Thursday, July 20

The ROI on copy left culture

In 1977 Stephen King started granting any student film maker rights to make a movie off of any of his books for a $1 so long as they didn't show it commercially. This despite his lawyers many complaints.

He called these films "dollar babies" and this was his way of giving back for all the joy movies had given him.

"20-year old Frank Darabont's Dollar Baby adaptation of 'The Woman in the Room' which was eventually released in 1986 on VHS by Granite Entertainment Group Interglobal Home Video as part of the Stephen King's Night Shift Collection along with New York University film student Jeff Schiro's adaptation of 'The Boogyman.' Darabont went on to direct two feature film adaptations of Stephen King's work, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, both nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture."

So... what's the ROI on that $1 now? What's the gross on the Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption? Argue what you will about what can and can't be quantified and serialized... but a budding film director got to test his metal on some good material and the owner of that material had two of his books turned into a couple of the best movies of all time. It all indisputably starts with that $1 license.

You might argue that Stephen King was one of the earliest proponents of copy=left licensing. In fact his license sounds a lot like a little license I've heard of over at

So when big wigs and media conglomerates and suits say that the buck stops with them... when people ask what's the ROI on copy-left... why should I user open source? Tell them to stick this example in their big fat ROI pipe and smoke it.

Via: Dollar Baby - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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