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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Comment on Ted Kennedy

He was a man of very intriguing courage. A man who left a mark on this land. He was brave- he stood when standing was not easy, and he walked when his body did not want to get up. A man of honor, and valor who showed the importance of family, faith, duties to this country, and all around. God Bless.

By Havasha Reed on A Generation's Loss: Ted Kennedy Laid to Rest Today...

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Content Theft is a Crime...SAG President Ken Howard calls for all talen to take a stand

Dear SAG Member,

As you know, Screen Actors Guild has been working hard to raise awareness about the detrimental impact of content theft. We have been meeting with legislators across the country, communicating with members, participating in panel discussions and helping to educate young people about this destructive practice. We are also working in coalition with our union partners at AFTRA, Directors Guild of America and IATSE, as well as the major studios and networks, on all of these efforts. 

Today, we are happy to join our entertainment community industry partners to announce a new initiative designed to build strong grassroots support for the fight against content theft. Creative America, a newly formed organization, will provide a gathering place for members of the creative community to learn more about the impact of content theft on their jobs, their benefits and their ability to continue making a living in the entertainment industry.  Please click Creative America news to read today's announcement.

With your help, Creative America will serve as a unified voice of the more than 2 million Americans in all 50 states whose jobs are supported by film and television, as well as people in other creative fields and anyone who believes that halting the looting of America’s creative works and protecting jobs must be a national priority.

As actors, we know that every time one of our performances is stolen, we lose out on the residuals we rely on to make a living. Global theft of movies and television shows has already cost the U.S. economy more than 140,000 jobs. Unfortunately, foreign websites, operated by thieves profiting off of stolen content, are highly sophisticated and designed to look legitimate. The appearance of legitimacy lures unsuspecting Americans into providing personal information, exposing them to identity and credit card theft. We believe that if more Americans were made aware of the facts, through education and legislative efforts, they would not choose to illegally download content.

Amongits initial activities, Creative America will enable all of us to demonstrate our support for the passage of important congressional legislation that will significantly impact the fight against content theft, including the PROTECT IP Act, legislation designed to combat foreign trafficking in stolen movies, TV shows and other forms of intellectual property. 

The PROTECT IP Act, now before the Senate, would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to go after foreign websites that are dedicated to illegal distribution of stolen movies and TV – often called “rogue sites” – directed at U.S. consumers. The House of Representatives is also working onlegislation to fight these rogue sites and halt sources of funds and other supportive services that keep them in operation. SAG will, of course, continue its own legislative work to help get these bills passed, but the coordinated and unified voice provided by Creative America will truly help demonstrate the widespread impact of content theft. 

I love my craft. And I know that you do, as well. We can help put astop to content theft (notice that we don’t call it piracy, because it’s not about swashbuckling, it’s about stealing). Sign-up begins now On the site, supporters can learn more about content theft and what it means for them, e-mail Congress, and get updates on pending legislation via e-mail or by following @CreativeAmerica on Twitter and through Facebook.

Click here to learn more about what your Guild is doing in the fight against content theft.

In unity,

Ken Howard
President, Screen Actors Guild

NBC loses Wimbleton, South Korea wins Winter Olympics, Netflix goes Latin, Summer Box Office

What now? The Casey Anthony murder trial has been a ratings bonanza for HLN, the once-serious news network that these days looks like the illegitimate offspring of Lifetime and E! with its bizarre mix of tabloid tales and celebrity obsession. With Anthony found not guilty, HLN needs to find another trial of the century for both its audience and Nancy Grace. In the meantime, with no Tot Mom to rage against, look for ratings to take a hit in the near term. More on HLN from the Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times.
Sun Valley saturation. The next few days will be filled with lots of stories and tweets from investment bank Allen & Co.'s annual summer conference of media and technology big shots. The event is closed to the press and even the bar is off limits to reporters. That doesn't stop the press from descending on Sun Valley, Idaho, as if Lindsay Lohan is vacationing there. They are up at the crack of dawn to shout questions to executives, most of whom smile and wave as if passing an exhibit at the zoo. A few panelists will offer insights that will become the basis for coverage. With the bar closed, the highlight will be the annual impromptu press conference Google brass holds. Sound like fun? Well, at least it's pretty there. Coverage from Reuters and All Things Digital.
How much? Imagine that I bought a big wall and let anyone come spray paint on it. Would you think that would be worth $7 billion? Well, that's what Twitter is being valued at as it goes through another round of private financing. The site, which allows users to post 140-character messages, will have about $150 million in ad revenue, said the Wall Street Journal, which ran a survey asking if Twitter is worth that much. So far, it's running 80-20 against.
Halfway point. Although this summer has a few hits, "The Hangover 2," "Cars 2" and "Bridesmaids," overall Hollywood's biggest season is off 7% from last year. Variety with a midseason report card. USA Today takes a look at some of this summer's breakout performances.
ESPN's serve. Another staple of broadcast television is headed exclusively to cable. This time around it's Wimbledon, which is on the verge of moving from Comcast Corp.'s NBC to Walt Disney's ESPN, according to Sports Business Journal
. NBC's current deal expired at the end of the tournament and cost about $13 million. ESPN wanted Wimbledon in part to beef up its already potent lineup of sports, in anticipation of Comcast putting more money into its sports channel, Versus. For tennis fans, the move may be welcome, because unlike NBC, ESPN is not expected to show matches on a delayed basis. 
Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN is shelling out $480 million for exclusive rights to Wimbledon, beating both Comcast's NBC and News Corp.'s Fox for the rights to the tennis classic. Analysis of how it happened and what it means from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times
Transformative box office. The latest "Transformers" movie set off fireworks around the world, taking in $116.4 million for the holiday weekend in the U.S. and an additional $217 million around the globe. "Transformers" blew away the other two new releases as "Larry Crowne," the romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, took in only $15.6 million and teen romance "Monte Carlo" managed only $8.8 million. Among the returning movies, "Cars 2" and "Bad Teacher" were still solid. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles TimesDeadline Hollywood and Movie City News.
No laughing matter. Comedy doesn't pay as well as it used to for big movie stars. Besides the usual issue of U.S. comedies often not translating well overseas, the genre has been particularly hard hit by the softening DVD business. "Because of the weakening DVD market, even when we love the material it doesn't make sense for us to make a creatively risky or daring comedy for much more than $25 million," Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad told the Los Angeles Times. Remember when movies were made because executives believed in them creatively and not because of how they would play 10,000 miles away from here?
Mogul mating season. Investment bank Allen & Co.'s annual gathering of media and technology bigwigs kicks off today in Sun Valley, Idaho. As usual, top executives from around the U.S. will take over the resort town and attend panels, listen to world leaders, ride bikes and go rafting. The media will be there too, trying to track their every move and to practice their lip-reading skills. I'd love for TMZ to find a way to infiltrate this thing. A preview from the Wall Street Journal.
Who needs scripts anyway. A new report from the Writers Guild of America West shows that salaries for movie writers took a 10% hit in 2010, and that the overall number of writers employed in the film and TV biz dropped by almost 5%. More on the numbers from Variety.
Ten percenter chases video game dollars. Business Week profiles Jeff Hilbert, considered to be the biggest agent in the video game business. "Jeff's the kind of guy who can find us the crazy ... that we would never think of ourselves." Feargus Urquhart, chief executive officer of Obsidian Entertainment, said of Hilbert.
Bogus tweets. A Fox News Twitter feed was hacked and used to send disturbing messages about President Obama. The Secret Service is looking into the matter. Maybe Twitter needs to do a better job of safeguarding accounts, because this seems to be happening more often. Details from the New York Times.
A new low. The British News Corp. newspaper "News of the World," which has been accused of hacking into the voice-mail accountants of celebrities and members of the royal family, did the same to a missing girl's phone, reports the Guardian. News of the World is even accused of deleting voice mails from the girl's family to clear space for more messages.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara says HBO needs to put a sweater on some of its shows. Betsy Sharkey on how Hollywood is squandering opportunities with 3-D. Netflix is expanding into Latin America.
-- Joe Flint