Digital World: The fit over 'Fitna'

There are sites that uploaded film, and haven't removed it - yet.

Fitna 224.88 (photo credit: LiveLeak)
Fitna 224.88
(photo credit: LiveLeak)
Knowing the back roads and alleyways of the Internet is a responsibility - one I take very seriously. I can't give away all my tricks, but today I shall introduce you to one of the secrets most treasured by Internet surfers "in the know." Actually, it's not that big of a secret; millions of people already know about it. But it is the most frequently asked question in my e-mail box - the question of how to download movies and such. I try not to answer such questions in print, because there are legal issues involved; it's illegal to download commercial movies using the Internet (in this case, the Bittorrent network, which I will describe to those not yet in the know). Opinions - legal and personal - on file-sharing run the gamut. Some condemn it outright and suing the pants off anybody caught doing it ( Others seek a more creative solution to a technological advance that many believe cannot be sued out of existence, just like all the advances that came before and interfered with the "traditional" ways of doing things ( Today, the most popular method for P2P file distribution is with the Bittorrent system (, where users upload or download a small segment of a much larger file as part of a peer-sharing network. When all the pieces (hashes) get to the recipient's computer, the file is assembled into a whole. Although Bittorrent as a protocol - along with its aligned software and Web sites - has a reputation as a being a den of mass copyright thievery, there are plenty of legal ways to use it; many open source or Gnu license programs, such as Open Office, offer Bittorrent downloads ( because they make downloading of large files easier - for both the user (who can easily pause the process in the middle) and the central server (which can rely a wide network of supporting PCs sharing portions of the file, lessening the load on the server). There are plenty of files legally available for Bittorrent protocol users; you can find a nice list of sources for such files at And, as it turns out, torrent downloading has turned out to be a boon for democracy, freedom and independence. Torrent download sites are just about the only way you will be able to get to see the now-banned Internet movie called Fitna ( Fitna is a 16 1⁄2 minute film produced by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, head of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch parliament. The very chilling film shows footage of terrorist attacks by Islamist fanatics in Israel, New York, London and, of course, Holland, interspersed with calls by Muslim clerics to kill Jews, Westerners and a whole raft of other people. The combination of the bloody scenes with verses from the Koran and footage of Islamist preachers is not for the weak of heart. Fitna was originally hosted at; it was removed sometime over the weekend due to threats by extremists against the staff of the site, which is located in the UK, which has its own share of radical Muslims. Instead of the page where the film was hosted after it was released last Thursday displaying the video (, there is a message saying, among other things, that the site's staff had been threatened, and that the fear of harm to LiveLeak workers was very real indeed. While LiveLeak pulled down the video, there are a couple of sites on the Web that uploaded it as well, and haven't removed it - yet. For example, as of Sunday night, the film was still up at, a Google Video site. That might not last too long, though, according to Interestingly, the official site of the movie ( is down as well, with the message that "Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy," because it had received complaints about the site. Of course, we can imagine what Network Solutions means by "complaints," given the situation on other Web sites that hosted the film. Whether, as Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said (, Fitna "is an obvious attempt to generate discord between faith communities," these same sites host hundreds of anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic films (, and have not removed them despite protests (not threats) by Jewish groups. And just like LiveLeak, Youtube and all the rest would defend their hosting of neo-Nazi clips as "freedom of expression," they have an obligation to allow opinions that others disagree with to be expressed as well. But they also have an obligation to self-preservation, I guess - which is why the rules that apply to Jews, American soldiers in Iraq and even Barack Obama's preacher, do not apply to Muslims. In other words, I wouldn't count on Web sites as long-term hosts for this film; if you want to see it, the best way is to download it yourself. And that brings us back to Bittorrent. As things now stand, it's the most reliable way for you to stand up for your rights to see the film that major Web sites are afraid to touch with a 10-foot pole. Here's how to do it: First, you need a torrent download program. The best one around is unquestionably Vuze (, formerly known as Azureus. Vuze takes care of much of the "bookkeeping" that goes with torrent downloading (you're expected to share as well as download). Installation is simple, and you can download files with one click. Once installed, you need to find a torrent download site that hosts the film. For this, a Google search - something along the lines of "fitna+torrent" - will do the job. You can find it here ( if you'd prefer not to search, though. Once on the page, search out the small button that reads "Azureus magnet link" and click on it; the file will begin automatically downloading to your computer, informing you when the download begins and ends. The file is in .flv format and is only 39.6 MB, so the download should be done in several minutes. To view the film, download and install the free VLC media player (, a cross-platform media player that can handle just about any file you throw at it. Once downloaded, sit back and watch - and be happy that there are still some people sticking up for your right to watch a film that needs to be seen, and that you have a right to see.