On Wednesday night, it was announced that the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would premiere on April 20 at special IMAX screenings across the country. It was assumed that after the screenings, the trailer would be released online in HD. Less than 24 hours after that announcement, blurry images from a supposedly leaked trailer appeared on Twitter. Soon, the trailer was posted to YouTube. Initial rumors suggested the trailer was fake, but those rumors were quickly squashed as Warner Bros. managed to remove the footage from YouTube. At that point, it was all but confirmed: the BvS trailer had leaked online.
Since then, more videos have popped up all across the Internet, and the leak has become a widely reported topic. Some websites are even providing the link to bootlegged trailer.
Let me make this very clear. This is an illegal recording of footage. As such, I will not be posting a link anywhere on A New Dish, and I don’t condone watching this bootleg footage at all. But I feel this leak brings up a topic that’s come into question several times in the past few months: where do you draw the line between disseminating important information and stealing?
Late last year, someone leaked the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer a full week before it was supposed to premiere during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel Studios took the bull by the horns and released the official trailer an hour later in HD, making the leaker’s content worthless. In this situation, Marvel had enough time to alter the trailer and release slightly different footage during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
But in the case of BvS, how is Warner Bros. supposed to get in front of this? They could do what Marvel did and release the trailer online a bit early, but then what would they do with all the people who’ve signed up to see its premiere in IMAX? There’s less than a week until the IMAX event, and while Warner Bros. could assemble new footage to show the people who secured tickets, that’s certainly not the ideal choice.
This kind of leak also falls in line with what happened to Sony Pictures several months ago. After suffering an enormous hack, internal communications from the company were spread all over the Internet. This hack received a tremendous amount of attention, but the information stolen received even more attention.
Examples of reporting?
People who wrote at length about these things claimed that they did everything in the name of journalism. They’ll say everything they helped leak was information that belonged to the public.
Fans of a franchise or company are not entitled to this information. Any communications or promotional materials created by a company belong to that company by law, and no one else. I said it before in my write-up about the Sony hack, and I’ll say it again now: The people who are leaking this stuff are not Robin Hood figures. They’re not taking from the rich and giving to the poor in order to make a change; they’re just stealing to get a good story.
Reporting rumors is one thing. A lot of the time, rumors start off as information that someone has directly handed the news media and asked them to report on. This is the kind of information that turns into news, and therefore, it’s okay to talk about. But when trailers leak, they leak against the will of the company. These leaks are 100% illegal.
I will write my reaction to the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer after I see it on Monday night, and not a moment sooner. I’d encourage all movie sites to do the same.