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Y Combinator tells start-ups to “kill Hollywood” over SOPA

Monday, 23 January 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

US-based start-up incubator Y Combinator says it will invest in companies that challenge Hollywood and the movie industry, after the US Congress put two antipiracy bills on hold.

 

On Friday, the US Congress shelved the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which led to protests from internet companies including Google and Wikipedia.

 

Now Y Combinator has jumped on the bandwagon, issuing a blog post titled “Kill Hollywood”, which offers advice to start-ups and entrepreneurs who are prepared to challenge the industry.

 

“If it were an ordinary industry, it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry,” Y Combinator wrote.

 

“The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down.”

 

Y Combinator therefore believes it would be a good thing if competitors “hastened its demise”.

 

“That’s one reason we want to fund start-ups that will compete with movies and TV, but not the main reason,” it said.

 

“The main reason we want to fund such start-ups is not to protect the world from more SOPAs, but because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying.”

 

“They must be dying if they’re resorting to such tactics… SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten.”

 

Y Combinator believes the best way to “kill” the movie and TV industries is simple: find better ways to entertain people. This means asking yourself, what will people do for fun in 20 years?

 

“There will be several answers, ranging from new ways to produce and distribute shows, through [to] new media that look[s] a lot like shows but are more interactive, to things that have little in common with movies and TV except competing with them for finite audience attention,” it said.

 

“Some of the best ideas may initially look like they’re serving the movie and TV industries. Microsoft seemed like a technology supplier to IBM before eating their lunch, and Google did the same thing to Yahoo.”

 

“Whatever people are going to do for fun in 20 years is probably predetermined. Winning is more a matter of discovering it than making it happen.”

 

“In this respect at least, you can’t push history off its course. You can, however, accelerate it. What’s the most entertaining thing you can build?”