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Michel Moore's Slacker Uprising

Is File Sharing Illegal If Rights Owner Says It's Okay to Share?

I go back and forth on the file sharing debate, unable to find solid footing on just one side of the issue. But when I heard that Michael Moore was releasing his new documentary online as a free download, and was even encouraging watchers to "share it or show it in any way you see fit," I thought "Okay, that works." But unfortunately, after the film showed up on torrent sites, letters of cease-and-desist were delivered to many users, sparking a geographical sharing debate.

Since Michael only owns the North American rights to the film, anyone trying to download the film from across the pond will be subjected to copyright infringement. Michael's reasoning on the file sharing issue is this: "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?"

I tend to take Michael's side on this one: he made the movie, why can't he distribute it as he sees fit? Maybe I just don't understand the inner workings of movie making, but hey — that's why I'm behind a computer and not a camera!


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