genius dispatch

Disputed Monkey Pics Do Not Belong in the Public Domain

Screen shot 2014-08-06 at 5.51.50 PM

So, imagine you are a photographer and you are taking some cute monkey pics. Suddenly, the monkey takes your camera away and – rather than getting perturbed – you allow the monkey to do his thing, takes some selfies. You finally get your camera back and go home to develop the footage, and it turns out to be really cute! (see above)

Now imagine that Wikipedia tells you that the photo doesn’t belong to you, because you didn’t click the button, the monkey did. What kind of bullshit is that? So does this mean that photos taken with a “selfie stick” don’t belong to me, but rather, to the public domain? I didn’t push the button, after all…

This is what happened to photographer David Slater’s photos of a monkey in Indonesia. Wikimedia has denied his repeated requests for the photo to be taken down, and Slater is forced to take the matter to court, even though going to court is going to be costly and time-consuming. Read More

Expert Thoughts

Here’s Why I Was Afraid to Look Up My Uber Rating

Mahbod Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

Yesterday there was this meme where you could look up your own Uber rating, see what the DRIVERS thought of YOU.

When I first heard about this, I was deeply offended. I was like, “wait WTF, so I am paying all this money to be judged?!”

I am still pretty pissed about it, I think I am going to switch to Lyft. That way, I don’t have to be analyzed, I can just fist pound with my bruh-bruh. I am not a piece of meat, I am a human being! I think it is pretty shameful that Uber even lets the passengers judge the drivers, but whatever, at least I am paying to objectify this dude. Read More

Expert Thoughts

“Bitcoin Is The Truth,” Says Rap Genius Founder Mahbod Moghadam

Mahbod Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

My introduction to Bitcoin came from the smartest living man. Balaji Srinivasan is the youngest General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Currently he is building a development wing for Andreessen—a project that, to my knowledge, no VC has ever undertaken. Ben Horowitz calls him “Young Einstein”.

Balaji is Indian, but has piercing green eyes. Looking at his face is hypnotic. He is a prodigy — he started teaching at Stanford when he was 26. The first time I met him, he took me to brunch in Williamsburg and we discussed asking Nas to record a diss track on this bitch-ass tech reporter whom we both loathe…

The conversation quickly turned to Bitcoin. Read More

Q&A

Rap Jesus: Ousted Genius Founder Mahbod Moghadam Finally Speaks

Mr. Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam might not be working at the startup he helped create (which was recently rechristened Genius) anymore. But he’s not going quietly — he recently revealed he’s working on a book about his time with the startup formerly known as Rap Genius.

We had to get some more details, so we emailed Mr. Moghadam some questions about his new project and his past experiences. Also check out this book teaser Mr. Moghadam shared with us from his upcoming tome, Genius Inc. Read More

Just Genius

Today in WTF Rap Genius News: $40M Raised, a Kanye West Redesign and Mahbod Is Writing a Book

Rap Genius cofounders Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory and Mahbod Moghadam.

When it comes to covering the tech industry, Rap Genius is the startup that keeps on giving. The average human can only take so many boring press releases about how a knockoff of Snapchat is going to change the world, you know?

But whenever the Rap Genius guys appear in public or sit for an interview, something bizarre happens. Today, for example, Business Insider broke the news that the annotation site has nabbed $40 million in funding from Ben Gilbert (as well as Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who is also an investor in BI) and that they’re changing their name to the catch-all Genius. Read More