'Downloaded,' film on music downloading, at SXSW

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A documentary film exploring the history of sharing music on the Internet has made its world premiere at South by Southwest, a festival that marries music, technology and film.

"Downloaded" was directed by Alex Winter and focuses on Napster, the file sharing network that allowed 25 million people to share 80 million recordings. The service allowed users to download music for free until a recording industry lawsuit forced it to shut down in 2001.

The co-founder of Napster, Shawn Fanning, attended Sunday's opening and participates in the film. But Winter allows all sides of the free music debate make their case, while also using archival news footage.

Winter originally planned to make a feature film for MTV but eventually made the documentary for VH1, where it will air next month.