Visiting Dignitaries

Alicia Keys Shrugs off Scheduling Snafus to Talk About Her New Storybook App for Children

(Photo: twitter.com)

Alicia Keys was having a pretty annoying Wednesday afternoon. Right before Betabeat was set to talk to Ms. Keys, she ran off to the bathroom, seemingly to escape  the incessant schedule changes a Flatiron PR firm kept throwing at her. The company had set up a series of interviews with the R&B songstress to promote her new iPad and iPhone app, The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee, but the junket wasn’t proceeding quite as planned.

The app is storybook adventure, filled with interactive narratives, piano playing and journal writing–fit for any kid with a little creative flair, or what we imagine Ms. Keys must have been like as a little girl. Read More

SOPA Opera

Megaupload Lawyer: Swizz Beatz Was Merely ‘Negotiating to Become the CEO’

The Beatz goes on.

The saga of Megaupload is really earning Betabeat’s “SOPA Opera” slug. To wit: Earlier this week, the New York Post reported that Swizz Beatz was the CEO of the rogue file-sharing company Megaupload. (The news was in the context of Megaupload’s lawsuit with Universal Music Group for using its clients, namely Kanye West, Will.i.am, and Sean “Diddy” Combs in promotional video called “Mega Song”.)

A few hours before the feds arrested four Megaupload executives and shut down the “cyberlocker,” Betabeat got confirmation from Swizz Beatz’s publicist, Phylicia Fant from the Purple Agency, that he was the CEO of the Megaupload. Betabeat also reached out to his agent at Universal Attractions, who did not respond directly to that question. However, as VentureBeat reports today, Attorney Ira Rothken, Megaupload’s “top lawyer,” says, “To my knowledge, Swizz Beatz was never involved in any meaningful way. He was negotiating to become the CEO, but it was never official.” Read More

SOPA Opera

Federal Prosecutors Shut Down File Sharing Site Megaupload for Piracy Violations

Mr. Schmitz from the "Mega Song" video

The Associated Press is reporting that federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down Megaupload.com, one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites. The indictment accuses the company’s founder and six others of violating piracy laws.

Earlier today, we reported confirmation from Swizz Beatz’s publicist that the recording artist is indeed Megaupload’s current CEO, but he did not found the company, which was started out of Hong Kong in 2005. [UPDATE: Megaupload’s lawyer now says Swizz Beatz was merely negotiating to be the CEO.] Kim Schmitz, a German entrepreneur and hacker, is the company’s founder.

Mr. Schmitz, whose aliases are listed as Kim Dotcom and Kim Tim Jim Vestor in the indictment, has run afoul of the law before. Authorities say Mr. Schmitz and three other suspects, including senior executives, are already in custody. Read More

SOPA Opera

Surprising New Figure in the Piracy Wars? Swizz Beatz, Megaupload.com’s Secret CEO

Incriminating evidence?

UPDATE: Federal Prosecutors Shut Down File Sharing Site Megaupload for Piracy Violations

UPDATE 2: Megaupload Lawyer: Swizz Beatz Was Merely ‘Negotiating to Become the CEO’

With all the blackouts and SOPA? PIPA? NOPA! chanting yesterday, we missed this exquisite gem of a revelation: Swizz Beatz, husband to Alicia Keys and producer-in-residence at NYU, also happens to be the CEO of Megaupload.com. [Ed note: Megaupload’s lawyer now says Mr. Beatz was only negotiating to the CEO.]

For the uninitiated, Megaupload is a service that lets users send and share large media files. It also happens to the site Betabeat used just last night to watch a, um, free version of the latest episode of “New Girl” since the ad-supported version was unavailable on Hulu. Under SOPA’s strict guidelines, we believe the punishment for such impudence is being drawn-and-quartered. Read More