[MIFF ’13] Downloaded (2013)


Downloaded (2013)DOWNLOADED tells the story of Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, the guys behind the internet phenomenon known as Napster. This is a story told from their point of view, this is their story and it’s an interesting one to be told. Most of us who have been internet users for many years will be very familiar with Napster, whether we have heard of it or used it, it was a big deal. The software allowed users to share music files, and this naturally caused a stir because it violated copyright. This software made way for what we have now, for the good and the bad. This documentary examines Napster, and most importantly why it was created in the first place.

A good question is why Shawn Fanning along with Sean Parker created Napster, what was its original purpose. In their own words it was a very innocent project, a platform to meet and chat with like minded people about music, and being able to share said music. The consequences though, the music shouldn’t have been shared that way without taking the proper steps, which they didn’t. No one really thought about it until Metallica caused a stir about it. That aspect is shown in the film, but it really isn’t their story.

Both Shawn and Sean are well spoken guys, the interviews are shown from when Napster was big to now. Yes they have grown since making Napster and it shows with the different interviews, and no matter what you may think, Napster started something important. A documentary like this is quite an interesting exercise, their story has been told but not in this way. It isn’t a biased piece, it is just their own eyes and words. It certainly leaves one to wonder about the digital age, and the morality of certain software that is out there. What’s right and what’s right?

Alex Winter (Yes Bill from Bill & Ted) has crafted a rather passionate film, the interest he has in his subjects is very clear. It generally flows very well and offers the viewer a lot to think about, and it does give a different perspective with those involved, away from media scrutiny. The film is actually rather enjoyable and it does transport its audience to a different age of the internet, where things were once a lot more innocent.


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