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Steal This Film 276

SargeantLobes writes "Steal This Film is the first part of a free documentary series about file-sharing. This part focuses on The Pirate Bay, and copyfighters Piratbyran. From their website: "There have been a few documentaries by 'old media' crews who don't understand the net and see peer-to-peer organisation as a threat to their livelihoods. They have no reason to represent the filesharing movement positively. And no capacity to represent it lucidly.""The film is free for you to share, watch on your DVD-player or on your iPod, or show in cinemas." Torrents are available on their website, or watch part one, two, three and four on YouTube."
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Steal This Film

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:08AM (#15993232) Journal
    Steal This film
    First off, why isn't the 'f' capitalized? It is in the summary. Come on, even the Washington Post can handle that.

    Secondly, when I saw this title, I thought immediately, Abbie Hoffman [wikipedia.org]--a revolutionary.

    Abbie authored Steal This Book [tenant.net] which was made into Steal This Movie [imdb.com] which was then inspired Steal This Wiki [nine9pages.com]. I heavily advise reading/watching all of them.

    If the four parts of "Steal This Film" have the same spirit as Abbie Hoffman's movement, then I'd probably be OK with this. And from what I've read of Hoffman's work, I think that he would be speaking out against the **AA left and right were he alive today. I'm just concerned that people will be tempted to confuse these two cinematic features.

    I don't have the time to watch the first parts right now but can anyone tell me if this really is a documentary like the summary says? Because when I go to the site, they are asking for donations and from their page:
    IN 2006, A GROUP OF FRIENDS DECIDED TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT FILESHARING THAT *WE* WOULD RECOGNISE. THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW DOCUMENTARIES BY 'OLD MEDIA' CREWS WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND THE NET AND SEE PEER-TO-PEER ORGANISATION AS A THREAT TO THEIR LIVELIHOODS. THEY HAVE NO REASON TO REPRESENT THE FILESHARING MOVEMENT POSITIVELY, AND NO CAPACITY TO REPRESENT IT LUCIDLY.
    (their caps, not mine) This doesn't seem to be a documentary so much as a kind of biased viewpoint of file-sharing. Aren't documentaries supposed to show all sides of the story and pose the most important views so that the viewer can understand the whole situation perfectly? And what documentaries are they thinking about that are made by 'old media' crews? Actually, the one documentary I have seen is Revolution OS [revolution-os.com] which is definitely not 'old media' crews. There's no use for me to watch a documentary that simply makes me say, "Right on, brother! Preach to the choir!" I can get that if I mention RIAA or MPAA to anyone my age.

    Some enjoyable quotes from Hoffman (taken from the Wikipedia entry about him):
    "Avoid all needle drugs. The only dope worth shooting is Richard Nixon." -- Steal This Book
    "Free speech means the right to shout 'theatre' in a crowded fire."
    "You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
    "Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit."
    • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:21AM (#15993315)
      The tendency to make biased documentaries is pretty old (relatively). See "Moore, Michael" or "Fox News", or anything like that. This is simply the extension of polarized politics to another field. It's not like "the other side" is anywhere near unbiased on the issue. Mainstream media just takes orders from corporate headquarters and assumes that filesharing is bad and costs them money.
      • by antiaktiv ( 848995 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:29AM (#15993369)
        <film nerd statement>
        in fact, there's hasn't been any objective documentaries made, ever. the views of the filmmakers always shines through one way or another.
        </film nerd statement>
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          in fact, there's hasn't been any objective documentaries made, ever. the views of the filmmakers always shines through one way or another.

          There's a massive difference between "filmmaker's view shining through" and "film created to make a point". I agree with you on the former, but we're discussing the latter here. No offense, but your point isn't really relevant (albeit likely accurate). What we're talking about here are "documentaries" designed to sell an idea. there exist documentaries that either a
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by antiaktiv ( 848995 )
            Don't worry, when discussing art you can't really take offense. I could imagine the latter category of documentaries being very unengaging and boring. Even a film like "Capturing the Friedmans" is so captivating because despite its attempts to show an objective view of a situation, the filmmaker's own passion in telling the story itself inherently becomes the message. Thus it's selling a point, the point of "this is a story that needs to be told, go tell it to your friends". Much like "Steal This Film".
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              English is not my native language.
              I honestly wouldn't have ever guessed that. Your English is great.

              What you're saying is that the very act of capturing something on film is taking an opinion on it. That's true, and it is a bias, but it's not a deliberate bias. The bias I'm talking about isn't "this story needs to be told", it's "this is the answer, the other guy is a twit". "I want to tell this story" is a totally different level of bias compared to "This is my point of view disgused as fact". The f
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by suggsjc ( 726146 )
            There is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. Everyone has an idea about what they perceive as truth and that will come through in one way or another.

            There is nothing wrong with opion and bias. However, what we need to do is accept the fact that opinions and biases exist, so when we see/hear something we don't blindly accpet it as truth. Doing that simple task (although difficult for some) is a very good first step in being able to have better understanding of the underlying topics.
          • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @10:43AM (#15994101) Journal
            There's a massive difference between "filmmaker's view shining through" and "film created to make a point".

            And what exactly would that massive difference be?

            It's impossible to create an "unbiased" work; I think this is mathematical fact [jerf.org], in the highest sense of the term, not a mere rhetorical point.

            Given this impossibility, the only difference between "filmmaker's view shining through" and "film to make a [presumably different] point" is how honest the filmmaker is being about their own point of view.

            I'd honestly rather see a documentary that accurately reflects the maker's viewpoint, because anything else is likely to be dishonest and probably sub-par, because if they don't believe what they are saying that, too, tends to come through.

            The key point here is that it is possible to hold a nuanced opinion, or to believe that the situation is very complicated and you just want to give up, or that the situation is pretty complicated, here's what I think the facts are, here's my call, your call may differ based on the same facts. I know this because I have many opinions of my own of that nature. This is only bad if you assume that everybody always has firm opinions about every question, which I think is something that only someone naive enough to have firm opinions about every question can believe. (Many other people don't think this explicitly, but clearly reason with it as an implicit point.)

            All documentaries "make a point". The better people may make documentaries with more nuanced points, but points nonetheless. The only question is whether the filmmaker is lying about their viewpoint to appear "unbiased", and whether they are lying about the facts.

            "Unbiased" is actually itself a social construct that prescribes certain beliefs and viewpoints, and is definitely a bias itself; for instance, the "unbiased" social construct states that if there are two opposing sides, and that both sides have the slightest fact in their favor, than we are obligated to throw up our hands and say "We can't decide who's right, the situation is complicated." It doesn't matter how overwhelming the evidence may be, if we are to be "unbiased" we must not make a call. Without speaking to the truth or falsehood of this view, that itself constitutes a "bias" in both the mathematical and human sense (which overlap more than it may appear upon casual inspection of the mathematical definition(s)), a "bias" against making firm decisions about who is right and wrong. This is merely one part of the "unbiased" myth; ultimately the very word is an oxymoron.
            • Given this impossibility, the only difference between "filmmaker's view shining through" and "film to make a [presumably different] point" is how honest the filmmaker is being about their own point of view.

              It's the difference between "I'm interested in this, so I talk about it" (bias based on subject selection) and "This is what I think, wrapped up and packaged as fact" (deliberately misleading bias). I only consider the second one actual bias, because anyone who makes a documentary on (let's say) the an
              • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @11:47AM (#15994596) Journal
                I still see that as a distinction without a difference.

                But rather than taking the obvious argumentative tack of trying once again to convince you of How Wrong You Are In The Light Of My Obvious And Transcendental Rightness (TM)*, I'm going to point out this is a great example of different biases (in the mathematical sense), in this case about the nature of documentaries. You are making a claim that with my personal biases basically can't even be expressed. With your biases, clearly there is one.

                Who's right? Who's wrong? And most interestingly of all, do those questions even make sense with such a subjective subject?

                Personally, I tend towards separating the act of "definition" or "distinction" from the act of analyzing the distinction. So you have provided a definition/distinction, I've disagreed that it means anything, and now it is for the reader to decide.

                The upshot being that neither of us can claim to have an "unbiased" opinion about the goodness of a given documentary. (Not that you were making that claim any more than I was.)

                (*: Just to be clear, that's sarcasm.)
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by crabpeople ( 720852 )
            Why would a film maker make a documentary if he wasn't trying to say something with it? Conversely, would you believe a documetnary where the author didnt come to some loose conclusion at the end? It would look like the film maker was intellectually lazy not drawing enough conclusions from his research.

      • Aren't one-sided documentaries more commonly referred to as "propaganda"?
      • The tendency to make biased documentaries is pretty old (relatively). See "Moore, Michael" or "Fox News", or anything like that.

        You forgot CNN. CNN is every bit as biased as Fox News. If you want unbiased reporting, you know, actual journalism, you'll need to start your own network. it seems every network out there selectively presents the "news" to proselytize their own philosophies. The best you can do as a viewer is to watch multiple sources and come to your own conclusions. :( Gone are the days of an

        • You forgot CNN. CNN is every bit as biased as Fox News.

          I didn't say my examples were exclusive. I picked a biased liberal and a biased conservative. If you'd rather the comparison be Al Franken vs. Ann Coulter or Michael Moore vs. Rush Limbaugh or whatever, go for it. The point isn't in the examples it's in the fact that this is extending a pre-existing political trend to other social issues.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:25AM (#15993346)
      Abbie authored Steal This Book . . .

      I'm such a wuss, I bought my copy. My only excuse is that I was just a kid and didn't understand the ethics of theft.

      KFG
      • En masse, it sounds like a good way to bankrupt the insurance industry.

        Oh, if only...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pooh22 ( 145970 )
      First of all, if I'd had mod-points, I'd mod you overrated.

      The documentary is basically showing the Pirate Bay's side of the story, including the political muscle-work of the MPAA/RIAA via the US and Swedish governments to arrest citizens in sweden without any (local) legal basis. (The Pirate Bay was not sharing movies, just meta-data, which doesn't seem to be illegal in Sweden).

      I'd say they bring a message that the endless plots to pull money out of the distribution problem of old, is no longer very plausi
  • Pretty intresting website design. Kind of refreshing to see a page that can do without flash, gif animations, even images and still be... kind of stylish...

    sig?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by legoburner ( 702695 )
      Kind of stylish in a gives-you-a-nosebleed-and-a-headache-at-the-same-t ime sort of way? :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cortana ( 588495 )
        Perhaps it is their own form of copy protection? I'm finding it difficult to read the page at all. :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by niceone ( 992278 )

        What's with the javascript to generate the text then? Surely they could have done it with regular HTML so that people with no js would still be ok?

        On my site [ccalam.com] I've tried to create 'an atmosphere' with text effects and yeah. it also makes it pretty hard to read.

        But! I use regular HTML and with js to apply the effect - if you have js off you just get regular text. I also let you turn the effect off if you don't like it.

    • Re:Webpage design (Score:5, Informative)

      by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:41AM (#15993432) Homepage Journal
      Kind of refreshing to see a page that can do without flash, gif animations, even images...

      And yet, the page -- which is simply text -- is needlessly generated using javascript, rendering it as a black nothingness for those of us surfing with javascript disabled.

    • Not sure why your comment was modded funny; seems spot on to me. "Insightful with a humorous flourish" would be more apropos if you asked me.

      Anyway, back on topic... while it's not the most versatile visual layout in the world, it sure is the first time in a long time that I've seen a truly fresh, different, interesting and creative visual style like this. All the better that they built it without any annoying gizmos. Mui bueno, thanks for pointing it out.
  • Anybody got an HTTP download?
  • In Korea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kamapuaa ( 555446 )
    In Korea, making movies for a profit is only for old people.
  • Moviesizes (Score:2, Informative)

    by crull ( 221987 )
    iPod .mp4 = 152MB
    Regular .mov = 336MB
    DVD .iso = 1.43GB
  • Don't Understand? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MaestroSartori ( 146297 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:20AM (#15993306) Homepage
    'old media' crews who don't understand the net and see peer-to-peer organisation as a threat to their livelihoods

    Sounds to me like they understand the net perfectly, because P2P networks as they're currently used *are* a threat to their livelihoods. Note that this isn't the fault of the technology, but the people using it. And the threat isn't all that big or serious, but it is there.

    And while I respect the fact that they're releasing their film in this manner, I wish they'd respect the rights of the people making the content they facilitate the downloading of. But hey, that's just my opinion... :)
    • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:31AM (#15993378)
      Sounds to me like they understand the net perfectly, because P2P networks as they're currently used *are* a threat to their livelihoods. Note that this isn't the fault of the technology, but the people using it. And the threat isn't all that big or serious, but it is there.

      Not necessarily. There are some risks to P2P for content providers, but P2P can be helpful in some instances (getting you hooked on a show, like what the high piracy rate of "33" did for BSG). A model based around P2P could work even better. P2P might harm some business models (release a crappy movie, overhype it, and hope everyone sees it on week 1), but other business models survive.
      • It can only help if eventually there's some means for revenue to be returned to the content providers. Which at the moment is something none of the major P2P networks I'm aware of have a facility for.

        If the folks getting hooked on Battlestar Galactica went and watched it on TV or bought the DVD, it's a win for the makers. If they went and downloaded them all from The Pirate Bay, it isn't. That's why I say it's really down to the people not the technology. And they can't force people to buy their stuff.
        • That's true, to an extent. Some people are unredeemable pirates, and will never earn the studios a penny. Some people, for instance, might pirate because they missed an episode of 24 and want to watch the rest of the series, or to watch the prequel to an upcoming movie because the rental place is out of it. I'd argue that those people help the studio with their piracy (by watching the next episode of 24 after they missed one, or getting addicted to the show after seeing an episode or two over bittorrent.
      • P2P might harm some business models (release a crappy movie, overhype it, and hope everyone sees it on week 1), but other business models survive.

        It tends to harm the business models where creators of a work, and those who financed it, get money in return.
        • It tends to harm the business models where creators of a work, and those who financed it, get money in return. Not necessarily, or at least not fatally. I illustrated at least one scenario where the current business model is somewhat helped by piracy. Another business model could be to give away earlier works to try to build a name for yourself, then move to more traditional means of production. If an actor/actress/director can become famous because everyone looks at the non-DRMed free copies of their e
          • That's a fair point. Unremittingly, however, the majority of piracy isn't as good intentioned or good natured as that; a lot of it is based more around the concept of getting something for nothing.
            • Read this book: Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig [free-culture.cc] (PDF warning). He discusses the different types of piracy. I'm in a criminology class, and right now (beginning of semester), we're defining crime. A lot of it has to do with the idea of "social harm". Some piracy brings social harm, some piracy brings social benefit, and some brings no net social change at all. The goal here should be getting rid of "harmful" piracy while allowing "beneficial" or "neutral" piracy. In fact, a clever person could find wa
      • by shark72 ( 702619 )

        "P2P might harm some business models (release a crappy movie, overhype it, and hope everyone sees it on week 1), but other business models survive."

        For example, the folks who run TPB and Kazaa are very wealthy indeed. Perhaps the TPB folks aren't millionaires yet like the principals of Shaman Networks, but they'll be there soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fordiman ( 689627 )
      "I wish they'd respect the rights of the people making the content they facilitate the downloading of"

      It's not like they (the Pirate Bay) actively go out and find torrents, nor it it like they don't have torrents pointing to legal content.

      It's quite literally not their job to police their users' activities; they are not required to do so by their local law.

      Meanwhile, there's a separation between filesharers and customers; do you know what it is?

      Income.

      Example:
      Low income human: I do not have expendable incom
      • by gstegman ( 988905 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:02AM (#15993536)
        Yeah because all the low income humans I know have PCs and high speed connections to download movies.

        The only people I know who use P2P file sharing are friends of mine who just want everything that comes out so they download them and then play them on their $10,000 entertainment systems. I think for them it is the fun of getting something for free rather than an issue of income that drives them to file sharing.

        Dunno, maybe I am just sheltered and don't know the file sharers who would truly qualify as "low income humans"
        • Low income is relative. Actually, I think in this case it's not so much a case of "low income" versus "high income," but a person's relative amount of disposable income. That is, two people might be making the same amount of money, but one person might have a lot more money to spend on entertainment, while the other person might have significantly higher fixed expenses. (Say, a wife and kids. Or husband and kids. Whatever.) Assuming you treat the computer and internet connection as a sunk cost, the person without the additional disposable income could "afford" to download, but not to buy DVDs.

          It's not really an excuse for piracy so much as an explanation of the motives involved. Given the choice between paying for something and getting the exact same thing (or something they value equivalently) for free, people are always going to pick free. Honestly I think the reason people with higher incomes don't download is not because they see much additional value in the DVD, but because they value their time more highly, and don't want to mess around with file sharing programs or hunting down torrents. At a certain point, it just becomes easier to drive down to Blockbuster/Best Buy and buy the disc than it does to download it. It's an opportunity cost calculation.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by freeweed ( 309734 )
            Yes, although you're missing one important factor here. Think "bottled water". Yes, in many areas local tap water is horrible. However, in many cities where tap water is clean, tasty, and relatively soft, you still see the usual breakdown of people:
            1. Cheapest - drink from the tap.
            2. Less cheap - buy a Brita or Pur or some sort of home filtering system. Fairly cheap, but you're still paying money to "enhance" your drinking experience.
            3. Most expensive - bottled water.

            Note that the most convenient and time

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Artifakt ( 700173 )
            This is one point that is entirely factual, but half the people argueing for ANY side on copyright, DRM, and piracy don't take it into account.

            People buy entertainment from their disposable income.

            There are spin off rules that are also (at least approximately) true:

            People who buy more than trivial amounts of entertainment with non-disposable income soon take themselves out of the market.
            People who spend less on one form of enter
        • A computer good enough to play movies costs $150. $75 if you get it used.

          A 'high speed' connection (i.e., fast enough to non-painfully run bittorrent) runs about $15/mo (DSL).

          The friend I reference as 'low income' makes $16k/yr and rents an apartment. He doesn't bother paying for cable, 'cos the two shows he actually watches on TV are available as torrents about an hour before they finish first-airing.

          So yeah. The fact that you live around a hoarde of rich-bitches is not a denial of my point.
      • I'm not calling it stealing at all.

        And I know they're not breaking the law, and that they're not required to police their users. I just have the vague wish that people would respect the wishes of people who create or supply things. A lot of people slate the MPAA/RIAA for producing crappy stuff, but this crappy stuff is the most popular and widely available material on these sites. If people put half as much effort into finding and promoting good alternatives as they do into spreading the mainstream, we'd ha
      • Note that a "low income human" who has a PC and broadband connection is not only richer than (at least) 95% of people alive today, but richer than all but a tiny fraction of all of the people who have ever lived.

        "Poor college students" aren't, "instantaneous price repair" *is* theft, and no, you don't get a pony.

      • "I do not have expendable income, but I want to see this thing."

        You misspelled "have". Big difference.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jb.hl.com ( 782137 )
        You call it stealing. I call it instantaneous price repair.

        I call it "a bullshit excuse for being a cheapskate". Just because you don't agree with the price for something doesn't give you a license to steal/P2P it (I expect the usual hundred responses talking about how "copyright infringement isn't stealing", and it isn't. I know that. It's just a useful shorthand. Give it a rest.)

        You do not NEED major label music, big name films or anything like that. If you cannot afford it, don't buy it. Listen to the ra
        • Yup (Score:3, Interesting)

          by paranode ( 671698 )
          It's so important that they have it that they will set up sites dedicated to getting the content and connect with thousands of other peers who want it, but then they claim that the people who created this content have no right to ask for money for it. Parts of the DMCA are definitely in need of repair, but the underlying copyright schema is an ownership/creator interest that has existed forever. I'm no model citizen in that regard, I've downloaded the stuff myself, but I'm don't kid myself that I'm doing
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Fordiman ( 689627 )
            "I don't kid myself that ... copyright owners are waging some kind of immoral war against me."

            Maybe not you in particular, but the copyright extensions that have gone through since copyright's inception in the US in 1790 seem like a plot against the customers of content creators. Read the below if you don't believe me.

            REF:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1790
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Act_of_1909
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Copyrig ht_Act_of_1976
            http://en.wikipedia.
    • Sounds to me like they understand the net perfectly, because P2P networks as they're currently used *are* a threat to their livelihoods.

      They barely understand the net at all. They understand it just enough to see that it is a threat to their livelyhoods. They don't care about any more than that. I can't really blame them.
    • by aralin ( 107264 )
      The people making the content do not understand one basic principle: "You cannot get any money from people who have no money!"

      You can make them used to an alternative form of content though, which will cause them to not become your customer when they will start making money. It is as simple as that. When I was a student, I went to library and read 3 books a week for free, I got my games and movies from friends and I didn't pay a cent for them. I didn't really have the money to pay. Now I am somewhat older

  • by eln ( 21727 ) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:20AM (#15993308) Homepage
    Where can I purchase this film on DVD? This is clearly part of the MPAA's insidious plan to trap pirates, and I'm not falling for it!
    • by SamSim ( 630795 )
      My question is where I can actually find an unguarded DVD screener of this movie. Because simply downloading it isn't stealing - there's still a copy left at the other end which people can use.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      No, here's the scam. It's the first of a four part series. The first film is free. You'll be billed for parts two, three, and four as they are shipped to you. Just four easy payments of $29.95. You are free to cancel at any time where allowed by law. Operators are standing by. Call now and receive a free gift.
  • They have no reason to represent the filesharing movement positively.

    And what do these people have to show the copyright holders in a positive light?
  • by CheeseburgerBrown ( 553703 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:38AM (#15993412) Homepage Journal
    Is this going to get a wider release or is their market targeting pretty squarely focused on people soft on piracy? It's a little bit like making an anti-STD video for people who never get laid.

    For the record (since this sort of thing often comes up in these discussions) I am a content creator who thinks copyright should expire after a decade, period. I give most of my works away for free, but figure on revenue-generating works that if you can't make money off it in ten years it either sucks, or you do.

    • I dunno, but I'm suggesting this film to everyone I know over the age of 30; maybe it'll quell some of the stupid I've been seeing.
    • Is this going to get a wider release or is their market targeting pretty squarely focused on people soft on piracy? It's a little bit like making an anti-STD video for people who never get laid.

      Hey, why don't you forward links to the movies to friends/family members/acquaintances who might not be aware of the 'other side'?

      Or even burn a copy gfor those who are a little less web-savvy? Maybe even send a copy to your local and state legislators, along with a letter about why they need to watch the film? I

  • Just to show 'em
  • by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:44AM (#15993445) Homepage Journal
    These guys aren't filmmakers. The first thing that struck me was that, no matter how OTS and easy to use the tech is, it takes a certain professional to actually make something that doesn't hurt the eyes. Long rambling interviews, close ups that where too close up (really, no one wants to be that close to that guy's beard), odd choice to shoot one guy out of focus, and no real cohesive story from beginning to end. It was a series of bad choices, like using too many Photoshop plugins because they are there. And some (like the choice to. show. only. one. word. of. text. at. the. beginning. so. you. couldn't. read. the. narration. all. at. once.) really hurt whatever they where trying to convey.

    One of my coworkers said "you know, this movie's so unrestrained and poorly done that you actually respect all those big generic Hollywood movies for at least being coherent." You felt that maybe these guy's weren't right: we needed to pay for IP because the only movies that'd be left would be horrible pieces of crap like this.

    Four parts was unnecessary. The whole episode was given no context (no history of IP at the beginning to set the table, no explanations of the differences in nations' IP laws or how international treaties work. Of course the creators might not know any of that themselves... which came off in a sense that they where really talking from the selfish desire to get away with whatever they want. And that's no way to sway opinion). There was no objective devil's advocacy (is there such thing as bad IP theft? Bad theft? What of Hollywood's concern about the East Asian bootleg DVD markets?), no attempt at compromise (is there some way to maintain creator's right to his work while at the same time preserving the consumer's right to fair use) or suggestion for future international law. Basically the movie just blew a big raspberry at corporations which makes the fair use camp seem childish. The only result is that fair use will get marginalized and ignored. The exact opposite effect of actually changing the landscape of intra- and international copyright.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fordiman ( 689627 )
      True, but like you, it spread a lot of ideas about 'How can this be done better'.

      Unfortunately, they took the cool title already. I guess 'P2P' is still available.
      • I was thinking you could call a good IP movie "Once in a Lifetime" like the Talking Heads song. You know "this is not my beautiful wife", "this is not my beautiful house". Then you could say "And this is not your beautiful family photographs 'cause they're in an image format that you don't have a license too anymore... whoops!" You enlighten people to what they think they own turns out they are just "leasing" at the pleasure of some corporation. That's how we get average Janes and Joes to sit down and t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bob9113 ( 14996 )
      we needed to pay for IP because the only movies that'd be left would be horrible pieces of crap like this.

      Great movies aren't always about great CGI and slick editing. Check out Hard Boiled or The Killer (Woo/Fat) or Clerks for examples. Which is not to say that this documentary is a great movie, but that even if copyright infringement did lead to a decline in production values, it would not necessarily lead to a decline in the quality of movies. The sterile and prohibitive movie industry in America has its
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jackbird ( 721605 )
        Production values isn't what the OP is talking about. He or she is talking about coherent editing, camera work, and story telling, which has been proven time and again to be possible on low or no budget. These guys just don't have the chops to make a decent film.
        • Napolean Dynamite's crew made an excellent, hilarious and well-edited movie on $100,000 and a DV cam. Blair Witch Project wasn't as great a film, but it was at least coherent and held together well. People in general don't realize how important editing and post-production is.
          • I'd go with Robert Rodruigez's El Mariachi, made for $6,000 on 16mm film as an example, actually.
      • You may think it is all about getting something for nothing. Some people think fair use is all about getting something for nothing. Neither is the case.

        I don't really think "fair use" comes into the P2P equation at all. Downloading/uploading whole songs, movies or albums certainly doesn't come under fair use whatsoever. If anything the debate over DRM is the right place for discussion of fair use.
  • My god, it's full of CAPS.

    That websites just scary.
  • According to the Netsweeper filtering software installed by my local library (http://www.kpl.org/), YouTube is classified as a "sex site" so I am not allowed view this video. The Kitchener Public Library treats adults like children.
  • These people aren't defending P2P file sharing one little bit. They're defending downloading copyrighted works illegally, and there's a very big gulf between the two.

    The summary talks about how "old media" (gotta love that, I presume making shit for no reward is "new media") have a problem with P2P because it's a threat to their livelihood. Well, really, wouldn't you? Of COURSE it's a threat to their livelihood, of COURSE they're not going to stand up and say "YES, it's absolutely A-OK for people to leech o
  • It's definitely not a Michael Moore film. No DVD sales, advertising kickbacks, big studio deals, etc. It's good to see a real documentary produced for informational purposes instead of for the reason of making money via political statements.
  • by Greenisus ( 262784 ) <michael&mayotech,com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @10:07AM (#15993907) Homepage
    I never download movies or TV shows, but an old friend of mine recommended Six Feet Under to me. I ignored her, and then she told me again to check it out. So, I downloaded the first episode and immediately loved the show. It took me several hours to download it, and I had to watch it on my laptop, so I wasn't going to get the second episode that way. I ended up buying the Season One box set for $80. Then I bought Season Two, then Three, Four, and Five. I was so happy about this show that I wanted to see what else HBO offered, so I finally caved in and signed up for the $8/month HBO subscription in addition to my regular cable. Sure, pirating is technically wrong, but in this case a free episode was the best advertising HBO could possibly have to get my money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cdrguru ( 88047 )
      Why did you do this? Was the downloaded copy of poor quality? Took too long? Inconvenient? All of these problems can be fixed and will be over time.

      The idea that this is some kind of marketing channel is absurd. You downloaded one show and gave up because the pirates aren't doing a good enough job. By purchasing the product you are undercutting your entire generation and all people that are demanding free access to entertainment everywhere.

      No, this is a form of advertising because for every person tha
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jb.hl.com ( 782137 )
        Why did you do this? Was the downloaded copy of poor quality? Took too long? Inconvenient? All of these problems can be fixed and will be over time.

        Maybe he just, I dunno, wanted to support the people who made the show?
  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Monday August 28, 2006 @10:09AM (#15993917)
    I downloaded a copy of "Steal This Film" last week. The whole idea of "Steal This Film" was to provide not only an opposing view to the seizure of their servers, but to provide a counterpoint to the whole piracy and peer to peer debate.

    And unfortunately, I think they only half-succeeded. They historical events don't seem to be lacking at all, but TPB seemed to lack any philosophical basis for their reasons to justify piracy. Honestly, I came into this movie hoping to get more ammunition to justify piracy, but because there didn't seem to be a real argument in favor it, I actually came away from the movie thinking that it is wrong.

    One of the 'Pirates' was explaining that she felt that it was against her ethics to buy a CD or movie on DVD. That's it. No explanation. Another remarked that he felt by supporting TPB and facilitating the theft of over 150,000 copyrighted materials he was committing 'civil disobedience'. Could you elaborate?

    Unfortunately, TPB really seems to cast itself in an immature light with their reasoning in favor of piracy. For example, they played a clip of an MPAA executive stating that obvious economic facts that their product cannot just be given away for free. TPB's response? "It's not my problem to come up with an answer."

    Interesting. TPB, at least through this documentary, really tries to portray itself as an advocate for change in intellectual property laws, but fails (in my opinion) to offer any real compelling reason why that should be, and fails again in really pushing for an alternative to outrageous movie prices and the equally ridiculous idea of getting it for free.

    They were right about a few things, though. The MPAA and RIAA really do need to change their business model. With the advent of online music stores such as iTunes, the RIAA is slowly moving into the 21st century along with the rest of the world's digital civilization, but even still, their model for business is quite inept for the age we're in.

    People ought to be able to get music and have fair use with it. Before the age of Digital Rights Management (DRM), it was quite easy to be able to buy a CD, duplicate it, make mixes of different songs, copy it to a cassette tape, etc. within the bounds of personal use. The new locks that come with downloadable content are unacceptable because they remove the ability of the user to play it whenever, wherever, and on whatever they want. This only adds fuel and justification to the piracy movement.

    No, "Steal This Film" fails in providing a real compelling pro-piracy justification. But who knows, maybe in Part Two (scheduled for release in two months) they'll redeem themselves. Until then, TPB really has lost ground on the offensive.
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )
      The problem with "fair use" today is that nobody wants to "play fair". Today it is easier to redistribute digital content around the world than it is to make a tape or disc to play in your car.

      The answer from many young people is that because it is so easy and cheap to do so, they should be allowed to do it freely. Obviously, this attitude doesn't have a lot of deep thinking behind it, as this movie shows.

      The other side that people keep ignoring is that non-digital physical distribution is still necessary

      • The problem with "fair use" today is that nobody wants to "play fair". Today it is easier to redistribute digital content around the world than it is to make a tape or disc to play in your car.

        The answer from many young people is that because it is so easy and cheap to do so, they should be allowed to do it freely. Obviously, this attitude doesn't have a lot of deep thinking behind it, as this movie shows.


        That's not really a reason to abolish fair use rights, and in my view there CAN be no reason. As I've s
    • by shark72 ( 702619 )

      "Another remarked that he felt by supporting TPB and facilitating the theft of over 150,000 copyrighted materials he was committing 'civil disobedience'."

      Can somebody who's seen the film explain whether this fellow is truly practicing civil disobedience, by (for example) informing the authorities (if appropriate) and the media companies that he is pirating their stuff? That is civil disobedience: breaking the law in a spectacularly obvious fashion, getting busted, and drawing attention to yourself. Yes

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