Pirates are flooding the Internet with illegal copies of Michael Moore’s latest movie—the health-care expose Sicko—two weeks before its scheduled June 29 opening. The video sharing site YouTube has removed 14 Sicko clips posted by two users, and a site found on the Google search engine briefly posted the entire film.
A source at Weinstein Co., which produced the documentary, said the company was taking a “very aggressive approach to protecting the film.” The film drew such an ovation at an advance screening that the studio decided to open a week early in Manhattan.
There’s a bit of irony to this little scandal, said John Horn and Sheigh Crabtree in the Los Angeles Times (free registration required). Moore “has been vocal in his support of downloaded movies as long as pirates do not profit."
And the filmmaker is sticking to his guns, said Gregg Goldstein in The Washington Post (free registration required). Moore has promised not to go after anyone for watching the bootleg copies of his movies. And the curious can always watch approved clips on the official YouTube channel, SickoTheMovie.
Sicko isn’t even in theaters yet, and already it has been “hyped in Cuba, unveiled in Cannes, pirated on YouTube,” said Michael Cieply in The New York Times (free registration required). There’s no denying that people want to hear Moore’s indictment of the health care system. But reviews are mixed: the New York Post called Sicko a “botched operation”; the New York Daily News said it was “boffo.”