Pirated Version Of Sicko, Decoys Abound On Web - InformationWeek

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06:47 PM

Pirated Version Of Sicko, Decoys Abound On Web

The decoys sometimes present ads. Sometimes they're blank.

YouTube officials took down an unauthorized version of Michael Moore's film Sicko, but not before movie fans made it available Monday on the Internet.

The new documentary, which criticizes the U.S. health care system, is scheduled for release June 29, but at least one unauthorized version began circulating on the Internet last week. YouTube took down the unauthorized version of Sicko, but copies had already spread.

Pirate Bay, a site that facilitates peer-to-peer file-sharing, continued to list the movie Monday, while Advertising Age reported that MediaDefender had deluged the Web with "decoy" files that look like the movie but do not contain it. Such decoys flood peer-to-peer networks with blank files or advertisements, making it difficult for people to find and download unauthorized movies.

The decoys sometimes present ads. Sometimes they're blank. Representatives from MediaDefender said they would not comment on whether they sent out decoys for Sicko. The company does not disclose details about agreements with its clients, but MediaDefender contracts with companies to protect, movies, video games, anime, and software. It also assists law enforcement authorities.

On its Web site, MediaDefender states that "it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack than a real file amongst our countermeasures." The company also provides clients with alerts notifying them when pirated content has appeared on Usenet, newsgroups and BitTorrent sites.

Representatives from Sicko's distributor, Lionsgate, referred calls to the independent American film studio Weinstein Co.. A Weinstein representative did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

In the meantime, Moore appears on his own YouTube page for Sicko. The page features a video of Moore soliciting stories from Americans who have been frustrated by their health insurance plans, as well as reader comments and clips from recent interviews.

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