It's not drugs they're after--it's MP3s, the contraband of the future, according to a new Net flick, "MP3 the Movie."
The 15-minute movie is now airing online at FilmWave.com, the producer's Web site.
"'MP3 the Movie' is a satirical look at the current situation between Napster and the (Recording Industry Association of America)," a production note posted on the Web site reads. "In the film we tried to somewhat spoof the government's war on drugs; instead of drugs, the government is battling MP3s."
Given the near instant mythology of MP3s, it was only a matter of time before a film like this was made. But even die-hard fans of cult films may find this apparently low-budget treatment hard to watch.
The video offers an unsophisticated response to the growing legal backlash against the subculture of free music swapping on the Internet.
"In the year 2002, the government has outlawed MP3s," reads a short introduction. "The FBI has created a department called the MP3 Task Force to help combat illegal MP3s. They will infiltrate the MP3 black market and put an end to MP3s forever."
The plot, which features a pair of musicians-turned-cops shaking down an MP3 collector, may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.
The record industry is doing its best to rein in MP3s, a digital music compression format that it blames for fueling massive online piracy. Most legal efforts to date have targeted companies such as Napster and MP3.com rather than individuals, but there have been some exceptions.
In the United States, at least one individual has been targeted in a civil lawsuit over MP3s. In Taiwan police have recently arrested students for collecting MP3 files, according to published reports.
The producers of the movie were not immediately available for comment.