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Since the start of the new year we’ve received, on average, around four takedown notices (of varying types) a week here at Cinema Blend HQ. In 2010 we totaled fourteen for the entire year. We’re getting them not because we’re engaged in illegal activity (we’re aren’t) or because we’re doing anything different (we aren’t), but because the corporate world’s army of attorneys has recently decided that when it comes to the internet, the party’s over and they’re taking control.

Most of the takedown notices we receive are bogus, automated things generated by lawyers as scare tactics to force independent businesses without the corporate money necessary to defend their rights into saying what they want and telling you only what they want you to know. Most of the others are, more often than not, the result of a fundamental lack of understanding in how the internet works. For instance, earlier today we received a series of nasty takedown notices for sharing an image with our readers and then directing them to click through a link to the site where the photo originated for ten more. Yes, technically the image was the property of someone else but, had they allowed us to share the image they’d have benefitted from us doing so. Sharing images that way is generally accepted as a standard, best journalistic practice on the internet, unless of course you’re a shortsighted corporation with more lawyers than sense. Unfortunately, shortsighted corporations with more lawyers than sense are rapidly becoming the norm while independently owned sites like this one are rarer than ever.

Sometimes a takedown notice may at least seem warranted. This seems like one of those times since, word is that the script for Thor leaked online earlier tonight and in the process revealed a few pretty big details about what the next big Marvel movie has in store. Except, well, what does Marvel really have to lose by letting people read the screenplay? Is it likely to keep anyone from seeing the movie? Nope. It doesn’t hurt the value of their brand at all, at worst it helps raise awareness of the property. Some of Hollywood’s studios get that, others don’t and so Comic Book Movie informs us that they were hit by takedown notices from Paramount’s lawyers moments after the Thor script was posted on their message board by an anonymous user.

They complied, it is Paramount’s script after all, and they’re well within their rights. You can see their point, I might have done the same in their shoes. Except the script’s out there now, there’s no putting the genie back in that bottle, and in the process of trying to put him back in they’ve pissed a lot of fans off. That’s really all they’ve accomplished… for now. Then they took it a step further.

CBM claims that in addition to forcing them to remove the script Paramount then pressured them to also remove comments left by people about the script. Additionally, the site says they received correspondence from a Marvel rep trying to get CBM owner and reporter Jim Littler to reveal the script's source. Sure, you can probably still find the script floating around on the internet somewhere, but clearly the wide open freedom once found on the internet is shrinking. I suspect that the day isn’t far off when corporate America’s mega-lawyers will actually have the control over what you see, that they so clearly crave.

For now, if you’re interested in Thor, all you really need to know is that Comic Book Movie says the script confirms a few of the specific rumors we’ve heard about the production while at the same time breaking one pretty big spoiler cameo. At the bottom of this post you’ll see a Spoiler Warning followed by their information, read it if you want to know, skip it if you don’t. Exercise your right to choose what you see on the internet, while it still exists.

Spoiler Warning: Potential cameo spoilers for Thor follow.

- Hawkeye’s cameo rumored here, is confirmed to be part of the screenplay.
- Ant Man is referenced, referred to as Dr. Pym
- There’s a reference to “a pioneer in gamma radiation.” That would almost certainly be Bruce Banner, aka Hulk.
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