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History on the Block-Brother Can You Spare $400 million?


4 minute read

History on the Auction Block…DC Comics 1934 to 2014

As a young comic book collector, I often dreamed of finding a comic book horde.

Not a small pile of books with a few 1940s and 50s books in it, but a real stash, one that movies are written about. A collection of books that as you look through the pile you see Action #1, #2, Detective Comics #27 and Worlds Finest #1, the Flash #1, and Wonder Woman #1. That is the kind of treasure I, along with every collector in North America, wanted to find.

I had an aunt once who did have those books, and she clearly remembered saving them until her parents threw them away. She did say she would have given them to me as I was her favorite nephew….

This week, amidst the Covid 19 panic, pandemonium pandemic, the impossible is about to happen.

Ian Levine, an internationally known comic book and music ephemera collector, is auctioning off EVERY DC Comic book published from 1934 to 2014! The total number of books exceeds 40,000! Now, all of these books are the best possible, they are the most rare, most sought after, most significant of all comics. And ONE person, institution or archive will become caretaker to history.

Many professionals, collectors and fans have spoken of the magnitude of this Sotheby Auction with awe.

Paul Levitz, in his Facebook post, spoke of assisting Levine with his quest:

So a story of a quiet day at DC…I think it was over the holiday break, before the company closed for those days. Happened on an ad in one of the comics trades, probably Comic Buyers’ Guide, from a guy who was trying to assemble an absolutely complete DC collection. He was down to hunting some pretty obscure stuff, odd issues of romance and war titles, and many of our ‘custom comics,’ the giveaways we’d produce for companies to promote their products (or for good causes like keeping kids from being blown up by landmines). There were quite a few of the listed customs that were basically valueless but hard-to-find things we had large stacks of to use as samples, so I spent a few minutes in the library and my files pulling a bunch together. Sent them to him with a note that said, “Buy 40,000, get 12 free.” The collector was Ian Levine, and he kindly let Taschen use the collection for the photos for 75 YEARS OF DC. He’s now auctioning off the whole collection at Sotheby’s. Hope it goes to someone who’ll love it, or an institution with a giant endowment and great taste.”

With the pound of the gavel, some billionaire (likely) will become protector of the collection of the century.

To steal and paraphrase a line from Marvel and Stan Lee, with such a great collecton comes great responsibility .May it be used wisely.

Click for a link to the amazing catalogue for the collection follows:


And Money Flowed in the Streets….

Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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Amazon Prime Video will soon come with ads, or a $2.99 monthly charge to dodge them

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 Amazon’s Prime Video streaming app on an iPad is seen in Baltimore on March 19, 2018. Amazon says that it will now start charging $2.99 per month in order for users in the U.S. to watch Prime Video ad free. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

By Michelle Chapman in Seattle

Amazon Prime Video will include advertising during shows and movies starting early next year, joining other streaming services that have added different tiers of subscriptions.

Members of Amazon Prime can pay $2.99 per month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free, the company said Friday.

Streaming services are in a heated tug-of-war over viewers and users are growing more adept at jumping in and out of those services, often depending on price. The platforms risk losing customers with price hikes, but they could lose them if they don’t generate new content that wins over users.

Disney will begin charging $13.99 a month in the U.S. for ad-free Disney+ in mid-October, 75% more than the ad-supported service. Netflix already charges $15.49 per month for its ad-free plan, more than twice the monthly subscription for Netflix with ads.

Amazon said limited advertisements will be aired during shows and movies starting early next year so that it can “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.”

Live events on Amazon Prime, like sports, already include advertising.

Ads in Prime Video content will start in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year.

Amazon said that it’s not making changes to the price of Prime membership next year. It plans to announce pricing for ad-free programming for countries other than the U.S. at a later time.

For U.S. users, Amazon said it will send out an email to Prime members several weeks before ads are introduced into its programs with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option if they choose to do so.

Amazon’s Prime Video is part of a much bigger slate of perks that come with Amazon Prime membership. Members also get free shipping for goods bought on, groceries, online music and more.

In June Amazon was accused by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly engaging in a yearslong effort to enroll consumers without consent into Amazon Prime and making it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions. An Amazon spokesperson said at the time that the FTC’s claims were false.

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Artificial Intelligence

Fake Drake won’t be eligible as Junos add AI guidelines to prevent robot takeover

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The Juno Awards have introduced new “AI Eligibility” submission guidelines for music creators to specify how much artificial intelligence technology can be used in recordings. A video camera is silhouetted as people gather for a press conference for the 2023 Juno Award nominee announcement in Toronto, on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

By David Friend in Toronto

The Juno Awards say a controversial “deep fake” song featuring unauthorized sound-alike vocals of Drake and the Weeknd won’t be eligible at next year’s celebration of Canadian music.

The organization’s president Allan Reid said that newly introduced “AI Eligibility” rules lay out the basics of how artificial intelligence can be used in making songs — and the popular mashup of the two famed Toronto singers doesn’t meet the requirements.

“It’s ‘Drake and the Weeknd’ — but that’s not them,” Reid told The Canadian Press.

“That is not their voices; those are AI-generated voices.”

Before submissions for the 2024 Junos open on Monday, leadership has clarified that eligible recordings can use AI, but that it can’t be the “sole or core component” of the project.

Exactly what that means is still up for some interpretation, Reid conceded. He described this as “very much a learning year for us” with the established rules as “a baseline” to work from.

“We want to make sure that we have humans being recognized,” he said. “We can’t be awarding an AI project a Juno.”

The new criteria come as the music industry contends with a fast-evolving technology that’s flooded the internet with “deep fake” songs which use computer-generated voices that mimic the real artists.

“Heart on My Sleeve,” a song created by a producer who calls himself Ghostwriter and who to Reid’s understanding is not Canadian, rattled the music industry earlier this year with its convincing performances by fake versions of Drake and the Weeknd.

Its release led record industry giant Universal Music Group, distributor of both Canadian artists, to issue takedown notices to music streamers. They released a statement calling unauthorized AI-made songs “a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law,” while the Grammys recently clarified the song would not be eligible at its awards show.

However, not every case is unauthorized.

More recently, Vancouver-born musician Grimes issued voice-modelling software that allows fans to add her to their music, as long as they split the royalties with her.

Reid says both examples could lead to different outcomes at the Junos.

“Heart on My Sleeve” would’ve never been eligible for the awards, he said, since its creator isn’t Canadian and neither vocalist was involved. The song also wasn’t commercially released since it was unauthorized.

Grimes is a somewhat different case, he added. Her vocals are AI-created and therefore not technically real, which means they’re not eligible. However, if the human producer who used her voice software is Canadian then the Junos would take “a deeper look” at the case.

Submission forms do not directly ask if AI technology was used in the creation, said Liz Morgante, senior manager of the academy’s operations. However, any projects that raise questions will be reviewed by the Junos music advisory committees.

“There’s no question AI is going to revolutionize how music is created,” Reid added.

“And with the rate that things are changing … it’s hard for us to predict where things will land in the future, which is why we need to take initial steps and learn as this evolves.”

The Juno Awards take place March 24, 2024 in Halifax.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.

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