Marvel is seeking the identities of Reddit and Google users involved in the dialogue leak from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Marvel says that before the Ant man after the film’s release, the film’s dialogue was leaked in a Google Docs file and that the link to the document was posted on a Reddit thread.
Marvel on Friday asked a federal court to issue Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) subpoenas to both Reddit and Google demanding the identities of people allegedly involved in pre-release chatter, including Reddit moderators who Marvel suspects they are behind the leak. The requests were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The Google document was deleted after Marvel owner Disney filed a copyright complaint with Google. The link to the Google document was also deleted from the Reddit thread. But Marvel still wants to know who posted the Google Doc and who shared it on Reddit.
The new subpoena requests come amid a separate battle in the same court between Reddit and several movie studios over whether Reddit should track down users who posted comments on piracy-related topics. Reddit fights these requests for user identification information.
In this case, Marvel is trying to get the names of users, including those behind the Reddit account MSSmods, which is a shared account for the moderators of the Marvel Studios Spoilers subreddit. The subpoena request points to a January 2023 Reddit thread that originally linked to the Google Docs file containing Ant man movie dialogue. Users are discussing the leaked dialogue on the Reddit thread, with some calling it among the biggest movie leaks ever or the biggest leak in the subreddit’s history.
Marvel wants names, numbers, addresses and more
A transcript of the Reddit thread from the Internet Archive shows that a user with the screen name “Vision” started it by linking to the Google Docs file. The original post said the leak was based on a subtitle file in another language that was translated into English.
The link was apparently removed the same day the thread was started. “As we have discovered that the information provided to us is receiving copyright notices, any future sharing of the material will result in a rule 3 ban,” a moderator wrote in a sticky comment.
The subpoena request filed by Marvel subsidiary MVL Film Finance seeks information “to locate the person or persons allegedly responsible for the unauthorized publication of then-unreleased dialogue from the film.”Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘” in the Reddit thread that included the Google Doc link.
“The purpose for which the DMCA subpoena is requested is to obtain the identity of an alleged infringer (or infringers) and this information will be used only for the purpose of protecting MVL’s rights under 17 USC §§ 100; etc,” said an affidavit filed by Marvel Studios’ vice president of Global Security and Content Protection, Matthew Slatoff.
Marvel requests users’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses. If Reddit must comply, it may need to provide credentials for multiple users. The subpoena request requests the following details from Reddit:
- All identifying information for user “u/MSSmods.”
- All identifying information for any other user(s) responsible for posting, editing and/or maintaining content previously available on the Reddit website (together with the user “u/MSSmods”, the ” Offending Users”), including, without limitation, any moderator of the MarvelStudioSpoilers subreddit involved in uploading content on or about January 20, 2023 to the Reddit site that includes and/or relates to dialogue from the then-unreleased motion picture”Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (the “Infringing Content”).
- All identifying information for any user involved, between January 15, 2023 and February 15, 2023, in posting and/or editing the Infringing Content.
Reddit is ‘committed to protecting user privacy’
As a TorrentFreak article about Marvel’s subpoena requests notes, “no infringing content was ever posted to the Reddit thread… The alleged infringing content was hosted on Google, [and] thread just provided a link.”
Reddit did not immediately respond to a question about whether it would fight Marvel’s requests when contacted by Ars today, but said it aims to protect users’ privacy. “Reddit is committed to protecting the privacy of our users. We have strict processes for evaluating legal requests and objecting when appropriate,” a Reddit spokesperson told Ars.
Marvel’s subpoena to Google seeks the same types of identifiers—real names, usernames, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses—for the user or users who posted or edited the document containing movie dialogue. Marvel also wants Google to provide a “report listing all revisions made” to the document between December 1, 2022 and February 15, 2023, “including any identifiers for any user who edited and/or made revisions to any such content, including any IP addresses associated with such revisions.”
We’ve contacted Google about the subpoena and will update this article if we hear back.
Reddit is owned by Advance Publications, which also owns Ars Technica’s parent company, Condé Nast.