# Internet Movie Database

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Internet Movie Database
URL IMDb homepage on February 20, 2011 imdb.com Yes Online database for movies, television, and video games Registration is optional for members to participate in discussions, comments, ratings and voting, including access to movie listings, catalogs and showtimes.[1] English, Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, and French Amazon.com Col Needham October 17, 1990 40 (November 2011)[2] Active

Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million unique users each month and a solid and rapidly growing mobile presence.[3] IMDb was launched on October 17, 1990, and in 1998 was acquired by Amazon.com.

## History

### History before website

IMDb originated from a single list started as a hobby by English film enthusiast Col Needham (Founder and CEO of IMDb) in early 1987. The founding ideas of IMDb began with a posting by Col Needham titled "Those Eyes", on the subject of actresses with beautiful eyes. On October 17, 1990, Col Needham posted a simple software package to the USENET newsgroup rec.arts.movies, which allowed readers of that group to create and search a basic movie and TV database. The original database was built from the lists of credits that Col Needham and two other readers had begun to publish on the rec.arts.movies group. Other film fans began to participate in the collection of data on the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.movies.

Needham soon started a (male) "Actors List", while Dave Knight began a "Directors List", and Andy Krieg took over THE LIST, which would later be renamed the "Actress List". Both this and the Actors List had been restricted to people who were still alive and working, but retired people began to be added, and Needham also started what was then (but did not remain) a separate "Dead Actors/Actresses List". The goal now was to make the lists as inclusive as the maintainers could manage. In late 1990, the lists included almost 10,000 movies and television series. On October 17, 1990, Needham posted a collection of Unix shell scripts which could be used to search the four lists, and the database that would become the IMDb was born. At the time, it was known as the "rec.arts.movies movie database".

### On the web

By 1992, the database had been expanded to include additional categories of filmmakers and other demographic material, as well as trivia, biographies, and plot summaries; the movie ratings had been properly integrated with the list data; and a centralized email interface for querying the database had been created by Alan Jay. Later in the year, it moved onto the World Wide Web (a network in its infancy at that time) under the name of Cardiff Internet Movie Database. The database resided on the servers of the computer science department of Cardiff University in the UK. Rob Hartill was the original web interface author. In 1994, the email interface was revised to accept the submission of all information, meaning that people no longer had to email the specific list maintainer with their updates. However, the structure remained that information received on a single film was divided among multiple section managers, the sections being defined and determined by categories of film personnel and the individual filmographies contained therein. Its management also continued to be in the hands of a small contingent of underpaid or volunteer "section managers" who were receiving ever-growing quantities of information on films from around the world and across time from contributors of widely varying levels of expertise and informational resources. Despite the annual claims of Needham, in a year-end report newsletter to the Top 50 contributors, that "fewer holes" must now remain for the coming year, the amount of information still missing from the database was vastly underestimated. Over the next few years, the database was run on a network of mirrors across the world with donated bandwidth.

The website is Perl-based.[4] As of May 2011, the site has been filtered in China for more than one year, although many users address it through proxy server or by VPN.

On October 17, 2010, IMDb launched original video (www.imdb.com/20) in celebration of its 20th anniversary.[5]

### As an independent company

In 1996, IMDb was incorporated in the United Kingdom, becoming the Internet Movie Database Ltd. Founder Col Needham became the primary owner as well as the identified figurehead. General revenue for site operations was generated through advertising, licensing and partnerships.

### As Amazon.com subsidiary

In 1998, Jeff Bezos, founder, owner and CEO of Amazon.com, struck a deal with Col Needham and other principal shareholders to buy IMDb outright and attach it to Amazon as a subsidiary, private company.[6] This gave IMDb the ability to pay the shareholders salaries for their work, while Amazon.com would be able to use the IMDb as an advertising resource for selling DVDs and videotapes.

IMDb continued to expand its functionality. On January 15, 2002 it added a subscription service known as IMDbPro, aimed at entertainment professionals. IMDbPro was announced and launched at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. It provides a variety of services including film production and box office details, as well as a company directory.

As an additional incentive for users, as of 2003, if users are identified as being one of "the top 100 contributors" in terms of amounts of hard data submitted, they receive complimentary free access to IMDbPro for the following calendar year; for 2006 this was increased to the top 150 contributors, and for 2010 to the top 250.[7] In 2008 IMDb launched their first official foreign language version with the German IMDb.de. Additionally in 2008 IMDb acquired two other companies. Withoutabox and Box Office Mojo.

### Copyright, vandalism, and error issues

All volunteers who contribute content to the database technically retain copyright on their contributions but the compilation of the content becomes the exclusive property of IMDb with the full right to copy, modify, and sublicense it and they are verified before posting.[34] Credit is not given on specific title or filmography pages to the contributor(s) who have provided information. Conversely, a credited text entry, such as a plot summary, may be "corrected" for content, grammar, sentence structure, perceived omission or error, by other contributors without having to add their names as co-authors. Due to the process of having the submitted data or text reviewed by a section manager, IMDb is different from database projects like Wikipedia, Discogs, or OpenStreetMap in that contributors cannot add, delete, or modify the data or text on whim, and the manipulation of data is controlled by IMDb technology and salaried staff.[35] The advantage is, there is less incentive for vandals to attack the system, although incidents have been reported.

The Java Movie Database (JMDB)[36] is reportedly creating an IMDb_Error.log file that lists all the errors found while processing the IMDb plain text files. A Wiki alternative to IMDb is omdb (Open Media Database) whose content is also contributed by users but licensed under CC-by and the GFDL. Since 2007, IMDb has been experimenting with wiki-programmed sections for complete film synopses, parental guides, and FAQs about titles as determined by (and answered by) individual contributors.

### Data format and access

IMDb does not provide an API for automated queries. However most of the data can be downloaded as compressed plain text files and the information can be extracted using the command-line interface tools provided.[37] Beside that there is the Java based GUI application available that is able to process the compressed plain text files and allow to search and display the information.[36] This GUI application supports different languages but the movie related data is of course English as made available by IMDb. A Python package called IMDbPY can also be used to process the compressed plain text files into a number of different SQL databases, enabling easier access to the entire dataset for searching or data mining.[38]

### Film titles

The IMDb has sites in English as well as versions translated completely or in part into other languages (Portuguese, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish). The non-English language sites display film titles in the specified language. While originally the IMDb's English-language sites displayed titles according to their original country-of-origin language, in 2010 the IMDb began displaying titles by either their US or UK AKA, depending on the user's location. For those who wish to use the English-language sites and still see titles listed by their original title users can update their site settings with that preference or use the IMDb's AKA website.

## References

1. ^ https://secure.imdb.com/register-imdb/
2. ^ "Imdb.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
3. ^ "Top Ten Internet Companies | CelebJunkyz.com | Celebrity News Celebrity Gossip Celebrity Blog". CelebJunkyz.com. 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
4. ^ What software/hardware are you using to run the site?
5. ^ Ehlrich, Brenna. "IMDb Turns 20, Launches Original Video to Celebrate". mashable.com. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
6. ^ "News Release". PR Newswire Europe Ltd.. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
7. ^ Col Needham (2011-01-01). "IMDb announcement: Top 250 Contributors for 2010". IMDb Contributors Top Contributors. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
8. ^ "Acting unions criticise IMDb in age row". BBC. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
9. ^ "Character Help Overview". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
10. ^ Hoffman, Harrison (15 September 2008). "IMDb now serves full-length videos". cnet. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
11. ^ Modine, Austin (16 September 2008). "IMDb adds full-length streaming movies (Show your US ID card at the door)". The Register. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
12. ^ IMDb Charts: IMDb Bottom 100
13. ^ Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience (2009) – User ratings
14. ^ "Top 250 movies as voted by our users". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
15. ^ "Types of titles excluded from the Top 250". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
16. ^ The user votes average on film X is 9.4, so it should appear in your top 250 films listing, yet it doesn't. Why?
17. ^ Ragnar Norberg, Department of Statistics (PDF). Credibility Theory. London School of Economics. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
18. ^ "Bottom 100". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
19. ^ "Reelviews Movie Reviews – "#1 with a Bullet"". Reelviews.net. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
20. ^ O'Neal, Sean. "Your guide to the WALL-E controversy". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
21. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine; Archived IMDb Ratings for The Godfather". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
22. ^ "Stop Ruining The IMDb Top 250". garyshood.com. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
23. ^
24. ^ "Plot summary page example with spoiler warning". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
25. ^ a b "synopsis user editing instructions". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
26. ^ "Plot synopsis page example with spoiler warning". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
27. ^ "Handy Hints – Trivia and Goofs section". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
28. ^ "Submission Guide: Goofs section". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
29. ^ "Message Boards Etiquette". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
30. ^ "Submission Guide: Keywords". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
31. ^ Lycos Europe and IMDb sign sales agreement for 9 European markets. Lycos Europe press release, July 10, 2006
32. ^ IMDb Resume FAQ: Can I subscribe only for one month or one year?. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
33. ^ IMDb Resume FAQ: Is there any difference between a regular IMDb name page and an IMDb name page created via IMDb Resume?. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
34. ^ IMDb Copyright and Conditions of Use
35. ^ The Plain Text Data Files IMDb – Alternate Interfaces
36. ^ a b "Java Movie Database (JMDB)". Jmdb.de. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
37. ^ "Alternate Interfaces". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
38. ^ "IMDbPY". IMDbPY. Retrieved 2011-02-14.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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