Starting tomorrow, Alex Winter’s documentary Downloaded, which charts the rise and fall of file-sharing service Napster, will be available to watch free online thanks to AOL. (Yeah, I was somewhat surprised that they are still around too.)
Downloaded is the first feature acquired by AOL and will available via their video platform AOL On as well as via downloadeddoc.com and via streaming through the AOL On app on mobile devices, platforms like Roku and Xbox as well as AOL brand channels including Moviefone, Cambio and Mandatory.
Produced by VH1 Rock Docs, the film covers the creation of the file-sharing software as well as the meteoric rise of the service that allowed music fans to share files of their favorite songs and its subsequent flaming crash, shot down by a barrage of legal actions from the music industry.
Winter’s film does manage to hit all the salient points of the story, but I found that it didn’t really dig much deeper. There’s an additional layer to the saga of Napster that remained untapped consisting of some of the more sticky philosophical questions about file sharing and the arguments that have been in favor of its legality as well as against its legality. But if you are looking for a primer on the timeline of the company’s history, you can’t do much better than what Winter offers here.