Steal This Film: BitTorrent Culture Sharing documentary

Steal This Film, The League of Noble Peers, steal_this_film.jpg

According to Armin Medosch, in an interconnected environment, individuality or expression are neither important. What’s important are the new forms of sharing, spreading and planning the digital work. With collective actions this cultural domain progresses in its entirety, because sharing and collaborating mean learning from each other. This is the spirit that inspired Steal This Film, a documentary series that depict and promote the movement against the intellectual property activities. The authors, The League of Noble Peers, define themselves as a group of friends that wanted to make a film about the file sharing movement highlighting activists and artists ideas about the future of creativity. The first part of Steal This Film, the only one yet completed and available for downloading, tells the story of The Pirate Bay, one of the biggest BitTorrent trackers server, and of the Swedish organization Pyratbyræn, chronicling with protagonists’ interviews what happened when the Swedish police seized the servers in May 2006. In some countries distributing torrents tracking unlicensed copies of copyrighted material is illegal. In Sweden, a nation with a strong democratic tradition (allemannsretten), downloading material for personal use wasn’t considered illegal until July 2005 when the government, according to many forced by USA, outlawed the copying, distribution, uploading and downloading of copyright material. However, even if the police raid, justified by law, was aimed to inhibit the pirates’ activities, the result was the opposite: the accesses to The Pirate Bay doubled and the number of downloadings increased, thanks to the sudden media exposure. Furthermore a political party, The Pirate Party, was founded, with the general consent of young electors, who don’t want to lose such a content source. Steal This Film it’s a DIY video that tells this story in half an hour, certainly including some naivety such as subliminal messages like ‘Resist Share Copy’ or ‘Sharing is not Stealing’, or the apologetic attitude towards the guerrilla. However the artwork ‘metadata’ nature, a BitTorrent file that encodes data about sharing, as well as the effort of documenting facts and opinions on the copyright debate are worth the download.

Valentina Culatti