[Imc-auckland] Sunday Herald - Moore: pirate my film, no problem
lutzw at xtra.co.nz
Mon Jul 5 21:58:08 PDT 2004
Sunday Herald - 04 July 2004
Moore: pirate my film, no problem
Fury as Fahrenheit 9/11 director backs illegal not-for-profit downloads
By Iain S Bruce, Online Editor
Controversial film-maker Michael Moore has welcomed the appearance on the
internet of pirated copies of his anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 and
claimed he is happy for anybody to download it free of charge.
The activist, author and director told the Sunday Herald that, as long as
pirated copies of his film were not being sold, he had no problem with it
³I don¹t agree with the copyright laws and I don¹t have a problem with
people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they¹re
not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that,² he said.
³I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to
change. The more people who see it the better, so I¹m happy this is
Moore¹s views have not been well received by Hollywood¹s establishment,
which is fighting a war against the online pirates it claims cost the
industry £1.6 billion a year in lost sales.
Jack Valenti, the outgoing president of the Motion Picture Association of
America (MPAA), said: ³We are proud that American films continue to enjoy
immense popularity around the world but the need for copyright protection in
the digital age is crucial to the preservation of our most prized trade
³Piracy is having a dramatic impact on the creators and copyright owners of
this nation, and its defeat depends largely on the commitment and resolve of
the entire industry.
³File sharing causes tremendous financial loss to the movie business, untold
hardship to support workers, and costs thousands of jobs.²
Distributed via websites such as suprnova.org, which lays claim to having
served more than 17 million downloads, Moore¹s documentary critique of the
Bush administration¹s red, white and blue rush into war with Iraq is among
the web¹s hottest properties.
Thousands of copies of Fahrenheit 9/11 have already been downloaded, each
taking about 3.5 hours over a broadband connection.
Ironically, the burgeoning underground market for Moore¹s much-debated
documentary has been championed by both sides of the political divide. While
left-wing sites promote the film¹s message, opponents of the high-profile
polemicist are urging people to ³steal² their copy, thus denying its
director his cut of the profits.
Last month the website of producers Lions Gate Films was subjected to a
barrage of attacks by hackers, with one creating a link to a download
destination on the site¹s front page.
Despite up to 150 people simultaneously bagging free copies of its most
valuable property at any given time 24 hours a day, Lions Gate says it has
no plans to oppose the practice. While unwilling to make any official
statement likely to further provoke Hollywood¹s heavy hitters, the film
company appears to have fallen into line with its director¹s laissez-faire
Moore said: ³Is it wrong for someone who¹s bought a film on DVD to let a
friend watch it for free? Of course it¹s not. It never has been and never
will be. I think information, art and ideas should be shared.²
Defenders of Moore¹s position include Pulp Fiction director Quentin
Tarantino, who earlier this year encouraged audiences in countries where his
films are not legally available to obtain counterfeit copies.
The furore engulfing Moore is just the latest in a series of controversies
surrounding the film. Almost smothered by original production company
Miramax¹s refusal to distribute the final cut, he also this year launched an
unsuccessful legal attempt to overturn the MPAA¹s decision to give the
documentary an ³R² rating, which barred under-16s from seeing the movie
without an adult.
Opposed by Move America Forward, a conservative group set up to dissuade
cinemas from showing the film, Fahrenheit 9/11 has become one of the most
controversial productions in Hollywood history. Last month Australian
distributors Hopscotch Films claimed to have received e-mails warning that
if the company went ahead with its planned release of the movie, it would do
so ³at our own peril².
The hubbub is unlikely to subside any time soon. With Lions Gate reporting
that DVD rights are likely to be won by Disney-owned Buena Vista Home
Entertainment, many commentators believe the digital distribution network
may yet face serious opposition.
Valenti said: ³Nobody can allow their rights to be stolen because, if you
can¹t retrieve your investment, you¹re out of the movie business,
³I don¹t think there¹s really a single actor or director in the world who
does not believe that if you don¹t combat piracy, it will devour you in the
Copyright © 2004 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088
'Fahrenheit 9/11' Web
leak stirs controversy
Anti-Moore group posts link to
illegal copy of film on its site
By Ian Mohr
Updated: 11:55 a.m. ET July 01, 2004
NEW YORK - The war between Michael Moore and his critics has escalated as a
Web site targeting the ³Fahrenheit 9/11² director posted a link to an
illegal ³Fahrenheit² file download. In the process, it also attacked the
filmmaker¹s stance on copyright law.
A June 27 posting on the site MooreWatch.com invites visitors to download
the film. It quotes Moore, though it doesn¹t cite a source, as encouraging
such downloading by saying: ³I don¹t agree with the copyright laws, and I
don¹t have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with
people. As long as they¹re not doing it to make a profit, you know, as long
as they¹re not trying to make a profit off my labor. I would oppose that.²
Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Films Releasing, which is
distributing the film with IFC Films and Harvey and Bob Weinstein¹s
Fellowship Adventure Group, said Wednesday that his company is exploring
³I think it¹s deplorable what enemies of Fahrenheit 9/11¹ are doing,² he
said. ³We are currently looking into our legal options. We are not going to
tolerate anybody trying to infringe on (this film¹s release).²
Since May, there have been reports of downloadable versions of Moore¹s movie
on such file-sharing networks as Limewire and eDonkey, concurrent with
³Fahrenheit¹s² premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. But according to
BigChampagne, an online media measurement firm, ³Fahrenheit² took the
file-sharing networks by storm Sunday evening.
³The first copies of Fahrenheit¹ quite good-quality in the estimation of
people who track these things began to leak on Sunday night,² BigChampagne
founder and CEO Eric Garland said. ³It¹s noteworthy that it took so long to
show up in a big way in the file-sharing network, which is probably
attributable to the fact that the film was on relatively few screens. The
copy in circulation is a CAM version (a camcorder copy captured from an
actual theater projection of the film).²
Not easy to access copy
The file posted at MooreWatch.com is in BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer
file-sharing client. For anyone to watch the movie, a series of complex
steps is required to access it.
One person who posted on the site complained about the amount of time spent
trying to download the file. ³After downloading all night, I am at 11%,² the
Web poster said. ³Should it take over a week to download; or is this part of
the DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack?²
While that ³Fahrenheit² skirmish was taking place on the Internet, the
marketing and publicity effort surrounding Moore¹s anti-Bush documentary has
begun to resemble a political campaign. It includes a story of the day fed
to the press as well as fast-paced attacks and responses from both critics
and backers of the film.
Ortenberg said that while he sees how parallels can be drawn between the
film¹s media strategy and the way a political campaign is run, his efforts
are still solely aimed at promoting the film. ³We¹re just marketing the
movie the best way we can,² he said. ³And we¹re absolutely not going to
tolerate (attacks). Hit us and we will hit you back twice as hard.²
On Wednesday morning, a news conference organized by the film¹s distributors
was held in front of a theater playing the film on New York¹s Upper West
Side. It featured members of Military Families Speak Out, who endorsed
Moore¹s film and recounted personal tales of loved ones sent to Iraq.
Said MFSO member Nancy Lessin: ³When the drumbeats for war were deafening,
we had a sign (in our window) that said, My son is a Marine. Don¹t send him
to war for oil!¹ We didn¹t want our loved ones to be sent around the world
to be used as cannon fodder. I can¹t tell you how important Michael Moore¹s
movie is in bringing back the ability to have a dialogue.²
The film¹s distributors plan to make use of similar testimonials in a new
national TV campaign that began running Wednesday.
An advocate for Moore
Karen Duffy, former MTV personality and Revlon model and author of the new
cookbook ³A Slob in the Kitchen,² hosted the Wednesday press event. A Lions
Gate spokesperson said Duffy will now be an ³advocate for Michael Moore²
when he is unavailable.
Said Duffy, who has family members in Iraq: ³I believe and support
(¹Fahrenheit¹). It made me even more proud to be an American.²
Moore¹s opponents have been just as dogged in sending out almost daily news
dispatches critical of the film.
Earlier this week, the conservative group Move America Forward trumpeted the
fact that it was hosting a screening of the documentary ³America¹s Heart &
Soul,² which Miramax Films parent Walt Disney Co. is releasing nationwide
Friday. Although Disney had planned the film¹s Friday opening months ago
before ³Fahrenheit² scored its own release date and while Disney has
screened the film for a wide arrange of groups as part of an extensive
grass-roots campaign, ³Heart² was immediately dragged into the furor over
Move Forward proposed the film as an antidote to ³Fahrenheit,² and Moore
blasted it on his Web site as Disney¹s attempt to counter his film, a charge
³Heart² director Louis Schwartzberg said he feels that he is caught in the
crossfire. ³Obviously it¹s unfortunate to be caught in (the middle),² he
said. ³The two films are not in opposition. If anything, we¹re on the same
side. This is not a Pollyanna-ish look at America. They all assume that it¹s
a whitewash of America. I¹m not ashamed that I love my country. This is a
battle of money and egos, not even politics.²
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