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'Sicko' down at YouTube, up at Google Video

One of Google's units removes bootleg versions of documentary but copy remains at Google Video

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

YouTube may have removed pirated copies of the unreleased film Sicko, but apparently those operating sister site Google Video didn't get the memo right away.

As of 10:15 a.m. Monday morning, Michael Moore's soon-to-be released documentary was available on Google's video-sharing site in its entirety and was also available for download. This contrasts with YouTube, which restricts most videos on the site to be under 10 minutes in length. Google Video has no such restriction.

Update, 11:30 a.m. PDT: Google Video has removed Sicko.

A man stitches a wound in Michael Moore's Sicko The Weinstein Company

Last week, bootleg versions of Moore's expose on the health-care industry showed up at YouTube, the video-sharing company acquired by Google last October. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube had removed the clips after receiving a take-down notice from Lionsgate, the movie's distributor.

Hollywood continues to pressure Google to employ a filtering system that prevents users from uploading copyrighted clips. Recently, studio executives have accused the search engine of purposely dragging its feet. Many of them have pointed out that snippets from TV shows and feature films attract big traffic to the site, and skeptics in the entertainment business say Google is reluctant to give that up.

Google has said recently that it is getting set to test a filtering system but studio execs say the company has repeated that promise for more than six months.

The Weinstein Company, which produced the film, said in a statement that it was "responding aggressively to protect our film." In his latest story, Moore, who made the controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11, blames much of the country's health care woes on insurance companies.

The National Legal and Policy Center, an independent watchdog organization, has begun to probe copyright violations on Google's video sites, and workers there have found more than 125 full-length movies and TV shows at Google Video. They also found the copy of Sicko, which was posted Saturday and viewed 706 times, according to information found with the video.