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Thread: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire Alki David's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

   
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Good I am glad Pulse went after Alki. He was in the media essentially acting as though it was his company and he had input in the illusion. In fact, some on this board was even quoting him as a source of knowledge. I agree with this: Pulse, represented by Marty Singer and Todd Eagan, responds that David has hijacked the launch of the company and has similarly caused "immeasurable harm" to its "public relations, its reputation and brand. He should be made to pay enormous damages, for all the harm he has done to this company with his public statements. He tried to overshadow the importance of Pulse and take all the credit for something he does not even understand.

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    This is the latest from Alki Davids' side:
    (It's a complicated read!)

    John Textor and Pulse: hologram wannabes flounder under fire

    by Tom Paul Jones
    Update: The latest on legal action over the misuse of the patent for the premiere technology that produced the Michael Jackson hologram

    July 9, 2014 11:50 am


    UPDATE: The attempts by John Textor and his company Pulse to convince the entertainment industry that he has any claim to the technology that creates the only life-like hologram projections have continued, with a showy lawsuit and the continued claim that he was connected to the division of Digital Domain that produced the newsmaking Tupac Shakur animation at Coachella in 2012.

    “It’s laughable, really,” Hologram USA owner and CEO Alki David told TVMix.com. “He says his team created the effects in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button–they had nothing to do with it. He’s stealing the credit for the hard work of the effects wizards at Digital Domain–the very people he sent off to unemployment when he ran the business into the ground. Not a single person employed at Pulse including Textor are credited for any of the Digital Domain work on Benjamin Button.”

    The seeming nuisance suit filed by Textor against Hologram USA is over Hologram USA’s moves to protect its license to the patent that created the Michael Jackson hologram at the Billboard Music Awards in May. The suit bases its argument on the strange premise that because Hologram USA’s lawsuit uses the commonly accepted industry term “hologram” rather than the less descriptive, rarely used technical term, “2D projection through dark backgrounds,” that somehow obviates the validity of centuries of patent law. (Pulse’s site used the term hologram until two weeks ago–now all mentions have been changed to “hologram-like.”)

    David says his legal team is preparing a response to Textor’s suit and irresponsible public comments. Sources say defamation and libel suits are likely due to the nature of Textor’s unprofessional attacks and attempts to confuse the market place about Hologram USA’s license of the technology from Musion das Hologram.

    Sources also say Hologram USA is now working with several people who were key to Digital Domain’s biggest successes, so it seems likely there will be some very interesting revelations. A source from Textor’s camp verifies that Pulse’s claim to having creatted the animation of the poorly done holographic projection at the Billboard Music Awards was actually done by a consultant, Stephen Rosenbaum, ex-DD, who was the freelance VFX Supervisor on the Jackson project with Pulse. Rosenbaum and the San Raphael team were hired just for the Michael Jackson project on Pulse’s behalf.

    For a comprehensive view of the case so far read on:

    A new, more comprehensive suit has been filed against the producers of the Michael Jackson hologram performance at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May. The life-like performance caught the imagination of 11.5 million viewers and trended on social media for weeks afterward. At heart is the ownership of the innovative technology that gives the hologram experience its power.

    Hologram USA and Musion das Hologram Limited have filed the suit in the District of Nevada against John Textor and his Pulse companies and against the executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson, John Branca and John McClain. Also named in the suit are two companies using the name Musion that are not related to Musion das Hologram.

    Other parties involved in the infringement include Pulse Vice Chairman Rene Eichenberger and the beloved Swiss war zone surgeon Enrique Steiger, who appears to have been suckered in as an investor.

    The suit makes very clear who owns the patent to the technology, how the license to that technology is operated in the United States, and how the producers of the Billboard Awards event allegedly stole the patent, misrepresented themselves, lied to the courts, and announced their intention to continue to infringe on the patent going forward.

    The patent is for the only convincingly life-like, high definition hologram technology. It is made using an invention by Uwe Maas, owned by Giovanni Palma’s UK based company, Musion das Hologram, and controlled in the United States by Alki David’s Hologram USA in partnership with Musion das Hologram.


    “John Branca should be ashamed of himself,” David says. “His self interest has blinded him to John Textor’s criminality and he has once again piled more shame on to the Jackson Estate.”

    Hologram USA and Musion das Hologram first challenged the parties planning the Billboard Awards performance three days before the event on May 15, after news of the intended performance was seemingly leaked for promotional reasons. The next day they filed in Las Vegas for an emergency court order to stop the performance. At that hearing Textor testified that William James Rock, of Musion 3D, was not involved in preparing the hologram performance, and, indeed was not in Las Vegas. Read TV Mix’s complete account of the inspection here.

    Textor is the former CEO of Digital Domain, which went into a dramatic tail spin under his watch and finally into bankruptcy in 2012 (a year when he was reportedly compensated some $16 million by the company). There are numerous lawsuits and claims still pending connected to his tenure at the VFX company, many alleging fraud, including a $3 million dollar suit by Legendary Pictures and actions by the State of Florida, which wants the $20 million it gave Digital Domain to set up shop there back. (It was a project heavily pushed by disgraced Governor Charlie Crist).


    As Jeff Ostrowski of the Palm Beach Post commented on accusations of fraud against Textor: “John Textor’s Hollywood special effects studio [Digital Domain] specialized in making big-screen fantasy appear real. Taking a page from his company’s script, the relentless salesman created a vision so compelling that public officials suspended their disbelief.”

    Two investment companies, Iriquois and Kingsbrook, are suing Textor in New York State Supreme Court alleging “common law fraud, aiding and abetting fraud, negligent misrepresentations and omissions, negligence, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and civil conspiracy.”

    Eichenberger has also dragged Swiss hero Steiger–one of that nation’s most popular icons, practically royalty–into Textor’s dirty web by luring him to invest money in Pulse. Steiger is a darling of TED talks and the founder of SWISSCROSS–he’s distinguished himself as a battlefield surgeon in war zones across the globe. People with ties to Swiss banking circles are concerned the association with scandal ridden Textor could tarnish the Steiger’s reputation at home.

    On the day of the performance in Las Vegas, Judge Nancy J. Koppe in Las Vegas issued an order for an emergency inspection, and, court officers and the attorneys from all parties witnessed James Rock setting up the patented Hologram USA/Musion das Hologram rig for the hologram performance at the MGM Grand hotel. Rock explained to the inspectors that this was indeed the same technology at issue. This was videotaped, as was Textor’s over the top screaming freak out when he realized he’d been caught.

    James Rock, and his partner Ian Christopher O’Connell were involved in operating the license for an earlier incarnation of the company called Musion UK in Britain and Italy and were eventually sued by Palma and Maas for allegedly withholding money owed to the real patent holders and for allegedly falsifying documents about the ownership of the patent.

    “Giovanni Palma bought the patents from Musion UK when it went into liquidation. Rock and O’Connell created their misleading Musion companies and lost bids to get the patent twice in a UK high court and a court of appeals,” David explains. “Ian O’Connel and James Rock have been collaborating with companies led by John Textor’s Pulse, the Michael Jackson Estate and Cirque de Soliel illegally. Despite us having warned them several times.”

    Hologram USA has also sued Cirque du Soliel for its patent infringing Jackson hologram.

    The buzzy success of the Jackson hologram is a testament to the high quality of the Hologram USA/Musion das Hologram technology which produces life-life three dimensional representations of people. The technology builds on the 19th century magician’s trick called “Pepper’s Ghost” but renders it in stunning detail, without the need for glass or 3D eyewear. It stunned people at Coachella in 2012 when it was used under license by the effects company Digital Domain for a Tupac Shakur “resurrection” performance with Snoop Dogg.

    Textor has falsely claimed credit for that Tupac performance in marketing his illegal use of the patent for his Pulse companies.

    As the suit says, “Although defendant Textor continues to claim credit for the Shakur performance, he was not involved in its production; nor was he involved in Digital Domain’s licensing of the right to practice the Patents At Issue, which was required for that performance. It was only after that performance led to a surge in Digital Domain’s stock price that Textor started to associate himself with the Shakur hologram.”

    After the hologram performance at the Billboard Awards, Textor appeared in the press claiming credit for the creation of the technology as well.

    He even provided a diagram to USA Today that shows the technology he used to create the Jackson technology is identical to that in the patent held by Musion das Hologram.

    There is evidence that Textor knew he needed to license the technology ahead of the performance—there were negotiations with Hologram USA and Musion das Hologram in the months leading up the Billboard Awards, and Textor and his associates falsely claimed in the weeks leading up to the awards show that they had licensed the patent.

    In fact Musion 3D’s site claims it has a license of the patent, which both misleads producers seeking legal use of the technology and betrays the fact that the parties are aware that there are patent protections at play. And O’Connel and Rock continue to claim they are using the “Eyeliner” technology—a term specifically trademarked by Musion das Hologram.


    Another shadowy company called Musion Canada has emerged and seems to be copying Musion 3D’s use of Musion das Hologram’s IP and trademarks. It has been added to the suit.

    Textor also has made it clear he intends to continue to infringe on the patent, by telling the press he intends to stage resurrection performances of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley.

    David says his concerns go well beyond one-time infringement. As he told TV Mix: “By continuing to misuse the Musion and Eyeliner trademarks and fraudulently claiming they are obeying patent law, Textor, Ian O’Connell and James Rock are not just damaging Hologram USA’s business–they are trashing United States patent law and the reward for innovation that the entire concept of patents were created to foster.”

    The suit was filed by Craig Newby of McDonald Carano Wilson LLP of Las Vegas and Ryan Baker of Baker Marquart LLP of Los Angeles in the United States District Court, District of Nevada.

    David is also the CEO of FilmOn Networks which runs the largest streaming TV service with 40 million unique users a month. It has been in the news lately because of the Aereo case before the Supreme Court. While the decision, expected in June, will affect only a very small portion of FilmOn’s business the important distinction is that FilmOn’s streaming of free-to-air local and network television is free. David has been profiled recently by CNN, Esquire, and the Telegraph. (TV Mix is owned by FilmOn Networks).

    http://www.tvmix.com/john-textor-and...under-fire/123
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    It is a messy read because of the way it is written, how he flows from one idea to the next, and it is muddy whether some of the information are just what the parties are claiming vs actual facts.

    With cases like that I get a clearer picture of what is going on by looking at the filing and the response from the parties, because sometimes in such writeups you have the posturing of the parties like Alki saying Branca should be ashamed of himself. I just want to know facts--was the technology used the same, was it used without permission, who owns the technology, who owns the patents. All the other stuff about who worked for who, who went on tv to say what is of lesser importance to me. Just give me Textor's facts and David's facts.

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Not just Michael, but Homer Simpson as well...
    (I know this is slightly 'off topic' but I rather liked the sub-title to the article....)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Homer Simpson Hologram at Comic-Con Draws Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    The star of the long-running Fox series now has something in common with Michael Jackson

    Leave it to Homer Simpson to get 20th Century Fox into trouble for allegedly violating a patent.

    On Thursday, Alki David's Hologram USA filed a lawsuit that claims a 3D representation of the famous Homer at this year's Comic-Con convention in San Diego infringed its patented system to project three-dimensional images onstage.

    The plaintiff has sued before — most notably targeting a Michael Jackson re-creation at the Billboard Music Awards. David is also doing battle with Pulse Entertainment over his patent demands.

    But Hologram USA claims to hold rights to a new version of a 19th century stage trick called "Pepper's Ghost," which the company says was famously used to create the late Tupac Shakur performing at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival.

    On July 26 at Comic-Con, those associated with The Simpsons showed up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show and promote the new Simpsons World app, allowing fans to watch any episode of the show they want anytime. The lawsuit recounts a 45-minute panel discussion with the show's creator, Matt Groening, executive producer Al Jean and others. Near the end, Groening introduced Homer to the stage.

    Fox put the moment up on YouTube. (Find it below.)

    When Homer Simpson makes a joke about registration at Comic-Con, Groening replies, "I don't care. I get my free ticket from the hologram of Tupac Shakur."

    "As with the Simpson hologram, the Patented Technology was used to create the Tupac Shakur hologram," states the lawsuit (read here). "Unlike the creators of the Tupac Shakur hologram, however, Defendants did not obtain a license or any other authorization to use the Patented Technology for the Performance."

    James Brooks' Gracie Films also is a defendant in the case. Fox hasn't had a chance to review the complaint yet and didn't have immediate comment.

    The plaintiffs, including Musion Das Hologram and Uwe Maass, are seeking damages for willful infringement.

    A spokesperson for Fox says, "This filing is totally without merit and we have no comment except to say that once again, Mr. David has demonstrated his insatiable need to remain relevant."

    The lawsuit comes months after The Simpsons featured the issue of piracy in an episode. After being caught by a friend pirating a movie and given some direction, Homer responds, "Theaters? All I need to see this movie is a laptop and a website based in a country that's really just an offshore oil platform."

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr...-+Top+Stories)
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Here we go again^^

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Hmmm...One skirmish decided to AD: (The main fight goes on)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Michael Jackson Hologram Lawsuit: Judge Dismisses False Advertising Claim Against Alki David

    The fighting over who owns rights to resurrect deceased artists like Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe through holographic-like projection technology is far from over, but billionaire Alki David scored a legal success on Wednesday when he convinced a California federal judge to reject a false advertising claim that pertained to what the FIlmOn founder said during a CNN interview.

    David has bought Hologram USA and staked himself to the future of the technology, and around the time that the Billboard Music Awards featured a re-creation of Michael Jackson, he went on both a legal and publicity campaign. In court, David attacked those who had created the spectacle for allegedly infringing his patents rights. And through the media, he hyped the various applications for the projection technology. A day after the May 18 Billboard Music Awards, David gave an interview with CNN that aired with the caption, "Michael Jackson Hologram: How'd They Do It?"


    Pulse Entertainment then brought a $10 million lawsuit against him. According to the complaint, David "falsely claimed credit for creating and developing the visual effects spectacle in a nationally-televised interview on CNN."

    U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson notes that the allegation of misrepresentation is grounded in fraud and means that Pulse has the burden of specifying the statements it claims were false.

    During the interview, David made various colorful statements including:


    •"What you saw at the Billboard, you saw a digital head connected to an actor. We capture the body and the head in real time. And we have the sync marks and we can attach the two together"
    •"What you saw at the Billboard was ‘Super Michael.’ You saw Michael beyond the controversy, beyond the problems that he faced in his real life."
    •"There is no end to how you can apply this. All we really need to do is apply our imagination"

    But David didn't directly say, "I created the Michael Jackson hologram."

    The closest that happened is when his CNN interviewer asserted the "MJ likeness used at the Billboard Music Awards was created by Hologram USA.”

    Judge Wilson sees a difference.

    "Most of the obviously false and deceptive statements were made by CNN (or its interviewer) rather than by Defendants," writes the judge. "Even though Defendants participated in the interview, Pulse fails to plead sufficient facts to show that Defendants either knew of the false caption and interviewer’s statement before the broadcast aired or otherwise participated in their creation. The only specific statements attributed to Defendant were not materially deceptive. These statements related only to the methods used to create the Michael Jackson Animation, descriptions of the Animation, and statements relating to the potential uses for the technology used to create the Animation."


    CNN removed the interview from its website, but David republished the segment on websites and through his Twitter account. The judge says Pulse's false advertising claim fails as to the original broadcast, but raises the prospect of some liability through the reposting.

    "To the extent that Pulse’s false advertising claim relies on Defendants’ republication of the interview segment, it comes closer to meeting the mark," writes the judge. "By reposting the segment with the interviewer’s statement and caption, Defendants arguably adopted these false statements."

    But Pulse hasn't offered up enough details about exactly when and how the CNN interview got reposted, so for now, the false advertising claim fails there too. The lawsuit is dismissed with leave to amend, however, meaning that Pulse can try again.

    Also in the ruling, Judge Wilson rejects a reverse passing off claim and doesn't think that Pulse's claims belonged as counterclaims in the ongoing patent infringement lawsuit.

    http://www.billboard.com/biz/article...ertising-claim
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    OOOOKay so CNN said it but not David. I think CNN must have been fed that information from David for them to make those claims. Since the judge said by reposting the video the defendants adopted the false statements, I am wondering if Pulse is going to amend or will they just let this go? This somehow reminds me of when AEG claimed the e-mails were leaked by the plaintiffs, but did not prove their case.

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Atty Denies Conflict, Exits Michael Jackson Hologram IP Row

    By Aebra Coe
    Law360, New York (January 06, 2015, 7:13 PM ET) -- Alabama intellectual property attorney Larry Brantley told a Nevada federal court on Monday that billionaire Alkiviades David’s efforts to get him disqualified from a patent suit over a Michael Jackson hologram are “meritless,” but nonetheless withdrew from representing a defendant in the suit.

    David’s Hologram USA, along with Musion Das Hologram Ltd., has accused the Jackson estate and others of patent infringement over the hologram performance, which took place at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 18. The plaintiffs asked the court in...

    To view the full article, register now.


    http://www.law360.com/articles/60844...ologram-ip-row
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Update: Although this case generated a lot of court documents, there hasn't been much developments. Hologram USA kept adding more defendants to their complaint. Estate and other defendants argued they either did not infringe the patents or Hologram USA doesn't control the patents. Hologram USA asked to amend their complaint to add a third patent infringement claim and court allowed it. Now we'll see another round of responses from Estate and other defendants. Oh and some documents mention settlement talks so I guess anything is possible.
    Last edited by ivy; 05-03-2015 at 03:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Here is an update on the case that says settlement talks broke down. It's VERY ONE SIDED and when you get to the bottom you find that the web site that published the article is owned by Anakondo, who also owns Hologram, USA. So we can probably take this with a grain of salt.




    John Textor and Pulse Evolution Told to Beat It Over Michael Jackson Hologram Suit

    by Jeff Stevens
    The embattled ex-Digital Domain CEO loses last chance to save his new company, amid massive $100 million fraud suit in Florida

    March 16, 2015 6:56 am
    hologram pulse

    After months of negotiations, bizarre attempts to distract the courts and the media, and increasing unhappiness from within his own board of directors, John Textor has bungled what might have been the last chance to save his embattled company, Pulse Evolution.

    Based on irrational behavior, unreasonable demands, and a seeming desire to drive his current company into the ground the same way he destroyed legendary VFX house Digital Domain when it was under his leadership, Textor and Pulse have been told there will be no more negotiations to settle the patent theft suit brought against it by Hologram USA.

    It all stems from the now famous Michael Jackson hologram performance at the Billboard Music Awards in May of 2014. Textor and Pulse, after initially seeking to partner with Hologram USA, holder of the patented technology that creates the in-demand high definition 3D projections, decided to attempt to go it alone without proper technicians, or any permission, to use the technology. Despite many warnings, Textor and Pulse went ahead—and acted surprised when Hologram USA sued them for patent infringement.

    Textor’s attempts to distract reporters and judges alike involved a flimsy lawsuit against Hologram USA owner Alki David for giving an interview about the technology to CNN. That lawsuit was tossed out once and for all in January.

    At the same time, the disgraced ex-Digital Domain CEO embarrassed himself by asking for a restraining order against David in Florida, claiming that the Greek billionaire had threatened his life, based on a handful of playful Instagram posts. Never mind that the whimpering Pulse boss resided in Port St. Lucie, FL, and David was spending his usual half year on his island in Greece at the time.

    Just to make those claims even more comical, at his request, Textor visited the Beverly Hills offices of Hologram USA in February—sitting across the table from David to discuss business, including the potential resolution of the patent litigation between Hologram USA and Pulse. Hologram USA had recently settled a patent infringement claim with Fox TV related to the Homer Simpson hologram at Comic-Con in July 2014. At the meeting Textor had no weapons and no body guards. IN spite of the meeting, it now appears that settlement of the patent dispute is not likely.

    Textor has had a hard year. In addition to the battle with Hologram USA, he faces accusations of fraud and “operating a ponzi scheme” over his Digital Domain boondoggle in the Sunshine State (See the Wall Street Journal’s report here). He’s being sued for as much as 100 million dollars by the state of Florida and the various towns he took cash and land from while promising to create jobs even as he was driving the legendary VFX house into the ground. He’s also being sued by European and Saudi investors for tens of millions of dollars.

    Pulse Entertainment is a company based solely on producing “celebrity resurrections” via hologram technology it has no rights to use. Though it has announced projects involving the likeness of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, there is no explanation of how it will produce any shows without access to the technology that makes it happen.

    Meanwhile Hologram USA has gotten the Prime Minister of India elected, spirited Julian Assange into America for a conference and teleported Jimmy Kimmel from Hollywood to Nashville for the CMAs. It has also announced touring stage shows featuring holograms of Liberace and Buddy Holly.

    (TV Mix is owned by Anakando Media Group which also owns Hologram USA).


    http://www.tvmix.com/john-textor-and...ogram-suit/123

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    ^^

    ehehe he loves to publish his version of events. Yes settlement talks didn't produce any results. So the parties now filed their demurrer requests.
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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    A bit more history...but seemingly no more progress as yet.....

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hollywood Hologram Wars: Vicious Legal Feud Behind Virtual Mariah, Marilyn & Mick

    By Eriq Gardner | May 28, 2015 4:01 PM EDT

    Every day, a small Beverly Hills showroom plays host to a who's who of global celebrities. Michael Jackson and Ray Charles sing and dance. Jimmy Kimmel cracks jokes. WikiLeaks' Julian Assange might be holed up in London, but he's also here brooding alongside Edward Snowden. They're all hyper-realistic holograms, part of a showcase for a tantalizing technology that has the potential to dramat*ic*ally alter the entertainment business by reviving dead stars and allowing living ones to be in multiple places at any given moment.

    "I had Al Pacino knocking on the door twice in one week to see it," says Alki David, the Greek billionaire who owns the showroom and, he says, the technology behind the holograms. "Every time a celebrity or someone from the industry comes, they're sold."

    The potential for holograms in Hollywood is nearly limitless. "Live" shows of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra are in early development. Kimmel beamed in via hologram CMA Award winner Kacey Musgraves from Nashville for an inter*view in his Los Angeles studio, suggesting a future in which actors can promote their films everywhere at once. Universal is using the technology in a new Fast & Furious theme park attraction. A comedy club in upstate New York is planning hologram shows of stand-ups from various eras. "The potential is enormous," says Jonathan Faber, a licensing expert at the Luminary Group. "Can it exceed tens of millions? Oh yeah, for sure. Can it reach a billion? Maybe."

    But for all its promise, hologram technology has been slow to achieve mass adoption. The main reason? An explosive legal fight of international scope between two rival hologram companies using a similar illusion. A review of thousands of court documents and interviews with those involved, many speaking publicly for the first time, reveals allegations of corporate backstabbing, theft, sabotage and even cyberstalking. Front and center is David, 47, who has poured $15 million into holograms and has teamed with Uwe Maass, a German inventor living in Dubai, and Giovanni Palma, an Italian businessman who in 2013 emerged as the winner of a strange auction after "Tupac" performed onstage during the Coachella music festival. The surprise appearance by the deceased rapper captured global headlines. Soon, a power strug*gle erupted at Maass' company Musion, which had licensed the technology for the Coachella event. As a consequence of the struggle, Musion was put into a form of bankruptcy in the U.K. and its patents were auctioned, which is how the technology landed in Palma's hands and then David's.

    Enter John Textor, 48, a controversial figure who worked on the Tupac spectacle but lost the bidding at the Musion auction. Now he's heading another company, Pulse Evolution Corp., which made a splash with a Michael Jackson hologram at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. With bragging rights over Hollywood's brave new world hanging in the balance, David and Textor have been engaged in a vicious legal spat, referring to each other as "sociopaths" (David recently posted a picture of Adolf Hitler on Instagram and tagged Textor), with litigation in three states.

    In Nevada, David's Hologram USA is suing Textor's Pulse for patent infringement. A few days before the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, Hologram USA filed an emergency motion asking a judge to stop the Jackson performance. The judge wouldn't allow that, but he did permit David's company to inspect the apparatus behind the hologram to check whether his technology was being stolen. The evidence gathered could be key to litigation that will determine who profits from next-generation holograms and how widespread they become. Upon finding out that David was suing him, Textor wrote in an email message to others, "He started World War III."

    The hologram technology at the center of all this fighting and curiosity is a derivation of an 1862 illusion from scientists John Henry Pepper and Henry Dircks called "Pepper's Ghost." In its most basic form, there are two rooms -- one seen by viewers, the other hidden in the background. The object is placed in the hidden room, and the magic comes by reflecting this object off of a carefully hidden glass surface at a precise 45-degree angle. Pepper's Ghost has been used everywhere from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion to a scene in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.

    In the mid-1990s, Maass, then an electrical engineer in his native Germany with an interest in optics, was staring at the reflection of a pack of cigarettes hiding behind the dashboard of his car when he had a bright idea for a new way to execute Pepper's Ghost. He began experimenting with special foil instead of glass, and high-definition cameras to project two-dimensional images into a three-dimensional stage set. Technically speaking, it's not really a hologram. It's just a reflection with a holographic feel.

    After registering patents, Maass struggled to figure out a way to commercialize his invention. The first customers were magicians. "David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, they all came in the first year," says Maass. "They saw the beauty. They wanted to buy the patents."

    Maass declined then eked out a living helping to produce small shows and selling foil, until 2001, when he moved from Germany to Dubai to be with his wife. There, he met James Rock, a British businessman operating a small audiovisual events company. Rock brought along a drinking buddy named Ian O'Connell, who had developed a specialty in licensing worldwide publishing rights to magazines. The three agreed to work together.

    Musion's initial break was working with the band Gorillaz, which had created cartoon personas for its members. The "virtual band" needed a way to perform live at the 2005 MTV European Music Awards in Portugal and found its vehicle in Musion's holograms. Sitting in the audience was Madonna, who, according to O'Connell, ran back to her management and demanded to use the technology for her performance at the 2006 Grammy Awards (she appeared alongside the Gorillaz).

    Musion decided to reorganize itself and hired a consulting firm to come up with a plan. The result was a complicated arrangement that divided rights and revenue for Maass, Rock and O'Connell in geographic regions and set up multiple derivations of the London-based company. The arrangement was a recipe for trouble. Shortly after the Tupac performance, Indian prime min*ister candidate Narendra Modi wanted to present a hologram of himself at some 4,000 events around the country. The project was worth upward of $10 million for Musion, and one of Modi's speeches on Dec. 10, 2012, is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for most simultaneous broadcasts of the Pepper's Ghost illusion. But dissension among the partners erupted.

    O'Connell thought he had these rights and demanded that Maass cease any interference. Maass has a different take. "They asked me to do the big election," says the inventor. "I spent three months in India training 2,000 technicians."

    Then, the situation got really ugly. "James and Ian were beating each other up in the office -- physically," says Maass. "James said, 'I can't take it anymore. We have to kick Ian out.' I was ready to move to London to take over."

    Says O'Connell: "It was like a tiger smelling meat outside of his cage. Uwe was the tiger, and the cage was Dubai. He picked his moment to move and convinced James to remove me from the board."

    Maass alleged he hadn't been properly paid under the agreement that carved up worldwide rights and attempted to terminate the contract. In turn, O'Connell alleged breaches and unpaid sums on Maass' part and presented a petition to wind up part of the company. The company was put into administration, which O'Connell says was an attempt by his business partners "to strip assets" and get him out of the picture. "Uwe's plan was something out of a Hollywood movie -- getting James on board, remove me and bleed out the company," says O'Connell.

    Though Maass and Rock initially were together, it didn't last. "James was jilted at the altar," says O'Connell. Administrators decided to explore a sale in light of a lack of available funds and disputes among the partners. Both Maass and O'Connell made bids, as did Palma, who, according to Maass, discovered Musion on the Internet, became an Italian licensee then saw an opportunity to strike.

    The administrators were set to accept Palma's offer for £300,000 when a new bidder suddenly emerged. Textor, whose own company was an American licensee and who knew Rock, offered $1 million. Textor had made his own fortune in the 1990s investing in tech companies alongside director Michael Bay, who was his fraternity brother at Wesleyan University. After the dot-com crash, Textor began scouting for something new to do, and in 2006, his Wyndcrest Holdings company bought James Cameron's onetime visual effects company Digital Domain, which did postproduction on many hit films including Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and his investment partner Bay's Transformers series. For a while, things were looking up for Digital Domain, with an IPO in 2011, a huge campus in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and a burgeoning new business opportunity as evidenced by the Tupac hologram. But Textor got involved with aggressive lenders and was unable to stave off bankruptcy for Digital Domain. He's now facing a lawsuit from the state of Florida that calls Digital Domain a "ponzi scheme" that cheated taxpayers out of more than $80 million in grants. Textor says the suit is politically motivated.

    As for why he decided to bid on Musion assets, Textor says he was merely interested in "patents that had more optic value than actual value" and found the whole process weird. "Imagine you take a company into bankruptcy and then you buy it back in bankruptcy," says Textor. "That's not even legal in Delaware."

    Though Textor was offering more money, the administrators saw Palma as a safer bet. In September 2013, the administrators announced a "contract race," with a deal going to whoever provided the essential elements for the sale first. Palma was quicker on the bank wire than Textor -- getting $439,000 in funds ready and immediately traveling from Italy to London -- so he was declared the winner.

    That victory soon would belong to Hologram USA -- a partnership among Palma, David and Maass -- though the latter says he's now happy to take a backseat as David fights with Textor. "I've been fighting for 19 years," says the inventor. "I'm tired."

    Now with a splashy showroom, Hologram USA is busy cutting deals with the likes of Fox, ABC and Viacom, it says, and with estates such as Liberace's for an upcoming tour. "Nothing is the same as being live," saysJourney Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center that will run the Hologram Comedy Club in Jamestown, N.Y. "There's so much to comedy to appreciate besides the mechanics of a joke. There's the delivery and tone and inflection and the facial expressions, and I think holograms have the potential to instill that appreciation."


    Producers of hologram shows are not constrained by old footage. For example, the performances of Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson really were actors hired to perform as them. Producers then used image capture and CGI technology to re-create the likenesses of the deceased stars then projected the digitally enhanced images in 3D using the derivation of the Pepper's Ghost illusion.

    The problem for Hologram USA is that while it boasts to potential business partners of owning the next big thing in holograms, so does Textor's Pulse. "They have Liberace, great," says Textor, referring to deals made with celebrity estates. "We have Elvis and Marilyn and Michael."

    Days before the 2014 Billboard awards, David learned through the media that a Jackson hologram would be performed. He, along with Maass, filed a patent infringement suit against Pulse, Textor, Rock, O'Connell and the administrators of the King of Pop's estate, asserting the exclusive rights to the projection system being used. (He also sued the owner of Billboard and THR, before voluntarily dismissing it.)

    For David, this has become personal. He doesn't bring a geek's edge to the entertainment business as Textor does. He's more P.T. Barnum than George Lucas. For years, David has taken the fortune he made as an owner of one of the world's biggest Coca-Cola bottling companies and has been wholly investing in his id. He's done stunts like filming a fake assisted suicide, but also is visionary enough to see what the younger generation has been doing on YouTube. Before Aereo even came along, David founded a TV-streaming company called FilmOn and got sued for violating the copyrights of the major TV broadcasters. David doesn't like to back down from a fight, and he has won many fans and a few highly placed enemies (particularly at CBS) for calling out hypocrisy in the industry when he sees it. (He once called Leslie Moonves and Sumner Redstone "thieving liars" for owing a subsidiary that distributed file-sharing software.) As for holograms, which David discovered from a friend who works on Howard Stern's show, he's become very protective. "I did my research and got a lot of information before going in on this," says David. "I realized it would be quite an uphill struggle to defend the patents."

    Around the time that the lawsuit was brought, the parties involved in the fracas began exchanging texts and emails from each other. Textor wrote about being "within an inch of a friendly deal" and reminded David that he was "licensed to use the patents for a few more months" through his old arrangement with Musion. As Maass attempted to calm everyone down, David repudiated any license. "You have continually attempted to usurp me and the company by trying to deal with Musion," wrote David. "Personally, I do not trust you."

    David claimed in emails to others that Textor defamed him to the estates of various artists, who don't control the hologram technology but do own the rights of publicity of deceased stars (rights typically are acquired for "significant six-figure sums," according to Faber, with contingent profits boosting upside for celebrity estates into the millions). So if Hologram USA wants to create a Bob Marley hologram, it needs to ask the late reggae star's heirs, which becomes difficult if they are told about David's past pranks, litigation and more. That said, just after the filing of the patent lawsuit, David sent a text to Textor that proposed, "Leak to the press that you have reached a last-minute agreement with Alki David and Hologram USA to let the show go on without acrimony. … Do this and I'll drop the lawsuit."

    No such announcement came, and David has gone public with the feud -- specifically to social media, where, nearly every chance he gets, he tweets out news of Textor's troubles, such as Florida's battle over Digital Domain. David also has posted an image on Facebook where he brandishes two guns with the caption, "Come at me, bro," which Textor has interpreted as being a threat to him. Lawyers for David also have begun sending letters to companies seeking to do business with Pulse or Musion, informing them that Hologram USA owns the hologram technology. Disney has been exploring using a Star Wars hologram in connection with the release of The Force Awakens in December and may have received one of those letters. Hologram USA also brought a patent infringement lawsuit against Fox over a Homer Simpson hologram at last year's Comic-Con. In April, Fox settled the case.

    In response, Textor has gone to a Florida court and obtained a protection order against David over alleged harassment and cyberstalking. After Textor complained of the "continuous reposting and sharing of old stories" as well as an interview that David gave in which he said he would "have killed" Textor if he could, a judge granted Textor's motion.

    David now is appealing the ruling, arguing that Textor has abused Florida's cyberstalking statute to gain leverage in the business dispute over holograms. The ACLU has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief that argues of the bad free speech precedent of a "sweeping temporary injunc*tion that makes it illegal for [David] to say virtually anything online about [Textor]."

    Textor also filed then withdrew a second lawsuit alleging that David defamed Pulse by claiming credit for the Michael Jackson hologram on CNN. From time to time, both sides express optimism of a settlement, but brief moments of positivity haven't been able to trump a highly personal feud. Textor says David doesn't really understand the technology, while David says his archenemy is an "absolute sociopath" whom he is "going to torture" as long as possible.

    In Nevada, the scene of the highest-stakes patent case, Textor's Pulse is defending itself three ways. First, Pulse is arguing that its Michael Jackson hologram setup actually was different from the technology that Hologram USA claims to own. Textor stresses the key isn't the Pepper's Ghost illusion but rather improved ways to present digital likenesses, which Textor has been working to perfect since Digital Domain did postproduction work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (the film won an Oscar for makeup even though the central character wore very little makeup). Pulse also argues a 19th century Pepper's Ghost illusion is in the public domain. A third argument claims that even if the Jackson hologram stepped on Maass' invention, Textor's licensing deals sur*vived the bankruptcy proceedings in England. A decision by an arbitrator in September endorsed the view that Musion's licenses remain in effect, though Hologram's attorney says Pulse can't identify licenses issued to it.

    On the other side, David argues that "the life-sized projection of a 3D image" is the crucial feature. His lawyers point to an article in USA Today and an accompanying diagram, which Textor allegedly contributed, indicating that the Jackson spectacle was refined from Pepper's Ghost. There's also the involvement of Rock, Maass' ex-partner captured on video working on the Jackson hologram, who allegedly admitted during the inspection of the 2014 Billboard Music Awards that the setup was based on the patented technology. (Rock didn't respond to a request for comment.)

    With Hollywood wait*ing to pounce on holograms, O'Connell believes that David's aggressive (and still unresolved) litigation might be stymieing the development of a lucrative new business, one that could have billion-dollar implications for entertainment. His licensees have been getting Hologram USA's cease-and-desist letters, and he adds, "We've lost over 1,000 contracts."

    ***

    'Personally, I Do Not Trust You'
    Text and email messages revealed in court show how a potential business relationship can go sour in a hurry.

    Textor: "We seem to be within an inch of a friendly deal that would allow us to have a lot of fun together … then this. You are aware that I am licensed to use the patents for a few more months."

    David: "There is NO deal between Pulse and Hologram USA. You have continually attempted to usurp me and the company by trying to deal with Musion. … Personally, I do not trust you."

    Maass: "I think we all have to sit on one table. [sic] No one should do anything without asking the other side."

    Textor: "I assume you are aware that Alki did not follow your advice. He started World War III."

    Palma: "I strongly believe an agreement can be reached without involving lawyers."

    David: "FYI … Hologram USA, Inc. et al v. Pulse Entertainment, Inc. et al."

    Textor: "You should just try to be nice for a change. Life is better that way."

    David: "I am not interested in doing business with you on the United States or Canada. You attempted to ruin my deals with the Marleys and others."

    http://www.billboard.com/articles/ne...marilyn-monroe
    Last edited by myosotis; 08-06-2015 at 07:12 PM.
    'We may not change the world in one day but we still can change some things today, in our small way.'[/SIZE][/SIZE]

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    The case about the Cirque MJ One hologram has settled. Settlement details are confidential and sealed. It looks like for the Billboard (STTR) hologram, there will be a settlement conference mid august.
    Twitter : Ivy_4MJ

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    Hologram USA also brought a patent infringement lawsuit against Fox over a Homer Simpson hologram at last year's Comic-Con. In April, Fox settled the case.
    It was inevitable a settlement would occur with other defendants in similar suits.

    The settlement conference in August for VV should be interesting.

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    Default Re: Michael Jackson Hologram Conjures Billionaire's Patent Lawsuit (Exclusive)

    There's a long and interesting article this week about the difference between real (laser) and artificial (pepper's ghost) holograms ie Alki David vs. 'science':

    http://www.vulture.com/2015/08/alki-...-business.html
    I'll just quote a few selected paragraphs:

    David says he has so far invested $20 million toward making this a reality, with more money yet to be spent. He has a company, Hologram USA, which he started in 2014 after buying the patent for the technology that created the Tupac Shakur hologram that performed at Coachella in 2012, and he’s aggressively sued for patent infringement against Fox and Cirque du Soleil. David intends to put on shows featuring digital likenesses of Ray Charles, Richard Pryor, Jim Morrison, Liberace, Mariah Carey, and other dead or otherwise past-their-prime performers. And he has, he believes, foolproof plans to get these apparitions to materialize for paying audiences. “I’ve got deals in place,” David says, leaning forward in his chair. “I’m in with the Apollo in Harlem, the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles, and the hologram comedy club at the National Comedy Center in upstate New York is opening next year. I’ll pay to retrofit venues and theaters across the country with the technology to deliver holographic shows. My digital holdings — social media and websites — have over 70 million monthly uniques. The pipeline is being built.” He leans back. “It’s just a matter of time.”

    But blow away David’s smoke, cast aside his mirrors, and focus on the holograms: celebrities, dead or alive, performing at the press of a button. He has the distribution, the technology, the licensing deals, and the money to make a feasible go of it. (As well as imminent plans to put on a Lil Wayne multimedia show and another Chief Keef holo-gig.) What he doesn’t have, though, are holograms.

    We’ll have true hologram shows,” says Jim Steinmeyer, “when I get a jet pack and fly to the moon.”

    Steinmeyer, 56, is a respected designer of magical illusions and theatrical special effects. Working with David Copperfield, he made the Statue of Liberty disappear. On Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, he engineered the Beast’s climactic transformation into a man. He’s tetchy on the subject of holograms. “A hologram is a three-dimensional image formed using laser light,” he says, “and I’m not aware of anyone in the entertainment industry using those.”

    Right now, though, it’s not easy to go see a high-quality hologram, and even harder to see one that dances or sings or does any of the other things that fleshly celebrities do. There’s a static Bob Marley hologram at the MIT Museum, and there were some excellent holographic representations of Fabergé eggs in St. Petersburg, Russia, last year. In New York this summer, there’s a small exhibition of holographic art on Governors Island. Currently, mass-entertainment versions of holograms are hamstrung. “The problem is scale and motion,” says scientist V. Michael Bove, the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Object-Based Media Group and an expert in holography. “You can make a small static hologram pretty easily. To make a big one that moves, you need powerful color lasers, you need 3-D modeling, and you need to be able to be taking 24 to 30 photos of it per second. And what are you reflecting the images off of? It’s impractical and expensive, and we’re still a ways off from making that truly accessible.”

    So, until that happens, we’re using optical illusions. Hologram USA’s version of Pepper’s Ghost employs stretched translucent foil as a reflective surface rather than glass, allowing more flexibility across a stage. A motion-captured performance is then projected through that foil. In the case of dead celebrities, a digital rendering of an artist’s head is superimposed on an impersonator’s body. “It’s what we understand holograms to be in this day and age,” says David. “It’s a two-dimensional image that looks 3-D,” says David. “It’s better, in fact. The very first motorcar: That’s what the early Pepper’s Ghost technology was like. What we’re doing is a Ferrari. One is completely undesirable in today’s world, the other is very desirable.”

    The deeper question, to my mind, is not whether one version of what we call a hologram is more desirable than another; the question is where the limits of that desire lie. Ultimately, what is a hologram good for? “Seeing a glowing Tupac,” says Steinmeyer, “does that make the performance more vital? A good show is a good show. The hardware you’re using to achieve it doesn’t change that fact. If I said to most producers, ‘We’re going to put up a Mylar screen and project an image of Michael Jackson that’s sort of dimly lit and have an impersonator dancing offstage,’ you’d just go, ‘Stop, stop, stop.’ Why is that better than a movie about Michael Jackson’s life?”

    I’m curious, after talking with David, to see how people without a deep financial interest and a blaring bullhorn are using holograms. So I take the ferry from South Street out to Governors Island, where a gray-haired man named Sam Moree is sitting in rumpled black clothes behind a desk, staring out the window of a clapboard house. “I’ve been here since 1975,” he says by way of introduction, and by that he means, I assume, making holograms. We’re in the temporary installation of the Holocenter, a small organization for which the 69-year-old Moree teaches the art of holography. The wood flooring is dirty, and paint is peeling from the walls. Moree asks me to follow him as he shuffles into the adjacent room.

    My eyes go wide. Here’s a thick swath of rainbow light hovering in space. There’s an explosion of 3-D color against the wall curling and writhing. Moree waves me over to a framed image in the corner. It’s a woman, not a famous one, glowing a translucent green. Her skin sprouts branches and leaves. She’s weirder and more vivid than the celebrity holograms I’ve seen, and I can’t articulate why she’s so entrancing. Then Moree does it for me. “It doesn’t look,” he says quietly, “like anything you’ve seen before.”
    'We may not change the world in one day but we still can change some things today, in our small way.'[/SIZE][/SIZE]

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