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Friday, October 03, 2008

Sundance Splits with Mediastile, Pioneering iTunes Aggregator

Mediastile was one of the first companies to be approved by Apple as an aggregator for movie content ... and they did a high-profile deal in 2007 to make short films from Sundance available on iTunes.

Unfortunately, they haven't been so great about actually paying filmmakers the royalties they're due, according to this searing IndieWire piece by Eric Kohn. In an e-mail to the filmmakers that participated in the Sundance deal, John Cooper of the Sundance Institute wrote:

    "Our hope and intention were that Mediastile would be convinced that it was in its own best interests to comply with its contractual commitments, both to the [Sundance] Institute and to filmmakers. To our enormous disappointment, however, Mediastile has failed to do so, and we have lost confidence in its willingness and ability to perform to the level that all of us originally hoped and expected."

I suggested back in August that things didn't seem on the up-and-up with the company. Mediastile prez Jason Turner e-mailed me to insist that the company was still in business, but didn't return my phone calls.

Interestingly, Mitch Davis (son of music mogul Clive Davis) has erased his connection with Mediastile from his LinkedIn profile. Davis was the company's CEO. He's still listed as such on Mediastile's Web site, which says he is "responsible for managing company operations and strategic development." Does that include paying filmmakers?

Unfortunately, the problem of not being paid your share of a film's royalties isn't going to vanish in the Wonderful Era of Digital Distribution.

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  • The most tragic thing is that it will make filmmakers more weary of trying digital distribution. Mediastile has done damage that will take years to undo.

    By Blogger The CineVegrant, at 11:07 AM  

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