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Proving yet again that people just don’t understand how little money there is to be made in movie blogging, someone tried to sell the Avengers script to a website. If they’d tried to sell it to one of those soulless AOL movie blogs, that might have made sense. They just fired all their writers and replaced them with off the books day laborers, so they’ve got money to spare. But these script thieves tried to sell it to an independently owned movie blog like this one, and rest assured, no matter how many readers a movie site might have, unless its owned by a corporate entity there’s barely enough to keep the lights on and pretty much nothing left to pay for questionable scoops.
You’d think Kevin Smith’s failed attempts to sell Red State exclusives would have made this point for the general public, but now it gets to be made again.
The script was reportedly offered to Obsessed with Film who didn’t even try to negotiate to see how much the guy wanted. Personally I’d have strung him along a little, just to see what he was really up to, or at least to get a feel for his price. The would be script-leaker offered photos of the document, promising there would be no copies and that they’d receive the original as an exclusive. The photos themselves seem to check out as being pretty real, though personally I’m hoping it’s a massive fake since this is sure to end up in the hands of someplace like the Huffington Post, where they have money to spare and no ethics to get in the way of profiting off something like this.
The idea here is that whoever gets the script will receive a massive traffic influx by being the only site able to review it and discuss The Avengers script on their website. Again, that really only applies to corporately owned websites. To get away with reviewing a script like this you’ll need an army of lawyers behind you. Even though reviewing copyrighted content is not a copyright violation, Hollywood’s movie studio lawyers have recently taken to threatening and cease and desisting anyone who reviews such material, assuming that person doesn’t have the money necessary to protect the rights guaranteed them by the first amendment.
This is the voice of experience speaking. A few months ago we tried to review the script for Deadpool (which we did not pay for), which we loved, and were immediately attacked by Fox legal and forced to take our review down, even though we had every right to publish it. A few days later a Gawker owned subsidiary published a significantly less useful, less positive review of the film (in fact they copy-pasted whole excerpts from the script and reprinted them) and Fox simply left them alone. In fact that script review is still up on the internet today, whereas if you look where ours used to be all you’ll find is a blank page. If you’d just been a little less ethical Obsessed with Film, a blank page just like that could have been yours.