Marvel is closing in on the source of a leak of a script from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania before the movie was released, and it intends to take legal action, a Disney company source tells The Hollywood Reporter.
A federal judge in California on Monday issued subpoenas to Reddit and Google directing them to identify the users who leaked the dialogue. The order came after the company moved for information on whoever posted then-unreleased dialogue from the film to the r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers subreddit.
Marvel is likely to pursue litigation against the person or group responsible for the leak. That could include a referral to prosecutors for criminal copyright infringement, among other charges.
Moderators at the subreddit dedicated to spoilers for Marvel movies posted on Jan. 20 the subtitle file for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania after unconfirmed details of the plot were leaked on the site a couple of months prior. The moderators said that the subtitles corroborated the leak. The script was allegedly in a different language, requiring them to be translated into English before being posted.
On Friday, Marvel requested “all identifying information” for the users that run r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers in addition to “any other user(s) responsible for posting, editing, and/or maintaining the content” on the subreddit from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.
Google was also issued a subpoena because it hosted a Google Docs file carrying the script, which was too long to be posted on Reddit.
The subpoena was filed under Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which permits copyright owners to obtain information identifying alleged infringers. The law is intended criminalize practices intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania joined the ranks of other Marvel movies, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, that had plot details leak ahead of their theatrical debuts. In the COVID-19 era, Marvel has faced an increasingly tougher time preserving its secrets due to more people having access to sensitive information. The pool of potential leaks has expanded, for example, with the need for more VFX artists, who regularly work from home.
Marvel could refer that the incident be taken up by prosecutors. To substantiate a claim of criminal copyright infringement, the defendant must have intentionally infringed the copyright and looked to make money off of the infringement. Prosecutors could also establish that the defendant made a work available to the public online with the knowledge that the copyright owner intended to distribute it commercially in the near future instead of having to prove that the infringer intended to commercially benefit at the expense of the copyright holder.
In a statement, a Reddit spokesperson said the company is “committed to protecting our users’ privacy” and has “rigorous processes in place to assess legal requests and object when appropriate.”
Marvel Studios and Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.