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November 06 2014

Marvel seeks to subpoena Google over 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' leak. That escalated quickly. Don't mess with the Mouse.

Funniest thing in that short article is how it is suggested that a leaked copy of Expendables is what hurt that film's box office. Ha! Leaks are of course horrible and criminal but so was Expendables. :)
Weird, thought it would be more like the Doctor Who workprint leak from earlier this year, a bit less convoluted, a bit more not complete secure server to subbing company.
I've heard people speculate that someone might have leaked Expendables 3 just to be able to blame the poor sales on the leak. Don't know how likely that really is though.
I can't believe someone took the risk of leaking it in the first place. This is the same company that had the actors wear trench coats outside while filming the first Avengers even though we had already seen their costumes in FOUR PREVIOUS MOVIES.

Kevin Feige and Bob Iger probably have a hitman on the case already.
No matter how much right they have on their side,
coming down on Billy Bob Hacker with the power of
the Gods is going to make them look small and petty.

(1) The leak is not going to impact on movie sales;

(2) The leak was not going to get more people to watch Agents of SHIELD (even though they should, because they don't know what they're missing);

(3) They need to just get over it, rather than risk becoming the next FOX Legal.
I totally disagree. They should go after the person who hacked/leaked the footage with every legal means possible. Hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of people are employed by these movies. You've most likely sat through the credits. Anyone ever count all those people? It's mind boggling. Protecting the future employment of every last one of those contributors to movies like this is definitely worth a fight and those that endanger the job of the 10th grip, or 6th production assistant, or 225th extra should be prosecuted.
I think they did a nice job of putting a clever face on the leak with the "Blame Hydra" statement, but I certainly support them working in parallel to find who decided they were above the law to distribute the trailer. A lot of people put in a lot of time not only creating the thing, but also working through logistics of distribution, promotion etc. .... only to have some schmo thumb his/her nose at all of them

I honestly don't understand the "spoiler culture" where certain websites, such as Latino Review, exist almost solely to "scoop" information that studios don't want revealed yet. Where's the value add?
Also it seemed as though the leak may have come from an employee or outside contractor of some sort. If so, they certainly want to fire this person and seal the leak before said person does this again.
I say go after the leak if only to ensure bigger plots don't get exposed.

Google should make nice and then join with Marvel and rule the world together...

I haven't had much sleep but that made much of the sense.
How would the leak endanger the jobs of the people working on the movie? I can see how leaking the entire movie might be a problem, but a trailer? Is the problem that the person or persons who leaked it may also leak the entire film (completed or not)?
You let the person with the Trailer get away with it and next time you may end up like the folks who made Expendables 3. Its the principle of the thing.
That's part of it, Nebula. If someone had early access to the trailer, they might get access to things in the future. They could mess with the marketing campaign continually or possibly even get their hands on the film.

Plus, Marvel and Disney probably don't want to set a precedent of letting this slide. Maybe it won't hurt the giant juggernaut that is the Avengers franchise, but this kind of thing might hurt some other, smaller movie that they put out later.
How would the leak endanger the jobs of the people working on the movie?

I was thinking about this the other day. Dozens of people spent countless man hours preparing the trailer and getting the PR campaign ready to go. In any business like that, you can't have a rogue element deciding that they know better anyone than anyone else.
IMO Disney = Hydra in entertainment.
Disney lawyers = Wolfram & Hart

Never ever support them when they go after the little guy, next time it might be someone you actually like.
And you know they really really don't care who they take out.
Why shouldn't they go after the person who messed up their plans? If he/she broke a confidentiality agreement then that person should expect to be penalised. No sympathy for them. Also they may have cost their firm jobs and contracts. Studios aren't going to work with companies whose employees leak material.
I don't think any huge corporation should go after every little digital pirate out there, but when someone that they employ is violating their trust, I think they have every right to seek them out and at least terminate their working relationship. While I suppose it isn't impossible that some hacker managed to get their hands on the trailer, it's far more likely that it was someone connected to the project in some way.
Imo it's a bad sign when a company's own employees can't be relied upon to act with an ethical standard (assuming it was an in-house leak - which seems pretty likely in this case.)

They should definitely clean house, but if they can't pull it together to properly police their employees it shouldn't be Google's job to do it for them.
I'm always amazed by the volume of videos shown at SDCC, that none ever get leaked on the net. In any other organisation we would have seen this 4 months ago.
I agree that it makes your company look bad when a leak came from one of your employees. It makes it seem as if you can't hire trustworthy people, and maybe your company won't be chosen to work with the studio in the future because of it.
As paltry as it may seem, a crime was committed. And wittingly or not, Google facilitated it. Just like pawn shops have to submit their records when they're found to be selling stolen goods, Google can be forced to submit their records when they're found to be distributing leaked media.
I think Marvel are in the right here. This was as much a theft as if someone had taken a film reel from a locked room. And Marvel was lucky that they had such a good trailer that could only create positive buzz.

Thinking of who the leak would have hurt, there must have been some pretty hefty contracts with ABC and probably some websites which were going to get the trailer. The people working at those places must have had an interesting time sorting that out...

There is bonus scene footage from "Age of Ultron" captured at SDCC online on YouTube as I type this. It is always available. Just terrible quality that does nothing for you but ruin your enjoyment of the movie. So, why bother seeking it out?
Yeah, I've seen that, RobynH.

I'm seeing how the pieces of the puzzle fit, now.
Hate to break it to you Disney, but no matter what you do and no matter how many "hackers" you go after, these things will always happen. So, why not embrace the Internet age and just release things when they are ready, rather than sitting on them for months and months, hiding them away at mini screenings to the 0.1% of your audience that attend Comic Con and spending millions on constructing elaborate plans to promote a film that really doesn't need much promotion. Why not instead spend that money on promoting your small films, films that are unlikely to get the massive releases in all the cinemas up and down the world, because you aren't willing to put your confidence behind it.

Be it a trailer, a full length feature film, TV series or computer game rather than spending time and money on your gazillion lawyers on trying to crush someone that managed to bypass your lousy security, why not invest in ways to win over those that see piracy as the easier option than your restricted view on how we should consume our entertainment. Look to provide simultaneous global releases of these products, in a format that doesn't restrict us to a particular device. Stop shoving unskippable anti-piracy ads when I have already bought your product or awful sluggish menu systems that take ages to get through when I just want to watch your film or forcing me to ask your permission every time I want to load up a game, only to find out that your servers are having a technical fault. All things that a pirate copy would not force us to go through.

So, sorry Disney, I don't really have any sympathy that your little trailer got leaked and was talked about by every movie site a few days before the actual release, before being talked about all over again when you did your official release. I don't care that you wasted millions of pounds on marketing a film that was already going to be flocked to by 100s of millions of people, money that you will no doubt make back pretty quickly with the 80%+ cut you will take from ticket sales during the opening weeks.

Quite honestly, the sooner the studios figure out how ridiculously unsustainable their business model is, the better for all of us.
They didn't want to sit on it for months and months.

A week. They wanted a week.

You suggest simultaneous global release on every device, but if they can't even get a week, there's no way anyone can pull that off.

What you're really suggesting, taken to it's logical conclusion, is that we all sit around watching the dailies at the end of every day of shooting while the studios say, "Hey, there's nothing we can do." Nobody would even watch the movies because we'll have already seen all of them before the special effects are even added.

THAT'S an unsustainable business model.
Err... Yeah, releasing dailies would be quite ridiculous. Not really sure where I asked for that though. Having said that, releasing those dailies wouldn't particularly cost them anything or be very difficult. They are being stored on their servers anyway. Just got to make them accessible from the outside. If they wanted to and there would actually be an audience for it, they could quite easily do it. Very few people would want to watch those though.

Simultaneous global release of a film, TV show or computer game is very, very feasible. The pirates manage it on day one of pretty much every one that is released, if not before day one. Even if you don't go that far, you can easily release something on multiple formats at once. There are an increasing number of smaller films that are doing simultaneous cinema, DVD and on demand releases. I'm sure these multi-million dollar film studios can figure out how to do it. Whilst device restrictions is a problem created by the industry. There are plenty of formats that work across devices, often in better quality then the restricted ones. The industry is just terrified of the change and will refuse to acknowledge it, likely until it is very nearly too late (just look at the music industry as an example of how this stubbornness plays out.)

As for them only wanting a week, I find it very unlikely that they had the trailer in the can only moments before it was leaked. That was passed to marketing teams long before then.
Simultaneous global release of a film, TV show or computer game is very, very feasible.

But it's not going to happen because that ignores regional differences over school holidays and sports , religious and national events etc. Audiences wouldn't benefit and distributors would lose money. Staggered releases are there for a reason.
Simultaneous global release also won't happen with any regularity unless and until the production companies handle their own distribution (which is completely unfeasible for most - if not all - smaller production companies). Many properties don't even have distribution deals worked out in some markets when they're released in others. These are major business deals that take time to broker. There are also different laws governing these media in different nations and locales that have to be considered and followed. It isn't as simple as "Here, we want this to come out at the same time everywhere," even if they actually DO want that.
Vandelay, you suggested that Marvel not try to hunt down anyone who steals their stuff. You said they should just let it happen. If they take that attitude, then it won't stop at trailers. People will steal more and more stuff, trying to top each other and get everything first. Yes, that's going to lead to a place where movies are pirated before the effects are done, then worse.

No, simultaneous release everywhere isn't possible. Not everyone in the world speaks English. Additional dialogue recording can change right up until the last minute, and so can translations and dubbing. If they actually want to sell tickets, they need to have advertising campaigns that are tailored to the countries. Sometimes it isn't possible to do that all at once.

Sometimes the other countries don't even *let* studios do that. I'm in China, and I had to wait 2 extra months to see Guardians of the Galaxy because China only lets in 2 American movies per month. There's nothing Marvel can do to change that.

You say that the studio's business model is unsustainable. Your solution is for them to let people give every movie to everyone for free.

That's a much worse business model.

[ edited by Jason_M_Bryant on 2014-11-09 04:31 ]

Pay for better security and pay more to the people you expect to keep confidence.

Problem solved.

[ edited by azzers on 2014-11-09 18:59 ]
azzers, that's not really a solution, either, if the leak was an "inside job." Marvel contracts with lots of companies that handle overseas PR, special effects, distribution, etc. and any number of those employees (who don't work for Marvel) have access to the trailer. If one of those employees leaks the trailer, it's not Marvel's responsibility to pay that person more. Plus, it's a terribly low bar to essentially pay people any extra for basic human decency to keep the promises you were asked to keep (non-disclosure agreements) and for not stealing (because it wasn't their property to give out).

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