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47 2012-06-09-moviesio.md
@@ -1,47 +0,0 @@
----
-title: I'm off to build the next generation of video distribution
-date: 2012-06-09
-tags: [ entrepreneurship ]
-layout: post
-nofooter: true
----
-
-I think this is called taking the plunge :)
-
-The release of [movies.io](http://movies.io) has marked the beginning of a series of
-events all crazier than the previous one.
-
-First, Frederic Jacobs pushed me to deploy it for all to see, whereas it was
-originally a gift for my girlfriend. Then we made, in the same week, the front
-page of Hacker News, gathering more than 500 points and 400 comments,
-TorrentFreak, and then a dozen articles on American, Spanish, Chilean, Norwegian
-news websites. At the time of this writing, we have served over 900,000 pages,
-for 17,500 movies and 5,600 registered users.
-
-The response has been overwhelmingly positive: we received a ton of fan mail,
-and we've even started receiving donations! People love the design, and they
-think we come at a time where there is really something to do in video
-distribution. Well, the good news is that we think so too!
-
-Fred and I have decided to bite the bullet and go fulltime. We have a team of
-dedicated and talented people behind us, and are looking forward to move fast
-and disrupt the world of video distribution. While we are still working out the
-details, we already have a few good leads in the independent film industry. If
-you would like to be part of the adventure, drop us an e-mail at
-<admin@movies.io>!
-
-There really are no words to describe how I'm feeling right now, but it seems
-that everything up to this point has been leading up to that. I'd like to thank
-warmly Jeremie Abissihra and Ben Colon, who provided me with guidance and
-countless opportunities during my time at [official.fm](http://official.fm). It was a
-wonderful experience and if I had to do it again, I would. Huge thanks also to
-my loving girlfriend, close friends, [the bootstrap](http://thebootstrap.ch) supporters, and
-Twitter followers for all the support. It really means a lot.
-
-As of now, entrepreneurship is no longer a buzzword, but my day-to-day. May it
-be for the best!
-
-If you want to send me a word or two, don't hesitate to hit me up at my new
-e-mail address: <amos@movies.io>.
-
-
View
112 2012-06-24-fear.md
@@ -1,112 +0,0 @@
----
-title: Fear
-date: 2012-06-24
-tags: [ entrepreneurship, fear ]
-layout: post
-nofooter: true
----
-
-I just want to write a few lines on something that has been bothering me for a while.
-
-Since we launched [movies.io](http://movies.io/), I've been running into twenty people
-a day who ask me: "Aren't you afraid that you are going to end up in jail?"
-Apart from being, you know, a great motivation, it also triggers some thinking.
-
-Of course I'm afraid. The content industry hasn't exactly been known for playing nice,
-any party in this industry will tell you that. It's not even about the law, or about
-what is fair. It's about protecting interests, even when it goes against human rights,
-or the general advancement of humanity.
-
-The [mpaa](http://mpaa.org/contentprotection/roguewebsites) says clearly on its website that it,
-together with a broad coalition of businesses, labor unions, guilds, law enforcement,
-and other stakeholders, are working on solutions to put a stop to "rogue sites". They
-don't hesitate to put TCP packets and untested medicines in the same lot. Or to call
-people who exchange information, criminals.
-
-We are warned that, if we choose to disregard intellectual property and consume a piece
-of media that we haven't properly acquired or licensed, we should be ready to face the
-consequences. It might be that in the current status quo, the big content coalitions
-are the ones in power, like some sort of totalitarian regime that can decide what is
-right and wrong, and punish wrongdoers. But what is going to happen when that is over?
-
-I'm looking forward to a second [Nuremberg trial](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Trials).
-Where all the people involved in the policing of information exchange will have to answer
-for their crimes against humanity. All their partners, copyright enforcement crusaders,
-should be judged as accomplices.
-
-Apparently, lying, manufacturing evidence and paying for biased reports is nothing
-that they shy away from. What is it, besides propaganda? People are being hired to
-chase their fellow human beings and torture them until they give up part of their
-belongings for unjust settlements, to avoid a trial.
-
-I think that very few people realize the importance of what is currently happening,
-both inside and in periphery of the law, in different countries. Once you start
-monitoring and filtering exchanges under the pretense of copyright law, censoring
-for other motives entirely is just a switch away. There is much more to it than just
-being too cheap to pay for your movies.
-
-This is why, as developer and operator of movies.io, potential public enemy in the
-future (depending on our impact on the downloading landscape), I am not worried about
-our relationship with big content. I don't think we want any kind of deals with them.
-We worry only about the technology, and to serve both content creators and fans.
-
-We still have a lot of work on our plate, but I like to believe that the direction we
-pursue is more humane, more compassionate, and more importantly: aimed towards the
-global progress of humanity and culture as a whole. If it means that we can't license
-Hollywood blockbusters, so be it. I'm getting tired of the formula anyway.
-
-The content industry is fucked up because the people who mass-produce shit to feed
-to the majority are very touchy about what you do with what they own. They spend
-millions lobbying around telling people how bad downloading is for their economy, and
-how it threatens 2.2 million jobs, but at the same time they won't acknowledge that
-no matter how bad they treat their target audience, filesharing happens, because it's
-such a basic instinct.
-
-The latest wave of cash cow companies since the 2000s have revolved around sharing.
-We've seen the rise of social and have yet to see it fall. It's almost ridiculous
-how many photo sharing apps and rating apps we have around. And, as is often said,
-the best minds of our generations are busy trying to optimize advertisement algorithms
-to convert those eyeballs into revenue streams, because apparently that's the only
-way to make money in an economy in which people don't want to pay for content anymore.
-(The television has worked this way for a much longer time, but that's besides the point).
-
-And yet, the most valuable content: music, videos, remains so very difficult to
-exchange in the boundaries established by copyright law. We were able to build a
-straight-forward mapping from movies to available torrents in a few days, and it works
-remarkably well. In the current situation, nobody can beat our catalogue. Not a single
-soul. Why? Because there is no established standard for organizing the licensing rights
-of a piece of media. For a single movie, there might be five different rightsholders,
-with whom you have to negociate individually, and each of them might not exactly
-be sure of how much ownership they have. Try doing a music compilation: it's phone
-call upon snail mail upon months of waiting, and in the end you're not even sure
-you have the rights you paid for.
-
-The current situation is a clusterfuck, and there doesn't seem to be much incentive
-to solve it. The general public is happy to be able to watch music videos on YouTube,
-even if they had to give up parts of their shares to big labels to stay in business.
-The same happened for Spotify, which, through its Facebook deal, became the de facto
-leader in music streaming worldwide. But at which cost? Again, ownership being ripped
-off by greedy majors, and deals so tough it's practically impossible to
-[become profitable](http://gigaom.com/2011/12/11/why-spotify-can-never-be-profitable-the-secret-demands-of-record-labels/).
-
-I'm not foolish enough to think that we'll ever hit a deal with big content, nor to
-think that the current magnet link compromise will last forever. We'll have to evolve
-to survive, as does everyone. What needs to happen on a global scale, is a simultaneous
-realization, from so-called 'dumb consumers', that the current distribution model
-is immoral, and that mass culture provoked it.
-
-Free culture is already thriving in the music area (where starting up is easier because
-of lower production costs), and it's slowly gaining ground in the movie area as well.
-As far as original content goes, YouTube allowed many small producers to find an
-audience, along with a monetization scheme, and I truly respect them for that.
-
-I think we need to take this a step further. The nature of the internet is to be
-distributed: it simply feels wrong to depend on a simple gigantic provider to exchange
-the culture that makes us humans. Sharing creations is vital to the survival of our
-species, it is too important to be left in any single entity's hands.
-
-This article raises more questions than it answers, but we are working towards providing
-at least partial solutions. In the meantime, I wanted to state clearly that yes,
-fear is part of my daily life, maybe more than before. But I don't want to let it
-dictate my actions, because I believe that it would not be for the best.
-
View
41 2012-06-25-tvshack.md
@@ -1,41 +0,0 @@
----
-title: The TVShack case
-date: 2012-06-25
-tags: [ law ]
-layout: post
-nofooter: true
----
-
-Richard O'Dwyer was the man behind TVShack.net.
-The thing is, he's not been real smart about it.
-
-> He knew what he was doing. He is alleged to have made ~£150,000
-> in advertising revenue from the site.
-> He had his TVShack.net domain seized by ICE in June 2010. Any kid
-> simply making a mistake would have given up at that point.
-> Instead, within a matter of days he set the site up again on a
-> new TVShack.cc domain, adding a picture of NWA and the
-> statement "F\* the police" to the top of the site.
-
-(Source: [HackerNews](http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4156075))
-
-That's not exactly honorable of him. But the US is in the process
-of extrading him from the UK to be judged, and that's now how the
-law is supposed to work.
-
-Jimmy Wales recently started an [online petition to stop his extradition](http://www.change.org/petitions/ukhomeoffice-stop-the-extradition-of-richard-o-dwyer-to-the-usa-saverichard).
-Interviewed by the Huffington Post, he said:
-
-> Copyright is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral
-> and economic purpose, but that does not mean that copyright can or
-> should be unlimited.
-
-(Source: [Huffington Post](http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/24/wikipedia-founder-jimmy-wales-richard-o-dwyer_n_1622705.html))
-
-I don't condone what Richard did, and the path we've chosen is
-harder, but I think it's for the best. However, I believe that it
-is worth standing strong against such threats to the rights of
-non-US citizens.
-
-If you agree, please [sign the petition now](http://www.change.org/petitions/ukhomeoffice-stop-the-extradition-of-richard-o-dwyer-to-the-usa-saverichard).
-
View
149 2012-08-04-movies.md
@@ -1,49 +1,20 @@
---
-title: Let's take a few steps back
+title: What are movies made of?
date: 2012-08-04
-tags: [ movies, entrepreneurship ]
+tags: [ movies ]
layout: post
nofooter: true
---
### Intro
-It's been a while since I wrote my last blog post, but I haven't been slacking.
-I've done a lot of coding - rolling new features on [movies.io](http://movies.io) almost
-every other day. I've been doing a lot of talking, both on Twitter, on Facebook,
-and by e-mail, with a variety of people.
-
-And I've been doing a lot of thinking, too. Because what is worth the greatest
-product in the world if there's no vision or purpose behind it? We've always
-been in some sort of conundrum, Fred and I - what are we? Are we a rogue
-website? I've been called a "mass predator" because I wrote software that is
-good at finding information on the internet, and I designed an interface that
-makes it easy to browse them. But we're not so evil, because we don't make any
-money off of it (Which makes us, according to the trolls, "bad businessmen" - I
-feel I've missed a cue, but let's move on.)
-
-I've been following a few indie movie projects with a lot of interest lately.
-So much that I even wrote [a blog post about it][4indies]. So much that I took
-out some of my lunch money and took it onto myself to eat pasta just to help see
-Hybrid Vigor, Invasion of the not quite dead, and The Selling succeed. (For the
-record, Hybrid Vigor got over $57K, more than their goal, and are on their merry
-way finishing the shooting in Latvia. Follow them [on twitter][hybridtw])
-
-[4indies]: http://blog.movies.io/post/27574501603/4-indie-movies-worth-backing
-[hybridtw]: https://twitter.com/HybridVigorFilm
-
-As the clocks keep ticking, as [Roku expands to Germany and Spain][roku], as
-[Netflix is having second thoughts about Europe][netflix], and [the first
-feature film was released on Steam][steam]. As bills keep having to be paid,
-and the initial excitement about movies.io quietly died down, it becomes harder
-to motivate friends to hack up new features with me - I did the only logical
-thing. I took a few step backs. And here's what I found.
-
-[roku]: http://gigaom.com/video/roku-germany-spain/
-[netflix]: http://gigaom.com/europe/former-lovefilm-boss-netflix-could-have-stormed-europe-years-ago/
-[steam]: http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/25/3043020/indie-game-movie-steam-download
-
-### What are movies made of?
+These days, I'm rather interested in how the movie distribution business works.
+However, it's fool of crooks and incompetent people. How about taking a shot
+at designing the perfect movie distribution service?
+
+Let's start by analyzing the way the current system works.
+
+### Interests
A particularly fascinating debate has been spawned by Twitter's announcement
that it would [make life harder for 3rd-party clients][twitter3rd]. Dalton
@@ -75,12 +46,12 @@ I'd argue that creation is at its finest when the creator writes, draws, plays,
shoots, edits, mixes stuff completely for its own selfish purpose, because he
enjoys doing it.
-The greatest movies were made not because of financial motivation, but because
-at some point, someone had a story to tell. And they went through thick and
-thin, they fought their way to telling that story the way they wanted to.
-Sometimes it means pissing off a whole lot of people. Sometimes it means making
-less money than if you agreed to place a Coke ad, or making Keira Knightly and
-Joseph Gordon-Levitt kiss.
+As for movies, the greatest ones were made not because of financial motivation,
+but because at some point, someone had a story to tell. And they went through
+thick and thin, they fought their way to telling that story the way they wanted
+to. Sometimes it means pissing off a whole lot of people. Sometimes it means
+making less money than if you agreed to place a Coke ad, or making Keira
+Knightly and Joseph Gordon-Levitt kiss.
You don't become a filmmaker because it earns a lot. You do it out of passion.
You get through all this shit so that you can write, produce, shoot, stuff that
@@ -133,14 +104,6 @@ loose a small recap of the indie distribution landscape right now:
[lonely]: https://www.facebook.com/notes/a-lonely-place-for-dying/the-past-six-months-the-road-ahead/359678007409730
-Having read that, and having - sure as hell - never operated a projection booth
-myself, nor printed a movie poster (although I'm working on fixing both points,
-just out of interest), how could I continue blabbing around that I was on my way
-to "fix movie distribution?". I couldn't. What I could do is take a few step
-backs, analyze the situation, and see how I can apply my skillset to a
-meaningful vision that would actually make a change. And I came up with a few
-ideas.
-
### About ads
"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click
@@ -169,9 +132,9 @@ bet on intellectual property instead of manual labor, it was mistaken. Because,
especially in the young generations, many people feel that you cannot sell
something that is virtual. That trying to claim it is unethical.
-[rip]: http://movies.io/m/FY/en
+[rip]: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1397511
-That debate is waste, and I won't end - or even start it here. Whatever your
+That debate is vast, and I won't end - or even start it here. Whatever your
opinion on the matter, the fact is: it's harder to make someone pay for
something he or she can duplicate perfectly at zero cost. Turns out, even
chasing people with a stick and beating checks out of them still doesn't work.
@@ -224,6 +187,8 @@ definitely helps with covering the production costs, but indies are left with a
distribution problem and a discovery problem. Couldn't we put technology to good
use there too?
+### Conclusion
+
It is my belief that peer-to-peer is part of the solution to distribution. Like
VCR was before, or, before yet, the printing press, it is still seen as a threat
to traditional distribution, because it makes it easier and cheaper to
@@ -231,73 +196,13 @@ distribute content on a large scale. Well, fuck you, old-fashioned chaps! If you
can't find of a way to use it to your advantage, you simply haven't thought hard
enough yet.
-I believe that within this technological era, we can solve both the production
-costs, and the distribution+discovery problems, all by combining existing (and
-very effective) tools. But for that, we need to lose a few of our misguided
-thoughts. The first step is to admit that large-scale distribution is no longer
-in the hands of a few entities. Anyone with a broadband connection can do it,
-and in 2012, it's a lot of people. The second step is to admit that a billboard
-is worth less than 200K Twitter followers. And the third step is to admit that
-both of those are not good enough to ensure a good distribution of your movie.
+I believe that within this technological era, both the production costs, and
+the distribution+discovery problems, all by combining existing (and very
+effective) tools. But for that, we need to abandon a few myths.
-When trying to come up with a solution to the challenges indie filmmakers face
-today, I've tried to set myself up with a few constraints. The first one is,
-don't try to screw anyone, or to assume they're stupid. It's too easy to try and
-make indies believe in fairy tales and steal their content - let's not do that.
-It's also too easy to fall back to an ad-supported model and go "me too". Let's
-not do that either.
-
-No, what should be done is the following: build upon peer-to-peer technologies
-and social media to enable an even easier large-scale distribution of content,
-*while* making it as easy as possible for people to support creators they
-believe in, and to foster further creation (or story-telling, which is what
-movies are really about).
-
-### A dream's shadow
-
-So there you have it, my new vision. Not everything is clear yet, but there are
-a few differentiating ideas that I have in mind. I like to think that technology
-should be considered in a larger scope: in the advancement that it provides
-humanity with.
-
-When you start thinking of technology as a tool to better collaborate as humans
-towards a common goal - then your motivations, conclusions, and methods become
-radically different. Radically different than when you're motivated by money and
-fame.
-
-Crazy idea number one: even in this virtual age, some things don't come for
-free: computing power, bandwidth. Why couldn't seeding or donating a server for
-a rendering farm be a form of payment? Giving up some of your resources (time,
-part of what you already own like an internet connection) is a contribution that
-helps everyone achieve their goal: help produce and spread great content. So, if
-movies.io ever has a subscription model (still not sure whether it is a good
-idea), people who donate part of their bandwidth by running a desktop client
-that seeds could have discounted prices / stuff for free.
-
-Crazy idea number two: copyright law has gotten out of hand, and it's been
-holding back innovation and creation, whereas it was supposed to encourage that
-and protect creators. It needs a kick in the butt - but stealing won't do. How
-about applying open-source concepts to movie making? Movie producers could
-release their finished movie, set a funding objective, and if it's reached, they
-would release the source materials, free for everyone to sample from, and remix
-to infinity. As more eloquent people have said before me,
-[everything is a remix][remix]. We should really be embracing that instead of
-fighting it.
-
-[remix]: http://www.everythingisaremix.info/
-
-I want to foster a community of creators, and let fans in on it. Find a
-compromise that benefits to everyone, and not rob anyone or try to do things
-behind their back. If enough people believe in it and we avoid the traps put in
-place by the current jailers, it might just be crazy enough to work.
-
-### Outro
-
-There's a lot to be done, and I'm dedicated to spending a few years testing my
-theories in that area. I'm not afraid to let those ideas on the internet,
-because everybody else is busy optimizing ads.
-
-If you're a movie studio, a producer, creative, or you just want to discuss
-these ideas with me, feel free to hit me up by e-mail at <amos@movies.io>
-anytime.
+The first step is to admit that large-scale distribution is no longer in the
+hands of a few entities. Anyone with a broadband connection can do it, and in
+2012, it's a lot of people. The second step is to admit that a billboard is
+worth less than 200K Twitter followers. And the third step is to admit that
+both of those are not good enough to ensure a good distribution of your movie.
View
213 2012-09-08-vision.md
@@ -1,213 +0,0 @@
----
-title: Four months of movies.io, what's next?
-date: 2012-09-08
-tags: [ entrepreneurship, perspective ]
-layout: post
-nofooter: true
----
-
-### Intro
-
-My [previous thoughts](http://amos.me/blog/2012/movies/) about movie distribution have left
-me hungry for more. The website has gone its usual way, improving features (similar movies,
-search results), receiving requests to "buy our traffic" (declined, as usual), and considering
-partnerships, which we eventually decided not to go for.
-
-Something noteworthy happened, though: a few days ago, Fred and I had a talk, and he decided
-to go back to his studies. We're staying good friends (and roommates!), but I'll be the only
-one to assume the direction of movies.io from now on.
-
-Which brings me to a crossroads: according to pretty much everyone, movies.io is the best thing
-since sliced bread. Well, except for the occasional wrong listing. A guy on Facebook even
-told us that it "changed his life", thanking us for the amount of work we put in it.
-
-Well, that's all good and fancy, but where do I go from here? What's the big vision there?
-That's what prompted me to spend a few more weeks thinking hard about the future. I don't have
-all the answers yet, but I'm happy to say that I was able to come up with a few principles.
-
-### DRM & licensing woes
-
-One of the hard decisions to make was to collaborate with a new distribution platform. However,
-there was the issue of [DRM][drm]. Digital Rights Managements is an umbrella term for a series of
-techniques to restrict what customers can do with the content they pay for.
-
-[drm]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management
-
-For example, if they rent a movie, they shouldn't be able to keep it after the 48h/72h they're
-given to watch it. If they buy a movie, they shouldn't be able to make copies for their friends,
-nor should they be able to sample the movie in their own creations.
-
-In the relatively short history of DRM, we've seen mostly failures. DVDs, not happy with being
-region-specific, and thus having region-specific players, in order to enforce windowed releases
-and limit cross-country leaks, have a DRM mechanism called [CSS][css] (Content Scrambling System). The
-basic idea is to hide a cryptographic key of 16 bits in the lead-in area of a DVD, not readable
-by a standard DVD drive, that is used to decrypt the rest of the DVD.
-
-[css]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_Scramble_System
-
-Unfortunately for them, it was quickly reverse-engineered, as it was extremely susceptible to
-brute force (which is not a surprise considering the size of the key). The de-scrambling code
-has since been distributed as an easy-to-use library named libdvdcss, whose legality in certain
-countries (the United States, for example) [is still being discussed][liblegal], although no action seems
-to have been taken against its users.
-
-[liblegal]: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntucat/the-legality-or-illegality-of-w32codecs-and-libdvdcss2/
-
-Seasons came and went, and the Blu-ray standard was released, along with its own flavor of DRM,
-[AACS][aacs], supposedly stronger than its younger brother. However, it was quickly defeated as well,
-by inspecting the memory of running Blu-ray and HDDVD players. The encryption keys were found,
-and using the public specs, an open decryption software was released. And once again, people were
-able to make backups of the movies they had licensed.
-
-[aacs]: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntucat/the-legality-or-illegality-of-w32codecs-and-libdvdcss2/
-
-Notice how I said "licensed" above instead of "bought"? Well, that's because buying a movie is
-an entirely different story. In fact, distribution companies have a job position named "movie buyer".
-Theatres, streaming services, all have film buyers so that they can license the rights to show the film,
-make profit out of it, and give back part of them so that everybody is happy.
-
-When you're a regular movie fan, however, that's a completely different story. When you buy a song
-on iTunes, or a game on Steam, you don't own it. You merely have acquired the rights to play it for your
-own entertainment and god forbid should you share any of that to the outer world. For subscription-based
-services, it's even easier: cancel your subscription, and you lose access to the wide catalog you once
-could enjoy.
-
-Buying the rights to distribute a movie is extremely difficult. Your best assets, sales agents, are
-also your worst enemies. First, you need a certain critical mass so that they will even agree to talk
-to you. Then they'll want to know if your platform is "safe" - codeword for "yo dude, got DRM?". Then
-they'll ask what rights you want: do you want to rent/sell digital copies (DVDs, Blu-rays), do you want
-to stream them over the internet? Do you want people to be able to download them? And so on.
-
-You'd think that in 2012, there would be some kind of licensing platforms where you can go fish for
-the rights to distribute such and such movies. Alas, that is but a sweet dream. Even if you'd get all
-the major studios (there are 5 of them, who own over 95% of the american media, themselves owned
-by ever bigger conglomerates) on board - and Cthulhu knows they love to collaborates - such a platform
-would make it harder to play a game they like very much.
-
-And that game is guerilla tactics to try and squeeze as much profit from a single movie as possible.
-So, let's say you want to license a relatively popular movie. If you manage to find out who's selling it,
-you'll have to pick your phone. (Yes, your phone. In 2012. But let's carry on.) Then you'll have to
-reassure them about all the points above. And then when they finally decide that you're of some interest,
-they'll maybe give you the rights for, say, North America and Latin America. Then later on, as you are
-about to release the movie on your platform, they'll call back and say "Actually, you can't have North
-America - latin America is all you get.". And you can yell and stomp and raise your fist, it isn't going
-to change their mind.
-
-This complicated, mindnumbing, and antiquated process, is the reason why it's still easier for [Redbox][redbox]
-to rent physical items than to do online streaming. In 2012. It's also the reason why so many movies are
-available on DVD and Blu-ray via [Netflix][netflix], but they only have 2 to 4-week windows where they're
-available on Instant. It's also the reason [Mubi][mubi] only has the German dub for Reservoir Dogs available
-in Switzerland, and not the original version. The list goes on and on.
-
-[redbox]: http://www.redbox.com/
-[netflix]: http://netflix.com/
-[mubi]: http://mubi.com/
-
-To this day, no DRM stands undefeated. Even Steam, the game distribution channel DRM proponents love
-to cite, has all its games leaked on illegal distribution networks, stripped of their DRM. The same goes
-for any streaming service. The point is: if you can have access to it (watch a movie, play a game), then
-it is technically possible to strip it of its DRM. Even when trying to integrate DRM directly into a
-display cable, such as [HDCP][hdcp] (the DRM built into the [HDMI][hdmi] standard), it only serves to
-piss off loyal customers, and never, ever, stops pirates.
-
-[hdcp]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-bandwidth_Digital_Content_Protection
-[hdmi]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hdmi
-
-### Doing things differently
-
-The only mainstream exception, as I see it, is [Vodo][vodo]. They use BitTorrent to freely release movies
-and TV features such as [Deadside][deadside], up to 720p. Then, they let users donate to get access to the
-1080p version, and exclusive items such as the original script, posters, original soundtracks, access codes
-to gift to their friends, and so on.
-
-[vodo]: http://vo.do/
-[deadside]: http://movies.io/m/oBN/en
-
-Vodo's blinding lack of DRM is perhaps best embodied by their mantra, which resonates at the beginning of
-their every videos: "We love free". While this is a laudable philosophy, it seems to yield lesser profits
-than expected, despite partnerships with BitTorrent Inc., and pretty much every other BitTorrent-related
-company on earth. Some content creators even left with a bitter taste, yielding [a rant on indie distribution][rant],
-complete with their own portable movie projector design.
-
-[rant]: https://www.facebook.com/notes/a-lonely-place-for-dying/the-past-six-months-the-road-ahead/359678007409730
-
-So, in short, I admire what Vodo is doing, but it doesn't seem to be working up to their expectations.
-It's also limited in terms of usefulness to the content creator, because it handles only the distribution part.
-What I have in mind for movies.io is much bigger.
-
-The bet that we're both taking is that you can find talented content creators willing to publish their work
-on a DRM-free platform, and still allow them and yourself to make a comfortable living. I'm glad they paved
-the way, because this is definitely the direction I'm taking.
-
-If you spend a few weeks reading advice for indie filmmakers on blogs and specialized websites, you'll realize
-that it's a jungle out there. So many pitfalls to avoid, so many ill-intentioned people just waiting to exploit
-you. So many hardships, between costs, rights, location, casting, post-production, distribution.
-
-And then there's YouTube. A strange mix of copyrighted content, tolerated by the big five presumably because
-they own shares of it, and original content, often terrible, but sometimes brilliant. In the past 10 years
-(even before YouTube), we've seen content creators harness the power of the internet, and bathe in its culture,
-in order to create original content that appeals to millions. CollegeHumor, founded in 1999, grew to $15 million
-yearly profits before [being acquired by InterActiveCorp][chbuyout].
-
-[chbuyout]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Van_Veen
-
-Of course, YouTube's monetization scheme is far from my ideals. As I mentioned before, I have a heavy bias
-against advertisements - yet, for most YouTubers, advertisements are the primary revenue stream. Some even
-sell out to big brands and make them a central part of their show. So, in a way, YouTube truly is television,
-except you get a virtually infinite supply of channels, and profanity is not censored. It's more democratic
-because there's no conglomerate deciding what gets aired, but it's also what makes it so demaguogue and
-volatile.
-
-What I think is needed, is a platform designed from the ground up to immediately cater to the needs of content
-creators. From pre-casting (browsing people's profiles), to continuous fundraising, to community management,
-distribution, and licensing. The only part completely left out would be production - that should be the exclusive
-responsibility of the content creators. Of course, the other parts are pretty much DIY tools as well, with
-some advice and opportunity to discuss various hurdles with more seasoned creators.
-
-### From here to there
-
-The problem is, building something that big is very ambitious, and you have to start somewhere. movies.io
-currently has between 6K and 10K daily visitors, so that's a good base to build from.
-
-I had a few thoughts about how I want to do this. I want to be transparent in its operation: in my opinion,
-it shouldn't prevent an honest business from running correctly. In particular, it should avoid censorship
-(unlike, indirectly, the MPAA ratings board).
-
-I also have strong feelings that most distribution companies consider that the United States is the only
-country of the world. Believe it or not, this is not actually true. There are many different countries, with
-different cultures, languages, and more importantly, with different sensibilities. In my way of running things,
-I want these different sensibilities to be acknowledged, and imported as a part of how the website works.
-
-The first step is to translate the movies.io interface in different languages. The i18n system is in the works,
-and we'll start accepting translators very soon. I've also picked up language learning where I left off, so that
-I can better understand the different sensibilities I discussed earlier: English and français are pretty much
-dealt with, so I've started re-learning deutsch, español, и русский.
-
-The second step is to find people of all cultures whose passion for video content in general knows no bound,
-and whose awareness of the cultural context and trends is evident. I think that working with people from various
-horizons will help me widen my perspective on the platform itself.
-
-Thirdly, I'd like to tackle not only movies but series, shows, lives, and comedy as well. From the user feedback
-we get, they'd use the movies.io interface for everything if they could. So why the hell not?
-
-The next few steps will require a lot of work, finding the right partners, and of course, figuring the legal and
-technical infrastructure to sustain such a business. But that's alright - I'm in it for the long run. While competition
-seems to make matters pressing, I'm not in a hurry.
-
-I also want to be a content creator on series.io myself. I've long been deeply interested in the many web series
-that have developed on YouTube, Dailymotion, and other video hosters. I'd like to start a series called
-"Behind the scenes", and meet regularly with the makers of these series, in order to interview them on their work.
-It'll be a good occasion to announce new series available on series.io.
-
-As far as life balance and cashflow go, I'll also go through with my plan to work on an HD Remake of [bioboy][bioboy].
-I'll launch the IndieGogo campaign in the next weeks - if we raise $1000, Sylvain and I will start working on the
-game. As far as I can tell, there won't be a games.io anytime soon, but I'll be happy to bring back to life MagicSpark,
-the game development association I have created with my cousins in early 2001.
-
-[bioboy]: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview&uid=4598
-
-In short? A life full of excitement, with many projects on the table. If you're reading this right now and want
-to help one way or another, ping me and I'll be happy to discuss it, whether you're a developer, producer, or simply
-a fan of great content.
-
-
View
46 2012-09-12-ohfuck.md
@@ -1,46 +0,0 @@
----
-title: The "oh fuck" moment
-date: 2012-09-12
-tags: [ entrepreneurship ]
-layout: post
-nofooter: true
----
-
-### Intro
-
-A few weeks ago, I discovered [goodfil.ms][gf]. It started with [this article][gfm].
-
-[gf]: http://goodfil.ms
-[gfm]: http://news.ycombinator.org/item?id=4360419
-
-Oh, fuck. There's a beautiful movie website out there, built in 2011, with a
-gorgeous design, a great domain name, and their mobile app is out. With the added
-luxury of a multipart technical article on how they used AngularJS to go mobile.
-
-And now [they integrate nicely with Netflix][gfn]. And they get social right. And
-they already link movie pages to Wikipedia. And they allow user reviews. And they
-show you what your friends are reviewing.
-
-[gfn]: http://goodfil.ms/films/on_netflix
-
-The only thing it's missing is proper movie recommendation. A little partnership with
-[Foundd][fdd], and that's a done thing.
-
-[fdd]: http://foundd.com/
-
-They're based in Melbourne, are just two guys, seem to get along great, were previously
-at [Envato][envato], and have already closed a round of angel funding to develop their
-product.
-
-[envato]: http://envato.com/
-
-Oh, fuck.
-
-### Main piece
-
-At this point, I should probably write a few paragraphs of motivatese, about how
-giving up is weak, about how different websites can strive in the same area. But
-I'm tired of it. I think goodfil.ms has won not one battle, but the whole war.
-
-Time to pivot. Or go back to bed.
-
View
240 2012-09-25-providence.md
@@ -1,240 +0,0 @@
----
-title: What I would have missed
-date: 2012-09-25
-tags: [ perspective ]
-layout: post
-nofooter: true
----
-
-### Intro
-
-This is a follow-up post to the ["oh fuck moment" post][ohfuck]. While most of my posts
-here are seemingly ominous and/or generally dark, it's not like me to blog
-about giving up, so I got a few surprised reactions to it.
-
-[ohfuck]: http://amos.me/blog/2012/ohfuck/
-
-But most importantly, I got an e-mail from the co-founder of [goodfil.ms][gfm]
-himself :) While I won't take the liberty to reproduce it here, it was, overall,
-very encouraging. They're a hardworking team as well, and I admire what they've
-been able to put out, but they appreciate the competition as much as anyone.
-Between small structures, the relation is rather friendly: we all know there's
-a problem, but no one's been able to crack it quite yet, so as long as there's
-cash around, we'll keep trying.
-
-[gfm]: http://goodfil.ms/
-
-Since the last week has been crazy, I found myself compelled to write about
-what I would have missed, had I given up on movies.io altogether at the time of
-that previous blog post.
-
-
-### UXRomandie
-
-Even with the gloomy perspective my wednesdsay left me in, I went ahead and
-gave a small talk about movies.io at [UXRomandie][uxr]. It's an event part of a larger
-UX organization, focused on exploring new venues to improve user experience in
-technology in general. Since movies.io is usually praised for its interface, it
-seemed like a good fit for an evening at UXRomandie. (Lots of thanks to Simon
-Farine for inviting me there, by the way!)
-
-[uxr]: http://uxromandie.ch/episode-8-ou-le-bit-se-fait-torrent/
-
-The first surprise was that there was already movies.io users among the
-audience, and that they started to use it even before they had heard of the
-conference. So I got to meet a few of them and get direct feedback on the
-website.
-
-Overall, the evening was very positive: the talk was followed by a
-mini-workshop on the interface of the future movies.io desktop client. It was
-fascinating to see that many minds (and pencils!) at work on my baby product. I
-was humbled to see the iterative process, all the ideas presented, and I got to
-walk out of there with a big pile of A4 concept drawings.
-
-I don't know how much of that will be put to use in the actual desktop client,
-but overall it was very heart-warming to see that overall, people loved the
-idea and the execution. It seems I've come a long way from being a purely
-backend engineer at official.fm!
-
-### SUISA
-
-A bit pumped up following the UXRomandie event, I got started thinking again
-about licensing (ie. how to turn movies.io into a fully legit business), and
-thought again about the global license: a system were all internet users are
-billed a flat subscription, and their contribution is redistributed to the
-rightsholder, in a fair way. I tweeted a thought or two, and was put in contact
-with [@SwissTengu](st), a member of the Swiss pirate party, and blogger.
-
-[st]: https://twitter.com/swisstengu
-
-Apparently there was to be a meeting the next evening in the [SUISA][suisa] offices,
-about the reform of copyright law in Switzerland. I quickly decided to attend,
-just to see what it was like. We were about 15 participants, in a cosy Lausanne
-office, discussing about the future of retribution for artists and producers.
-
-[suisa]: http://www.suisa.ch/en/
-
-The participants were either artists, producers, pirates, or jurists for the
-SUISA. SUISA is a rights management cooperative for all of Switzerland. Most
-Swiss artists are signed up there, which allows them to outsource the licensing
-of their music for public broadcasting, compilations, etc. It handles
-everything that has to do with reproduction and derivatives of a copyrighted
-piece (music, book, etc.).
-
-The first good surprise was that a representant from SUISA reaffirmed some of
-the things I assumed, but was never quite certain of. First, that it was - and
-remains - perfectly legal to download copyrighted content in Switzerland, and
-copy it at will, as long as it's for personal, non-commercial use. The SUISA
-has never taken legal action against individual downloaders: its role would be
-only to penalize third-parties trying to monetize copyrighted content without
-paying the rightsholder dutifully. (For example, if movies.io started to sell
-movies to Swiss citizens without worrying about rights.)
-
-Another point was that, even though there's [an official "discussion group"][bern]
-assembled in Berne, to the request of the Swiss government, to overhaul
-copyright law in Switzerland, it seems unlikely that the law will change in the
-next few years. Part of the reason is that, in Switzerland, there's always a
-certain inertia: officials want to be sure that they're doing the right thing
-before changing anything. Nevertheless, the current situation is basis for
-political pressure on Switzerland mostly from American lobbies: recently, it
-was even put on a "black list" of pirate countries.
-
-[bern]: http://www.ejpd.admin.ch/content/ejpd/fr/home/dokumentation/mi/2012/2012-08-09.html
-
-However, getting out of this ditch isn't going to be really easy. Any move
-regarding the legislation in the area of copyright and downloading in
-Switzerland would be regarded as backwards by the general population. The least
-backwards initiative could be, perhaps, the global license. But, again, the
-idea is still very fuzzy.
-
-Would individuals be billed (perhaps by their internet service providers, on
-top of their internet subscription), or would it be third-parties (music/movie
-stores)? And how much would they be billed? How would the redistribution be
-handled? There was some confusion about the technical possibility to accurately
-track usage for a fair redistribution, which I tried to clarify: on the
-internet, and particularly on traditional online marketplaces, it's very easy
-to establish a precise report of who buys what, and how much.
-
-An ex-SUISA lawyer mentioned the case of [MX3](http://mx3.ch), and experiment
-made in Switzerland in fair retribution based on the popularity of the content,
-and explained that they quickly ran into issues of artists "gaming the system"
-by clicking many times on their own tracks: the resulting top 10 was utterly
-worthless. Again, I explained that analytics abuse have been around for almost
-as long as the internet and that today we have reliable ways to make the system
-a lot more robust. In short, that it was not an opposition on an ideological
-level, but rather on a single implementation that was, apparently, half-assed.
-(In the same fashion, one shouldn't abandon sex just because they've had a
-shitty partner once.)
-
-At the end of the evening, nothing was resolved as far as the law was
-concerned, but I advanced one of my proposals which I've had in mind for quite
-some time: a universal licensing API. The idea would be to open the audiovisual
-market for any "two-students-in-their-basement" start-up that can come up with
-a great interface and play around with a business model, basing their product
-on a huge catalog. It would allow near-perfect competition in this arena, in
-contrast with the incredibly-closed nature of music and video distribution
-today, where only major actors can succeed, with insider knowledge, and often
-dishonest deals. (It really is quite terrible, anyone in the industry can -
-but often won't - testify about this. I detailed part of the procedure in ["four
-months of movies.io"][4mo])
-
-[4mo]: http://amos.me/blog/2012/vision/
-
-The proposal for an API generated mostly positive reactions from all sides.
-Some participants were confused as to the nature of an API, and of the
-possibilities that it would open. But in general, people understand that
-allowing more competition is good (except for the big monopolies) and that
-ultimately, both artists and consumers would be the winners of such a move.
-What's more, it doesn't require great architectural changes for current rights
-management organizations (such as SUISA, SACEM, etc.), just to interface their
-internal system with the universal API. Of course, they'd have to give up on
-most of their manipulation methods and other tricks to make the prices go up
-and play on availability by region and time windows.. but, again, it would be
-a big win for the consumer.
-
-I'm looking forward to the next meeting, which should start by a short
-presentation from techies about what an API is, how it works, and what are
-the advantages over a "spend weeks over the phone" workflow.
-
-As for me, the personal conclusion is that it remains safe to run movies.io
-from Switzerland, as long as it stays non-commercial. Even copyright officials
-from here don't seem shocked by my approach, and rather appreciated the
-design and amount of work put into it rather than seeing first the legal
-challenge that it causes.
-
-### What's next?
-
-Among the flow of other generally good news, I got an invitation from the
-organizers of [HackDayParis][hdp] to attend either as participants (hackers)
-or as members of the jury. Fred and I accepted the invitation as members of
-the jury, but we're still waiting for the final confirmation. What's really
-interesting here is that the premier sponsor is France Télévision, the network
-behind France 2, France 3 and others, which are very big in France. Our approach
-(indexing torrents) is seen as "fundamentally disruptive" rather than "illegal/
-morally reprehensible"
-
-[hdp]: http://hackdayparis.org/2012.html
-
-Other reactions I've gotten on Twitter and co. were that no matter how cool
-other websites were, movies.io has gotten itself a loyal core user base who are
-looking forward to improvements to the website, and shutting it down would be
-letting them down.
-
-And since I'm never entirely satisfied with anything I do, I kept working on
-it. One big point was i18n, I've integrated [tr8n][tr8n], a rails-friendly
-internationalization plug-in, which will allow our userbase to translate the
-website in over 233 languages. Integration is not quite ready yet but I'm
-willing to test it with a limited amount of users to see how it goes.
-
-[tr8n]: https://github.com/berk/tr8n
-
-I've also overhauled almost all pages on the website that deserved some love.
-Most of them are subtle tweaks, but there are more fundamental changes also:
-the story view for watchlists has been completely revamped and now makes
-watchlists into "works of art", taking full advantage of the gorgeous backdrops
-[TMDb][tmdb] gracefully makes available. Editing watchlists now also show you
-"suggested additions" so that you can discover films similar to what you
-already have in your list. In a similar fashion, movie pages show the top 4
-most popular watchlists containing a particular movie: I think this will help
-with watchlist discovery.
-
-[tmdb]: http://www.themoviedb.org/
-
-The [put.io][putio] integration got some love as well. I discovered a bug in their API
-that made it impossible to stream many movies, simply because the API response
-claimed there was no MP4 available, even though we had requested its conversion
-earlier. I've implemented a work-around and now all movies should play files.
-The "log in" / "session expiration" issues are still present, but there's
-nothing I can do about them for now, unfortunately. I still recommend using
-[XBMC](http://xbmc.org) to watch movies from put.io though, that's the best way
-for me!
-
-[putio]: https://put.io/
-
-The topbar has seen some love: it's a lot clearer, the "loves" is gone :( but
-there's additional information: notifications can now be seen from any page
-thanks to a pop-over (a-la Facebook), and if you have a linked put.io account
-you can see the remaining space directly in the topbar, which is very useful.
-When adding a torrent to put.io, it'll also warn you if you don't have enough
-space, very useful for trial users that only have 1GB.
-
-Another often requested feature was the ability to report bad torrents: that's
-now done, registered users can hit the 'Report' button and it will divide our
-internal secret score by two. The result is that if several users report the
-same torrent, it will go down in the rankings and will be replaced on the movie
-page by another, better torrent. There's still no manual submission system or
-fully-fledged moderation system, alas, but let's hope this will be better than
-previously.
-
-There's been lots of discussion about a form of commenting on watchlists, and
-even on "movies in the context of a watchlist" (a 'WatchlistBelongship', in DB
-jargon). While I think it would be a great interaction point for users, I'm
-still looking for a good way, interface-way, to make it non-intrusive and
-generally not make it seem out of place. I swear, that story view is so pretty
-I really don't want to pollute it with extra bloat.
-
-All these changes haven't been deployed yet, but as soon as I feel better &
-successfully work out the anxiety associated with deploying a big chunk of
-changes to production, I'll make them available for everyone.
-
-
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