Michael Moore released his latest film Slacker Uprising for free, over the web (note: don’t click on that link if you live outside of the US or Canada or his lawyers will yell at us again). On the download page for the film Mr. Moore has this to say:
“I’m giving you my blanket permission to not only download it, but also to email it, burn it, and share it with anyone and everyone (in the U.S. and Canada only). I want you to use ‘Slacker Uprising’ in any way you see fit to help with the election or to do the work that you do in your community. You can show my film in your local theater, your high school classroom, your college auditorium, your church, union hall or community center. You can have your friends and neighbors over to the house for a viewing. You can broadcast it on TV, on cable access, on regular channels or on the web. It’s completely free — I don’t want to see a dime from this. And if you want, you can charge admission or ask for a donation if it’s to raise money for a candidate, a voter drive, or for any non-profit or educational purpose. In other words — it’s yours!”
So, why are his lawyers demanding we take action regarding a torrent posted on a DNS hosting client’s website? We received the following takedown request via Fedex today:
Yes, he did specify “US or Canada only please”, and the offending site is in Sweden (and the lawyers cited the United States Copyright Act but we’re in Canada ourselves).
But really, come on folks, please tell that isn’t the basis for this take down request. Anybody with half a clue knows the net doesn’t work like that.
In any case, I’ve sent them our standard “we’re not the web host, we’re just the lowly DNS service”, but I did point out this seeming contradiction in Michael Moore’s message vs his lawyer’s actions.
This smells like one big waste of time to me. A lot of billable hours being racked up for nothing here.
Update: I’ve gotten an email back from the law firm. Now that they understand what a nameserver is/does they have withdrawn their letter to us, but they have confirmed that their beef here is that this torrent is hosted outside USA/Canada. I’ve replied that they should know it is highly impractical to attempt to impose geographical constraints on otherwise freely available files but I guess they want to give it a shot.
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