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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Chatsworth Publisher Resuming Search for Properties

Flush with an influx of new cash, Chatsworth-based publisher 101communications, has begun prowling for new acquisitions in its efforts to grow the company. The recipient of $25 million in senior financing from Merrill Lynch Capital, 101’s President and CEO Jeff Klein admits that the company is actively involved in discussions with several different entities. “We’re using some of the fnnding to pay down some other financing. We’re using some of it to make acquisitions and some of it to pay for new internal organic growth, Klein said. “We will be making acquisitions in areas that are similar in scope to the kinds of intellectual communities that we now serve. We have already been in talks with several companies of varying sizes.” Founded in 1998, the 220-employee company has found a niche by producing trade magazines and journals, e-newsletters, conferences and seminars, training courseware and associate web-based services specifically targeted toward communities of interest in the IT industry. 101’s current portfolio includes nine magazines, 40 conferences and events and 30 electronic newsletters. In the course of 2005, Klein plans to launch another magazine as well as several additional electronic newsletters. “In July, we will launch Redmond Channel Partner magazine, specifically targeted toward the reseller market of Microsoft products. We expect it to be purchased mainly by value-added resellers,” Klein said. “Additionally, we will be launching some electronic products this year and in the next 12 months, we will launch five more electronic newsletters.” Some of 101’s publications include Application Development Trends magazine, Enterprise Systems magazine, Federal Computer Week magazine, E-Gov magazine and Campus Week magazine. During the tech heyday of the late 1990s and at the beginning of this decade, 101 had been very active in acquiring companies. But as tech fortunes waned, 101 abruptly ceased its buying spree. “Our history is sort of a history of how technology has fared the last five years. We were formed about six years ago with the intent to buy tech publishing companies, websites, conferences and trade shows. But when the tech market crashed, we stopped buying. The market seems to have picked up and that’s what we’re looking to do,” Klein said. Will Morpheus Meet its Maker? In a case expected to reverberate loudly through the technology and entertainment industries, Woodland Hills-based Streamcast Networks Inc and fellow file-sharing network Grokster, defended their very existence before the Supreme Court on March 29. Sued by 28 entertainment companies, including oligarchs Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc., the controversial file-swapping firms did their best to dissuade the skeptical judges of their guilt. Most analysts, including University of Richmond Law School professor James Gibson, expect the court to try to find a happy medium between protecting copyright infringements while still allowing for tech innovation. “I think that the court is conflicted. On the one hand, I don’t think it liked these defendants very much. They seemed to search for a way to give the plaintiffs a shot to hold Streamcast and Grokster liable, but it struggled to articulate a standard to make that happen. They can’t make it too broad to impede technological innovation by more innocent folks,” Gibson said. “The court may well try to come up with some new theory of liability that depends more on the behavior of the company than on the particular technology.” The case had been kicking around lower courts for the previous two years before the Supreme Court decided to handle it. In April 2003, a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Grokster and StreamCast were not responsible for use of their software for copyright violations. The court cited the landmark Betamax case of 1984, where the court ruled in favor of VCR technology. The studios appealed the decision. In August 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with the Los Angeles court’s conclusion. Gibson gave StreamCast’s attorney’s high marks for their difficult day in court. “StreamCast did a very good job. Their attorney was put in a difficult position. He fought intelligently even though he detected the discomfort that the court had,” Gibson said. “Given the facts, I thought he did what he should’ve done, arguing that the other side wanted a restriction of technology in general and tried to steer clear of Morpheus’ particular behavior.” Blogging Goes 818 When it was reported that there were bloggers in Baghdad, you knew it was only a matter of time before they came to the Valley. While still nascent, the Valley has slowly started to get a number of blogs dedicated to the area and its history. Kevin Roderick, born and raised in Northridge is the founder and blogger for influential Los Angeles political blog, L.A. Observed. In 2001, after finishing a book on the Valley called “America’s Suburb,” Roderick started Americassuburb.com to supplement the text. “I had a lot of material from my research that lent itself to being put on the web, or that didn’t make it into the book and needed a home. It also has proven to be a good way for readers of the book to pursue the subject further, or to get in contact with me (as dozens have.) Of course, it also probably encouraged some people to buy the book,” Roderick said. But as blogging became more of a household term and L.A. Observed began to garner attention for its trenchant takes on local politics and media, Roderick decided to revamp his Valley site. Late last year, he redesigned the site, added some new features and made the front page a blog. “My intention is to make it more of a blog once I have the time to convert it to the right software. I use Movable Type for L.A. Observed and would probably go with that,” Roderick said. “As a blog it will be easier for me to post fresh items, let readers make comments themselves and keep track of older items. My intent is also to keep it centered on the historic and cultural part of the Valley, not turn it into a news blog, but you never know. Currently, Roderick runs an ad for Amazon.com’s affiliates program and the journalist is in the process of searching for more. “I am looking for more advertising support for the site. I use the Amazon Associates program because it was already set up, and it’s about books. But it has a low return. I would like to see America’s Suburb supported by Valley organizations, Realtors, businesses, anyone who wants to reach a nice audience that is proven to be highly interested in anything ‘Valley.’ I have not yet pursued that market,” Roderick said. While Roderick is the only local blog to run ads, others are up and running. There is a Rye Street (ryestreet.com) blog dedicated to efforts to try to get Councilwoman Wendy Greuel to re-open a closed pedestrian bridge in Sherman Oaks, as well as the Reseda blog (resedaweb.blogspot.com), a civic-minded blog which bills itself as covering “everything Reseda-esque news, trivia, and links about the neighborhood and its neighbors.” Additionally, the Young Democrats of the San Fernando Valley (sfvyd.org) have started a blog to encourage political issues and to provide a political forum for local residents. Staff Reporter Jeff Weiss can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or at jweiss@sfvbj.com.

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