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Businesses Movies Television The Media Entertainment

Y Combinator Wants To Kill Hollywood 424

Posted by Soulskill
from the bigger-they-are-the-harder-they-fall dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Y Combinator, a firm that invests in startups, has put out a call to kill Hollywood. In a post on their site, the firm said attempts at legislation similar to SOPA wouldn't stop until there is no industry left to protect. They now want to incubate ideas for new types of entertainment, so we can evolve the movie and television industries. Quoting: 'There will be several answers, ranging from new ways to produce and distribute shows, through new media (e.g. games) that look a lot like shows but are more interactive, to things (e.g. social sites and apps) that have little in common with movies and TV except competing with them for finite audience attention. Some of the best ideas may initially look like they're serving the movie and TV industries. Microsoft seemed like a technology supplier to IBM before eating their lunch, and Google did the same thing to Yahoo.'"
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Y Combinator Wants To Kill Hollywood

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  • Cue the lawsuits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:46PM (#38774500)
    Dodd and the MPAA are not going to take this sort of thing sitting down. They will sue over every word that ever appeared in any movie or TV show. They will attack any technology that is used to distribute this entertainment. They will lobby for laws forbidding this sort of thing.

    So, how can we help fight them?
  • Godspeed to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:47PM (#38774516) Homepage

    At the end of the day, all things being equal if the government has to step in and decide who it will legislatively favor, I’m hoping it is the tech industry. America is and for a long time has been losing its place in the world. We cannot compete with third world manufacturing, we have deliberately sacrificed our spot as a scientific leader by diverting funds away from a physics supercollider (The Large Hadron Collider in Europe is where future breakthroughs will occur while we now watch on the sidelines), we have given up NASA and future space exploration will be spearheaded by China and India, and we are dumbing down our science, math, and literacy education while the rest of the world ups their game.

    We basically have two things left, we are leaders in information technology, and leaders in making Lady Gaga CDs and Chipmunk movie sequels. Which do you believe is doing to be the best industry to foster a friendly environment for to maintain the relevance of America in the world? The media industry exists on the whim of the US government and other governments going along with our endless copyright extensions. Should they decide to stop, there is no value in what they create. Media can be copied for free, there is no scarcity of resources in the distribution, the basic rules of economics don’t work here.

    I’m not suggesting that the whole concept of intellectual property is null and void. It has its failings and certainly the way copyright is being handled is despicable (I also feel software patents are insane and detrimental to the information technology industry). But I do know that if this is to be a showdown between two industries, I want the one to win that actually produces something of economic, societal, and tangible value. If Hollywood and the music industry are simply incompatible with technology, then I think we can do without the next Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, but I don’t think we can do without the next Google, Microsoft, or IBM. Do we want to be a country of technical leaders advancing civilization along, or do we want to be the court jesters, a diversion for the Chinese and other emerging technologies to get some cheap laughs from while they surpass us in all other areas?

  • by Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) <> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:49PM (#38774530) Homepage

    If you read the announcement, you'll quickly realize that Y Combinator thinks that the industry as a whole is stagnant, and that it sees opportunities for innovation in the realm of entertainment outside of the Hollywood system. Hollywood is dying on its own; Y Combinator wants to invest in the next generation of mass media.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:03PM (#38774642)

    This battle will probably fail.. but I think this is how the war is ultimately going to be won..

    Not by some massive project, but with little nibbles over a long period of time. Stuff like this shows that more and more people are getting fed up. They fail and someone else tries, then someone else, etc.. eventually you will see something persistent, and it will gradually get more and more share until it is a serious competitor, and hopefully, a replacement for the existing media establishment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:09PM (#38774702)

    Let all of us simple organisms rise from our petri dishes and pick up a BOOK, shall we?

    That would destroy Hollywood and we may actually become smarter -- not that there's any other direction to go these days in America...

    Before you get all riled up...I am American, I see how sadly mentally-deficient we are's sad, really...

  • by muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:09PM (#38774710)

    > So, how can we help fight them?

    Change the election system in the US so you dont have to "fight" them any more, but can just vote them out of politics. Take the power politicians have to push abusive, bad laws. Bring in more direct democracy, so that lawmaking becomes more independent of the few bribeable, single points of failure (politicians). MPAA/RIAA are only able to influence laws because there are only so few politicians to bribe and because, after being bribed, nobody can stop them from introducing abusive laws.

    In my view, Paul Graham got it completely wrong. It is not Hollywood that has to be fought, it is the undemocratic political system that has to go. Hollywood just abuses the buggy system because it is so easy to abuse (think Windows 98). After YC "kills Hollywood", simply somebody else will come up to bribe politicians and purchase laws because it is so effective. The system allows for rich people to literally purchase laws.

    The cure is not to merely stop this one case of abuse, but to debug the system to prevent any further abuses. "Debug the system" in this case means introduce switzerland style direct democracy to make people able to bypass "professional" politicians and to directly veto abusive and unjust laws.

  • by Nugoo (1794744) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:10PM (#38774714)
    Here's [] a start. As far as I know, donating to the EFF also helps people fight the lawsuits.
  • by brainzach (2032950) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:14PM (#38774750)

    Walt DIsney alone is worth 70 billions dollars. No one is going to buy it out unless they can make that money back.

    Even if you do that, the old chaff will just start new companies and attract investors because they know how to make money in the entertainment industry.

    What is needed is alternative business models to compete with the old industry. It can costs millions of dollars to make movies and there has to be ways to finance it. Follow the money.

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:16PM (#38774766)

    But Hollywood isn't just going to defend its own content and allow the likes of Y Combinator to siphon off more of the public's entertainment dollar. They'll be out there, actively killing off alternative market channels with things like SOPA/PIPA. Hollywood isn't happy with the theft of their product. But they can handle that (like they did MegaUpload) with current laws. What they fear is that new content will be produced and distributed through the new channels (all legally) without them getting their cut of the business. These new channels, being more suited to the current market will kill off the Hollywood system.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:18PM (#38774784) Homepage Journal

    Funny. My favourite movies, CDs, and TV shows are not made by big budgets, but by B-movie houses and home editing/recording equipment. While some of the big budget blockbusters are worth the money, for the most part they SUCK because they spend all their time worrying about F/X and gadgetry instead of telling a good story.

    The whole "capital" issue is a red herring in my books, an excuse for the status quo.

    The MPAA and it's ilk should be reduced to advertising management firms, paid a percentage or flat fee by the movie producers, and have all their current "power" revoked and taken back by the artists.

  • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:19PM (#38774794) Homepage

    Intellectual property laws came about as a way to balance public interest with private interest. Without some kind of copyright and patent protection, there is less incentive to create something intangible (like music, software, medicine, etc), especially it it involves significant up front costs and effort. However, to balance this against public interest, time limits were put into place and the concept of patents on non-physical items were not initially considered (that is what copyrights were for).

    The last couple decades have seen a total removal of the concept of public interest in IP law, it is now 100% about maximizing profits for distribution middlemen (note: not the actual creators themselves, look who is doing all of the lobbying). Copyright for all intents and purposes is perpetual and dictated by the age of a cartoon mouse, I don't think anyone believes it is not going to be extended the next time it is up for renewal. Patents on non-tangible items (software patents) and on items that were not created but discovered (genetic patents) have further abused the system.

    The idea of intellectual property is not inherently bad, but the current execution and the corruption around it now are more detrimental to society than helpful.

  • Re:Just buy them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brainzach (2032950) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:22PM (#38774820)

    If Apple or Microsoft buys Disney, they will milk money out of it the same way the current management does. Apple would make it worst by only allowing movies to be shown on Apple devices.

    If Google buys Disney, they will fund movies by selling product placement spots.

  • by yincrash (854885) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:29PM (#38774876)
    California is a clear example of why direct democracy doesn't scale. I think the reform has to happen on lobbying level. Should politicians be able to become lobbyists?
  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:30PM (#38774886) Homepage
    Yeah, it's been baby steps of progress. Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft, Roku, Nintendo (etc) have all shown that inexpensive, easy-to-use, reliable, on-demand content delivery to customers televisions isn't just entirely workable, but popular.

    Various billing models for different kinds of media are being tried. Now Netflix, Hulu and Microsoft are getting into exclusive content production. That's a big leap forward.

    The trick is, and I think the Y Combinator folks understand this, is to not lose sight of the fact that the customers are increasingly capable and they want what they want. Giving them something else and saying, "Tough, that's the way it is and you'll like it." just isn't going to fly anymore.
  • by suprcvic (684521) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:32PM (#38774910)

    Change the election system in the US so you dont have to "fight" them any more, but can just vote them out of politics.

    In theory that's how it already works. The problem is that everybody is happy with their own representative, it's everybody else that's the problem. Not to mention, changing the system of electing officials requires the approval of said officials.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:57PM (#38775140)
    Before you kill them, could we please tear them apart piece by piece for all the revenue they've hidden from the artists they're supposed to represent?
  • by brainzach (2032950) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:08PM (#38775210)

    Destroying Hollywood to save Google is just as stupid as destroying Google to save Hollywood.

    Both industries can coexists together just like they do right now. There is no need to be so cynical.

  • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:41PM (#38775434) Homepage

    Destroying Hollywood to save Google is just as stupid as destroying Google to save Hollywood.

    Both industries can coexists together just like they do right now. There is no need to be so cynical.

    Have you been paying attention at all? Hollywood has been waging an all out war on technology for decades. This cynicism isn't unfounded, it is in response to Hollywood spending billions in congressional bribes to get laws passed to stop nearly every form of media related technology since they ran across the country to escape the IP laws around Edison's video camera.

    They are not co-existing at all, one industry is actively and aggressively attempting to destroy (or gain full control over) another. And given that choice, I would rather lose the industry that in the grand scheme of things is useless.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:43PM (#38775450) Homepage

    Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft, Roku, Nintendo ... Now Netflix, Hulu and Microsoft are getting into exclusive content production.

    You mean like content that is available on only ONE of those companies' networks, exactly like what you say they are taking baby steps against?

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:44PM (#38775452)

    Because of people like you. A law isn't something you buy, and thinking so confuses the issue. A politician is something you invest in, something you cultivate. I have said you don't buy laws, you buy politicians. But that is an oversimplification.

    MAFIAA recently said to Obama not to count on Hollywood money next time. That should explain how it works. You pay money up front for someone to get elected, hopefully someone who shares your opinions. When votes come up, politicians look to see who funded them. NOT to see who to vote for, but to see whose support they need to win the next election.

    Every vote, every bill, every decision, is about not alienating the people whose support you count on for the next cycle. Politics is a long game, and individuals usually only thing about things per-issue. Because they don't understand how politics works.

    Until people start taking a look at candidates, how they voted, what they actually did, long term, this won't change. The people only want someone to say the right things, like Gingrich does, not do the right things. As long as he says what they want to hear, he can screw them again and again.

    Or the simple answer - Hollywood usually votes Democrat because Republicans have tried to censor profanity and nudity. So Democrats and California politicians do what Hollywood wants, for continued funding. The politician is bought, the laws don't have to be.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:59PM (#38775552)

    Fuck you for thinking you know better than The People.

    One vote by the people in 1978 now basically dictates the shape of California government for evermore. It's made elections worthless, because no matter who you vote for they can't actually change anything. It was some dork's idea of the night watchman state, where inner city schools would magically pay for themselves and the evil government had to be stopped from fixing too many streets in a year.

  • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:42PM (#38775733) Homepage

    > Hollywood have been waging a war on copyright infringement, not technology.

    Hollywood has been waging an ill advised war on any technology that could have copyright infringement implications (which is a decent percentage). Remember the VCR? I was going to be to the movie industry what the boston strangler was to woman. (remember how destructive VCRs were to Hollywood? It barely survived)
    This is simply a continuation of the kind of ignorant resistance to technology that would actually be beneficial to the large media conglomerates if they were capable of adapting and innovating instead of just chucking money at Congress to keep extending copyright.

    > Google's beef with SOPA is that they don't want to constantly police their own search results and be held responsible for user generated content.

    I'm sure it also had something to do with the other myriad of technically unrealistic provisions around DNS and such, but yes.

    > If there was a way to magically get rid of copyright infringement violations without putting extra burden on Google or other Internet start ups, then both Hollywood and Google would support it. There is some common ground on the issue, and compromises can be made to make sure both industries can thrive.

    So when do we see that start happening instead of the constant bribery of elected officials to enact draconian laws they don't understand, extend copyright to save a stupid mouse from entering public domain, and manipulating international treaties to stack copyright law and technology regulations in their favor?

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @04:25PM (#38776061) Journal

    The problem is most of Hollywood gets its money from TV subscribers like you or our parents. You know the kind who doesn't understand why you need an IPAD if you just watch TV for hours very single night.

    No one is going to get rid of their expensive TV subscriptions. ... ok I actually do but I know I am in the small minority here. I never liked TV ever even as a child.

    As long as people rent movies and watch TV, hollywood will have money. Yes they do not like the internet. Yes they are working with Apple and Microsoft to turn your computers into appliances and are winning. I love secure boot personally but prefer to be able to turn it off.

    HDMI sucks terribly too. I gave up trying to get HDMI to work on my computer with an ATI card. It may work but then an updated driver will put black spaces around the edges with an underscan or some other BS. Its all based on HDCP and bad programming.I can't imagine how stupid people aka average joes would deal with this?

    We can't kill it. The best we can do is make awesome websites that are worthwhile like Huli, youtube, facebook and try to win over the younger audience. As the older die out the new hip stuff will replace it. TV and hollywood will die a slow death but it will take a long time. Many such as myself are more than happy to see "The Hobbit" , even as I boycotted LOTR a decade ago because of the DMCA the studios still made money.

    The candle industry is still around but nowhere near as powerfull. Same will come true with Hollywood and lets hope interactive TV boxes by Apple and Andriod later this year start the trend to more interactive TV that is internet based than idiotbox based.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @04:26PM (#38776067) Homepage Journal

    Let's ALL kill Hollywood. They can't arrest all of us!

    ...and salt the ground where the Hollywood studios stand.

    I'm a bit concerned about this outfit starting an "incubator" to "kill Hollywood" because dollars to donuts as soon as they start making money they'll immediately move to adopt the same anti-competitive behaviors.

    For-profit corporations cannot help themselves. If you have shareholders, you are a menace and everything you do should be very closely regulated. Because it is in your nature to do wrong if there's a profit in it. This is why corporations are not people and they're not even a facsimile of a person. A person will occasionally do good even if there's no profit in it. It happens all the time. A corporation will never, ever do good unless there is a profit in it, just as they will do bad if there is a profit in it. There are no exceptions. Corporations are like highly radioactive isotopes. Used properly, they can be involved in good outcomes, but only if handled with great care and under strictly-controlled conditions.

  • by dead_cthulhu (1928542) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @05:03PM (#38776315)

    It's amazing how so many foreign films and independent titles seem to get by on much smaller budgets.

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <[ejkeever] [at] []> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @07:33PM (#38777281)

    Fuck you for thinking you know better than The People

    George Carlin said, "Think about how dumb the average American is, then realize half of 'em are dumber than that." Winston Churchill put it, "The best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter."

    Suggesting direct democracy works is the same as suggesting that everything, from the bottom-most kernel driver to the top-level UI, should be written in assembly. Back in reality, no one can actually handle a task like that so we delegate. And thus I am able to write complex simulation programs and visualization interfaces that use 10s of GB of memory without ever having written my own malloc() or having any idea how a video driver works other than that I need to initialize OpenGL and Cuda, and write Hello World without having a clue how data winds its way from printf, down through libraries, into the kernel and eventually to the framebuffer. The world today, and the actions of government needed to keep it in order, are more complex than any computer - and almost no one has the intelligence to understand all of it at once, and none of those who do have the time to act on it.

  • by rhook (943951) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @09:13PM (#38777757)

    No one is going to get rid of their expensive TV subscriptions. ... ok I actually do but I know I am in the small minority here. I never liked TV ever even as a child.

    You'd be surprised how few people actually subscribe to paid TV these days. It is a dying industry, why do you think the likes of the MPAA is fighting so hard to stop the change from happening? Streaming content is the future and it is here to stay.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam