Madonna, BitTorrent, VICE Partner on Free Speech Initiative

Madonna, BitTorrent, VICE Partner on Free Speech Initiative

BitTorrent will host 17-minute film co-directed by the singer

Madonna is teaming up with BitTorrent to strike a blow for free speech.

The “Material Girl” is unveiling secretprojectrevolution, a 17-minute film she co-directed with Steven Klein, on the open-source technology platform.

The film will be available on Sept. 24. It kicks off an online initiative between the pop star and media company VICE called “Art for Freedom,” which is designed to raise awareness about attacks on social, political and artistic expression.

“Madonna feels that artists are having their voices stifled right now and she feels that art is the best way to fight oppression and respond to things that are happening in society,” Matt Mason, vice president of marketing at BitTorrent, told TheWrap.

Art For Freedom functions as a digital public art project, that asks people to share their personal definitions of freedom and revolution, in the form of video, music, poetry, and photography. Public submissions can be uploaded and will become part of the Art For Freedom platform.

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Madonna's film and her search for answers will be available on BitTorrent as part of a free bundle that also includes bonus content. Those extras include an interview with Madonna conducted by VICE’s chief creative officer, Eddy Moretti, a handwritten message from the singer, and stills from the film.

The partnership is another sign that BitTorrent, which has created technology that allows users to share large files, is serious about improving its image with traditional media. The company had been synonymous in the entertainment industry with piracy, because sites like Pirate Bay used its file-sharing technology technology to spread copyrighted material illegally. BitTorrent never endorsed that.

In recent months, the company has tried to change that perception, partnering with companies like Cinedigm and artists like the Counting Crows to share content with its 170 million users.

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In the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations about the extent of U.S. surveillance of internet and telephone communications, Mason said free speech is very much a hot topic.

“We’re collectively having a conversation about the future of internet,”  he said. “We are seeing what the stakes are and artists like Madonna see that what is at the heart of the issue is our collective freedom to communicate and to organize.”