has anyone used mdistribute.com?
Is this thing a scam, a site that exploits filmmakers or an okay place to get some cash out of some short that I've made?
Has anyone used this site? I'd love to hear some thoughts...
I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole when I read in their contract that:
"(a) Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, the Rightsholder hereby grants You a non-exclusive, royalty-free, non-transferable, perpetual, worldwide license to access, download, and use the Work for one or more of the Permitted Uses. For clarity, this License includes the rights to create and use, solely as described in the Permitted Uses, works based on or incorporating the Work."I wouldn't give them anything.
So, if you think those terms are not onerous, please feel free to sign up...but I won't be.
Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Better is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with the poor spirits who neither enjoy much, nor suffer much because they live in a gray twilight that knows no victory or defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt
Hi, I'm the Content Director at mDistribute and we actually agree with you. We have received this complaint from multiple filmmakers, and as such we have updated our Licensing Agreement to remove the line you highlighted.
Our background is in mobile technology, not films -- so we are trying our best to learn the needs of the filmmaker community. ;)
I am happy to see that efforts are being made to review and create a less binding license for the filmmakers who use your service. It is easy to see that your site is in its infancy, and it sounds like there are plenty of upgrades, updates, and revisions to the terms forthcoming. I have signed up recently, but have yet to upload any content as right now I am watching to see these changes implemented.
Another feature I would like to see as part of the site is the ability for filmmakers to see both the other content hosted on the site and how many licenses of each are sold, so they can judge the market they are working in fairly, and if need be fine tune their product for the market. On the Envato marketplaces (a similar service catering the web/video/design community) this transparency allows creators to be competitive, and make smarter decisions about content creation. Thus a better product line results.
We recently signed up with mdistribute to offer NewArtTV content. (We produce short videos on contemporary art).
Ryan, perhaps you won't be surprised if I say that it has been a mixed experience to date (we have been in recent email contact about our issues).
On the one hand, two weeks into our involvement we have already made sales on our content, and support staff has been responsive and helpful re our various inquiries. On the other hand, like Matthew I feel that the lack of transparency is a problem. Specifically we have asked to be able to see how our videos are presented to buyers, and to know who has bought our videos. So far the answers are respectively - no, and - maybe, if asked on an individual case basis. We have duly made a request to know who has bought our videos and are awaiting a response. I am curious to know if others providers on this forum who use mdistribute have similar concerns.
Ryan, I am encouraged by what you say about being on a learning curve re the film community and I hope that this leads to a policy of greater transparency.
Hi Robert and Matthew. I'm happy to hear that you are getting content sales on our platform, however I am also very concerned to hear multiple users complaining about "lack of transparency."
In order to address this concern, we have decided to allow 2-way messaging between buyers and sellers on our platform, with the caveat that we will monitor these messages and reserve the right to permanently suspend accounts who appear to be circumventing us to do direct deals with buyers. Our plan is to roll this feature out by Tuesday or earlier. We have decided to not directly reveal buyer details except for the username of the buyer. Seller's may contact buyer's who have contacted them or who have purchased their films.
I hope everyone understands that, coming from the web/mobile world where sites like Sedo.com and Flippa.com enforce strict buyer anonymity, we had assumed this was the natural choice here too. We stand corrected -- the approach doesn't work well with this particular marketplace for the reasons outlined by you all.
Thanks again for the detailed feedback! ;)
Hi, I realized I forgot to address another major concern being voiced, which is the lack of ability to see the content and pricing of other filmmakers. We are currently pondering our options on this one, but due to the high number of requests on this issue we do plan to address it in the near future.
We hope to have a solution for this within a week or two but again we are not fully decided on the implementation approach. In the meantime, we have added a sidebar called "Most Recent Films" which is constantly updating with the latest films approved for sale on the platform.
Thanks for engaging the community in this thread Ryan. mDistribute looks likes a really interesting opportunity for filmmakers, but I too am weary. Especially after some confusing online chats with your online chat reps. Here's the text from a recent chat that left me scratching my head, and it seems the reps are somewhat vague in their responses, not particularly well-versed in your business model, and prone to using canned answers.
Here's a transcript of my last chat with an mDistribute rep to see what I mean:
Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Andy'
you: hi andy
Andy: Welcome to our livechat support. How may I help you?
you: quick question...can the same clip be purchased by multiple buyers?
Andy: edgar will help
Please wait while I transfer the chat to 'Edgar'.
You are now chatting with 'Edgar'
Edgar: Welcome to our live chat service! How may I help you?
you: quick question...can the same clip be purchased by multiple buyers?
you: ok cool, how many buyers do you currently work with?
Edgar: we have innumerable buyers
Edgar: buyers from over 40 countries were represented on our site
you: can you just give me an estimate? dozens? hundreds?
Edgar: Hot Buyer Markets are mostly from North America (~50% sales), Western Europe, Brazil, India, South Africa, and Australia.
Edgar: Every person or company that purchases your film has the right to redistribute your film. You are allowed to sell the same film to as many people as you can
Edgar: Get a mDistribute account FREE by clicking on the below given link. Registration is entirely risk-free - you can delete your account and remove your content at any time.
you: that wasn't exactly my question, I was trying to get an idea of how many buyers are currently registered and buying content from mDistribute, just to get a sense--also, when you say "Every person or company that purchases your film has the right to redistribute your film", does that mean they can sell my film to others?
Edgar: Please hold a moment, I am checking to see what best can be done.
Edgar: Once you upload a film to our system, it is still yours to use. By adding it to our site and licensing it to Buyers, you are just giving them permission to use and distribute your film.
Edgar: Once you upload your film to our system, you give us the right to distribute your film. You are not selling us your film out right, just giving us the chance to distribute it.
you: ok, but the buyers cannot buy my film and then turn around and sell it or license to someone else can they?
Edgar: the film will remain your property only
Edgar: The buyers can only re distribute it to others
Edgar: for eg
Edgar: like original software
Edgar: and copied one
Edgar: are both same ?
you: let me try to make this clearer, after a buyer licenses my uploaded film, can they accept money from a third party in exchange for the right to distribute my film. In other words, can they re-license it to someone else?
Edgar: No they cannot accept money
Edgar: through mdistribute
Edgar: Once you have the copyright
Edgar: over it
you: Ok, not through mDistribute, but what's to stop them from accepting money on their own to license my film?
Edgar: Please send the details of your problem for further assistance to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Nick, thanks for your feedback. I hate to be a "yes man" here LOL, but I also agree with your comments. We decided to add the customer service chat as an extra but have been overrun by chats and we retained an Indian BPO firm to handle this load for us. We are unpleased with the results, and our decision is to entirely discontinue the chat at this time.
We thought it was a critical step during our beta phase, however at this point we will focus on improving our FAQ and keeping our standard e-mail support responses low.
[Ryan Austine] "we retained an Indian BPO firm to handle this load for us. We are unpleased with the results"
Those usually seem to work so flawlessly, staffed by knowledgable people who, despite less than a rudimentary command of the English language, always seem to be named "Jason" or "Jennifer."
In this age of technology, why hasn't someone developed a sarcasm font? :)
Seriously, I think that shows growing pains. Ditching off-shore customer service would be a good start.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Hi Todd, just to clarify we're not entirely ditching off shore customer support - we are ditching only the Chat support product. Our parent company Golivemobile.com has technical offices in Bangalore and Coimbatore, India, as well as in Philippines. As such, our off shore teams are the ones who built mD, and they are providing what I feel is pretty darn good customer support via the e-mail ticket desk. Our Indian and Philippine teams are highly educated and talented, although I won't deny the occasional English language gaffe ;)
The problem with our Chat support team is it was not employees of our company, it was OUTSOURCED. So frankly I think the quality would have been low whether it was India or American.
Ryan I appreciate your responses and the planned steps that you outlined in your posts. One thing I didn't see addressed is the ability of filmmakers to see how their productions are being presented on your site. I think that would go hand in hand with being able to see other producers' listings. Looking forward to greater transparency. Thanks again.
Hi Robert, we really do appreciate the continued positive and negative feedback - thanks! Regarding your latest point, we aren't fully decided on the details of our plan there yet, however based on all the feedback we are planning to fully or partially expose the content catalog to the public. So, assuming we proceed with that plan you will in fact be able to see the exact presentation of your content. Just for your knowledge, though, buyer's are presented with the following for each film in the catalog:
- the film information which you provided upon upload (plus our assigned mD Rating)
- the filmmaker profile information you provided upon registration (name, company, website, imdb link, country, profile pic)
- an "Add to Cart" icon
- ability to view the content via streaming SWF (fairly low resolution, like youtube)
I was wondering...after you sell a license, how long does it take to show up in your PayPal account. I sold something about a week ago and have yet to see it. How long did it take for you all or anyone else that has sold a license before you actually "saw" the payment? I would appreciate it. Thank you.
[Fran Glass] "I sold something about a week ago and have yet to see it. How long did it take for you all or anyone else that has sold a license before you actually "saw" the payment?"
Most of these kinds of things take 90 to 120 days before they pay you.
They sit on your money and use the "float" to make the interest off the people they are "floating."
It is the customary way most of these companies do things. These people may be different (please report if they are), but I wouldn't expect anything before 90 to 120 days.
mDistribute emailed the following message to me when I asked them when I should expct to see the funds:
We apologize for the confusion and inconvenience this has caused you.
The rule is: When a buyer purchases a content, we will immediately
forward the funds to your PayPal account after deducting our transaction
In your case, we are very sorry for the delay...the management team is
now working so we can transfer the appropriate funds to your Paypal account.
Rest assured that this incident will never happen again.
mDistribute Helpdesk Team
Now this is different from waiting 90 tp 120 days to see a payment. Why didn't they just tell me that instead of giving me the run around?
I also notice that mDistribute does't have a contact number so it's impossible to talk to a living person. It doesn't tell you anywhere on the website about how long it takes payments to post after licenses are sold. Its very unprofessional to have people wondering when they will receive funds for selling the material they worked so hard to create. All they have are a few email addresses and a suggestion box.
Just wanted to let everyone know that mDistribute is not a scam. They were late with my payment but did give me compensation of an extra 10% of my earnings for the inconvenience. Thanks for the response everyone!
Hi all, we have implemented many of the suggestions proposed in this thread, such as Buyer/Seller messaging and public viewing of the content catalog.
I look forward to any further suggestions you guys can offer, or any positive/negative feedback. Thanks again for all your support.
Ryan just invited me to license a film of mine on mDistribute, and I found this thread while mulling it over. Great discussion, everybody!
I'm curious to see how other filmmakers are feeling about mDistribute, now that they've added these new features. Robert Knafo, how's it working out for you? What kind of information do you get about the buyers who have licensed your videos? Do you feel like you understand the context(s) in which your videos are being shown? And if you don't mind sharing, how many times have your videos been bought so far? (Feel free to contact me offline if you don't want to share this info in public!)
About a year ago, I was approached by Ryan and the good folks at mDistribute to list my production library there. I thought it was, for the most part, a good idea and over the next 4 months, attempted to load very large files to mDistribute. A person by the name of "Dolly" had sent me a Filezilla ftp interface to download for the large files, and still no results...after taking 6 months off, have recently tried to upload again, and again, no luck. It has now been over a year in trying. Not getting any help from mDistribute.
Does anyone know how to upload large (+1 Gb and higher) to mDistribute using Filezilla? Or perhaps can suggest another mobile content distributor I might have better luck with?