Withoutabox was launched in 2000 as a way for independent filmmakers to self-distribute their films. In collaboration with the International Film Festival Submission system, the site let filmmakers submit their films to festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Cannes, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival. In 2008, IMDb--which is owned by Amazon--acquired Withoutabox.
Now, Withoutabox co-founders David Straus, Joe Neulight and Fred Kramer are launching Los Angeles-based Critical Mass Studios (CMS), which they're billing as "the first vertically integrated, next-gen studio." Their first significant acquisition is RightsLineSoftware Inc., which tracks more than 65,000 contracts across the entertainment industry and is used by studios and publishers such as NBCUniversal, Snagfilms, MGM and Samuel French. According to a press release announcing the formation of CMS, RightsLine is the only platform through which real-time rights availabilities and expiries can be calculated.
"Critical Mass Studios is building a new ecosystem around the frictionless management of rights," stated CEO Straus. "Content is being distributed globally on every imaginable platform. Owners must not only have visibility throughout their entire library, but also be able to track and deliver instantly on all kinds of new deals. Those who don't institute a forward-looking system to monetize and track effectively in the new world of distribution will leave tremendous amounts of money on the table."
"RightsLine software sits at the core of the Critical Mass Studios mission," Rob Delf, the president of CMS and current CEO of RightsLine, said in a statement. "We're going to be announcing some very exciting deals this year. We intend to be among the few enterprises that will emerge at the center of the value chain for rights, serving as the nexus whereby rights holders, licensors, distributors, promoters and brands will communicate and transact."
See the Rightsline's mission statement below: