“Marvel Wants Reddit to Reveal Mods Accused of Leaking Ant-Man 3,” a Thetorrent headline reads.

In the Marvel Studios Spoilers subreddit in January, a month before Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was released in theatres, a link to a script that had been stolen was uploaded. On Friday, an affiliate of Marvel Studios submitted DMCA subpoena petitions to force Reddit and Google to reveal the individuals who were leaking information. The moderators of the subreddit each have access to a single named user account, which they share among themselves. According to the court docs, the objective is to coerce Reddit into disclosing all of their identities.

While Reddit is working hard to conceal the names of users who have just participated in conversations about infringement, two new cases that were filed last Friday may also prove to be controversial.

Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which was released on February 17, 2023, was the film that formally began “Phase 5” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie, which was distributed by Disney and had mixed reviews, made $105 million in its first week at the box office, but that number dropped by 70 percent to $32 million in the next week.

Because of a leak that was shared online about a month before the movie was shown in theatres, some fans were already familiar with the storyline of the film before it was ever released. The investigation into who is leaking information from Marvel will probably be its own separate plot.

Google is the primary focus of MVL Film Financing LLC.

MVL Film Financing LLC (MVL) was established in 2004/5 with the intention of providing financial support to Marvel Studios for the production of ten “live-action or animated films” based on a maximum of ten of Marvel’s comic book characters. This objective was accomplished. The Walt Disney Corporation is the owner of a number of interconnected corporate companies, one of which being Marvel Studios, as well as Marvel Entertainment, the studio’s parent company.

On Friday of this week, Marvel Studios issued a statement in favour of a DMCA subpoena case targeting Google. The application is being heard in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The court was informed by Matthew Slatoff, Vice President of Global Security and Content Protection for Marvel, that one of his tasks is to monitor and rectify any instances in which MVL Film Finance’s rights are infringed upon.

According to Slatoff’s declaration, on January 21, a Disney anti-piracy analyst notified Google of a copyright infringement after discovering that content from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania had been uploaded to systems operated by Google without MVL’s authorization. The notice requested that Google remove the infringing material from its systems. The takedown notification was sent to Google using the company’s webform, and it included a question from Google and a response from the rightsholder.

Name the protected work and provide a description of it: Unreleased script for the next Disney film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania was discovered online.

As the location of the content that is alleged to infringe on Marvel’s rights, Marvel provided the URL docs.google.com/document/. It is no longer possible to access that content at that location.

On January 23, an analyst working for Disney got confirmation that Google had, in fact, received the takedown notice, but that the business was unable to remove any of the information for which it was responsible. Google had nothing to do because the file had already been erased somewhere during the preceding couple of days, leaving Google with nothing to do.

Yet, this did not imply that the document could not be accessed from another location.

The Document That Has Been Described in DMCA Subpoenas

The questioned paper provides insight into a few intriguing aspects of the situation. The text of the’script’ is credited to screenwriter Jeff Loveness and defined as “translated dialogue” in an introduction written by an unknown individual. The document has 63 pages and is stated as being lengthy.

It is possible that the script was updated and/or shown on a web interface that was Portuguese; however, given that both Portugal and Brazil are named in the code, it is impossible to confirm or deny either possibility. Further evidence suggests that the material was most likely written with the intention of being used as subtitles. A date reference adds another layer of intrigue.

Text from the beginning of the file that was once stored by Google

The text makes reference to a thread on Reddit that may still be found online. It gives away a lot of reveals without really including any of the text that was leaked.

The so-called “leaked” document that Marvel is interested in makes reference to the Reddit post that was two months old at the time that the document was being created or amended. Both of the petitions for DMCA subpoenas are looking for information about users of Google and Reddit and the alleged behaviours they engaged in between January 15 and February 15, 2023.

The time range seems to be crucial; it was believed that the complete storyline of the movie had been leaked online around the 20th of January.

The older Reddit post reveals a plot leak occurred far earlier, around October 2022, whilst the current Reddit thread fits in with the more recent Reddit topic. Significant plot spoilers extend back much farther than that, but nothing on the scope of an entire screenplay has been revealed.

Reddit is being asked by MVL to help identify leakers.

Midway through the month of January, information on the screenplay and subtitle file was shared on Reddit, and leak-loving Marvel fans were delighted and intrigued by the material. The tone was established with comments such as “Yes, this is some next level leak,” and “This honestly could be the largest leak in this sub’s history,” but the enjoyment didn’t last very long.

Any “further sharing of the data will result in a ban,” according to a statement made by a moderator of the subreddit. This was said in light of the fact that the information was getting copyright warnings.

The conversation is still being had today, and there is no question in anyone’s mind that Marvel is aware of it.

The application for the DMCA subpoena makes particular reference of the thread, and it also includes an email from Reddit’s legal team, which had previously agreed to remove the information that was considered to be infringing.

As was the case with the takedown request that was issued to Google, it’s possible that the allegedly infringing content was removed before Reddit had the chance to remove it. The message does not make any reference to a copyright violation; rather, it states, “Unfortunately, this post was deleted by the individual who originally submitted it.”

At this point, attention is being drawn to the remainder of the discussion, which discusses the document that was hosted by Google and how the moderator team “pulled the google doc down” to guarantee that any connections that were already in place to the file would no longer direct users to it.

On the one hand, that is a satisfactory response to the issue regarding copyright. On the other hand, it creates a connection between the paper and the discussion thread on Reddit. The original post that was referenced in the DMCA subpoena performed much more well in this regard.

As a direct consequence of this, Marvel is already demanding that Reddit send over “All Identifying Information for the user ‘u/MSSmods,’” which introduces still another variable into the equation.

The user account known as /u/MSSMods was established in March 2021 and designated as a shared account at that time. This indicates that at least one, some, or maybe all of the moderators for the subreddit had used it at some point.

This is not the best solution when only one person is responsible for posting the contentious thread, but the information that has been requested includes “any information provided when an Infringing User established their Reddit account, including the name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), and email address(es); (b) any IP address(es) used by such user; and (c) account number(s).”

The DMCA subpoena application makes an attempt to cast a wide net, not just over the moderators of the subreddit, but also over the whole community of people that contribute to the subreddit as a whole.

– Any and all identifying information pertaining to any other user(s) who were responsible for posting, editing, and/or maintaining the content that was formerly available on the Reddit Site. This includes, but is not limited to, any moderator of the MarvelStudioSpoilers subreddit who was involved in the uploading of content on or about January 20, 2023 to the Reddit Site that comprised and/or was related to the dialogue of the then-unreleased motion

  • Any and all identifying information pertaining to any user who, between the dates of January 15 and February 15, 2023, participated in the act of publishing or altering content that was deemed to be infringing. (this sentence has been changed for readability)

Because the Reddit topic was never provided with any content that might be considered to be infringing, nobody was ever in a position to change the content of the thread. This presents even another problem. The item that was being accused of violating was housed on Google, and all that the thread did was offer a link to it.

Even taking into account the fact that Reddit reviewed the initial DMCA takedown notice and discovered that there was a prima facie case for removal, the idea that Reddit is obligated to conduct an investigation in order to determine the involvement of anyone who could potentially be involved may still meet with resistance.

One Reddit member observed at the time of the leak that the moderators of the subreddit aren’t in the best situation either. In the meanwhile, Reddit has found itself in the heart of yet another scandal.

According to what the user had said, “somewhere out there, Feige [the President of Marvel Studios] is loading his pistol and sharpening his blades.”

“I feel sorry for the dummy who disclosed this information.”






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