Steal This Film II


Shiny new post on a shiny new host, and something that’s been in my torrent download queue for ages – the film Steal This Film II – a great freely downloadable documentary about file sharing, information sharing in cultures (like teaching) and the social and legal issues within and looking at past technologies like the printing press and how a ‘pirate culture’ helped the French Revolution along.

It’s made by and for the people on the side of angels ie. the pirates so you won’t get a totally ‘balanced view’ (which usually means one biased to the mainstream media and corporates) but the MPAA and heads of Hollywood do get their say and their arguments countered. The strongest impression you get from this is how this struggle of information freedom and ‘piracy’ has been going on a very long time and is constantly on going; how the real fear of the major corporates is probably that the audience becomes the creators and cuts them totally out of the loop, and that the file sharing wars are pretty much lost despite setbacks after this film was made (Pirate Bay and the like).

It’s also much better than Steal This Film I which was a bit of a mish-mash (and out of focus in parts – ouch). Apparently they are expanding both bits into a full film, and then going for a release, which I’m hoping is still officially torrented, unlike RiP: A Remix Manifesto‘ which although very professional looking and interesting sadly seems to be going through the age-old Hollywood distributor/release model – requires different release dates for different world areas (apparently I can’t download it cos I’m ‘not in the US’ – DOH – no release dates for the UK either). Given the subject of that film, it is rather ironic – it may be about remix or online culture in the 21st century but that particular medium is most definitely not the message. Maybe it’s because the film is evolving they’re not officially torrenting it (someone else has put up an unnofficial torrent).

Anyway it has Girl Talk in it, in fact so much the whole film is basically a Girl Talk promo, and y’all know how I feel about him. The Brazil bits showing baile funk are really good, and Cory and Lessig are always brilliant, but it pretty much covers the same areas as Steal This Film I and II, but with more flashy animations/production.

It does have this great funny remix at the end pulled from YouTube seemingly uncredited, but I recognised the Eclectic Method logo:

For those wanting to get into the issues around musical remix/cutup I’d rather recommend Sonic Outlaws by Craig Baldwin, which was created about 15 years earlier and covers the same ground sans some of the later ‘Napster/bittorrent’ stuff covered in STF, some of the footage by/of Negativland is used in ‘RiP’! At the very least you then won’t need to look at a naked Greg Gillis…:-P

Anyway I think the model of Steal This Film and Sita Sings the Blues is the future though, torrenting your movie and letting the world see it in a donation model if they like it, or buying copies if they want them. To trot out my old phrase, they get it. They really do. Go support them.

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