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Star Wars Interactive Character Guide

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Click anywhere. But beware of Spoilers:


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Roy Moore Sues Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 Million

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Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore filed a $95 million lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime on Wednesday, alleging that he was duped into appearing on “Who Is America?”

By Gene Maddaus  LOS ANGELES (Variety)

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Moore alleges that he was lured to Washington, D.C., on the pretense of accepting an award for his support for Israel. Instead, he found himself being interviewed by “Col. Erran Morad,” a Cohen character. During the taping , Cohen waved a “pedophile detector” at Moore, which beeped, at which point Moore ended the interview.

“This false and fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender, on national and international television, which was widely broadcast in this district on national television and worldwide, has severely harmed Judge Moore’s reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage,” the lawsuit states.

VARIETY-ENTERTAINMENT-BIZ/NEWS:Roy Moore

As is generally the case with Cohen’s victims, Moore signed a release before the taping took place. The suit alleges that the release was obtained on fraudulent grounds.

Moore is suing Showtime, CBS, and Cohen for fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation. He is represented by Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch.

Showtime issued the following statement: “The press has been sent copies of an alleged complaint, yet to our knowledge SHOWTIME has not been served. With that said, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

 

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The Eagles’ Greatest Hits Surpasses Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ as Best-Selling Album

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By Variety Staff

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – A record held by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for more than 30 years is no more. The Eagles’ Greatest Hits 1971-1975, a perennial seller since its initial release in Feb. 1976, has surpassed 38 million copies sold, according to the latest certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The knocked Jackson’s 1982 smash to No. 2 but the band also holds the No. 3 spot with the album “Hotel California,” also released in 1976. That album has been certified 26-times platinum, for sales and streams of more than 26 million copies.

Said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the : “Congratulations to the Eagles, who now claim the jaw-dropping feat of writing and recording two of the top three albums in music history. Both of these transcendent albums have impressively stood the test of time, only gaining more currency and popularity as the years have passed, much like the Eagles themselves.”

The Eagles lost founding member Glenn Frey in January 2016 but continue to tour with Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit making up the core of the group and Frey’s son Deacon Frey and Vince Gill joining.

The Eagles have sold more than 150 million albums and won six Grammys. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, in their first year of eligibility, and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.

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Jon Stewart Helps Rescue Goats That Captured New York’s Attention

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New Yorkers were briefly transfixed Monday morning by the fate of two bearded commuters — a pair of bewildered goats — who found their way onto the tracks of the N line in Brooklyn.
By Cynthia Littleton

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com)

In the end, none other than Jon Stewart swooped in to transport the strays to a shelter in upstate New York run by the Farm Sanctuary animal rescue organization.

The goat saga began at 8:23 a.m. ET when the MTA sent a tweet shortly after they were discovered near the Eighth Avenue stop in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. That message was followed about an hour later by tweet with a picture showing two goats, a matching set with white fur bodies and black and brown heads.

Social media-connected New Yorkers responded with equal parts sympathy and sarcasm about the goats’ plight, even if it did create yet more delays for New York’s disruption-prone subway system.

Justin Brannan, New York City Councilman serving the district where the animals were discovered, made a crack at the MTA’s expense. “BREAKING: Wayward goats faster than N train.”

Some welcomed the new kids to the neighborhood.

Others demanded to know everything about their fate.

By 10 a.m., the goats had been tranquilized and removed from the tracks by the NYPD.

Later, Farm Sanctuary arranged to pick the animals up for transport to the sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., in the bucolic environs of the Finger Lakes. Stewart has been a longtime supporter of the animal rescue org and has been active with them since he stepped down as anchor of “The Daily Show” in 2015.

The sight of Stewart and another woman herding Billy and Willy (as they were christened, at least online) into a trailer for a ride to a good home was definitely today’s moment of zen.

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5 Eye Jabbing Fun Facts About The Three Stooges

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The Three Stooges have stood the test of slapstick comedy time and are part of American popular culture. Larry, Curly & Moe made us belly laugh time and time again during a time of our history when things weren’t so happy.

via GIPHY

Their off the cuff energetic humor was something we hadn’t seen before and still gives every generation, young and young at heart something to smile about.

Check out these eye jabbing fun facts about the lovable threesome. “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”

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Fraud Has Become the Latest Hurdle for Music Streaming

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Twitter’s recent housecleaning of some 70 million fake and automated accounts illuminates just how pervasive audience manipulation has become in the digital era. For Twitter, the fake accounts can create a shadow army of followers that has comparatively little monetary effect. But perform the same manipulation with music streams, and it constitutes fraud.

By Cherie Hu

LOS ANGELES (Variety) –

Tidal has found itself awash in accusations of data manipulation. As recently as May, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) accused the Jay-Z-owned service of falsifying tens of millions of streams for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” albums. While has denied the claims on multiple fronts, a company rep tells Variety that several investigators are currently on the ground at the company’s offices looking into a potential data breach.

Fraud is applicable because there’s a tangible price tag involved in the consumption of a song: Labels and other rights owners are paid on a pro-rata basis, according to proportional volumes of on-demand streams. The average per-stream payout may not look like much — $0.004 for Spotify, slightly more for services like Apple Music and Tidal ($0.008 and $0.012, respectively), although exact rates depend on the type of artist or song.

But they can add up. A top hit like Ed Sheeran’s 2017 monster “Shape of You” would distribute millions of dollars in performance royalties to its songwriters and even more to the master-rights owner. Using Goldman Sachs’ projection that the streaming sector will hit $34 billion by 2030, millions of dollars in fraudulently acquired funds could be making their way through the royalty chain. Though unlike Twitter, which wiped out 6% of its users, the number of fake music streamers has not been determined. Says one major label head: “It’s not something we’re currently concerned about, but that’s not to say we won’t be in the future.”

Here’s how “playola” works at playlist-promotion companies like Spotlister: A customer pays the company to secure prominent placement of a song on key playlists, such as those on . When a track is uploaded, it is analyzed and its metadata is used to send it to the most appropriate playlists.

But that’s not the only way to game the system. In 2017, Post Malone’s label, Republic Records, found itself the center of controversy for a seemingly sanctioned loop of the hook to his song “Rockstar” that was posted on YouTube. Although it contained only a snippet of the tune, it played continuously for three minutes and 28 seconds and quickly racked up more than 40 million views.

“It’s pretty easy to buy guides online on how to stream your own content repeatedly.”
Christine Barnum, CD Baby director of finance

Two months later, YouTube acknowledged, “Loop videos that feature misleading and inaccurate metadata violate YouTube policies, and we are actively working to have them removed.”

Spotify has kicked outlets like Spotlister off its platform on a case-by-case basis — stand-alone sites like Social Media Experts, Streamify and StreamKO offer “Spotify promotion” with prices ranging from $5 to $995 — but concerns remain about whether that enforcement is being replicated meaningfully across entire platforms. And if not, are the labels or the streamers themselves complicit in royalty fraud by transferring payouts? The legal consequences for fraud convictions, and even of conspiracy to defraud, include hefty fines and up to five years in prison.

“We’re seeing an uptick in the type of fraud where people are distributing their content through us and signing up with a legitimate credit card, but then their intent is to manipulate streams and rip off a [digital service provider],” Christine Barnum, director of finance at CD Baby, tells Variety. “It’s pretty easy to buy guides online on how to stream your own content repeatedly. There are also more instances of well-meaning artists accidentally signing up for some sort of ‘marketing service’ that’s actually committing fraud.”

Moreover, on Spotify’s free tier, ad fraud is also becoming more prevalent. Spotify had to decrease its total reported content hours streamed in 2017 by 500 million, due to 2 million listeners who used unauthorized apps that blocked ads on the service. With freemium, there is “not only more susceptibility to fraud but also less incentive for Spotify to do something about it,” argues Rami Essaid, CEO of bot-defense start-up Distil Networks. “With the subscription model, there’s a finite number of dollars to split up, and if part of that goes to fraud, no one else in the ecosystem is happy.”

For its part, Spotify stated in a just-released second-quarter earnings report, “We continue to work to identify and remove users from our reported metrics that we consider to be ‘fake’ users based on various criteria,” with the caveat that “some such users may remain in our reported metrics because of the limitations of our ability to identify their accounts.”

 

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Aretha Franklin: Her Life and Career in Photos

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Aretha Franklin, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, died at age 76 on August 16, 2018. Take a look back at her life and career in photos.

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Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 25, 1942. Her family relocated to Buffalo, New York when she was 2 and by the age of 5 had settled permanently in Detroit.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.)

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