I’ve had this idea for a while now, but I think it’s finally time to do it. Maybe. Possibly.
While researching my forthcoming book about movies that U.S. presidents have watched, I’ve discovered that there are films in the public domain (pre-1924 is all in the public domain now) that aren’t available anywhere online, let alone available for purchase on DVD. The movies that I’ve discovered hidden away in archives like the Library of Congress just need a little money to get liberated. It appears that the movies could cost anywhere from about $250 to as much as $850 per request.
The idea: Crowdfund the “liberation” of these public domain movies and release them for free online.
The problem: Why would people contribute money to something like this if it’s just going to be released for free?
One possibility: Give contributors a window (One month? 3 months? A full year?) to watch it exclusively and then release it for free across all possible video platforms.
Just a few of the movies that could be liberated from the Library of Congress:
The Maid of the Wild (1915)
The Gilded Cage (1916)
The Dead Alive (1916)
The Crisis (1916)
Vengeance of the Dead (1917)
Lost and Won (1917)
The Devil’s Bait (1917)
The Evil Eye (1917)
Life’s Greatest Problem (1918)
The Birth of a Race (1918)
The False Road (1920)
I think this would be a great project, but I actually have no idea how many people would contribute. The last thing I need is to create more work for myself, but I imagine this wouldn’t be too hard.