What makes a movie a movie?

There was an interesting post on Slashdot regarding an amateur movie that is distributed via BitTorrent that IMDB is refusing to list on its website.  The producers believe it is due to the fact that they are not using “traditional” media distributions methods and I believe they are correct.

So what IMDB is, is really an index of professional movies.  IMDB is not the Wikipedia of movies, etc.  You have to be “professionally” made with an actor who gets paid in something other than housing or food.  This is a bit disconcerting.  BitTorrent is as much a part of the new media wave as open source, blogs etc.  It is the transport infrastructure of this new wave.  In fact, it is many times more efficient than using traditional methods of delivery.  It is truly crowd-sourcing the sharing of files.

However, it seems that the medium is indeed the message in this case.  What if the movie being delivered via BitTorrent was in fact an amazing film?  A new Gone With the Wind or Amalie?  I don’t think it would have mattered, the decision is already made and anyone who uses that medium is not a “professional”.

Clay Shirky pointed out in his recent book “Here Comes Everybody” he notes that professions that are tied to and defined by access to distribution channels or a hierarchy of distribution should be worried.  Only by erecting fake barriers like the IMDB decision can they keep their “profession” in place.  The wave is coming and at one point it will destroy the walls they have erected.  Anyone down for creating an IMDB-like thing for anyone to update and use?  Sounds good to me.


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