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GNU is Not Unix Open Source The Almighty Buck News

The FSF Adopts the Kickstarter Approach To Fund-raising 35

New submitter ChronoEngineer writes "Recently the Free Software foundation launched a new fund-raising system starting with the GNU MediaGoblin project. Rewards from its new tiered donation reward system include physical objects such as a 3D print of the project's mascot as well as digital ones (Rewards List). This gives free software projects an alternative crowd-funding source where all of their contributions go to advancing free software, since the administrative cut taken from the earnings goes to the Free Software Foundation. Chris Webber, of GNU Mediagoblin, mentions this as one of the reasons he chose the FSF over Kickstarter for his project."
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The FSF Adopts the Kickstarter Approach To Fund-raising

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  • by Nushio ( 951488 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @11:42PM (#41677831) Homepage

    With all the stupid DMCA notices that seem to take down thousands of sites and videos at once, by mistake, the best solution seems to be self-hosted. It's much less likely that you'll receive a DMCA notice and at least you can act on it on your own decision, not some automated tool's.

    If there wasn't a single "Youtube" but a thousand or a million "Youtubes"... well, the Internet might survive a bit longer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nushio ( 951488 )

      Whoever modded me offtopic seemed to miss my point: MediaGoblin (The software being "kick-started") is an image/video self-hosting solution. The more sites there are, the harder it is to censor them all.

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        Thanks for clarifying that. From the summary I had been under the impression that this was being set up as an alternative to Kickstarter.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      It's much less likely that you'll receive a DMCA notice and at least you can act on it on your own decision, not some automated tool's.

      Here's the tricky bit. If you're hosting it off your broadband, the DMCA notice goes to your ISP who then decides if they want to cut you off or not.

      If it's on a hosted box you rent, your hosting provider gets the notice and they take it down. Like what happened to Edublogs.

      And with the multiplicative power, doing it to a bunch of comcast subscribers only takes say one, noti

      • If it's on a hosted box you rent, your hosting provider gets the notice and they take it down. Like what happened to Edublogs.

        And lendink. Even though the takedown notices were not legitimate, the provider decided to intervene as they could not handle the flood of DMCA requests.

      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:48AM (#41679279) Journal
        The difference is, if it goes to a company with whom you have a business relationship that involves you paying them, then they have an incentive to do due diligence. If it goes to a site like YouTube, which gains no direct income from you, then they have no incentive to do anything other than just take it down and let you deal with it. Allowing hosts to charge a $50 processing fee for every DMCA takedown notice would also go a little way towards helping this.
        • Your $100/month subscription free is chump change compared to a multimillion dollar judgement and legal fees for copyright and DMCA lawsuits. They're going to take you offline first, and then review the case if you appeal, and most likely the review will say, "um yeah, just... sorry, we don't want the hassle. Your site stays offline."

          Youtube has an incentive to do due diligence too: if they just take down all the videos on their site whenever somebody complains, then nobody will visit their site, and the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or maybe PBS?

    Really the Kickstarter innovation is that you don't pay anything unless the goal is reached. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The idea of an email-like federated network of servers is *really* good: a distributed Facebook. Wow.

  • by kfogel ( 1041 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @01:58AM (#41678435) Homepage

    This is not the Kickstarter model. It's just accepting directed donations toward a project (and MediaGoblin is certainly a fine cause!).

    The Kickstarter model is the "Threshold Pledge" system ( It means you set a threshold, a minimum fundraising goal, and all the funders pledge amounts toward that goal. Until the goal is reached, the pledges are either not called in, or are held in escrow to be returned in the event the goal is not reached. That way, everyone who gives money knows that, if their money reaches the recipient, then the recipient got enough to actually accomplish what it is trying to do. If the recipient doesn't get enough pledged to reach the goal, then no one loses their money.

    It is designed to solve the problem of "I'd love to donate to X, but only if I know that enough other people will donate for X to be sustainable / achievable / whatever." In economics, it's called an "assurance contract".

    What the FSF is doing here is not the threshold pledge system. It's just accepting directed donations.

    • You're right. But I think they meant the system in which depending on the donated amount you receive a bigger reward. Although in this case the rewards are quite symbolic.

    • Heya Karl,

      You're right, it isn't the "threshold pledge" system, and it is directed donations in a large way. Even so, when we had the conversations with the FSF initially about the campaign, the conversation was really a "Are we going with the FSF or with Kickstarter?" type of conversation, and what we said was "we'd like to go with you, but there's a whole set of things that Kickstarter does that you don't yet." But the FSF implemented them, retooling a ton of their infrastructure specifically for this c

      • by kfogel ( 1041 )

        That's a good point about the rewards, but note that non-profits have been using the "increasing rewards for increasing donations" system forever. It *long* predates Kickstarter and even the Internet. Think of donating to your local public radio station: give $10 and you get a thank-you card; give $50 and you get a tote bag too; give $100 and you get a tote bag plus discounts at cooperating restaurants and shops all over town; give $1000 and you get all of the above plus your name read live on the air plu

  • If it isn't a threshold pledge system - and there's nothing to suggest that they won't take the money even if the goal isn't reached - then it doesn't deserve to be compared to kickstarter.

    Project starters would prefer that you don't think about the possibility of failure at all, and they would of course prefer to get everything raised anyway. But both these desires run contrary to backers' best interest. Sad that the FSF is too top-down to notice (or care).

  • Seriously... my eyes haven't hurt that much looking at a site since myspace went away.... myspace did go away, didnt it?

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry