The editors of video-sharing website YouTube.com were forced to pull links to pirated versions of Michael Moore's new U.S. healthcare documentary over the weekend after learning as many as 600 people had seen the film illegally online.
A 124-minute version of the film, Sicko, which is released nationwide in America on 29 June (07), was posted on YouTube by two users on Friday night (15Jun07).
Distributors at Weinstein Co alerted YouTube bosses after they were alerted to the leak, and the links to the footage were immediately removed.
A spokeswoman for the film company says, "We are responding aggressively to protect our film."
Sicko chronicles the struggles of everyday Americans as they attempt to get adequate healthcare. Moore contrasts the U.S. system with those of Canada and the U.K.
He also sparked controversy in the film by accompanying a group of sick 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba, where they were hoping to receive free treatments for what ailed them.
Moore himself is in trouble with U.S. government officials, who claim he broke federal trade laws to make parts of the hard-hitting new film in Cuba. Moore is currently under investigation.