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Torrent-Only Movie Denied IMDb Listing 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-list-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A film set to be released for free via BitTorrent has been denied a listing in the Internet Movie Database. The Tunnel is currently in production and despite pleas from the makers, IMDb won't allow it on their site. The creators of this horror movie believe that because they have shunned an official distributor and chosen a BitTorrent model instead, this has put them at a disadvantage with the Amazon-owned site."
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Torrent-Only Movie Denied IMDb Listing

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:03AM (#33743496)

    IMDB has a very clear rule requiring traditional distribution in order to make their site. Search for your favorite podcast there, even if it comes from CBS-owned CNET or Comcast's G4, and you get comical results of other uses of the words in the title with the exception of only those that had TV runs at some point in the past. TV shows are allowed on the site, but saddled with a "(TV)" mark every time the title is mentioned in the DB.

    IMDB's purpose for living currently is a place for Amazon to collect data on video entertainment products that more likely than not will eventually show up as a product Amazon is going to carry. Even if you've got a huge budget, if you're going to go for non-studio Internet downloads, you're not going to end up in Amazon's catalog and offend the big media types that IMDB depends on.

    Don't like it? Create your own directory of legal download video projects and lock big content out unless they embrace the download format. Better yet, help people download their picks onto whatever device they want. Oh, wait, that's MediaFly. []

  • Re:OTOH (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:16AM (#33743558)
    Yes, IMDb is certainly a paragon of old media sensibility.
  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:19AM (#33743566)
    FunnyOrDie shorts often appear in film festivals where they are shown in theaters to therefore qualify them as a theatrical short and therefore qualified for IMDB mention. Notice they only get about 100 entries despite the thousands on the site.
  • Re:No shit (Score:3, Informative)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:24AM (#33743592)

    Yep. Even HBO stages small theater runs for their serious productions to qualify them for Oscar contention. Otherwise, all they could get would be Emmy awards.

  • by kandela (835710) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:27AM (#33743610)
    Yes, and if you read their rules in detail, you will see that acceptance at a film festival with any sort of selection criteria is also sufficient to get a listing in IMDB. So, I don't understand why the makers don't simply submit the film to a festival!?
  • Re:The Guild (Score:3, Informative)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:30AM (#33743624)

    The Guild is available at Amazon as DVDs.

    Mainly-online projects that have a small traditional distribution deal qualify for IMDB mention... those who don't do not.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:50AM (#33743756)

    IMDB requires indie films be released before they are listed. []

    This movie isn't out yet. He can submit the movie for inclusion once it comes out.

    Is there no website that won't fall for a fake outrage story like this one? Is it really this easy to manipulate "new media"?

  • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Informative)

    by adenied (120700) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:01AM (#33743812)

    Huh, if that's true I was unaware of it and stand corrected. (I know, a rare situation on Slashdot.)

  • by BillX (307153) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:31AM (#33743950) Homepage

    Because it doesn't exist yet. FTFA: "IMDb told the team that if a movie is not set up with a production company with a history of theatrically released movies, getting it listed at the early stages of development would not be possible."

  • by wagnerrp (1305589) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:54AM (#33744072)

    That all changed quickly right after Amazon took over. I quit volunteering my time to improve the site, as did many other casual readers who simply wanted a better system for their own reference and entertainment. I still use IMDB to discover older movies and television series which might interest me, but I have no desire to try to submit corrections.

    You may want to consider [] and []. They started up in response to IMDb restricting their content and images, and exist to provide community-sourced metadata and artwork for use in HTPCs.

  • by jcdick1 (254644) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:08AM (#33744138)

    Actually, The Tunnel has completed principal photography and is in post-production, according to the Open Letter referenced in the article. And they supplied references to major media tracking their work, as IMDB requested.

  • by Kaedrin (709478) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:18AM (#33744186)

    So IMDB has a clear tradition and quite likely violated it for...

    Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning
    The Guild
    The Legend of Neil
    Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

    Frankly, if any web series also deserves to violate this rule, it's Doraleous and Associates. Awesome web based show that very easily deserves to be in IMDB, yet currently is not. Not unlike those other awesome shows which also avoided standard publishing paths. I know nothing about The Tunnel, but I think IMDB damn well should have a vetting process for things worth mentioning because they appear to already have one in spirit if not in their own law.

    Anyway, these did not originate or target standard distribution channels, yet they got into the IMDB database. Was the only reason those shows got on IMDB is because some of the people working on or for them are well known, and IMDB actually has a flexible policy of supporting those who they like or are well known when clear traditions are broken? I don't think Star Wreck even had known actors, and yet it's original distribution channel was, *gasp*, torrent.

    So yes, maybe the folks at The Tunnel kind of have a valid complaint, even if their show is as bad as parts of Star Wreck. Hell, it can't possibly be as bad as Neverending Story 3, which is listed on IMDB and most certainly should be forgotten by all who exist.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:49AM (#33744310) Journal
    "like all stubborn, obstinate children, they will bitch and moan and throw a tantrum about how it's "not fair"."

    Denton is famous for his short stature but he is anything but an obstinate child. He is highly intelligent, has a razor wit, and IMHO makes some of the best Aussie TV shows on air, he also served as executive producer and script editor for "The Chasers". His company goes by the name of "Zapruder's other films" ( Zapruder being the guy who filmed JFK's assasination ).

    He has not moaned about it being unfair, nor has he thrown a tantrum, the media have picked up the story because he is such a well known and popular figure in Aussie TV. Denton of course is getting a bunch of free publicity for his free film but everyone here in Oz already knows the guy is way too smart to knock back free publicity.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:55AM (#33744358) Journal
    "So a company with no history in the industry...

    Your obviously not an Aussie, saying Denton has no history in the industry is like saying Hitchcock knew nothing about suspense.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:21AM (#33744458)

    Amazon is selling the IMDb as a marketing tool to Hollywood.


    Astro-turfing in the reviews section of the IMDb is not just allowed, (and I suspect, sold as a service to big film releases), but when you write a review pointing this out, that criticism vanishes. Or rather, it doesn't vanish, but only appears present to the IP address it came from while remaining invisible to the rest of the world.

    Give it a try!

    Next time a big block buster release comes out, head over to the IMDb in the first couple of days of release and after wading through the swamp of 10 star rave reviews, down to the bottom where the balanced reviews by real people are buried, and write your own pointing out that Amazon is selling favorable reviews to Hollywood marketing firms and that the movie in question probably sucks just badly enough to require the kind of manipulative push an astro-turfing tactic offers.

    Then watch your review mysteriously vanish.

    Go on! It's frustrating good times!


  • Re:OTOH (Score:4, Informative)

    by MishgoDog (909105) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:37AM (#33744518)
    Sorry Mr Cynical, read about this this morning (Australia time) on the front page of a 'popular news' site...
    The Age []
    But please don't let me get in the way of a good anti-establishment rant...
  • by infolation (840436) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:47AM (#33744994)
    There are other IMDB criteria that seem to immediately apply to this film, without requiring film festival submission. IMDB's own eligibility rules [] state that the film:
    • must be of general public interest, and
    • should be available to the public or have been available in the past.

    Under 'what constituts general public interest', the rules include:

    • has been downloaded in 'large' numbers from some website(s), or
    • has become famous for some reason and is widely talked about/referenced in non local media or the 'film community' or is now of general historic interest for some reason.
  • by KingSkippus (799657) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:12AM (#33745962) Homepage Journal

    Posted earlier today in the Sydney Morning Herald []

    "To the contrary, we already list many titles that were initially or solely distributed online and/or via BitTorrent," Emily Glassman wrote in an email from Seattle, where the company is based.

    "As a pioneering internet company - we are celebrating our 20th anniversary on 17 October! - we are fully aware of and totally embrace digital distribution."

    Glassman cited a range of recent titles, including 2009 films The Yes Men Fix the World and Blank, and 2008 films Pentagon and Emperor, that have been distributed through BitTorrent and listed on IMDb.

    "We will look at and review this specific case but as a general rule we always include all films that are submitted to us as long as we can verify that they fulfil our eligibility requirements."

    Glassman said the database's requirements were stringent because it had to maintain its credibility, and that "more substantial burden of proof is required to accept titles that are still in production".

    They probably get hundreds (or more) of requests to list all kinds of screwy things every day, and this probably just flew under the radar of people who didn't take the time to do the due diligence of verifying that it's a real project that's well underway and that actually does have a good chance of being released and relevant. I suspect that with all of the attention, they'll probably change their mind in pretty short order and all will be well again. I find both the filmmaker's frustration and IMDB's reticence understandable. It is a valuable resource, and I don't want it trashed with every schmo who thinks that his kid's birthday party video should be listed.

    Besides, as mentioned before, the publicity doesn't hurt, and IMDB did them a huge favor in an indirect way. I had never heard of the project before, but I think it's an awesome idea, one I've actually thought of and wished on many occasions that someone would take up. I hope they do awesome, and their project has motivated me to pitch in and buy some frames.

  • by evanspw (872471) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @09:41AM (#33746222)

    For what it's worth, which isn't much, Denton was involved in the greatest piece of television in the history of the world, but it was in 1988 and mostly he's be farting through his mouth ever since.

    I refer of course to the Great Lubricated Goat Episode of Blah Blah Blah. It shall not be forgotten. I thought at the time, "Finally, television is going to be good", but it was not to be.

    Sigh. []

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford