Spoiler Alert: AMC threatens to sue fan site over Walking Dead predictions
A fan website that specializes in predicting plot twists from The Walking Dead television series has been sent a cease and desist letter to stop it from revealing plot lines.
My attorney told me to call him when I had a $10,000 retainer.- Rachel Campbell, creator of thespoilingdeadfans.coms site
Rachel Campbell, creator of thespoilingdeadfans.com site, tells As It Happens host Carol Off that she understands AMC's position, she just doesn't agree with their methods.
"I can kind of understand why they might feel they need to protect their brand. I think the legality of copyright infringement needs a little work," says Campbell. "It's kind of a grey area when you're getting bits of information. It's no different than when big media corporations get information."
Campbell says she has a network of people who report cast sightings and rumours. She and her staff take tidbits from their "spies" and form a working theory of a spoiler which she then reports to her 400,000 followers. She says "85% of it is a calculated guess."
The site has been predicting plot lines for the popular series for more than two years.
The spoiler at the heart of the cease and desist letter is for the premiere of season 7.
In a letter to Campbell, AMC's lawyers say that by revealing the spoiler, Campbell will "greatly damage AMC, as well as fans awaiting the new season's release, who wish to watch their favourite show unspoiled."
The show's lawyers also said that by revealing the spoiler, Campbell will impair the commercial viability of the show. AMC threatened to seek monetary damages through a lawsuit.
Campbell says despite the legality of publishing spoilers, she doesn't have the resources to defend against a lawsuit from AMC.
"It always costs money to defend and try to prove your point. My attorney told me to call him when I had a $10,000 retainer."
Campbell has assured fans of her site and Facebook page that she will be continuing to post spoilers of the show, just not this one.
The letter sent to Campbell in its entirety:
Dear [redacted] and The Spoiling Dead Fans site,
I am intellectual property litigation counsel for AMC Film Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies ("AMC"), which owns the right in and to the television series "The Walking Dead."
This is an urgent matter:
AMC is aware that The Spoiling Dead Fans site is promoting your claim that you have received copyright protected, trade secret information about the most critical plot information in the unreleased season next season of The Walking Dead. You also state that you plan to distribute this purported highly confidential information despite your knowledge that such a distribution, if the information is indeed accurate, is unauthorized and will greatly damage AMC, distributors of The Walking Dead as well as Walking Dead fans awaiting the new seasons' release who wish to watch their favourite show unspoiled.
The release of plot summaries and particular types of crucial plot elements that you have stated you intend to release, have been found to constitute copyright infringement. Specifically, in Twin Peaks Productions vs Publications International, the Court ruled that publishing a work that "recount[s] for its readers precisely the plot details" of a fictional work constitutes copyright infringement. 996 F.2d 1366 (2d Cir. 1993)
AMC protects its intellectual property rights in its creative works, including by employing careful and intricate security for its plot information, scripts, sets, production facilities and post production houses. By advertising the illegal disclosure of intricate plot details of an unreleased episode of The Walking Dead without authorization, you will willfully and intentionally impair the commercial viability of the show and thus AMC's ability and incentive to continue to produce creative works such as The Walking Dead.
In light of the above, we demand that you repudiate your intent to leak the "Lucille Victim" by confirming that you will cease and desist from that illegal disclosure and/or assisting others in the illegal disclosure. Should you fail to do so, AMC will file a lawsuit against you to enjoin your harmful illegal activities and seek to obtain money damages and injunctive relief to address your conduct..
Nothing contained in this letter constitutes an express or implied waiver of any right, remedies, or defenses of AMC, all of which are expressly reserved.
Very truly yours,
Dennis L. Wilson
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP