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Homer seeks refuge with file-sharing Swedes

Ann Törnkvist · 7 Jan 2014, 14:17

Published: 07 Jan 2014 14:17 GMT+01:00

In the Steal This Episode gander on the show The Simpsons, Homer ends up downloading and sharing a film after growing increasingly annoyed at moviegoers' anti-social behaviour, including talking and texting on mobile phones.

Conscience-of-the-family Marge, however, tries to pay for her viewing pleasure by sending a check to Hollywood, which sets off not only alarm bells but a full-blown emergency response involving the authorities. 

An op-ed on the TorrentFreak website, which argued that the episode was "an absolute goldmine for anyone interested in the file-sharing phenomenon," said the scene at the FBI was telling of the government's attitude toward copyright infringement.

"The size of the movie piracy department next to the drug enforcement office is a clear nod to the resources being expended on piracy-related issues," mused the writer, who argued that the episode allowed viewers to take in both sides of the arguments concerning copyright theft. 

As the manhunt proceeds in the episode, the Simpson family seeks refuge at the Swedish embassy, with daughter Lisa explaining  that "the Swedish people think film should be shared for free."

The TorrentFreak op-ed argued that the plot of the episode touched upon many issues at play in regards to Sweden's The Pirate Bay. 

"Many times in the past The Pirate Bay has made it clear that its mission is to offer ‘culture’ to all," the writer noted. "In the show Homer does something similar by opening his own free mini theater for the people of Springfield."

Despite attempts at reviving the movie-going experience in its family-friendly role, Homer eventually ends up in court. 

 "(The episode) makes clear that big budget content needs to have a funding mechanism, but even more apparent is the overblown response to the issue encouraged by Hollywood and executed by law enforcement," TorrentFreak noted.

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

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