The IMDb is a great database. As they are trying (AFAIK) to index every movie (not only significant ones), the site is frequently used all over the web to link to movies.

The Wikipedia is often used in the same sense (to link to a movie when talking about it etc.), but the Wikipedia doesn’t try to capture every movie (only notable ones), so the IMDb will probably be linked most of the time.

Being such a de-facto canonical database for movies and therefore getting so much backlinks, is valuable for the operator. Who is the operator of the IMDb? It’s Amazon.com (since 1998).

Wow. amazon.com is often used as link target for movie DVDs, imdb.com is often used as link target for movies. Both in the hands of Amazon.com, Inc.

While this would be no problem per se, it may become a problem when the operator (i.e. currently Amazon) goes evil. Let’s assume imdb.com gets a paywall and can only be accessed for free by Kindle users. Now all our old links to the IMDb are "worthless". And all our content is "gone".

Gone, becuase imdb.com doesn’t license the user-generated content about movies/actors/etc. under a free license like Creative Commons.

When Wikipedia goes evil, we can take our content to another place. Not so with the IMDb.

So I wonder: Which could be an alternative online movie database that can be used to link to movies?

There are only two requirements:

  1. license the user-generated content under a free license (preferably under CC BY-SA, which is used by Wikipedia and Stack Exchange)
  2. allow to index every movie/actor/etc., not only notable ones

IMDb only complies with 2., Wikipedia only complies with 1.

migrated from movies.stackexchange.com Jun 12 '13 at 13:34

This question came from our site for movie and tv enthusiasts.

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    A) this seems more like a meta question, B) What is the point of this anyway? "Lets assume these companies go evil?" I can say the same of StackExchange as well. – Tablemaker Jun 12 '13 at 13:34
  • @TylerShads: Because Stack Exchange licenses all user-generated content under CC BY-SA, we can take all questions and answers and migrate them to a different site. – unor Jun 12 '13 at 13:39
  • "allow to index every movie/actor/etc., not only notable ones" - I cannot see Wikipedia not complying with this one, since you yourself can add aynthing to Wikipedia. It's just that nobody did so with all the movies, yet, but regarding "allowance" this should absolutely be given, shouldn't it? Of course a new database (or an incomplete one, like Wikipedia) has the problem that you need to find somebody actually adding all the stuff into it (which would be the same case if IMDB went "evil"). – Napoleon Wilson Jun 12 '13 at 13:41
  • I have the same problem once Microsoft goes "evil" (though some people will argue they already are ;)), having to port all my stuff and my working habits over to a different OS and dev-environment. And not to think about the apocalypse of Google and Youtube turning mad. And what happens to all my games when Valve freaks out or just goes bankrupt? – Napoleon Wilson Jun 12 '13 at 13:46
  • @ChristianRau: No, Wikipedia does not allow an article for every movie, even if you submit a great/complete one. There can be many reasons why a movie is not considered "notable" by the community. See also: What Wikipedia is not. This varies between different languages (e.g. the German Wikipedia is considered sterner in this regard than the English one). – unor Jun 12 '13 at 13:48
  • @ChristianRau: The difference is, that you are allowed to move your content from one OS to another. But you are not allowed so with the IMDb content, although it’s created by the community. – unor Jun 12 '13 at 13:49
  • @unor Wow, didn't know this (well, never wrote or edited a Wiki-article at all). Who checks this though, the community? I cannot imagine SE-like off-topic discussions for Wiki-sites, but who knows. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 12 '13 at 13:50

Why are we linking to outside sources in the first place? The reason is so that we can point people to additional resources and information about the movie, and this can include IMDB and Wikipedia or indeed other websites. This is usually a nice to have, as the content of the post here should stand alone in asking or answering the question.

The content we should link to is available freely online, and frankly I don't think we should care how that information is licensed, as long as it is accessible to people without having to pay for it - we are just pointing people to additional resources. The fact that people will have to be careful if they choose to copy material from that resource, is frankly their own problem. If they want to re-use some information, then they will need to do the work to find appropriately licensed content, or generate their own original content.

It would be a different question if it came to suggesting places to create content - I would certainly be interested in understanding how my work was going to be licensed by the company concerned.

IMDB is successful because a lot of its content is freely available - generating traffic and a brand. It would die overnight if it went completely behind a paywall, there just are not enough people who care enough to pay for that, and lots of people that would be prepared (and love movies) enough to set up a free alternative. I think we're worrying about nothing.

  • As I have not intended to create my question on Meta, my concern was not restricted to "How to link to movies in Movies & TV SE", but more general: How should we, the movie community in the Web, identify/link movies so that this identification still holds in 1, 10 or 100 years. Therefore (in my opinion) we’d need a web database with the two mentioned requirements, and I was asking if there is a suitable candidate. – unor Jun 12 '13 at 14:25
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    @unor - ok understood Interesting question. I'm not sure I will change my answer though - people deserve to have a "I don't think we should care" answer to vote on. – iandotkelly Jun 12 '13 at 14:33
  • Sure. As this question is now on Meta, your answer is appropriate. – unor Jun 12 '13 at 14:34
  • @unor Still the main site wouldn't have been a better place for the more general-question, anyway. Better to narrow its scope and migrate to meta than outright close it for being off-topic. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 12 '13 at 14:57

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