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Acquittal of Clemenceau Urey, Others: A Serious Warning to Government

first_imgClemenceau Urey, former National Oil Company (NOCAL) Chairman, and nine other former NOCAL board members, officials and others connected with the 52nd National Legislature were Friday acquitted of solicitation payments and receipt of money for the ratification by the 52nd National Legislature of oil contracts entered into by NOCAL and several oil companies. The amount involved was US$120,400.Others allegedly involved were NOCAL Board members Cllr. Stephen B. Dunbar, Jr., Peter B. Jallah Jr., Dr. Evelyn Kandakai and Albert T. Chie.Other were NOCAL’s former CEO, Dr. Fodee Kromah, Fulton Reeves, Comptroller, and Timothy G. Wiapiah, former Senior Accountant, as well as Alomiza Ennos Barr, former member of the 52nd Legislature and Senate Secretary J. Nanborlor Singbe Sr. GOL claimed that those individuals, between the periods of May 2006 to May 2007, allegedly engaged in solicitation payments and receipt of money for the ratification by the 52nd Legislature of oil contracts entered into by NOCAL and several oil companies. GOL charged these individuals with multiple crimes, which included “economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and bribery” of which GOL sought the court intervention to convict the defendants.In his ruling dismissing the case last Friday, Criminal Court ‘C” Judge Peter Gbeneweleh stated that “the state failed to commence prosecution of the defendants within the statutory period of five years, as provided for in Section 4.2 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Law.”Section 4.2 (a), according to him, provides that “a prosecution for a felony must commence within five years after the alleged offense had been committed.”Judge Gbeneweleh further ruled that “the prosecution of the defendants is barred by a statute of limitation.” He declared, “Therefore, the request to dismiss the indictment (charge) is hereby granted and government’s resistance is denied.”Several leading questions arise, some of which this newspaper has raised before, shortly after these individuals had been indicted. The first is why did the GOL take so long to prosecute these individuals? Secondly, if GOL accused these individuals of having bribed the Legislature, who received the bribes and why were they, too, not indicted, since in common and penal (criminal) law, the receiver is just as guilty as the rogue?Another question raised then by this newspaper was, what about officials of the Ministries of Finance, Justice (MOJ) and Lands and Mines, who also sit on the NOCAL Board—why were they not also indicted? Remember, too, MOJ, GOL’s Legal Advisor, was consulted and gave the green light to pay the Legislators the money. Finally, the payment to the Legislators was approved by the Executive, one of the three branches of government. But no one in the Executive branch was among those indicted—why?The Liberian Government has to be very careful how it treats its citizens, especially those who work for government. Take Dr. Evelyn Kandakai, a professional educator who has served in several administrations as Minister of Education. Who ever heard of her being involved in any scandal whatsoever?Take Counselor Stephen Dunbar, Jr., who returned home after qualifying as an attorney-at-law in the United States, with licenses to practice in several American states, including New York City and Washington, D.C. He has worked for government for only two years—one year as an Assistant Minister of Commerce Minister William E. Dennis, 1972; and one year on the NOCAL Board—that’s all. Clemenceau Urey is CEO and proprietor of a multimillion dollar insurance company. Does he really need a government job? He only answered the call to be NOCAL’s Chair when he was asked to do so. When he was summarily replaced by the President’s son Robert Sirleaf, NOCAL Board Chair Urey left US$31 million in NOCAL’s accounts. Today the talk on the street is that NOCAL is broke. What happened to all that money? Will it ever be accounted for?Our final point is that should GOL continue wrongfully to castigate and mistreat the honest and well meaning people who work for her, GOL will end up attracting into its administration not reputable and well-meaning people but mostly crooks, who are eagerly awaiting an appointment to eat, or to exercise vigorously the three G’s: get, grab and go.A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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DDTV: Donegal woman’s Pop Up Pub’s drone video is the ‘Greatest Ever’!

first_imgA drone video made by Catriona Mulhern of “Pop Up Pubs” will be shown on American channel truTV’s show Greatest Ever – proving there’s no greater party than a Donegal event!Donegal’s biggest celebrity charity event held at Rosapenna Golf Course last May organised by Danny O’Carroll, also known as Buster Brady from Mrs Brown’s Boys, featured a host of stars who took part in a charity golf day to raise money for the family of the the tragedy at Buncrana Pier, Co. Donegal in 2016, when 5 people lost their lives.The event also raised money for Pieta House, a non-profit organisation providing a specialised treatment programme for people who have suicidal ideation or who participate in self- harming based in Ireland. Catriona Mulhern kindly donated the use of her “Pop Up Pubs” to this charity event which took place in the middle of the Golf Course on one of the world’s most renowned courses, The Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Club located in a small fishing & seaside resort, along Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way, Downings, Co. Donegal.The “Pop Up Pub” hosted a unique and quirky venue right on the golf course with a range of stars, popping in for a drink, having travelled to Donegal for the event.Celebrity guests included Football stars Noel Hunt, Stephen Hunt, Kevin Foley and Peter Odemwingie who were joined by former Ireland legends Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton. Even Daniel O’Donnell popped in for his “Cup of Tea” tea and former Irish rugby star Shane Byrne and most of the cast from Mrs Brown’s Boys also popped in. As it was a huge event, one of the biggest charity events in Donegal’s calendar year to date, Catriona decided to commission a drone video which was then used to launch her Global “Pop Up Pub” Business.To her amazement and delight, she was contacted in December by the producer of Meeting House productions based in New York who produce materials for TV Channels right across America, asking her could they use her Pop Up Pub Drone footage in their new show on truTV called “Greatest Ever” and they would like to feature the video in their upcoming “Parties” themed episode which is due to be aired in the States this month. They found the video on youtube while looking for extravagant parties. and they loved the idea of an Irish Inflatable Pub!Catriona’s response was “How cool of you to find us all the way over here in Donegal, Ireland, we love our drone footage. The scenic ancient Donegal landscape and frame moves to an inflatable pub of all things. So, we would only be delighted if our footage was used as we have just launched our US & Canadian global corporate agent search this year and your timing is bang on”!“We actually created the world’s first Irish Thatched Cottage Air Building ‘The Thatch’ for the Ohio Celtic Festival last August and have a bespoke Irish pub design in production for Hot Springs, Arkansas “The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Parade” and we have many fun ideas on the way to the States at present for the St. Patrick’s Day & July 4th celebrations.”Catriona, a mother of two from County Donegal launched her business in February 2015 after leaving her full-time job to start her own business and launched “Pop Up Pub”, which has become a global business providing themed air building for events everywhere!Following the recession and the mass Donegal emigration of Irish relocating to the four corners of the globe, Catriona believes that her success to date in the states boils down to a “hankering after a piece of home.” Her pubs, though provide Irish expats with that taste of home. Catriona’s plan is to maintain the quality of her design and manufacturing of her inflatables, and has created a further range of Irish themed air buildings and structures which is receiving huge demand from a global audience. “To think that anyone can have an idea, especially from a remote part of Ireland, but to establish it as a global brand to a wide range of markets and clients, for me has been an incredible journey, a journey that has really just started & to get this recognition from a TV production company in the States is a testament to those that have helped me along the way!“We are going to be popping up in a lot of places with unique, fun and quirky ways for the Irish Diaspora to share their piece of Ireland with their own “Irish Pop Up Pub Themed Parties” all over the world. Living in Donegal and working with clients in different time zones has never been a problem, the power of internet and social media has allowed us to connect with a wider audience than we could ever have dreamed of”!Take a look at the Drone Video Footage which will be shown on truTV’s “Greatest Ever” show in the States this month.Pop Up Pub from KDM Ireland (Oliver Ferris) on Vimeo. DDTV: Donegal woman’s Pop Up Pub’s drone video is the ‘Greatest Ever’! was last modified: January 5th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Catriona MulherndronePop-Up-PubTVlast_img read more

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MAN CHARGED WITH MURDERS OF DONEGAL SCHOOLBOYS IN OMAGH BLAST

first_imgMurdered: Oran DohertyDETECTIVES investigating the murders of 29 people including three schoolboys from Buncrana have tonight charged a man in the North.Seamus Daly, from Culloville, County Monaghan, was arrested by PSNI serious crime branch detectives in Newry on Monday in relation to the 1998 Omagh bomb. He was one of four men ordered to pay more than £1.5m in damages to the victims’ families in a civil case.The Buncrana boys who died were Oran Doherty, James Barker and Sean McLaughlin.It was the worst atrocity of the Troubles and was carried out by dissident terrorists calling themselves the Real IRA.The Donegal boys were on a trip to Omagh the day of the bombing.Daly, 43, was tonight charged with the murders of 29 people.MAN CHARGED WITH MURDERS OF DONEGAL SCHOOLBOYS IN OMAGH BLAST was last modified: April 10th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:buncranachargedOmagh bombSeamus Dalylast_img read more

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Too many chickens crossing the road

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It feels like they are messing with us,” Ron Borgens said. After all, while most of Lanning Drive in unincorporated South Whittier is residential, the Borgens’ one- third-acre property at the end of the street has been a working farm since 1951, inhabited by about 30 chickens, a goat and an enormous pig named Oink. Missing is Wilbur, the Borgens’ 350-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, and his confiscation by county officials – along with about 30 of their chickens and ducks – is part of the reason why the couple feels they’re being harassed. “We heard they went to a farm in Palmdale, but we don’t really believe it,” Ron Borgens said. WHITTIER – At Ron and Dottee Borgens’ tiny suburban farm, it’s not why but when the chickens cross the road: Too often, say county animal control officials. “At that point it becomes a safety issue for us,” said Kaye Michelson, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. “In this case, we responded to complaints from neighbors saying chickens were running around the neighborhood.” Even so, the Borgens say they feel as if they’re being picked on. It was the rural feel of their property that induced the Borgenses to purchase it 13 years ago. Before that, the property was a horse ranch, they said. “We liked the idea that it was quiet, and we thought it would be educational for our kids, because they could see birth, life and death,” said Ron Borgens, who runs a trucking company with his wife. Since then, most residents have come to know the Borgenses’ place as “the farm,” and the couple likes to open their home to schoolchildren on field trips. But their problems with county animal control started about 18 months ago, the couple said, when inspectors started dropping by for visits. About a month ago, inspectors cited the couple for allowing chickens to roam loose in the neighborhood. “No one had questioned these animals for all these years,” Ron Borgens said. Michelson said inspectors from her agency want simply to ensure that the Borgenses are complying with all county regulations. “This county unincorporated area is zoned for animals, but the animals must be in a secure area,” she said. Part of the problem is that people often drop off chickens at the farm, sometimes even throwing them over the Borgenses’ fence, Michelson said, adding that the agency wants to work with the couple on a solution to that. “It is our intention to continue talking with these residents to try to resolve this problem,” she said. “If they are his animals, he must confine them in the yard. If not, they need to be removed.” Feeding her chickens in a fenced-in area on the farm on a recent afternoon, Dottee Borgens wondered why all the fuss over a few stray chickens. “All we’re trying to do is preserve a little bit of history here, but lately we feel like they are trying to push us out,” she said. debbie.pfeiffer@sgvn.com (562)698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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COOKING WITH THE NO SALT CHEF – GETTING HOOKED ON SEAFOOD IN DONEGAL

first_imgDonegal is famous for a lot of things and I feel our Seafood is without doubt one of our best products and the best way to celebrate it is to make a superb Seafood Chowder.by the No Salt Chef Brian McDermottThis is my simple step by step guide to perfecting a great fish soup full of superb seafood. As we look forward to increasing visitors to the county in 2015 the Wild Atlantic Way is about celebrating our coastal food and for too long we have turned our back on seafood.Go on have a shot at making your first ChowderChowderIngredients Serves 6 200g Salmon200g Smoked Whiting or Haddock200g Haddock500ml Milk50g Unsalted Butter 50g Plain FlourSprinkle of Dill2 carrots peeled & diced2 Stick Celery Peeled & Diced 1 Onion DicedHalf a Leek thinly sliced2 Bay Leaf3 Sprigs Thyme1 Clove Garlic3 Potatoes peeled & dicedFresh Ground Black PepperFresh Chives or parsley to sprinkle when servingDrop Worchester SauceMethodIn a pot place the boned and skinless fish and cover with milk or Water and 1 bay leaf. Bring to boil then reduce heat and poach for 8 minutes.In separate pot melt the butter and sweat for 3-4 minutes the diced onion, crushed garlic, celery, bay leaf, carrots and the sprig of thyme.Add the leeks followed by the flour and make sure flour is mixed in well. Add the dill.Set aside while you drain the milk or water from the fish pot straight into the vegetables. Put back on low heat, add the diced potatoes and stir occasionally.Leave the fish in the pot it was cooked in.Season with fresh ground pepper, drop of Worchester sauce and cook for 15 minutes on a low heat.Add some broken fish pieces to a bowl and serve the chowder piping hot straight on top of fish.Serve with sprinkle of fresh chives or parsley.Brian’s Weekly Top Tip: Best fish for children is hake as it has fewer bones and boosts a natural sweet flavor and soft texture.Poaching Fish is healthiest way of cooking it.COOKING WITH THE NO SALT CHEF – GETTING HOOKED ON SEAFOOD IN DONEGAL was last modified: February 19th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalNo Salt Chef Brian McDermottlast_img read more

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Buganda off to winning start as FUFA Drum second edition gets underway

first_imgBuganda (purple) are the defending champions (FUFA Photos)FUFA Drum 2019Buganda 1-0 LangoBishops Playgrounds, MukonoSaturday, 30-03-2019MUKONO – FUFA Drum defending champions Buganda defeated Lango 1-0 in the opening game of the 2019 edition on Saturday.In the game played at Bishops Playgrounds in Mukono, reigning MVP, Vianne Sekajugo once again grabbed the headlines, scoring the winner in the first half.Buganda started the game brightly and did not have to wait for so long to take the lead as Sekajugo who scored the last goal in the first edition opened his as the defending champions account inside 6 minutes.The Onduparaka FC forward was guilty of missing a seater, two minutes later, when he blazed over from an empty net, much to the amusement of the mamouth crowd.Lango’s first real chance of the game came on 20 minutes. Joachim Ojera crossed for Wanock Petiti but the striker’s first time effort was expertly saved by Buganda’s reserve goalkeeper Joel Mutakubya who is standing in for the suspended Nicholas Ssebwato.The game looked to have settled down and Buganda held on to take a 1-0 lead at halftime.Lango pushed hard to find an equalizer in the second half but were consistently denied by eventual man of the match, Mutakubya.Lango couldn’t get past Buganda goalkeeper Joel Mutakubya despite trying all they could in the second halfBuganda’s best chance of the second half fell to Bashir Mutanda who failed to score from a rebound, just a few yards from goal, with 10 minutes to play.What the coaches said after the game:Alex Isabirye, Buganda.“We were missing some players who are outt injured but thankfully we worked as a team and won in the end.“We now have enough experience in this tournament and hopefully this win motivates us.David Obua, Lango.“We got the chances to score but were unlucky in the end.“It will take sometime for the players to learn our philosophy but we are determined to give our fans the best football and reaults.“Our focus now shifts to the next game.Buganda goalkeeper Joel Mutakubya was named Man of the Match. He received a Plaque and a cash prize of 100,000/- presented to him by the Chief Guest Prince Jjunju.Sunday’s FUFA Drum action @4pm:-BUSOGA VS TOORO @Kyabazinga Stadium, Bugembe.-KAMPALA VS RWENZORI @Betway Mutessa II Stadium, Wankulukuku.-ANKOLE VS SEBEI @Kyamate Grounds, Ntungamo.-WEST NILE VS BUNYORO @Barakoro Stadium, Zombo.-ACHOLI VS KARAMOJA @Peace Stadium, Gulu.-BUKEDI VS TESO @Booma Grounds, Butaleja.-BUGISU VS KIGEZI @Mbale Municipal Stadium, Mbale.Comments Tags: alex isabiryeBugandaDavid ObuaFUFA Drum 2019LangotopVianne Sekajugolast_img read more

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Many heads make light of a challenge

first_imgShift works with communities, Johnson explains; they know the challenges they face and have ideas for solutionsOn a cold and wet Friday morning, a bus full of enthusiastic youngsters, representing a variety of nations, nosed its way through the Cape Town traffic, bound for Khayelitsha. They were taking Shift to the township to launch the Shift: Caravan and to see what came out of the connections they hoped to make with passers-by and residents on the pavements around the station.“We will be playing games with people,” explained Janine Johnston, Shift managing director. One of these was a card game popular in the Western Cape – Lucky 8. But Shift had altered it, using elements of a Danish game created to get people talking about real issues. Cards with random words were added to the decks – words like “values”, “greening”, “climate change” and “energy efficiency”. Sitting down to play with strangers, the idea was that when a card popped up with a word, the players would discuss the topic.Another game was Shift’s pitch booth – a costume worn by a person from the bus while walking around the streets. Inside the costume was a camera, and a microphone was proffered to passers-by. People were encouraged to make a pitch, Johnston explained. They would name a specific problem in their communities, and then be encouraged to come up with a solution. “The idea is to push innovation. It is not a case of waiting for someone else to find an answer, but to come up with one yourself.”Also on the expedition was Heath Nash, from Makers’ Library, a global conversation to share practical knowledge and application. He had the tools and was collecting tyres along the way to make stools. On the Khayelitsha pavement, he borrowed power from a near-by stall and set to work with his tyres, rope, drill and pull ties, making comfortable, upcycled stools. Interested people gathered around, eventually getting stuck in and making their own stools – afterwards they were able to take their handiwork home.Shift works with communities, Johnson explains; they know the challenges they face and have ideas for solutions. “Shift delivers tangible solutions in 10 days,” she stresses. “These include everything from solar cookers made from cardboard and old crisp packets, to redesigning libraries.”SOCIAL DESIGN CHALLENGEOne of its core process and design services is its Social Design Challenge. This co-design process has been developed over the last few years, and tested in various situations. It is preceded by an intensive community engagement and investigation, to inform the participants in the challenge of the main social and environmental needs within the community, to identify the available resources and inherent skills within the community.During the 10-day challenge, Shift connects designers, such as surface, industrial designers, engineers, architects and project managers, and community representatives and guides the participants through a universal design process that delivers tangible results to the problems identified.Working with innovators and changemakers in Sweden, the Cape Town collective insists that every intervention ends with a concrete item. Upcycling is a watchword. “For us, sustainability means people, plus planet, plus prosperity. Design means process to shape and make our environments in ways that satisfy our real needs and give meaning to our lives.“We have been running for four years, and we meet real needs. We look for solutions to problems, and match Swedish designers with local people.” But it is not a one-way street, she points out. Knowledge is shared, and Swedish design is informed by South African innovation “to create an ‘a-ha’ moment. That is when ‘the shift’ happens.”The Swedish designers are sourced through the Malmö Innovation Centre. These changemakers are mainly sourced from universities in the Scandinavian nation.SHIFT: CARAVANShift: Caravan, packed with all the items and people needed to work with communities to find workable solutions to their challenges, will tour the perimeter of South Africa in 100 days, from November to February 2015. Along the way, there will be stops, where Shift will hold its 10-day interventions with local communities – although the process will be speeded up to seven days.Also on the caravan will be Shift’s mobile solar cinema – “it fits in a box”, says Johnston – which will be used to screen short films made by Sunshine Cinema. It makes three-minute clips on how to build items, such as the solar cooker.“These are solutions from the community; they are not through Shift. The idea is to share stories, share innovations and solutions.” After the screenings, the community will be encouraged to make the items. “People who do the process then take away the knowledge to teach others. There has also been a gender shift in our work – women are teaching men how to do things.”The Shift team does not want to impose its ideas, and so first approaches the “local fixers”, leaders or influential people in the community (Images: Lorrain Kearney)EARNING TRUSTWorking with people, Johnston stresses, can be a delicate negotiation. The Shift team does not want to impose its ideas, and so first approaches the “local fixers”, leaders or influential people in the community. From there, they learn about the group and share food; a forum is held to share thoughts and ideas. Out of this, Shift gets some understanding of what is relevant or needed in that particular community.“Shift aims to create changemakers in the community, so the most important thing is to establish trust. Our approach is gentle and is based on conversations.”A Cape Town World Design Capital project, Shift has collaborated with the Delft and Khayelitsha communities over the past few years. It is a South African non-profit company that empowers youth and rural communities through transferring practical skills for social, environmental and economic well-being. It works “by mobilising diverse groups of people into positive action for our sustainable future, facilitating cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary collaborations that apply design as a process to improve life”.It was founded in 2010, originally as the Eco Design Initiative, as a means to connect designers and creatives in South Africa and Sweden in knowledge exchange programmes to inspire design that improves life, socially, environmentally and economically.The Shift: Caravan is supported by Sweden@SouthAfrica with both financial aid and intellectual capital. The latter is an initiative of the Swedish Institute and the Swedish Embassy to focus on entrepreneurship as a motor for development in South Africa and Sweden.last_img read more

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How Patent Trolls Use Economies Of Scale To Force Settlements

first_imgRelated Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… IT + Project Management: A Love Affair brian proffittcenter_img Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#legal#Patents Here’s something to not be proud of: 61% of all patent lawsuits filed in the U.S. in 2012 (up to Dec. 1)  were brought by non-practicing entities. Or, as we like to call them in the media, patent trolls. This percentage is pretty depressing, since it’s up from 29% of 2010 patent suits and 45% of 2011 lawsuits, but there’s some good news buried in the same stats: The total number of defendants sued in all patent lawsuits went down from about 5,600 in 2011 to about 3,000 up through the third quarter of this year.The rise in patent trolling is a reflection of simple economies of scale, according to Santa Clara University law professor Colleen Chien. Because of the way patent trolls can do work their revenue models, the risk vs. reward of launching any lawsuit are minimized… and what risks there are can be spread across suing multiple defendants. Just Don’t Call Them TrollsChien doesn’t like to use the term “patent trolls,” or even “non-practicing entities.” Instead, she prefers to describe companies that generate revenue solely through the enforcement of intellectual property they have acquired as patent assertion entities (PAEs). Sheesh. But there’s also some evidence that these PAEs actually do some good in the start-up ecosystem.To understand why it’s suddenly more profitable to be a PAE (and the role PAEs play), it’s helpful to understand how the costs of traditional lawsuit add up. When a company like Apple sues Google over patents, there are a lot of up-front costs sunk into the lawsuit, such as the direct costs of research, discovery and hiring a legal team. Add to that the indirect costs, such as getting countersued, and damage to the plaintiff’s reputation. Stack those costs against the unknown reward of a settlement or judgment, and it’s clear that launching a suit isn’t worth it unless the payoff is really big.Trolls Can Sue For LessPAEs, right off the bat, have several advantages in this environment.First, forget about the indirect costs: you can’t countersue a PAE, and seriously, how much worse can the reputation of troll get?The direct costs are kept down by hiring law firms on contingent fees… they get paid only when they win or get a settlement. This can lower the up-front legal fees by 75%. To further mitigate this cost, PAEs often name multiple defendants, spreading the net while keeping the direct legal fees down. That can also lower the risk of losing a judgement.Ironically, the way PAEs have scaled the lawsuit economy not only makes it easier for PAEs to assert their patents, but also makes it more economical for defendants to settle, no matter the merits of the case. Because the plaintiff costs are lower than the defense’s costs, and because there’s always the risk of a huge settlement or judgement, it simply makes sense for defendants to suck it up and settle earlier.The model is fueling a cottage industry of these PAEs, and patent lawsuits in general. In 2010, there were 2,521 patent lawsuits in the U.S. In 2011, that number rose to 3,353. And through Dec. 1, the number of patent lawsuits filed in 2012 was a whopping 4,171.Despite the numbers of lawsuits going up, the number of actual defendants is going down. In 2011, PAEs alone named a high of 3,018 defendants. Through 2012’s third quarter, PAE sued only 1,788 defendants.Chien believes the drop is due to new rules in the America Invents Act. “It’s harder to name more defendants per suit, requiring PAEs to split their suits up and making it ‘not worth it’ to sue smaller companies,” Chien wrote in her presentation. But it’s not clear if these lawsuits are netting PAEs more or less money, because of the non-public way many of these lawsuits get settled out of court.Do Patent Trolls Perform A Service?Chien argued that PAEs, which tend to target smaller companies that might be more more likely to settle, can also be of actual benefit to smaller startups. PAEs can buy or litigate the patents of startups or individual investors looking to raise money by monetizing their own patents. They can sell the patents outright to the PAE or have the PAE litigate for patent licensing revenue on their behalf.But value is tempered by the fact that smaller companies often find themselves in a PAE’s cross-hairs. It can be like winning the lottery for a PAE to send a summonds toward a hot new startup that’s getting a lot of funding. Put both sides together and it’s not clear if PAEs are harming or helping the startup ecosystem. Chien asserts that business model is compelling enough to warrant a shift in the perception of PAEs as “trolls.” “Vilifying ‘trolls’ won’t make them go away. But understanding and challenging their economics might,” Chien told me after this article was initially posted.Can Companies Fight Back?Fighting PAEs can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Chien notes that in the 1880s, the railroads got hammered by inventors’ patent lawsuits even as they were expanding throughout the country and pulling in huge revenue. The railroads eventually banded together with patent associations, and individual inventors were forced to drop their lawsuits. It could be argued that the railroads squashed plenty of legitimate patent assertions, but history gives the railroads the win.Similar patent associations may be the key to checking the PAEs that now dominate the patent legal system. Otherwise, startups are going to remain in a world of legal pain.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.last_img read more

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Filmmaker Roundtable: The Connection Between Music and Creativity

first_imgDamien Chazelle on the Ups and Downs of CreatingImage via LionsgateChazelle’s path to filmmaking success isn’t uncommon, with a well-received short film eventually leading to feature film opportunities. He wears his love of movies on his sleeve and is quick to express appreciation for the romanticism and nostalgic warmth that accompanies that love. Here he discusses staying focused while experiencing the ups and downs of making your way in Hollywood.It was like, years of trying to get La La Land made in Hollywood. Everyone saying not just no, but, like, “Please go away. We don’t want to hear about original musicals.” I did Whiplash out of necessity a little bit. Whiplash was a much smaller movie that I was able to actually put the money together for. But the whole time I was making Whiplash, I was hoping, if this doesn’t entirely suck, it will give me some kind of calling card to make La La Land.On how the quality of contemporary television and online content pushes filmmakers to work harder in order to get people out of their homes and into theaters:We [read] a lot of doom and gloom about how movies are dying and TV is to blame or the internet is to blame or whatever. There’s a lot of “woe is me” think pieces, as opposed to just welcoming that there’s good content that’s raising the bar. And that, okay, maybe that just means we have to try harder to get people. That led to some interesting things in the ’50s when TV first came around. It’s always those shifts that have ultimately pushed things forward.Donald Glover on Successfully Navigating New MediaImage via FXGlover’s acclaimed FX series, Atlanta, offers a surreal, comedic take on the life of an up-and-coming musician and manager. In the Hollywood Reporter panel, the multitalented, Golden Globe-winning auteur discusses music, growing up online, and producing original content in the early days of YouTube. Glover explains the dynamics of releasing content in today’s world and how to face the reactions you will inevitably receive, for better or for worse.We were like, “Maybe this will get us on television,” not knowing that is television now. How you get to the product is almost more important than the product, nowadays. Because it changes the lens a little bit. If thirty percent of people are like, “This is amazing,” there’s going to be twenty percent that are like, “Well, I have to agree with my friends a little bit.” We release a lot of our stuff on Sundays, because I know bloggers are asleep and people don’t want to talk. People have to think about it for themselves, which doesn’t happen a lot.Issa Rae on Confidence in the Face of CriticismImage via HBOAs was the case with Glover, YouTube played a part in Issa Rae’s early career; she first appeared on the cultural radar with her acclaimed web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, back in 2011. Now she creates the Golden Globe-nominated Insecure for HBO. When asked about taking criticism at face value, Rae responds:There’s an initial rush, like, “Wow, people really like this. This is crazy. This is great.” And then, “Oh sh*t, now I have to live up to this.” You get really scared and then you feel like the light is on you. And then, when you get your first piece of criticism, that’s kind of a big deal. But for me, it’s actually only helped me creatively, because it makes me uncomfortable, and that’s where I thrive and that’s where I live in the first place.Rae has an excellent sense of what she wants her audience to feel. Her confidence shines through in her work, allowing an audience connection stronger than most contemporary cable series.I like making people relate to people of color and black people specifically. Especially in these times, that’s a cool trait. “I’m from this specific background, and I identify with what you’re going through.” That’s such a powerful tool, to bring people into your world and to bring a sense of understanding. With this show, I wanted to just make black people relatable.Lin-Manuel Miranda on Balancing Passion and OpportunityAbove image via Hamilton: An American MusicalThe genius behind the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton: An American Musical sheds light on the process of putting your work out and hoping it’s received well. The playwright also discusses the importance of taking jobs that initially sound unappealing and his experience moving on to projects like Moana, Marry Poppins and Star Wars after Hamilton’s success.It’s the same as before. The way I think about what I do is, you toe this line between the things that are in you, that you’re burning to make, the idea that won’t leave you alone in the shower or when you’re walking your dog, and the opportunities that come along that I would do anything to be a part of and I’d kick myself if I didn’t do it. We all struggle with that balance. Robert Rodriguez was my big hero when I was in high school. That was my dude. I read [his book] Rebel Without A Crew…Favreau responds with his own story of using Rebel Without A Crew as a guidebook while making Swingers. Miranda then dives into the mentality that comes with live performance and the immediacy of it all.I work in the art form where you’re in the room with the people who are performing, and that’s something you can’t replace. Especially talking about online stuff, I think we curate our reality so much. We block that friend on Facebook who is talking about politics constantly or putting up videos you’re not ready to see at nine in the morning. But in the theater, you’re all watching the same thing.This group of artists is well-acquainted with the immediate online critical reactions that are such a part of creating publicly in today’s world. Their stories and advice are crucial for anybody looking to take a chance on putting their work out there for all to see. They’re also wildly in tune with the importance of music in the creative process.If you’re looking for musical inspiration or a soundtrack for your next project, PremiumBeat’s got you covered. From hip-hop and rap as heard in Glover’s Atlanta to the classical influences of Hamilton, to the stellar R&B running through Insecure and the swinging jazz of La La Land, PremiumBeat’s deep library of songs and genres is an excellent resource for film and video creators. Some of the industry’s top creators weigh in on creativity, music, confidence, dealing with criticism, and finding your voice in a noisy world.Top image via LionsgateBilled as a conversation on creativity, this roundtable from The Hollywood Reporter — featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Donald Glover, Issa Rae, and Damien Chazelle — explores how the featured artists find inspiration in music and how music inevitably finds its way into their work. Additionally, and of note to burgeoning content creators, the discussion touches on how resources like YouTube and Vimeo played an important part in launching their careers.Moderated by Jon Favreau, the panel features a diverse selection of artists in different stages of their careers. It’s pretty inspiring stuff, for sure. The entire discussion plays out in the video below, and some standout moments are featured after the clip. Enjoy — and maybe take some notes!last_img read more

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How to Be a Scrappy Upstart – Episode #123

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | Download (16.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSThere are systemic challenges, in some ways greater than earlier times. That said, a scrappy go-getter always bends the system to their will.Outcomes Planner Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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