Marvel Studios has been battling leakers for quite some time, with story details leaking for massive Marvel projects since the MCU began in 2008.
Internally, Marvel has taken measures to prevent internal personnel from spoiling leaks, especially after the leaks leading up to Spider-Man: No Way Home, which many blamed on less strict conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The entertainment conglomerate is now looking to reduce the leaks and better protect its prized content before release.
Ant-Man 3 Script Leakers Face Legal Battle
Disney is seeking to identify users that leaked the Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania script to the Marvel Studios Spoilers subreddit (via TorrentFreak).
A Disney anti-piracy analyst first submitted a copyright infringement claim following an Ant-Man leak in January 2023, when the script for the Ant-Man threequel initially appeared on Google without the permission of the Disney Company or Marvel Studios.
Google acknowledged the takedown notice, though was unable to remove the content. In the days prior, the script had already been removed from Google.
The script was then shared to the Marvel Studios Spoilers subreddit, which was met with a DMCA takedown notice by Marvel. Similar to the situation with Google, the post was taken down before Reddit themselves were able to take action.
As a result, the company is now attempting to identify the users who shared this script, specifically the user /u/MSSMods. The problem arises due to this user account being shared among moderators, making it difficult to link back to the person who originally posted the script.
Marvel is reportedly requesting from Reddit: “any information provided when an Infringing User established their Reddit account, including the name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es); (b) any IP address(es) used by such user; and (c) account number(s).”
Not only this, but the DMCA subpoena application also appears to request information relating to users from the entire subreddit that were active on and around the date the script was shared.
While the next steps for Marvel and Disney are unclear, it is likely that the companies will pursue legal action once the identity of the original poster has been revealed.
The Copyright Crackdown
Disney CEO Bob Iger is now requiring hybrid staff to return to the office at least four days a week and hoping for a return to pre-COVID conditions. Likely, this is also to help prevent widespread leaks that have come about since the pandemic.
While Marvel head writer Michael Waldron previously claimed that leaks are primarily seen by those "who want to find that stuff" and that fans who don't want to be spoiled can stay clear, there's no question that leaks are still harmful to the studio.
Audiences can get a taste of a project sometimes months before release, which directly influences whether they choose to visit the movie theatre and, thus, the profit margins.
Sometimes, these leaks are unavoidable, with Waldron's words alone exemplifying just how widespread spoilers have become in recent times. During the pandemic, internet usage grew by 10.2% during COVID.
More people than ever spent time in lockdown and turned to films and fandoms to fill in the time. Of course, this led to an increased discovery of leaks and their subsequent circulations as more people speculated on the future of the entertainment industry.
In 2021, Reddit banned 2,625 Subreddits for excessive copyright infringements, 2,813 users, and 665,898 pieces of content. Those staggering statistics are a 104% increase from 2020, proving just how epidemic leaks have become, among other copyright infringement cases.
Now the Walt Disney Company is looking to crack down, set an example, and dissuade internet users from such practices in the future, and time will tell whether its measures are effective.