’s deal, Brief will wind down its subscription app on July 31. The company says it will alert its current user base today via a notification about its forthcoming shutdown but the app will remain on the App Store offering new features that allow users to explore its archives. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=BHXC2AEimbw:SsE36Sa1LSU:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=BHXC2AEimbw:SsE36Sa1LSU:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/BHXC2AEimbwView the full article
  4. Apple is responding to user complaints and feedback about the controversial changes to the Safari mobile browser with today’s launch of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 beta 4. The new Safari design first introduced at WWDC had moved the tab bar (URL bar) to the bottom of the screen — a fairly radical change for one of the iPhone’s most used apps. It was meant to make the controls easier to reach, if using a phone with one hand. But critics said that the change made other often used features — like the reload button or Reader Mode — harder to find and use, impacting the overall usability of the mobile browser itself. To Apple’s credit, it’s clearly been listening to the feedback. In the pre-iOS 15 design, the tab bar sits in its traditional spot at the top of the screen, with an easy to access Reader Mode button (the double A’s) on the left and the reload button on the right. At the bottom, you’d find the forward and back buttons, a share button, reading list and tabs buttons. The iOS 15 design did away with all these useful access points to commonly used features, favoring the reachability of the tab bar over everything else. Instead, it used a three-dot “more” menu to hide everything else that you may want to do when browsing the web — like reload the website, share a link, view the page in Reader Mode, save an article to read later, and so on. The list of actions that could be taken grew to over 20 items long, as a result. On Apple pundit John Gruber’s The Talk Show podcast, he noted the new design wasn’t even popular inside Apple in the weeks leading up to the Safari announcement at WWDC. The internal sentiment among some was that the new design may look cool, but wasn’t all that usable, he claimed. TechCrunch’s Editor-in-Chief Matthew Panzarino, who had joined as a guest on the July 21 episode, agreed that in theory, the idea of having less on the screen was a good idea. But in practice, it just didn’t work. “When you actually use it, you realize that it actually clutters the screen more and makes it a little more confusing,” he said. “And it doesn’t give you much more screen real estate unless you take action — like scrolling — which makes it kind of weird.” With the beta 4 update, Apple is trying to fix some of the issues that arose from this change in its new betas. For starters, it has re-added a Share button to the tab bar and put additional controls under that menu. Sharing links is probably one of the most common tasks for web users, so it makes sense to put the button back in a place where it only takes one tap to use. On iPadOS 15, users will notice tabs now appear on a standalone tab bar below the URL by default. The streamlined, compact tab bar that displays the URL and open tabs in one line — which was introduced in iPadOS 15 — can be enabled in Safari Settings. It’s worth noting that Apple isn’t the first to rethink the mobile browser design in this way. A former Google Chrome design manager, Chris Lee, recently wrote about his work on a similar redesign for the Chrome mobile browser with a bottom URL bar that Google ultimately decided never to launch. He said the changes had also received mixed reactions at the time. The new design had gained a cult following in the tech community but mainstream users found the changes “disorienting,” he explained. There is something to be said for the muscle memory with using an app that’s launched as frequently as Safari is. Although you may like the placement of the bar (I initially did!), over time, you may find that the changes made it more difficult when you wanted to do more than simply visit a website or swipe between tabs. And there’s a learning curve when it comes to remembering not to reach for the top of the screen for the shortcuts to various actions, too. The Safari update is one of several tweaks arriving with the new beta releases, which also include a way to share focus status with select contacts, a new XL widget size (which Apple Podcasts on iPad is using), and other, smaller updates. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=HIhMvuRtc5k:hSi7r_GT3vQ:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=HIhMvuRtc5k:hSi7r_GT3vQ:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/HIhMvuRtc5kView the full article
  5. The hotly anticipated live set from Illenium b2b Said the Sky b2b Dabin at Global Dance Festival over the weekend has hit the internet! This legendary b3b is an emotional, explosive presentation from all three artists, celebrating their vast discography and collaborations together. A set that will certainly go down in history for everyone present and a true must-watch for all of us playing back from home. The set features a wealth of productions from Illenium, Said the Sky, and Dabin (obviously) as well as music from Seven Lions & Kill The Noise, Skrillex, RL Grime, San Holo, Lemay, Ivory, Jaenga, G Jones, Moody Good & Slander and more. Shoutout YouTuber DerekD2 for capturing the entire set from his iPhone. Also, shoutout to the girls screaming as loudly as possible, because we feel the absolute same! Illenium b2b Said the Sky b2b Dabin (Full Set) @ Global Dance Festival 2021 Photo via @empintermedia This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Watch the Legendary B3B from Illenium, Said the Sky & Dabin at Global Dance Festival 2021 [FULL SET] View the full article
  6. Yes Virginia, there are advantages to exhibiting in (the sold-out) Startup Alley at TC Disrupt 2021. Out of all the early-stage startups ready to exhibit on September 21-23, Team TechCrunch hand-picked 50 to form the Startup Alley+ cohort. Startup Alley+ is a VIP experience designed to help founders grow their business and increase their opportunities right now in the run up to Disrupt. Hold up: Don’t miss the opportunity to meet and network with all the innovative startups you’ll find in Startup Alley — including the Startup Alley+ cohort. Attend Disrupt for less than $100 — if you buy your early-bird pass before prices go up on July 30 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT). The VIP experience includes three masterclass sessions on crucial topics that all startup founders need to, well, master. Case in point: product-market fit. It’s an elusive and yet essential first step to unlocking growth. You can’t build success without a product that quenches the demand of a thirsty market. On August 24, Dan Olsen will conduct a masterclass on the art and science of product-market fit. Olsen, a product management trainer and consultant, works with CEOs and product leaders to build strong product teams. His clients include Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Box and Walmart. A best-selling author of The Lean Product Playbook Olsen has literally written the book on product-market fit. In his masterclass, “How to Create Product-Market Fit,” Dan will draw on material in the book and share his simple but effective framework. He will explain his Product-Market Fit Pyramid and The Lean Product Process, a six-step methodology that guides you through how to: Determine your target customer. Identify underserved customer needs. Define your value proposition. Specify your MVP feature set. Create your MVP prototype. Test your MVP with customers. Dan will illustrate these concepts with real-world examples and a comprehensive case study. We’re especially excited to have Dan present his masterclass because he’s firmly rooted in TechCrunch lore. Way back in 2009, a company called YourVersion — founded by Olsen — won the peoples’ choice at TechCrunch50, the precursor to Disrupt. Olsen’s product-market fit expertise — and his personal connection to the early-stage founder experience — will help the Startup Alley+ cohort learn how to turn product management into more of a science than an art and improve their odds of success. TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 takes place September 21-23. Don’t miss your opportunity to attend for less than $100. Buy your early-bird pass before the deal expires on July 30 at 11:59 p.m. (PDT). Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=uUW-gHV7P2g:btGganazIRI:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=uUW-gHV7P2g:btGganazIRI:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/uUW-gHV7P2gView the full article
  7. Three years ago a group of prominent music companies took two of the largest YouTube rippers to court. The labels, including Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony, accused FLVTO.biz, 2conv.com and their Russian operator Tofig Kurbanov of facilitating copyright infringement. While many foreign site operators choose not to fight back, Kurbanov did. With help from a seasoned legal team, he filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that US courts don’t have jurisdiction over a Russian site operator who conducts his business from another continent. Initially, the district court agreed with this defense, dismissing the case. However, the record labels successfully appealed and, after Kurbanov’s petition at the Supreme Court was denied, the case was sent back to the Virginia district court to proceed on the merits. Collecting Evidence Over the past weeks, both sides had the chance to conduct discovery and collect further evidence to back up their claims. The record labels, for example, asked the stream-rippers to share what files users rip and download, which source sites they use, and where these users are located. The Russian operator wasn’t able to share this data though. He set up his sites with privacy in mind and none of the requested data were logged. As such, there was nothing to hand over. The record labels didn’t take no for an answer and asked the court to compel Mr. Kurbanov to start logging this data. This request was approved by the magistrate judge and, despite fierce protest from the site owner, District Court Judge Claude Hilton affirmed the order last week. Kurbanov Drops Out This ruling was another setback for the operator of the stream-rippers who still believes that he shouldn’t be sued in the US. According to a new filing from his legal team, the data logging order appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. A few days after the court affirmed the data logging order, Mr. Kurbanov’s lawyers submitted a motion to withdraw as counsel. They inform the court that, despite the formal order, their (former) client doesn’t plan to provide all data the record labels asked for. As it turns out, Mr. Kurbanov no longer intends to participate in the lawsuit at all, which means that his lawyers can no longer represent him. “Despite the efforts of Counsel for Defendant, Mr. Kurbanov has made clear that he does not intend to cooperate further with the present litigation or counsel’s attempts to mount an effective defense on his behalf. “Mr. Kurbanov has indicated that he will not provide Counsel for Defendant with any additional discovery and will not sit for his previously-noticed deposition,” the lawyers add. Lawyers Still Had Faith Having lost faith in the process, the site operator has simply decided to drop out and move on, ignoring the lawsuit and moving ahead. This decision comes as a surprise after a legal battle that has lasted three years already. Evan Fray-Witzer, one of the defense team lawyers, tells TorrentFreak that they are disappointed that their work ends here. They were confident that their client had a strong case and believe that YouTube-ripping tools have legitimate uses. “We’re obviously disappointed that this is how things are ending: we’ve always believed that the case was a strong one on the merits and that websites like Mr. Kurbanov’s simply provide a legitimate tool with numerous non-infringing uses. “We also continue to believe – as many do – that the youtube-dl software does not circumvent technological measures in any meaningful way,” Fray-Witzer adds. While the data logging order may have been the final straw, the jurisdiction issue is still a sore spot as well. The site operator doesn’t believe a U.S. court can order him to do anything and his legal team reiterates that this issue should have been taken on by the Supreme Court. “At the end of the day, though, Mr. Kurbanov is an individual who lives in Russia, who has operated the websites exclusively from Russia, and who has had almost no contact with the United States whatsoever. The whole issue of personal jurisdiction in such a context continues to cry out for guidance from the Supreme Court,” Fray-Witzer tells us. Going Forward With Mr. Kurbanov giving up his defense, it is very likely that the record labels will end up winning the lawsuit through a default judgment. This could result in millions of dollars in piracy damages. It seems unlikely that the site operator will pay anything if it goes that far. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the labels also went after his assets indirectly, including the .com and .biz domain names, which are tied to US-based registries. — A copy of the memorandum in support of the motion to withdraw as counsel, submitted by attorneys Val Gurvits, Matthew Shayefar, Evan FrayWitzer, and Jeffrey Geiger, is available here (pdf) From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  8. It’s been three years since Excision’s last album, Apex, the longest gap between any of his studio albums (if you count the Destroid album). But he’s just confirmed that we’re getting a whole new album this year, including recent fan-favorite, “Decimate.” Ten years since the release of his debut album, Rated X, in 2011, Excision has grown into a household name for dubstep fans. From the Shambhala Village stage and Rottun, his old label, to his own festival in Lost Lands and new label Subsidia, the past few years have been very kind to the Canadian native. Check out the clip of “Decimate” from one of his recent shows below! H/T EDM.com | Photo via Fadewood Studios This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Excision Confirms New Album Coming Later This Year View the full article
  9. Back in 2016, the European Commission announced plans to amend EU copyright law to better meet emerging challenges on the Internet. One of the most controversial elements of the new Copyright Directive was Article 13 (now Article 17). This would require many online services such as YouTube to either legally license content from copyright holders or put filtering mechanisms in place to ensure disputed content is taken down not re-uploaded by users. The new Copyright Directive passed in March 2019, meaning that EU Member States are required to write the amendments into national law. The EU Commission launched a consultation last summer but it now appears that EU countries are struggling to meet their obligations. 23 Member States Failed To Meet June 2021 Deadline Considering its standing and commitment to the bloc, it was no surprise to see Germany adopt new legislation including Article 17 in advance of the June 7 deadline set by the EU Commission. Germany’s implementation was cautiously praised due to measures designed to prevent automatic blocking of minor uses of copyrighted works, including when copyright works are used in combination with other content. However, almost two dozen other countries are now facing criticism from the European Commission. In an announcement yesterday, the Commission said it had launched an official infringement process against 23 countries for missing the June deadline to comply with EU rules on copyright. “The Commission has requested Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia to communicate information about how the rules included in the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (Directive 2019/790/EU) are being enacted into their national law,” the Commission’s statement reads. “As the Member States above have not communicated national transposition measures or have done it only partially, the Commission decided today to open infringement procedures by sending letters of formal notice.” Infringement Procedures Could Lead to Legal Action The EU’s infringement procedures are clearly laid out and include measures to deal with EU countries that fail to communicate measure that fully transpose the provisions of directives. The process works as follows: Since the 23 countries have already missed the deadline, the Commission has now taken the first step of sending formal notices requesting information on why that happened. Member States have two months to respond but if the responses received by the Commission are considered unsatisfactory, the Commission may send something called a ‘reasoned opinion’. While gentle in tone, this is a formal statement that the country is in breach of EU law and needs to comply within a specified period, usually two months. If the country fails to comply within this period, the Commission has the option to take the matter to the EU Court of Justice, where it could request the imposition of penalties. In any event, EU countries will be required to comply with any decision of the EU’s highest court or risk being referred back by the Commission for further action. Earlier this month a legal challenge by Poland against Article 17 was met with an opinion from EU Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe, who declared that its provisions are compatible with freedom of expression under certain conditions, including when exemptions such as quotation, criticism, review and parody are respected. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  10. The Strokes frontman, wearing a Darryl Strawberry jersey, showed off his throwing arm View the full article
  11. Her new lawyer filed to replace Spears as head of her estate with certified public accountant Jason Rubin View the full article
  12. A rave for LGBTQ+ rights is being thrown in Kyiv, Ukraine this Friday, directly outside the President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office. As it stands, Ukrainian law does not consider attacks against queer people as hate crimes, which is undoubtedly dangerous and unjust for the community… Something Ukraine Pride hopes to change. Sofila Lapina, co-founder of Ukraine Pride, is helping organize the event in order to celebrate and fight for Queer voices across the country — “Rave Pride is the real face of the queer community and the youth of Ukraine today.” Lapina continues, “Advocacy is any action that shines a light on the violations of a person’s rights, and UkrainePride is looking for the most diverse and most creative ways to do that. The word ‘rave’ comes from the word ‘noise,’ and I believe the protest needs to be noisy so that people pay attention.” “At Rave Pride, we are going to play loud music in the middle of the workday at the President’s Office so that the authorities can finally hear us, the same authorities who pretend that nothing is happening, that there are no hate crimes.” The event will take place at 16:00 on July 30 and feature DJ performances from Nastia, Katro Zauber, Gael Abakarova and more. Follow the movement on social media here. H/T: Mixmag | Source: Kyiv Post This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Rave Pride Protest in Support of LGBTQ+ Rights to be Held in Kyiv, Ukraine This Friday View the full article
  13. REZZ and Deathpact have teamed up again for their third collaboration, available to preview now! The downright savage new ID is heavy in nature, giving way to a relentless lead growl that controls the production. Signature sounds of both REZZ and Deathpact are intertwined, making this an especially haunting gem to look forward to. MORE: REZZ Teases Upcoming Collabs with Deathpact & Svdden Death’s VOYD In addition to the video below, REZZ reveals the track will be out “s000n enough.” Soon, in DJ terms, is up for interpretation — but we hope it’s sooner than later. Previously, REZZ and Deathpact joined together for “Life & Death,” which came out on REZZ’s sophomore album Certain Kind of Magic, as well as their follow up collab, “Kiss of Death.” Watch here! REZZ x Deathpact (ID) Photo via Tessa Paisan This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: REZZ Previews New Collab ID with Deathpact, Expected “Soon” [WATCH] View the full article
  14. Steve Aoki has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to new trends. So it’s no surprise that he’s taking the blockchain to a new level by teaming up with Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios to produce DOMINION X, the first episodic series to launch on the blockchain. Minted from a custom smart contract with unique interactive traits built directly into the NFT via Ether Cards, Dominion X is Aoki’s third major NFT project in 2021 alone, following his successful Dream Catcher and Neon Future drops. Dominion X’s Debut Short ‘Level 1’ introduces us to the world of Character X, a character personified with Aoki’s signature fang face logo, and his obliviously contentious relationship with the diminutive Chonk and Swole. You can watch their worlds collide in this “1 of 1” animated NFT debut short as well as get a chance to own any one of the 15 individual scenes that make up the short and win one of the physical puppets used in the actual making of the short. “I first met Seth and the team at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios when I was invited to do a cameo on Robot Chicken back in 2015,” Steve Aoki recalls. “Ever since then we’ve been trying to find another chance to work together. The idea of launching the first ever ‘TV’ series on the blockchain really excited me. We realized that through NFT’s we can combine the traditional stop-motion animation that Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is known for with innovative fan-driven concepts that I’m passionate about: collectibles, community building and gaming. And I love the fact that we’ve been able to bring Character X, a creature that literally personifies me, to life in a completely new world with new characters & new adventures.” “Collaborating with an artist like Steve Aoki guarantees you’ll make something unique, accessible, and out of this world,” states Seth Green. “We love pushing the boundaries of entertainment through technology and are beyond excited to bring this experience to an audience.” It arrives on August 2nd via Nifty Gateway, the exclusive NFT marketplace owned by Gemini founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and on www.DominionXshow.com. “2021 has been an incredible year of growth and creativity in the crypto space and it inspires me to see artists and teams pushing the boundaries of what is possible,” Tyler Winklevoss adds. “Launching the first episodic series on the blockchain that fans can now own is the kind of novel use-case that only the NFT medium can provide. I am thrilled that this is launching on Nifty Gateway.” This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Steve Aoki Partners with Seth Green Studio to Produce the First Episodic Series to Launch on the Blockchain View the full article
  15. West premiered the album at a livestreamed event in Atlanta. The songs he played featured JAY-Z, Pop Smoke, Pusha T, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, and more. View the full article
  16. With millions of visitors, YTS is one of the most-visited torrent sites on the Internet, even rivaling the legendary Pirate Bay. The site ‘unofficially’ took over the YTS brand when the original group threw in the towel in 2015. Since then it has amassed a rather impressive user base. Legal Troubles This meteoric rise hasn’t been without issues. The site’s parent company Techmodo Limited and its operator have been targeted in several lawsuits and previously agreed to pay over a million dollars in settlements. In addition, YTS has had several domain name troubles as well. When the site first entered the scene it was operating from the YTS.ag domain name, which it traded in for YTS.am two years later. In 2019, the torrent site moved yet again to a new domain, YTS.lt, which was later switched to YTS.mx. The Mexican ccTLD has served the site for well over a year but today it suddenly became unreachable. Users who try to visit the site will see a browser error instead, indicating that there’s no A record defined, which makes it impossible to resolve the domain. YTS.mx on ClientHold This issue can appear in a wide variety of cases but in this instance followed an intervention from domain registrar Gandi. A few hours ago, the French company changed the status of the YTS.mx domain to clientHold, which is a punitive measure. In the past, the clientHold status has been used to suspended pirate sites after complaints from copyright holders. Whether that’s the case here is unknown, as the registrar didn’t immediately reply to our request for comment. Gandi lists an “expired” domain as the most common reason, but that’s clearly not the case here. According to ICANN, the clientHold status is “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment,” or when a “domain is subject to deletion.” Piracy Related? Out of all these reasons a legal dispute seems to be most likely. This doesn’t necessarily have to be copyright-related. It’s also possible that a third party complained about the accuracy of Whois records, for example. Regular readers may also recall that several YTS-related sites were sued in the past due to trademark disputes. The YTS trademark was officially registered by the Hawaiian company 42 Ventures last year, and the company actively enforces its rights. However, the company informs TorrentFreak that it didn’t complain to Gandi. At this point, it’s unclear if the YTS.mx domain will become available again in the future. According to the YTS status page it’s still the official domain but that may change in the near future. Update July 27: After a day the clienthold status was listed by Gandi. The domain is back online again. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  17. Last month, Tomorrowland officially cancelled after weeks of uncertainty. However, fellow Belgian festival Pukkelpop maintained that it would be going ahead with their event. The difference was due to regional rules regarding COVID, with Boom and Rumst denying Tomorrowland, but Mayor Steven Vandeput of the city of Hasselt gave Pukkelpop permission to move forward. Now, sadly, it too will not go on. “These past weeks and months we’ve worked in close consultation with the government and our medical partners,” Pukkelpop wrote in a lengthy statement. “Throughout we have given all concerns, wishes and guidelines our full attention. However, last Monday it became clear that the current framework has made it impossible for us to organise Pukkelpop. The additional demands in terms of testing would require us to almost triple the testing capacity at and in the run-up to the festival.” The statement continues, “Initially we planned for a capacity of up to 7,000 tests per day at the Pukkelpop site but the 24/48 hour limit for the validity of, respectively, a rapid antigen test (RAT) or a PCR test means that we would have to triple this capacity. To put things into perspective: this is 21 times the capacity of the Park Spoor Noord testing village in Antwerp at the height of its activities. The 24/48 hour limit effectively means tripling the number of tests but there is no way we could guarantee the government we can organise this under safe circumstances. This is simple math and a healthy dose of common sense.” Running a festival during COVID was unthinkable, not to mention against strict regulations in most, if not all, nations. With the delta variant barreling through the world now, the process of throwing an event still sees significant hurdles and it’s not always feasible. Pukkelpop was set to feature Liam Gallagher, Nina Kraviz, Netsky, Marshmello, Future, Boys Noize, and more. Read the full statement below. Photo via Pukkelpop This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Pukkelpop Reverses Decision, Cancels 2021 Event Following Tomorrowland View the full article
  18. Polachek is performing at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago on Sunday, September 12 View the full article
  19. Our weekly playlist highlights songs that our writers, editors, and contributors are listening to on repeat View the full article
  20. Partnership raises awareness and funds toward ending hunger in Chicago and throughout Cook County View the full article
  21. The third installment of the Jason Pierce and the band’s Spaceman Reissue Program View the full article
  22. The rapper and singer’s first single for 4AD and a follow-up to 2020’s The One EP View the full article
  23. Directed by the band’s Emily Cross, it’s a visual for the band’s rendition of the Danish pop artist’s 2014 single View the full article
  24. On July 6, a new Copyright Bill was tabled in the Singapore Parliament. There are many amendments under consideration that are designed to protect creators and distributors of all kinds. For example, there are proposals to ensure that creators of works are recognized as the first owners of that content, even when that work is commissioned by a third party. It will also be a requirement to properly attribute creators when content is displayed in public, such as online. Additionally, when copyright works are accessed legally, they can be used for data analysis, without asking permission from copyright holders. It’s proposed that the current “fair-dealing” approach should be amended to “fair use” too, absent of several criteria that limited the old regime. Other proposals on the table include a crackdown on the sale and use of set-top devices that are configured for piracy purposes. Should the proposals be accepted, such devices will become illegal to sell and to own, with companies facing fines of up to S$200,000 (US$147,000) and individuals on the hook for penalties of up to S$100,000 (US$73,475) and/or five years in jail. The second reading of the bill is scheduled for September 2021 but in advance of that, TV pirates are being presented with an incentive to go straight and avoid falling foul of the new law. Hand Over Your Pirate Box For Destruction Last Friday, telecoms company StarHub launched a new offer designed to tempt pirates away from the dark side. Given that their piracy-configured boxes may be outlawed in just a few months, prospective customers are being offered the chance to hand them over to StarHub (to be destroyed and disposed of “in a responsible and sustainable way”) and in return receive an entirely legal streaming device. “Starting [July 24], StarHub will grant a total of $120 to each customer willing to part ways with pirate set-top boxes that may not be in compliance with the proposed amendments to Singapore’s Copyright Act,” the company announced. “In exchange, customers will get free two-year rental of StarHub TV+ Box (worth $120), a plug-and-play Android TV-based media player which offers one-screen-for-all cinematic viewing experience with Ultra HD 4K support and fast WiFi connectivity.” To take advantage of the deal, pirate devices can be handed in at selected StarHub Shops but at the same time, consumers will be required to sign up to StarHub’s recently-launched TV+ deal which includes Disney+ until February 2023. “StarHub is delighted to be able to support the creation of original content, uphold intellectual property rights, and make a stand against piracy by offering customers the best value yet, on our StarHub TV+ service,” said Johan Buse, Chief, Consumer Business Group, StarHub. “There is no better time than now to cast away outmoded illegal boxes, support original, and give StarHub TV+ a go.” A Good Deal or Not? While any deal that can save consumers money is worth a look, the big question is whether that is indeed the case here. Looking at the device exchange itself, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Considering that most pirate boxes are Android-based, people will be handing over their devices to StarHub and getting an official box back – which is also an Android TV device, one that has been customized with a StarHub-branded Operator Tier provided by Google. This means that the device will favor StarHub channels and content by default. However, there is a more significant issue. While pirates will be handing over an Android device and getting something back largely of equivalent value, they won’t own the StarHub device. In fact, what StarHub is offering is the device “rent-free” for 24 months, meaning that after two years, users will be expected to rent it at the rate of S$5.00 (US$3.67) per month. Also, people who turn in pirate boxes and subscribe to the recommended packages won’t get a special deal above and beyond the deal currently being offered to regular new customers, which also includes Disney+ until February 2023. Summary: Might Be Of Interest To Some Pirates When everything is broken down, the deal might be of interest to pirates who are disappointed with the unreliability of pirate streams, can now afford to ‘go straight’, are concerned about what the new law may bring, and are ready to switch anyway. Essentially, pirates will hand over a device worth about US$30 and get one back of an equivalent value. However, since StarHub values its devices at a rental value of US$3.67 per month, the company is portraying savings of US$88.00 over two years. At this point, however, the former pirate will own no boxes at all and will be required to pay US$3.67 per month to rent one, just like everyone else. At the very least, these devices should’ve been rent-free forever, especially when one considers that the package being promoted costs S$30.00 (US$22.00) per month and requires a two-year commitment. On the flip side, anyone ready to sign up to StarHub who isn’t a pirate might be advised to grab an old Android box of any kind to redeem since that will save them a few dollars – at least for the first couple of years. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  25. 20-year-old Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus is making her mark at her first ever Olympics on Monday, beating out American champ Katie Ledecky to take gold in the women's 400 metre freestyle final. Titmus, whose nickname is "Arnie", smashed her personal best time in the race, at 3:56.69, ahead of Ledecky's 3:57.36. Ledecky put up a real fight, with the final lap a genuinely thrilling neck-and-neck push towards the wall. But Titmus' incredible win also gave viewers — and the internet — another indelible moment: the sight of her coach, Dean Boxall, going positively hog wild with GIFable joy up in the stands. Absolutely hooting and hollering. NBC's commentary team noted a resemblance to Back to the Future's Doc Brown. This moment of joy and vindication is an clear instant classic reaction that will live on on the internet for years to come. It distils the essence of so many iconic sports GIFs: Vince McMahon leaning back in his chair (yes, WWE counts, don't @ me), Rob Ryan fist-pumping, the Buckle Up Baby hockey kid. It's all of those in one. Boxall is clearly ready to tear the stadium to pieces with his bare hands, fuelled only by pure adrenaline and pride. While we cannot endorse ripping your mask off to scream very much outside your heart in the middle of a pandemic, violently air-humping barriers, or terrifying poor facilities staffers who were clearly not warned about how Australian men react to winning at sport, we can all recognise and relate to a moment of long-fought-for triumph. Hail to the camera operators who spotted and recorded this moment for posterity. And here's hoping Boxall shouts that poor usher a drink once he's out of Ultimate Warrior mode. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/RTxgY4ReolMView the full article
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