LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Michael Moore's new documentary "Sicko" has been pirated and is now widely available for download on peer-to-peer content sites like www.thepiratebay.org.
Last week, the Oscar winning director announced that he'd decided to stash a copy of "Sicko" in Canada, in case the federal government decided to impound it over an apparently unauthorized trip to Cuba made during its filming. As it turns out, the hard part won't be getting the film released, but getting audiences to pay to see it now that its available for free.
If the breach is as wide as it appears -- this reporter downloaded a copy and watched it late last night with ease -- Mr. Moore and his distributor, Weinstein Co., have a every film maker's worst marketing nightmare on their hands -- how to persuade people to go to the theater to see a show that's available free on the Internet. (Officials at the Weinstein Co. were unavailable for comment late yesterday evening.)
Al Gore's lawyer steps in
Mr. Moore had recently hired Al Gore attorney David Boies, who has said he believes Mr. Moore is being unfairly harassed by the U.S. Treasury Department over his trip to Cuba because he'd criticized the current administration in his penultimate documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
While it remains to be seen if that is simply Mr. Moore's famous showmanship and posturing, or actually true, what is clear is that the blogosphere isn't reacting to the leak with anything approaching apolitical neutrality: One pirate link encouraged potential downloaders to view the film online, saying, "Watch this free copy and keep $ out of that fat f---s hands." > The general release date for "Sicko" is June 29.
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CORRECTION: A subhead in an earlier version of this story incorrectly read, "Al Gore steps in." As the story correctly reads, it was Al Gore's lawyer that got involved with the case.