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Amateur and independent filmmakers, writers, actors and film buffs from around the nation can develop short films together, thanks to a new interactive online destination. Rootclip, located at http://www.rootclip.com , encourages site visitors to create customized short film storylines.

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore says, “When I first heard the idea of Rootclip I was very impressed. It’s the ideal venue for established and up-and-coming filmmakers to interact and express their creative talents on the world stage. We’ve entered a new era of filmmaking and I believe that our next great generation of filmmakers might be inspired by places like Rootclip.”

To engage site visitors, Rootclip holds contests for filmmakers. The first Rootclip.com competition, entitled “Good Luck,” runs from April 28 to July 7. The winner and a guest will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Traverse City Film Festival in Traverse City, Mich. from August 1-3, where they will meet with Michael Moore and screen the completed short film in front of a live audience.

“Rootclip was conceived as a catalyst to get people thinking about and being creative with short films in such a way that it radiates out to the masses and brings new life to the art form,” said Erik Luchauer, co-founder of Rootclip, about Rootclip’s development into a national destination for independent filmmakers. “Our goal is to create connections between directors, writers and actors across the country.”

How It Works: Each Rootclip process plays out over a six chapter cycle, beginning with the Rootclip in-house team developing an inaugural film chapter to jump-start the story. Participating filmmakers then view the root clip, a few minutes of content that begins the story but has a completely open-ended conclusion, and then shoot their own rendition of what should happen next. The users’ upload their one-minute chapters to Rootclip.com, where online viewers then judge the submissions and select the chapter winner. Once the winner for that “chapter” is announced, the open submission period begins again. This process repeats itself four times before culminating in a final chapter competition between all previous chapter winners.

Rootclip began as a social networking tool supported by the Scripps Newspapers Entrepreneur Fund, whose primary goal is developing brands that increase the reach and audience for local media.

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Brightcove Inc., the leading global Internet TV platform, announced the formation of a majority-owned Japanese subsidiary, Brightcove KK. The new subsidiary is backed by $4.9 million in new investment from Brightcove Inc. and four market-leading Japanese strategic partners: Dentsu, Inc., J-Stream, Inc., transcosmos, Inc. (transcosmos), and Cyber Communications, Inc. (CCI). Three of the investment partners, Dentsu, J-Stream, and CCI, along with Brightcove Inc., will be sales agents for Brightcove KK in Japan, giving Brightcove KK immediate and powerful access to the Japanese market.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Brightcove KK will operate a localized version of Brightcove’s award-winning, on-demand Internet TV platform, which is currently used by media companies and marketers across North America and Europe. With Brightcove KK, Japanese media companies and marketers will gain access to the most powerful and scalable software as a service (SaaS) solution available for online video players, distribution, and advertising.

“Brightcove enters the Japanese market at a time when household broadband penetration has surpassed 50 percent, presenting enormous opportunities for media companies and advertisers to build online businesses and engage audiences,” said Jeremy Allaire, chairman and chief executive officer, Brightcove. “It is a great privilege to be partnering with the market leaders in Japan for digital media and advertising. By combining the proven Brightcove technology with the capabilities of our partners, Brightcove KK will give media companies and marketers in Japan a unique solution for implementing their online video strategies and unlocking the potential in the market.”

The Brightcove KK partners represent the market leaders in Japan in digital media, advertising, and content delivery.

  • Dentsu, Inc. is the largest advertising company in Japan with a market share of approximately 30 percent and has over 6,000 clients Groupwide.
  • J-Stream, Inc. is Japan’s largest content delivery network specializing in streaming media for content providers and business corporations.
  • transcosmos is Japan’s leading information processing outsourcing company adopting the latest Internet technology through the strategic investment and business development.
  • CCI is Japan’s largest interactive adverting company that currently has more than 30 percent of the country’s digital brand marketing, a popular advertising serving technology, and online advertising network.

These companies bring tremendous reach into the media and marketing sectors in Japan, and will help ensure the success of Brightcove KK in the Japanese market.

On June 11, leading authorities on the World Wide Web will gather at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for an old-fashioned debate with a social media twist. The questions for discussion will be shaped and selected by the collective wisdom of Web users from around the world.

Tetherless World Research Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

After delivering a keynote address, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, will join a panel of experts from academia and industry for a public discussion about the Web’s future. The content of the debate will be collaboratively created by Web users, who can submit questions and promote them through a user-based ranking system, similar to the community-based news site Digg. The most popular questions will drive the discussion at the June 11 debate.

The public debate, which will be streamed live via an interactive Webcast, is part of a daylong event to celebrate the launch of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer – a new academic center devoted to the emerging field of Web Science.
A wide range of issues are up for discussion, from sustaining the usefulness of the current Web to creating a next-generation Semantic Web, as well as the role of politics, education, and sociological factors in the Web’s continued evolution. Following introductory remarks by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, participants in the panel will be:

  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Wendy Hall, vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery and senior vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Nigel Shadbolt, former president of the British Computer Society and chief technology officer of Garlik.
  • Nova Spivack, high-tech entrepreneur and founder of Radar Networks.
  • Deborah McGuinness, Web language expert and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation.
  • James Hendler, one of the inventors of the Semantic Web and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation (moderator).

Members of the public are invited to submit and vote on questions until the day of the debate. During the discussion, viewers will be able to interact with the panelists by submitting follow-up questions and comments in real time. For details about this innovative event and how you can participate in the discussion, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu/launch.

Since its inception, the Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate, according to James Hendler, Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without new research aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web, opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities may be missed or delayed.

“If we want to be able to model the Web, if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth, and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, personal control over information, and respect for social boundaries, then we must pursue a research agenda that targets the Web and its use as a primary focus of attention,” Hendler said.

The Tetherless World Constellation will address this emerging area of Web Science, focusing on the Web and its future use. Faculty in the constellation will explore the research and engineering principles that underlie the Web, will enhance the Web’s reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and will develop new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web. They will use powerful scientific and mathematical techniques from many disciplines to explore the modeling of the Web from network- and information-centric views.

“Our goals will include making the next generation Web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy and social needs, whether in the area of privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, or provenance,” Hendler said. For more information about the Tetherless World Constellation, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu.

The Ford Foundation announced the election of N.R. Narayana Murthy to its board of trustees. Mr. Murthy is chairman of the board and chief mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited, an international software services firm based in Bangalore, India. He will join the board at its May meeting, which begins today. Ford Foundation trustees are elected by the full board and serve six-year terms.

N.R. Narayana Murthy

“N.R. Narayana Murthy is respected around the world as a pivotal leader in international business, key innovator in information technology and champion of strong corporate governance,” said Kathryn Fuller, chair of the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees. “He is deeply committed to the mission and values of the Ford Foundation and will play a critical role in advancing our efforts to improve lives and create opportunity for people throughout the world.”

Along with six other software engineers, Mr. Murthy founded Infosys in 1981. He served as the company’s CEO until 2002 and as executive chairman of the board and chief mentor from 2002 to 2006.

Mr. Murthy serves as an independent director on the boards of several global companies including Unilever, HSBC and NDTV. He is also a member of the advisory boards and councils of several educational institutions including The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, INSEAD, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Tokyo, Singapore Management University (SMU), Indian Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-B) and ESSEC Business School, Paris.
The recipient of numerous honors, Mr. Murthy was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, by the Indian government in 2008. The Government of France conferred upon him the Officer of the Legion of Honor in 2008 and Britain conferred upon him the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2007. In 2005, he was ranked among The Economist magazine’s list of 15 most admired global leaders.

Mr. Murthy joins a group of senior business leaders who have served as trustees of the foundation, including Henry Schacht, former CEO of Lucent Technologies, and Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group.

Ford Foundation trustees set policies relating to grant making, geographic focus, spending, investment, management, governance and professional standards, and they oversee internal and independent audits. Over the years, the foundation’s trustees have hailed from four continents and have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business, law, government and the nonprofit sector.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.

The French Trade Office in San Francisco has announced the beginning of the French Tech Tour (FTT). The week long mission will introduce 11 French technology startups to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. The 11 finalists were selected from over 24 applicants by 9 supporting companies including AT&T, Cisco, Ebay, Google, HP, Intel Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec. Backed by UBIFRANCE, the FTT focuses on bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Paris. The week of workshops and one-on-one interviews will also include a mini-conference on May 21st called Valley Talk: Make It or Break It where both French and U.S. startups will learn strategies for business success.

In its second year, the FTT has quickly gained recognition in both the U.S. and France. Referred to as the home of some of the best high tech clusters in Europe, French companies continue to raise the technology bar for their U.S. counterparts. Participation in this tour furthers the collaboration between the two countries. This year’s startup companies include:

Bobex – a leading B2B e-marketplace, active in 6 countries, makes markets more transparent by matching local buyers and suppliers for non strategic products & services.

Exaprotect – a provider of regulatory and audit compliance log monitoring, event management for threat detection, and change management to allow business policy based network configuration change.

DELCREA – the inspirer in resolving the challenges of email from both diagnostic to efficiency solutions for individuals to large companies. Their software brings an innovative approach to control, organize and secure email faster and easier while reducing time building knowledge bases from existing content, and eliminating all risk of compromising internal and external business sensitive data.

myERP.com – a complete web-based ERP solution using Google technology (GWT & Google Apps) and covering all functional fields of company management around a single database: CRM, Commercial Management, Logistics, Points of sale, Finance & Accounting, Purchases, Production, Quality.

Maeglin – a mobile phone software company specialized in peer-to-peer exchanges. At Maeglin, we free people’s mobile, with Pleex a Mobile social networking software that allows content back up & sharing.

Momindum – the technology leader in the creation of rich media presentation. Our software generates, from recorded speech, professional presentations using synchronized documents and indexed video; our rich media are capitalized in a base with deep-tagging technology.

Newscape Technology – the top innovator in software graphical engines on mobile devices to enable the development of new applications using massive 2D / 3D vector data, textures, Content / Advertising and topography.

Sinequa – a search specialist created with the vision that corporate information is complex, heterogeneous and poorly organized. Sinequa has built a corporate search solution that can access to all sources and applications, managing security, using linguistic and semantic algorithms to add context to information and to offer intuitive navigation combined with efficient search.

STG Interactive – has invented a way for everybody on the planet to create their own secure and user-friendly mini-site, called a “frogans,” located on the Internet via its frogans address. STG Interactive provides developers and Internet users with free standard technology for authoring and browsing frogans, and is the directory provider of frogans addresses.

TellMeWhere – the first local search engine where relevancy of results are guided by recommendations of people you can choose and where content can be enriched and corrected by end-users, provides a better alternative to current local search engines or directories.

Twinsoft – an actor in Enterprise Mashups whose flagship product, Convertigo Enterprise Mashup Server helps companies reuse their existing assets to build new and exciting WEB 2.0 composite applications for a fraction of the cost and time needed to complete software rewrites or traditional development.

Each company will hold one-on-one meetings with supporting companies’ corporate development teams, as well as interviews with media, training for presenting and demoing at conferences in the U.S. and introductions with some of the valley’s fast-growing startups.

The Valley Talk mini-conference will host keynote speaker Eric Benhamou CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures, Chairman of 3Com and former CEO of Palm. The show will include an in-depth talk with leading editor’s and analyst from CNET, Fortune, GuideWire Group and VentureBeat. Along with demonstrations from each company the event will conclude with a panel of leading executive in business development from sponsoring companies outlining what they are looking for in partnerships as well as potential acquisitions.

“Our goal is to build deeper relationships between the tech communities here in Silicon Valley and in France,” said Aymeril Hoang, Director, Information & Communications Technology, Embassy of France in the U.S. Trade Office. “By bridging this gap we can open the door to new opportunities for both countries. It’s as much about introducing Silicon Valley to the technology leadership in France as vice versa. Hopefully we are fostering and growing the big companies and partnerships of the future.”

The Internet Content Syndication Council (ICSC) issued a white paper entitled “Content Creation and Distribution in an Expanding Internet Universe” last week at the headquarters of the AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies). It was presented during the joint meeting of the AAAA’s Digital Marketing Committee and Search Engine Marketing Committee.

The 12-page study details the benefits of Internet Content Syndication to the four main constituents of the media industry: content creators, publishers, advertisers and users. The paper defines “Internet Content Syndication” as “The controlled placement of the same content on multiple partnering Internet destinations.” One the of paper’s main conclusions is that Internet Content Syndication offers a powerful solution to online audience fragmentation, a daunting problem facing online advertisers today.

The white paper was prepared by a working committee selected by the ICSC Board of Advisors and distributed to its membership for comment. The organization is comprised of market leaders in the rapidly expanding areas of Internet content creation, distribution, licensing, measurement and advertising sales.

Andrew Susman, chairman and founding member of the ICSC and CEO of Studio One Networks said, “The purpose of the ‘White Paper’ is to present in a clear and concise way the principles of Internet Content Syndication and the opportunities it offers those involved in today’s burgeoning online marketplace. Our heartfelt thanks to the council members for their valuable contributions.”

Microsoft Corp. has issued the following statement:

In light of developments since the withdrawal of the Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft announced that it is continuing to explore and pursue its alternatives to improve and expand its online services and advertising business.  Microsoft is considering and has raised with Yahoo! an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo! but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo!  Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo! at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo! or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo! or Microsoft or with other third parties. There of course can be no assurance that any transaction will result from these discussions.