INTERNET FRAUD EXPOSED: B-side, Filmbaby, Eztakes, Lulu and Jaman -

Essay by bobwatsonUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, September 2008

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Exploring how independent filmmakers, musicians and artists are exploited and defrauded by websites, including and (with Bibliography). Sept/2008.

IntroductionAny independent artist, filmmaker and musician knows the challengesand hurdles of getting their content out to the public, while at thesame time trying to make some money, or at least break-even to covertheir costs. An independent film can take anywhere from one to four(or more) years to conceive, the last task, then, is to find properdistribution. There are several websites online that (apparently) fillthis need and cater to ” mainly young ” independent artists,filmmakers and musicians.

In conjunction with Princeton School of Media Studies the following isa study investigating these so-called “opportunities” on the Internetand assess the legal implications. This three-year study was conductedbetween the years 2005-2008 and followed the path of over 500independent artists, from over 20 countries, using several websitesunder investigation.

This abbreviated study followed the independent artists and theirdealings with the Internet platforms in all aspects (communication,signing-up, legal aspects, royalty awards, marketing and salesactivity).

The five selected websites under scrutiny were B-side,Filmbaby, Eztakes, Lulu and Jaman. As will be seen, several of thesewebsites are, not only failing to properly address the needs ofindependent content creators, but ACTIVELY deceive, manipulate,defraud and cheat these creative people.

B-side( to its own mission statement B-Side is “an entertainmenttechnology company that captures audience opinions to discover greatfilms and deliver them to viewers around the world.” (1) 95participants had submitted their content to B-Side, and after 20 wererejected, 75 were observed for 18 months.

Right from the outset the biggest problem independents faced withB-Side was exactly what they had hoped for: proper contentdistribution. Since B-Side admittedly discovers films through audiencefeedback from its community of hundreds of film festival websites, thefocus, reach and outlook for independent artists is prefixed andinhibited. As Hill maintains: “Viewer...