I have some inside baseball for you, but- basically I don't respond well to threats, especially baseless ones. And if this had been approached a different way, I wouldn't be posting anything about this at all, but as a graduate from New York University with a minor in Journalism (and a degree in Dramatic Writing) - and most importantly as a Marvel fan - I got pissed off.
I understand a company wanting to protect their property by independently investigating information leaks, but unless that leak is of something they own - say a photo from a closed set or a prop someone found on a...I dunno...street? In the bay where they dumped all the extras for the 'Iron Man 3' plane stunt? - it is hard to argue that disseminating information is illegal.
Anyway, I'm not stealing anything. I hear things and people I know hear things, then you talk to all the people who are in a position to know things and see if Person A can confirm Person B (and, ideally, Person C).
We've lost the ever-important "Exclusive" tag waiting on confirmations and things. Don't believe me? Our URLs can't lie. Go look at URL of that David Slade post again.
Anyway, I received an e-mail from a Marvel e-mail address claiming I was doing something illegal by blogging about 'Guardians' and 'Iron Man 3.'
Here's the disclaimer that was at the very bottom of my correspondence:
Nothing contained in this e-mail shall (a) be considered a legally binding agreement, amendment or modification of any agreement with Marvel, each of which requires a fully executed agreement to be received by Marvel or (b) be deemed approval of any product, packaging, advertising or promotion material, which may only come from Marvel's Legal Department.
In other words, this isn't actual legal action with legal power, it's bullying. It's bullying that didn't even think to put a disclaimer on the end asking me not to re-distribute it anywhere. The closest thing to that is at the very bottom: "THINK GREEN - SAVE PAPER - THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT!"
Here's the e-mail. Names, addresses and phone numbers have been deleted, because I'm sure this guy is just doing his job, but bold text, spacing issues of this obvious form letter and incorrect assertions of illegality have been left in tact.
My name is [COOL STORY, BRO!] and I am an independent security consultant working for Marvel. I have worked as a security consultant for Marvel since 1982. I am currently conducting an investigation on Marvel’s behalf regarding the dissemination of confidential, non-public information concerningIron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy. The executives at Marvel are extremely upset regarding the release of this information and they have instructed me to find you and ascertain how you received it. My goal is to accomplish this in a quiet manner. I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble nor do I want to see anyone’s career be tarnished because of this. However I am very confident that through your efforts and mine, we will be able to work through this together. I personally feel that you did not have any malicious intent when you posted your spoilers on the fanboy website. Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet. I get it, however the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxyinformation was confidential and you did not have Marvel’s consent to post it. That was illegal!
If you provide me with your source, I will make it worth your effort. I want to work with you. As I stated above, I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble. That would be a lose-lose for everyone. I would hope that you are now realizing that this is a very serious matter and the consequences will be quite severe if I do not find out how you obtained the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy information.
My goal is to ascertain how you got the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy informationand make this go away. All information you provide will remain confidential, even your identity. Your source will never know. Let’s work together and make this happen before it is too late. To date, everyone I have worked with has not suffered any consequences. I do not want to see this situation get blown out of proportion. However if we do not work together, I will have no choice but to take this investigation to the next level and I will not stop until this investigation is completed. Please get back to me with your thoughts and let me know how you would like to proceed. It is my goal to bring this matter to closure as quickly and quietly as possible. Thank you for your time and please get back to me as soon as possible.
If you would like to talk, you can reach me at [xxx-xxx-xxxx]
[Guy Who Signs The Form Letters]
I don't even know where to start.
I genuinely love my Marvel and their properties. I've seen ALL their movies, even the NOW BURNT FANTASTIC FOUR, why do you have to come out with: "I don't want to see anyone's career be tarnished because of this"?
And to condescend with "Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet," come on. I'm not just a fan (imagine your hell if I was the typical fan) and I wasn't "one of the first" I was THE. FIRST. and - as we see through Hall H and this letter - completely factually correct in my assertions.
I'm not responding to this e-mail outside of this post, because I've done nothing wrong. A representative of my favorite comics house just stepped into my life with no legal authority to demand anything and threatened my career for doing my job well.
Although I guess I can stop wondering why Brian Michael Bendis has blocked me from Twitter for over a year now.
And maybe I need my own form letter.
Dear Reader,Thank you for contacting me about my job and your personal reaction to my piece on Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man 3 it always means a lot to hear from fans of my work. Keep reading Latino-Review.com for more Marvel coverage!