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Free alternative to expensive streaming services

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Free alternative to expensive streaming services

Watch films online for free and legally? WikiFlix is ​​a streaming platform for freely licensed films. The developer of the tool is Wikipedian Magnus Manske.

Quelle: WikiFlix

The idea originally came from the Wikipedian Spinster. Magnus Manske, an early Wikipedian, was called in to help resolve a technical issue on the site. He quickly decided to optimize the tool and make the application more user-friendly. Magnus Manske explains: “The idea for WikiFlix and the name originally came from the Wikipedian Spinster. Someone brought the project to my attention because of a technical problem. I thought the idea was very nice, but the interface and the semi-manual maintenance of the lists seemed a bit too clunky for me. I thought I could make it a little more appealing, automate a lot of things, and also offer videos that don’t come from Wikimedia Commons.” The tool is accessible to everyone and no registration or login is required.

How does WikiFlix work?

The films reach the streaming service via the Wikidata database. There are more than 31,000 entries for films in this database. As of February 8, 2024, 3,052 film entries in Wikidata are also linked to a video file, so not all of the films entered also have a video file. This is because the actual film files are not stored in the database itself, but in archives such as Wikimedia Commons, the Internet Archive or YouTube. The entries in the database are linked to these files by a so-called identifier. An identifier is a specific name, often a combination of numbers and letters, which is used within a database to uniquely name a place, a person, a work of art or similar. In addition, WikiFlix updates itself hourly from Wikidata.

According to a report on Wikimedia, WikiFlix has great growth potential as more and more films enter the public domain in the future. In addition, everyone can help the film offering grow. Wikidata is an open knowledge database. Anyone with access to the Internet can edit the records. If someone notices that a Wikidata entry for a film has copyright status as “Public Domain,” but there is no ID from the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, or YouTube in the list of identifiers, they can change that. All you have to do is check one of the archives to see whether the film file is available and then create a new entry under the identifiers in the Wikidata entry and insert the corresponding ID from the film archive.

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What films are there?

Since these are freely licensed films, you shouldn’t expect any blockbusters from recent years. Nevertheless, there are some treasures to be found on WikiFlix that make it worth visiting the site. There are numerous film classics to be found in WikiFlix: the American romantic comedy Charade mit Cary Grant, The Kid by and with Charlie Chaplin or the science fiction film Metropolis by Fritz Lang. As with common streaming services, you can also search for specific films in a search bar and the films are divided into categories. WikiFlix shows the development of film from the 19th to the 21st century. You can find moving images there, such as the one-minute film “The Four Troublesome Heads” by film pioneer Georges Méliès from 1889. For film fans, the site is definitely a great alternative to the usual streaming services.

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