The ABCs Of Aereo: Streaming Service Wants “Something For Nothing”, Former Top Federal Lawyer Says

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:31pm EDT

Editors Note: This is the second of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: An interview with former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who is serving as an adviser to the broadcasters in their case against the streaming service. 

Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

On April 22, Aereo and major broadcastersAereo case will have their day in the Supreme Court. Broadcasters will say Aereo is stealing their copyrighted material, end of story. The Barry Diller-backed streaming service that launched in early 2012 will say it merely rents antennas to consumers so they can watch TV that’s already available for free over the public airwaves. Both sides will be represented by lawyers who know the Supreme Court well. David Frederick of D.C. firm Kellog Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel LLP has more than 40 SCOTUS appearances notched on his belt and will handle defendant Aereo’s arguments. Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more 70 cases before the high court, will represent Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox and the other plaintiffs. He will have a half hour to make his points, unless the Justices give 10 minutes to the current Solicitor General’s office to argue on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Here’s the broadcasters’ argument from Neal Katyal, now a partner at international firm Hogan Lovells, who was picked by President Obama to serve as Acting Solicitor General from May 2010-June 9, 2011.

Senate Armed Services Committee Holds Hearing On Enemy CombatantsDEADLINE: So, let’s cut to the chase — what is this case really about?
KATYAL: I certainly think that streaming of the broadcasters’ signals is retransmission and blatantly violates the Copyright Law. Our case is can a company come along and yank broadcast signals out of the air and then package them and sell them to individual subscribers for a fee when the producers of that content aren’t compensated for it? The networks each year spend billions of dollars creating, producing, acquiring and distributing and marketing their content. Aereo is yanking the signals out of the air and selling them to people. So that’s what the case is about.

Related: Aereo Slammed One Last Time By Broadcasters Before SCOTUS Hearing

DEADLINE: Aereo would say that it complies with the Copyright Act and that broadcasters are trying to stem the use of innovative technology and stop the future from happening.
KATYAL: I think this idea that Aereo has some innovative new technology is an absolute red herring. The only thing innovative about Aereo is its legal strategy. It’s not people capturing the signal, its Aereo capturing the signal through antenna and then selling it to the entire American public and it’s Aereo who’s violating the Copyright Law by doing that. What Aereo is doing is grabbing the broadcasters’ signal from the air and then they’re retransmitting it. In 1976 Congress expressly said any device or process that retransmits a broadcast signal without the copyright holder’s permission is unlawful. So to me this is one of the easiest cases the Supreme Court is going to decide this year because it’s something that Congress settled. There maybe a number of interesting policy arguments about how we should have a different Copyright Law, but with respect to the Copyright Law we do have, it’s a very hard argument for Aereo. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Voting Glitch Fixed For Brazilian ‘Rising Star’; ‘Boom!’ Big In Israel; ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain; More

By | Thursday, 17 April 2014 06:00 UK

Brazil’s ‘Rising Star’ Glitch Fixed; ‘Boom!’ Blowing Up In Israel
The second airing of the local adaptation of Rising Star in Brazil went off without a hitch on Sunday after a glitch during the premiere last week meant boom!that some viewers were unable to enter their votes. Keshet International reports today that Superstar, as it’s known locally, had a 30% average audience share in its sophomore outing at 11pm Sunday on Rede Globo. The interactive app that allows viewers to vote whether an act moves ahead has been downloaded 1.4M times with 2.5M votes cast during Episode 2. Closer to home, Keshet’s super-hot Mip-TV format Boom! grew in its second airing on Israel’s Channel 2 last week with a 41.5% share; ratings were up across major demos as well. Boom! sold to the U.S. (Fox), France (TF1), Spain (Atresmedia), Hungary (TV2) and Belgium (VTM) during last week’s market in Cannes.

Cuarto Bringing Endemol’s ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain
Host in the BoxEndemol’s Host In The Box format has sold to Spain’s Cuatro, with Endemol producing locally. The factual entertainment format, created by Endemol Germany, previously sold to Hungary, where it aired for eight episodes on Super TV2; it originally launched on ProSieben in Germany. In each instalment, a different host is locked inside a wooden box and shipped off to an undisclosed location in the home country.

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Hot Trailer: Eli Roth’s ‘The Green Inferno’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 2:43pm PDT

Open Road Films is set to release the Eli Roth-directed The Green Inferno on September 5 after acquiring it at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. It’s Roth’s first directing gig since 2007′s Hostel 2, and he co-wrote the horror thriller with Guillermo Amoedo and produced the pic, which follows a group of students who travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a tribe from extinction. Unfortunately, the tribe has other plans for them. Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy and Daryl Sabara star. Here’s the first trailer, which promises some Roth-esque craziness but reveals none of it:

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Catty Philip Berk Memoir Prompts Leave Of Absence From Golden Globes Vote Body HFPA

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 6:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

berkEXCLUSIVE: After extreme pressure from other members over his memoir Signs And Wonders, four-term Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk has taken a six month leave of absence from the organization that is behind the Golden Globes. This happened last Friday, a compromise resolution to a problem that has been in the air since Berk published a book that covered his early days and especially the back and forth between HFPA members and celebrities involved in the Globes. Insiders said that the feeling among HFPA members was that Berk blindsided them with his book, took shots at them and a lot of Hollywood celebrities, and also took way too much credit for the success of the Globes. Perfectly positioned to be a tool during Oscar campaigns, the Globes has grown in prominence and TV ratings, even as some questioned whether the voting body has a right to wield such clout.

The leave of absence means that Berk loses his HFPA credentials for that long, though he can certainly go see movies on his own. The move was a compromise reached with current HFPA president Theo Kingma, who resisted calls for Berk to be given greater punishment. In addition to the leave of absence, Berk has been asked by Kingma to have the book de-listed from Amazon, which is selling it. The HFPA will get into this further, engaging with the publisher tomorrow.

“He wasn’t suspended, there was no vote by the members, because this is a journalist organization that respects the First Amendment,” said an insider. “Unfortunately, free speech covers stupid speech too.” Read More »

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Leonard Roberts Joins VH1′s ‘Drumline’ Sequel; Amazon’s ‘Cosmopolitan’ Recasts Role

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 6:16pm PDT

Leonard Roberts has been castleonardroberts in VH1‘s Drumline 2: A New Beat, co-written by Karen Gist and Regina Hicks. The sequel to the 2002 feature Drumline feature focuses on a new set of characters at a fictional New Orleans university. The story follows Danielle (Dani) Bolton, an upper-class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Louisiana so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drumline. Roberts will reprise his role of Sean Taylor from the 2002 pic. Fox TV Studios is co-financing and looking at the project as a possible back-door pilot. Leonard, repped by Greene & Associates and Evolution Entertainment, can be seen in upcoming features Any Day and My Favorite Five.

Related: 2014 Amazon Studios Pilots
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‘Sons Of Anarchy’ In Rearview Mirror, Ron Perlman Signs With Gersh

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 10:49am PDT
Mike Fleming

ron perlmanEXCLUSIVE: Gersh has signed Ron Perlman and his production company. After Hellboy and Sons Of Anarchy, Perlman is building the next chapter of his career. He’s not letting any moss grow under him since completing his superb turn as Sons biker club leader Clay Morrow. Perlman has optioned several screenplays, he is currently starring in and exec producing Hand Of God, a pilot for Amazon that Marc Forster is directing, and he has made a deal to co-write with Michael Largo the memoir Easy Street—The Hard Way that will be published by Perseus Books Group imprint Da Capo Press.

sonssI had the honor of being asked by Kurt Sutter to moderate the Sons panel that closed San Diego Comic-Con, and found Perlman to be so subdued and fatalistic about his character’s future on the show, almost seeming ashamed of what his character had done. Feeling he was losing his grip on the club (and not just because of the arthritis he tried to hide), Clay backstabbed Jax (Charlie Hunnam), his wife Gemma (Katey Sagal), and just about everyone else in the club, leaving bloodshed and a trail of bodies in his wake. It was impossible for the Comic-Con crowd not to feel like this was going to be his last hurrah. Now, the Emmy voters have been snobbish about Sutter’s series creation and have almost made it seem … Read More »

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Hulu Original Series Boss Charlotte Koh Departs Amid Shake-Up

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 4:03pm PDT

hulu5__131120195159-275x122Charlotte Koh, head of content development at Hulu Originals, has departed the streaming company. The move comes just more than a week after Hulu hired seasoned TV development executive Craig Erwich. The former president of Warner Horizon was tapped as SVP and head of content March 31, tasked with leading the content and programming strategy for Hulu and Hulu Plus as one of the first major hires by new CEO Mike Hopkins. TheAwesomesThat move apparently made things more crowded with Koh, who helped launch Hulu originals like animated The Awesomes (renewed for Season 2 to air this summer), comedy The Wrong Mans and docu-series Behind The Mask. (Koh unveiled 17 original series on tap for 2014 in a January blog post.) But that push came at a time when Netflix and Amazon made major strides establishing slates of network-quality comedy and drama series, and the hiring of Erwich signaled Hulu’s intention to become a major player in those arenas. The service’s most recent original series, comedy Deadbeat starring Tyler Labine, debuted today. It centers on a man whose life revolves around helping ghosts reach the afterlife. Read More »

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Amazon Studios Confirms Pilots ‘Cosmopolitans’ & ‘Hand Of God’

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 6:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

adam brodyronperlmanAmazon Studios traditionally doesn’t announce its pilots until they’re fully cast and starting production. That is why it this morning confirmed the first two pilots from its third pilot season — half-hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans, from Whit Stillman, and one-hour drama Hand Of God, from executive producers Marc Forster, Ben Watkins, Ron Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King. Both were greenlighted in January. The Cosmopolitans, about young American expatriates in Paris searching for love and friendship, stars Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny.  Hand Of God stars Ron Perlman as a hard-living powerful judge-turned vigilante and co-stars Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt. Yet to be confirmed are three other Amazon pilots ordered this year, single-camera comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and executive produced and directed by David Gordon Green,  Shaun Cassidy’s drama Hysteria and Samuel Baum’s dramedy Cocked. Here are detailed descriptions and credits for The Cosmopolitans and Hand Of God: Read More »

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MIPTV Briefs: Amazon’s ‘Cosmopolitans’ Drinks In Paris; UK’s Watershed Names Creative Director; ITVSGE On A Roll In China

chloe sevignyAmazon Studios‘ director Roy Price told attendees at a Mip keynote today that filming is starting in Paris this week on its pilot The Cosmopolitans. A chronicle of the loves and adventures of a group of young expatriates in the City of Light, it hails from The Last Days Of Disco filmmaker Whit Stillman who wrote and will direct and executive produce. The cast of the half-hour pilot includes Shaun Evans Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny and Carrie MacLemore. Read More »

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Duo Join Netflix’s New Thriller Drama Series; Trio Book Recurring Roles In Pilots

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 8:00pm PDT

Mia Kirshner (The L Word) and zuaiter1mikirshner1Waleed Zuaiter (Revolution, Homeland) have booked recurring roles on Netflix’s untitled psychological thriller drama from Sony Pictures TV. Written and executive produced by Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler (KZK), the 13-episode series centers on a close-knit family of four adult siblings (Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz) whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother (Mendelsohn) returns home. Kirshner, repped by APA, Wishlab and Characters, most recently shot a guest role on ABC pilot Clementine. Zuaiter, repped by Stone Manners Salners Agency and Ramos Management, will play Major Eckhardt, a mysterious authority figure in the Florida Keys who is having an affair with Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini). Zuaiter is coming off a starring role in the Oscar-nominated film Omar.
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WGA Sets New Contract Ratification Vote Online, By Mail & In Person

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:59am PDT

wga-logo__140128204911__140131020047__140205212542__140306212740__140307232618__140331211919Less than a week after reaching an agreement on a new three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers, the WGA today announced it’s bringing the contract to a membership vote (see the email to members below). “This year, ballots may be cast online, by mail (for those requesting a paper ballot) or at membership meetings in New York and Los Angeles on April 29, 2014,” said WGA West President Chris Keyser and Michael Winship, President, WGA East in an email to members. The union’s current contract expires on May 1. The duo also revealed that both the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council have unsurprisingly approved the new contract. Read More »

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MIPTV: ‘Bosch’s Michael Connelly On Shooting In LA, Feeling At Home At Amazon

mip tv logo 2The team behind Amazon Studios‘ series Bosch was in town on Monday, talking up the adaptation of Michael Connelly’s bestselling books. Connelly was flanked by Titus Welliver who plays the iconic antihero Harry Bosch, as well as producer Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment, and Jan Frouman and Irina Ignatiew of Fabrik owner Red Arrow. Amazon first ordered a pilot to be written by Connelly in June 2013, and the series was picked up last month. The books revolve around the eponymous veteran boschLAPD homicide detective. Connelly said the stories will be culled from three books with a mixture of new material that will be “true to the city of Los Angeles and the character of Harry Bosch.” The 10-episode series is set in contemporary LA and is all shot there, which was very important to Connelly when he agreed to the adaptation. He said his thinking was, “I’m not going to make a deal with anyone who doesn’t agree to make every shot in Los Angeles.” And the city was accomodating, “The real LAPD let us shoot in the real detective bureau,” the first time, he said, that’s been done.

Welliver said the character in the series is very true to the books. “He doesn’t say much, the silences and moments of solitude in the … Read More »

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Shorty Awards Winners Announced

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 8:52pm PDT

Jerry Seinfeld, Aaron Paul and Batkid were among the big winners tonight as the 6th annual Shorty Awards for the best in social media were handed out in New York. The trophy show, which this year added a category for best Vine video, honors various online video, business, entertainment, journalism and social-media stars. Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was voted best web show, while Paul was tapped as favorite actor Parks And Recreation‘s Retta took the actress prize. Other winners included Patton Oswalt, Paul Feig and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Will Ferrell picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Seinfeld’s taped acceptance speech. The full list of winners is after the jump:

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‘River Monsters’ Scares Up Biggest Season Debut In Animal Planet History

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 2:12pm PDT

River MonstersAnimal Planet‘s best-performing series returned Sunday with the network’s most-watched season debut ever — 1.7 million viewers. That includes the network’s best debut stats among 25- to 54-year-olds (915,000). Following the two-hour River Monsters season premiere, at 11 PM, Animal Planet’s first live aftershow, River Monsters: Live With Jeremy Wade, clocked 1 million viewers. The season premiere saw an 85% increase in Twitter activity compared to last season’s premiere, no doubt because theanimal-planet-logo two-hour episode was called “Amazon Apocalypse” and purported to investigate the 1981 sinking of the Sobral Santos II, which Animal Planet says is “one of the Amazon’s largest maritime disasters” with a many as 200 passengers losing their lives to “something mysterious in the waters.” Maybe not so mysterious: According to press reports the Sobral Santos II, overladen with more than 500 passengers and cargo, capsized in piranha-infested waters on the Amazon.  But Animal Planet bills River Monsters as “a weekly murder mystery” in which Wade travels the world in search of man-eating fish, in the hope of proving reports “as tall tales or frightening facts.”

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MIPTV: Social Experiments On The Rise As U.S. Buyers Hunt For Formats; Comedies Eye Comeback

mip tv logo 2Television executives are always on the hunt for the proverbial Next Big Thing, and for the past year or so, the Mipcom and Mip-TV markets have emerged as important hubs where some of the hottest new formats are unveiled. Following a strong showing at last fall’s Mipcom, Keshet‘s Rising Star sold around the world, including to ABC in the U.S. What will be the breakout format at Mip-TV which kicks off tomorrow? With the U.S. reality market yet to yield a new tentpole franchise since NBC premiered The Voice three years ago, and most established series more than a decade old, the necessity of finding reinforcements is ever more urgent and means execs need to be constantly vigilant as to where the new possibilities may be hidden. Likening the search to digging for truffles, Jennifer O’Connell, head of Core Media’s U.S. Television Division, says, “We’re really going to be sniffing around everywhere.” It’s important to keep a “very open mind to where a great idea can come from.” Regardless of the provenance, U.S. broadcasters are more apt to take a second look “if someone else did it first… It can be almost like an insurance policy,” she says.

keepyourlightshiningMost agree that the biggest proving grounds for new programming remain the UK, the U.S. and the Netherlands. Israel has also been coming on … Read More »

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Deadline Big Media 79 – The Amazon Streaming Box Podcast

By and | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 7:06pm EDT

Deadline Big Media podcast 79In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom wrap up the latest in the big Aereo case before the U.S. Supreme Court later this month, including briefs from an unexpected collection of supporters and financial backer Barry Diller’s comments on the TV service’s future if it loses. The two Davids also weigh Amazon’s rather tardy arrival as a purveyor of video-streaming devices with this week’s launch of the Amazon Fire TV; the Tribune Co.’s evolution as its digital wing buys one TV-oriented data company and relaunches another; and Discovery’s latest in a flurry of deals, as it launches a digital studio in partnership with two big-name Hollywood veterans, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Listen to the podcast in your choice of audio formats here:
Deadline Big Media podcast 79 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 79 (.M4A version)
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Q&A: Producer Colin Callender On His Next Chapter, Converging Theater, Film & Television And Taking On Harry Potter

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 1:21pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

callenderColin Callender‘s first producing effort, a nine-hour TV adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby launched UK’s Channel 4 and won him his first Emmy in 1983. After a stint as an independent producer in his native Britain, Callender joined HBO where he shepherded films and miniseries like Angels In America, John Adams, Maria Full Of Grace and American Splendor to the tune of 104 Emmy Awards, 29 Golden Globes, 3 Oscars, and top awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Since leaving HBO in 2008, he has kept a low profile. Having started his career in theater, as stage manager at London’s Royal Court Theatre, Callender returned to his roots and built a theater slate during a break from television because of a three-year non-compete with HBO. His first play ever as a producer was Nora Ephron‘s Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks, which was a hit last year. A year later, he is probably the busiest Broadway producer at the moment with three high-profile shows, Hedwig And The Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris, which already is sizzling at the boxoffice, Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina and Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth in his New York debut. Callender also has teamed with J.K. Rowling and British theater producer Sonia Friedman for an original stage play for UK theatre based on the Harry Potter stories. Read More »

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Media Stocks Pulled Down As Investors Unload Tech Holdings

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 4:17pm EDT

Stock arrow downThe tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 2.6% today, apparently reflecting fears that many companies — after soaring in 2013 — will report disappointing info on Q1 sales. The concern has been building: Netflix, for example, is down 25.7% over the past month. But it seemed to spread today, and soured the rest of the market with the Standard & Poor’s 500 -1.3% and the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index -1.7%. Viacom, down 2.8%, was the hardest hit Big Media company followed by Fox (-2.6%), Comcast (-1.8%), CBS (-1.7%), Disney (-1.5%), Discovery (-0.8%), Time Warner (-0.4%), and Sony (-0.3%). News Corp was the only gainer in the group, rising 0.1%. In the broader media universe, Barnes & Noble fell 5.4% — for an 18% drop in the two days since Liberty Media said it will sell 90% of its holdings in the book retailer. Tech-oriented media companies followed including Netflix (-4.9%), Pandora (-4.9%), Google (-4.7%), Facebook (-4.6%), Yahoo (-4.2%), RealD (-4%), and Amazon (-3.2%). Only a few media stocks appreciated. They include Madison Square Garden (+0.4%), which sold its Fuse TV network, and Scripps Networks (+0.5%) after Wunderlich Securities’ Matthew Harrigan changed his recommendation to “buy” from “hold.”

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Amazon Introduces $99 Streaming Device: Amazon Fire TV

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 12:23pm EDT

Amazon Fire TVHere’s Amazon‘s long-awaited answer to Apple TV — and other streaming devices including Google’s Chromecast and Roku TV. It’s a lot more expensive than the $35 Chromecast, but Amazon says that its Amazon Fire TV packs better technology and offers access to more services — including access to Amazon Instant Video, Netflix Showtime Anytime, Hulu Plus, and WatchESPN (but not HBO GO) — as well as potentially thousands of games. The Fire comes with 2GB of memory,  a quad core processor, and Amazon logodual band Wi-Fi. CEO Jeff Bezos boasts that the voice search feature “actually works” which means “no more typing on an alphabet grid.” The remote control works even if it isn’t pointed directly at the device. And for those who have state-of-the-art home theaters, it outputs 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. As you might expect from a data-driven company, Amazon Fire has a feature that tries to predict the movies and TV shows you’ll want, and buffers them so they’re ready when you are. It also offers the company’s X-Ray service that enables users to see info about movies, TV shows and music (including lyrics for karaoke fans) — but not its full array of retail products. It syncs with the Amazon Cloud Drive so users can access their personal photos and videos.

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