For this week's awesome stuff post, we've got links to movies about things that we regularly talk about here on Techdirt: the prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the CFAA, patents and piracy.
First up, is a documentary about Aaron Swartz called The Internet's Own Boy by Brian Knappenberger, who previously did a documentary about Anonymous. Knappenberger's film isn't a "memorial" about Swartz, but rather an "investigative" documentary about his story and the lawsuit against him, as well as the legal structure that led to his arrest and trial. The video that Knappenberger has put together is really compelling and touching:
This project has received a lot of attention, so there's no surprise that it's quite close to its $75,000 target with a few weeks to go. It looks like it should be a great project to support.
From once CFAA case to another. Krystof Andres & George Russell are doing a documentary called The Hedgehog & The Hare, all about the CFAA, but mainly focused on the case against Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer. The documentary will also explore how the CFAA goes way too far in trying to criminalize perfectly reasonable computer activities.
The target for this project had much more modest goals than the Swartz one, though the production values definitely look a bit more amateurish. Plus, frankly, the rewards on the Swartz movie are a lot more reasonable. That said, with just a few days left, it looks like this movie is likely to squeak by the target even if it's just slightly under as I write this.
This next one, I'm a bit less sure about, but the topic could be interesting. It's supposedly a short film, made in South Africa about the big pharmaceutical makers going after generic drug makers, called The Cure. What makes me a bit unsure about is that the filmmakers, Katey Carson and Errol Schwartz, seem a hell of a lot more excited about the fact that (a) they signed up some "Oscar-winning talent" to be in the film and (b) that they're filming the whole thing with an iPhone, than they are about the story, which they barely mention at all. The topic sounds interesting. I just wish they'd actually have said something about that, rather than the other stuff which really isn't that interesting.
The project has barely raised any money, and they're pretty ambitious to seek $35,000 for this. But since it's an Indiegogo "flex funding" campaign, they'll get the money even if they don't raise the full amount. Also, the "rewards" you get back seem ridiculously high priced. You have to pay $100 just to get a download of the short film and $50 for the script? Hmmm. Love the idea of a film that highlights problems with drug patents, but not sure this is the best way to do it.
And, finally, a documentary about piracy. I mean that's what critics insist this site is all about, right? So I figured, why not. Here's a documentary film about a Somali pirate -- you know, one who actually hijacked a ship, called The Smiling Pirate, which aims to tell the story of the one remaining living member of the pirates who hijacked the Maersk Alabama. As the story suggests, despite a forthcoming Tom Hanks movie about this whole thing, there appear to be a lot more questions than answers about what really happened both aboard the ship and then with the captured pirate after the whole thing happened.
Sounds like an interesting story, but it hasn't picked up very many backers yet. It's also an Indiegogo flexible funding project, so will receive any money it raises, but it's not clear if it'll get enough to really support the making of the documentary any time soon.
That's it for this week. Next week we'll be back with more awesome stuff.