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Kickstarter, rappers De La Soul headline Webby Award winners

(Reuters) - Crowdfunding website Kickstarter, veteran hip-hop group De La Soul and a Harvard University professor on Monday won Webby Awards, the annual honors for Internet excellence.

They were joined by the likes of R&B singer Beyonce, vacation rental site Airbnb and Twitter Inc's video app Vine as headlining winners of the awards, which will be celebrated next month in New York.

The Guardian, a British newspaper, won the best website practices award for its interactive online feature on the cache of government documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Webby Awards recognize websites, online video, social media, apps and interactive advertising.

The awards are given by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. This year's judges include Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, producers of Netflix's Emmy-winning online drama "House of Cards."

Every category in the Webbys has a "People's Voice" award selected by a public vote. This year, about 500,000 people voted.

Kickstarter, which lets groups and individuals fundraise online, was honored as the "breakout" of the year in how it has made "crowdfunding" a viable option for helping people get new projects off the ground.

De La Soul, founded in 1987, was given the artist of the year award for making its catalog of music available online for free downloads.

Harvard professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig, 52, was awarded a lifetime achievement award for co-founding Creative Commons, a copyright license system that makes it easier for creators and users to share intellectual property.

Musicians Bob Dylan, Arcade Fire and Pharrell Williams all won Webbys for their online music videos. Beyonce was honored for her website Beyonce.com while her rapper-husband Jay Z received a Webby for his mobile phone app that let people download his "Magna Carter ... Holy Grail" album.

Other winners this year include satirical news website The Onion, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel for best viral video for his "Worst Twerk Fail Ever - Girl Catches Fire" prank, Airbnb as best travel website, and Twitter's Vine as the best use of mobile and best social media website.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jan Paschal)

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