Slacker Uprising: Michael Moore movie download goes global by mistake


It was always going to generate plenty of publicity simply because it was the new Michael Moore documentary movie. It was always going to generate even more publicity because Moore decided to release it for free, on the Internet. The first time, as far as I am aware, that a real major feature-length 'blockbuster' movie has gone straight to Net, as it were.

However, Michael Moore probably wasn't expecting to get the additional publicity from the release online today that Slacker Uprising will bring. That comes as a result of what appears to be a simple slip up, a mis-understanding of the technology involved no less.

I mean, the movie is meant to be available only to residents of the United States and Canada today, it says so quite plainly on the Slacker Uprising website. "The free download is only available to those residing in the United States and Canada" to be precise, followed by a check box to be sure.

But the film, covering the events leading up to the 2004 United States Presidential election, was made available as a Torrent, via the Pirate Bay tracker. All above board and legal like.

I cannot imagine that the legal beagles at Brave New Films will be liking it though, as what this means is that anyone, anywhere, in the world can now download the Torrent and enjoy the movie. Geographical restrictions just do not apply in the brave new world of P2P networks, dontcha know.

After all, they seem to be serious enough about the restrictions in the first place. I tried to download from the official website and was refused after the IP check revealed me not to be in the US or Canada.

That said, when I switched to a proxy that was based in the US it was happy to let me grab the movie, not that I would flout the legal restrictions like that of course. Instead, grabbing the official Torrent makes much more sense.

I suspect, to be honest, that it is all just part of the greater scheme of things. Sure, Moore says that the movie is being given away "entirely as a gift to my fans. The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls in November." Sure, it is designed as a political thing, getting the slacker generation out there to vote against the Republican ticket.

But equally sure, Michael Moore is no numpty. He must have known the implications of making the movie available via Pirate Bay, making it available as a BitTorrent. If he didn't, then there would have been plenty of people close enough to him who did to drop a word in his shell-like in time.

I think Moore just wanted to give the legal people the finger, one more time.

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...