A “kill hollyweb” plan

May 3 is the Day Against DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). Please sign the petition against DRM in the HTML5 standard. Then come back and read this post.

Recently I wrote in Why DRM in HTML5 and what to do about it:

Long term, the only way the DRM threat is going to be put to rest is for free cultural works to become culturally relevant.

I’ve complained many a time that rearguard clicktivism against bad policy is not a winning strategy — especially when such campaigns don’t also promote free-as-in-freedom software and cultural works — because as I put it one of those times:

In a world in which most software and culture are free as in freedom there would be no constituency for attacking the Internet (apart from dictatorships and militarized law enforcement of supposed democracies)

But I’m at fault too for not laying out a specific plan for making some free works culturally relevant, let alone carrying out such a plan.

OK, here’s one plan I recently mentioned offhandedly:

‘free-as-in-freedom ~netflix’
  • crowdfund minimum number of subscriptions needed to begin
  • subscriptions used to really nicely package/stream and promote free as in freedom video
  • start with 1 feature-length video selection each month (perhaps even quarter during a beta phase)
  • mix of contemporary (of which there isn’t much yet) and older public domain movies
  • limited, promoted releases concentrate subscription audience: focused increase of cultural relevance, one work at a time
  • given enough subscriptions, start funding new free videos
  • obviously videos would be DRM-free, in free formats, all software used free software, and all ancillary material also free-as-in-freedom

Good idea? Run with it, or if you’d like to subscribe or otherwise help create it in any way, fill out this 3 question survey. Bad idea, but still care? Let me know via the survey. Or mail ml@gondwanaland.com or contact user mlinksva on some other usual channel.



“Kill Hollyweb” is in part a reference to the Y Combinator Request For Startups 9: Kill Hollywood. The plan above isn’t really a Kill Hollywood plan as it isn’t about replacing movies with some other form of entertainment.

6 Responses

  1. [...] from recent free cultural works, apart from [citation needed]? Zero? If anyone was to pursue a kill hollyweb project as I sketched out, manufacturing many — and reviving more found in old public domain [...]

  2. […] lack of demand coordination, libraries, and e-books, a narrow coordination idea that I need to follow up on, and classic […]

  3. […] many more categories, including those considered the commanding heights of culture and commerce, eg premium video, advertising, social networking, and many others. Competition does not mean just building stuff, […]

  4. […] after the window. The existence of free and culturally relevant films will be a huge help to any eventual such marketing and distribution infrastructure, so best of luck to the Gooseberry team in all […]

  5. […] but I imagine there must be many entrepreneurs dreaming of taking a chunk of Wikipedia traffic. I enjoy the Kill Hollywood request for startups, but Kill Wikipedia seems like a more plausible target for […]

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