By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
When US movie producer Michael Moore announced that his new movie “Slacker Uprising” would be available for free download over the internet, he was forced by US copyright law to add a caveat – that it would only be available to residents of the United States and Canada. Anyone outside of those countries would get a big “SORRY!” sign and politely told to sod off.
But he chose to use BitTorrent for the movie’s download and once one US or Canadian person had downloaded it, it was then extremely simple for anyone, anywhere to download it too. This has led to accusations that Moore deliberately thumbed his nose up at the US copyright law, knowing full well that by using BitTorrent, he could circumvent the US / Canada only rule.
“I only own the US and Canadian rights” said Moore, “so my hands are tied. But this is the 21st century. What are ‘geographical rights’? I’ll say it for the hundredth time: If I buy a book and read it, and then give you the book to read, I have broken no laws. Why is that not true for all media?”
So I think basically what he’s saying is that he knew pretty much what would eventually happen to that torrent file and he chose to turn a blind eye to it.
Moore is a big supporter of people who illegally download his movies as he feels that the main thing is that his ideas get around and people think about what he says in his movies. Losing the money from the illegal downloads doesn’t seem to bother him that much which makes you wonder how he can afford to be so blase about box office takings.
So when will he be doing a movie about illegal downloading, the restrictive copyright laws, the RIAA and the movie industry in the USA? That would be a great Michael Moore movie. What do you think? Maybe we should get a petition going!