The Sicko Leak

The leak of Michael Moore's forthcoming documentary Sicko on the Internet has attracted considerable attention. Indeed, when beginning comments on Bill C-59 in the Senate, Conservative Senator Janis G. Johnson opened with:

Honourable senators, Bill C-59 will deter unauthorized videotape camcord activities in movie theatres in Canada. The bill amends the Criminal Code to ensure that local police are able to respond quickly and efficiently to the unauthorized recording of films. The legislation is of vital importance in the age of the Internet. I read a news report today that Michael Moore's new film Sicko is available on YouTube. The site removed 14 small video segments, clips that had several hundred viewings before being removed. The source of the clips was a sneak preview of the film at a benefit fundraiser.

Yet here is what Michael Moore, after noting that "I'm glad that people were able to see my movie. I'm not a big believer in our copyright laws. I think they're way too restrictive," had to say about the incident:

This is an inside job.  I'm not talking a kid going to the theatre with a little video camera. This is the actual digital master, it's perfect. You can't really get that unless you've been able to perform an inside job essentially.

It goes without saying that notwithstanding the attempt by Senator Johnson to create a link, C-59 does absolutely nothing to address the insider job that served as the basis for the Sicko leak.


  1. Crosbie Fitch says:

    Usually done?
    However, even Moore seems to buy the idea that a video cam is the usual leak mechanism.

    “The film that’s leaked onto the internet is not taken at a movie theatre with a little home video camera, right? The way it’s usually done? This is an inside job,”

    Protecting unpublished IP is tantamount.
    Published IP belongs to the public.

    The public/private boundary is where the clarity is.

  2. Dorkmaster Flek says:

    This gets a big “well DUH” from me. Honestly, who downloads camcorder recordings anymore? Okay sure, they’re still out there which means they’ll get downloaded, but 90% of the time people who want to download a movie will say “forget the camcord, where’s my telesync/DVD rip?” and wait for that. The main leaks of movies these days is from preview screening discs sent out to the press, or an actual insider job which is what appears to have happened in this case. The pirating methods have gotten more sophisticated to the point where people won’t stand for a crappy camcording anymore, so bills like this are pretty much dead weight at this point.

  3. Mickey Mouse says:

    Well, as a downloader of films, I for one welcome any legislation that will reduce the amount of crappy camcorded films on the ‘net. More bandwidth for proper, insider-sourced screener copies!

  4. tinfoil hat says:

    What i find interesting was the controversy surrounding the film. The bush admin not wanting it released till an investigation was done because some of it was shot in Cuba (you know that big bad terrorist country).

    Moore stashes a copy of his work in Canada so the bush admin can’t confiscate it 100%.

    Then all of a sudden a hollywood DVD-screener is released with the following comments in its NFO (info file):

    A comedy about 45 million people with no health
    care in the richest country on earth.

    [ link ]

    Watch this free copy and keep $ out of that
    fat f**ks hands.

    If I put on my tinfoil hat, i would say this “inside job” was due to someone out to sabatoge him based on political standing.

    I think there was more to this “inside job” than just being another release. It was sabatoge in my belief.

  5. TinFoil hat says:

    Sabatoge part 2
    same was true for Moores Mmovie “fahrenheit 911”.

    Originally released “in the wild” as fahrenhype.911

    To me its 1+1 and a politically motivated release to the public.

    Even when Moore granted royalty free showing of this movie on TV, it was rejected by bush croonies who ran the TV stations he offered it to.

    So to me i see it as something a little different and motivated.

  6. Sounds like he might have the makings of another movie 🙂

    Given the price of movie tickets these days, it would be nice to have a crappy version of the movie. If it is interesting, it is worth plunking down the money to see it in the theater. We would see more movies in theaters than we do now, which is nil. We wait for them on DVD and we rent rather than buy.

  7. Dwight Williams says:

    All this gives me a few excuses to justify paying full price for my movie theatre ticket. Assuming, of course, I can find a theatre in Ottawa to view it at.

  8. Crosbie Fitch says:

    Deliberate leak
    It is of course highly probable that if there was any question as to whether this movie could be released uncensored/unedited, that Moore would arrange for a deliberate leak.

    After all, once the horse has bolted, a censored cinematic release only embarrasses the authorities, so this fait accompli may be a way that Moore:

    1) Ensures his movie remains unedited
    2) Promotes his movie far and wide – cheaply
    3) Obtains controversy from the leak, creating publicity and interest
    4) Enjoys audiences happily paying to see it in cinemas
    5) Gets a tad more richly famous, and can start on the next movie.

    The only problem Moore has is in ensuring no-one can prove it was a deliberate leak.

  9. William Gault says:

    This disgusts me: “The bill amends the Criminal Code to ensure that local police are able to respond quickly and efficiently to the unauthorized recording of films.”

    Excellent comment, Crosbie. I also feel this was an intentional leak and it further disturbs me that a Canadian politician would use this to further their gain.

  10. Dwight Williams says:

    Whose Deliberate Leak?
    We’ve got three possible motives for the “inside job” leak:

    1) Sabotage by someone with a mad-on(legitimate or not) for Moore’s worldview.
    2) Prevention of censorship by Moore or a sympathizer.
    3) Greed, plain and simple.

    I’m still planning to go to the theatre, whatever the situation is on this one.