Summit Entertainment Commences Criminal Legal Action Against Twilight Fan Who Shared Images From Movie

from the photos! dept

We were somewhat stunned a few months back when notoriously overly-litigious movie studio Summit Entertainment absolutely freaked out and went legal against some fans of the Twilight movies by filing John Doe lawsuits against people for tweeting some photos from the next film in the saga. Remember: these are photos. And the reason they’re getting passed around is because these people are fans. Nothing in these photos takes away from the marketability of the movie itself. If anything they do the exact opposite.

Summit Entertainment simply doesn’t know when to give up. It apparently went out and spent money to hire Kroll Inc., a famed corporate investigations company who is not cheap, to track someone down to Argentina, and discover that they had shared the images… and then commenced legal action against the person in both the US and Argentina, including criminal charges in Argentina (thanks to DandonTRJ for sending this in).

Remember, this is a fan who was sharing photos of a film that would only serve to get people more interested in the film. Step on up, Summit Entertainment, because you just won the award for the absolute worst entity at treating fans right.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: summit entertainment

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Summit Entertainment Commences Criminal Legal Action Against Twilight Fan Who Shared Images From Movie”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
David Muir (profile) says:

Perhaps Summit is a big tax write-off for some really rich vampire. If people are sued into not talking about, writing about, or sharing their love of the Twilight series… finally it will start to lose money.

They originally thought: an undead creature who mopes and glitters in the sun? A love story where staring balefully clinches both hearts? This has to fail spectacularly and we’ll reap capital losses out the wazoo. No such luck… now we’ll litigate it into failure.

PaulT (profile) says:

Reminds me of when band fan sites were shut down because the huge fans who made them and communicated with large fan communities happened to use official photos. Or the trailer sites that were shut down due to them hosting free advertising for them back in the late 90s (i.e. trailers, whose only purpose is to make people watching them want to watch the full movie).

Basic lessons have still not been learned, sadly.

A Dan (profile) says:

Barely the worst

If Comcast or Bank of America had fans, I’m sure they’d manage to be worse to them. Comcast would cut off their capped internet connections for streaming too many fan videos, and Bank of America would foreclose on their homes even if they only had savings accounts.

Disclaimer: I happen to have accounts with both Comcast and Bank of America (though not a mortgage). They have done neither of these things to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

But Mike, you are forgetting that the artist should have absolute control over it’s [sic] art. If the artist says “No picture sharing!” then you don’t share pictures. The artist’s will must be obeyed, or you shall face the consequences!

(This is the part where we all say “The artists will must be obeyed” in a monotone voice, while bowing in it’s [sic] general direction)

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Qritiqal… I do the same thing. The use of [sic] here is to acknowledge that the general application of the label “art” to Twilight is (in mine and AC’s opinion, at least) an error that we’re including for the simplicity of writing. I don?t know about the use with “general direction” tho… AC lost me on that one.

Yes, we know that it’s not the ‘proper’ way using [sic]… but it has been coopted to replace the writing equivalent of a knowing chuckle and finger-quotes when talking about things accepted by the mainstream we disagree with.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

well, according to propriety, only if he’s quoting someone using [sic] the way we’re talking and wants to point out that the [sic] was used there by the original author.

But then again, there are some parts of proper[sic] grammar I could care less about… some of it, like “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” makes me [sick]. (sorry, couldn’t resist).

out_of_the_blue says:

So? Corporations have no soul or sense. They'll EAT fans alive.

You have to separate /products/ from corporations. The products are in general made by bright and good-intentioned people; the nearly always EVIL corporate structure simply uses those people and their talents to gain MONEY. This is a fundamental dichotomy in business. It’s why I want the pursuit of MONEY to be ruthlessly suppressed by high tax rates, so that the people who create and produce aren’t hampered by — well, the VAMPIRES of the corporate world: they feed on producers and consumers alike.

On the other hand, I don’t care that a fan of Twilight crap gets burned.

Call me Al says:

Re: So? Corporations have no soul or sense. They'll EAT fans alive.

“It’s why I want the pursuit of MONEY to be ruthlessly suppressed by high tax rates, so that the people who create and produce aren’t hampered by — well, the VAMPIRES of the corporate world: they feed on producers and consumers alike.”

I really hope that is sarcasm but I can’t tell. You need people who in pursuit of money to bank roll the people who want to create. If there is no return on such an investment then they won’t bother and you won’t have that kind of creation.

Of course, as has been shown on this website numerous times, there is nothing stopping smaller operations from financing their own productions through different means. However, the larger productions, such as Twilight, still require the money men to be involved.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

As much as I disagree with groups such as Anonymous over their tactics, I think I understand them. Yes, hacking is wrong and so is violence and I don’t condone it. But when I read a story like that, I feel a powerful urge to just hit the Summit execs who made that decision. Thankfully, I don’t know any of them so the anger passes. Somehow, I don’t think that provoking people into wanting to hit you is a good business strategy. Unless they are planning on releasing a punching bad line in which case good job Summit!

PS: Because apparently companies above a certain size need to be told everything explicitly, I am not advocating illegal violence against your executives or employees. Anyone who actually does commit such violence deserves to go to jail. I’m just saying that maybe the legislature should change the law so you too spend the rest of your miserable lives in jail.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

More important disclaimer: I have not seen the Twilight series, I have not read the paper compilations. (I don’t think the word book applies) My exposure to it has been only through second hand stories and from everything I hear, you’re better off gouging your eyes out than reading/watching it. So really, a part of me is thankful that Twilight fans might be sued out of existence. That way, it will all go away and we can forget it ever existed thereby making the world a better place.

Donnicton says:

Re: Re: Re:

Exactly. If you look at it from the other side, you could argue that Summit has actually recognized the magnitude of the horrors that they have allowed to be unleashed upon this unsuspecting world, and are doing everything they can to prevent anyone from having to behold this vision of ultimate evil.

It’s like looking into the Ark of the Covenant, or viewing the VHS tape from The Ring. Summit is simply realizing that there are some unimaginable dark things that should never have existed.

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hacking is wrong? I guess that depends on your definition.

Merely being curious about how systems operate is hacking, and isn’t wrong.
Testing security on certain products isn’t wrong and that too is hacking.
Social engineering, which is also a form of hacking, has its uses, and isn’t necessarily wrong either.

Most of the acts attributed to Anon isn’t hacking per se. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to DDOS a website. All you need is a large amount of computers. And isn’t really hacking.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Nobody said anything about “above the law”. Sure, Summit might be legally able to make those people cease their promotion activities. But Summit is also allowed to not sue and to just give a license to the fans so they can keep on promoting the movie. The point is that Summit is acting stupidly and counter to its interests when it is attacking its fans. Mike is simply pointing that out. But hey, if you think it’s good business to make your fans terrified of you and wanting to punch you in the face, let us know how that works out for you.

John Doe says:

Re: Re:

It isn’t a question about right and wrong, it is a question of how to deal with it. Instead of going legal on your fans, why not say hey, I appreciate your interest in our latest film. Here are some official photos/videos/whatever you can pass around as well. They would be buying good will and a whole lot of free marketing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Perhaps by your logic we should reward minors who sneak into a bar with an extra beer and perhaps some nuts too? Maybe we can reward speeders with a nitrous kit so next time they can do it better. Maybe bank robbers should get an extra bad of money for doing such a good job.

Yup. I can see the logic here. That will really work out.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What if the troll doesn’t know he is a troll? Maybe he actually believes the crap he is saying? On that assumption, I will proceed.

Your comparison makes no sense. You are mentioning rewarding people for bad behavior. This case is about free promotion from one of your biggest fans. That would be a behavior worth encouraging. Not to mention the fact that maybe this activity shouldn’t even be illegal in the first place. Or maybe you are someone who assumes there are no bad laws only bad people?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

John, what if that free promotion isn’t wanted, and in fact works against the paid promotion that they are working on? What if the benefit of one fan being a dick kills of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work?

There are bad laws. There are bad people. This is a bad person, even if they are a “fan”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

A single fan sharing something online is effectively making it available everywhere.

Now, let’s say it’s a critical image from the movie that entirely reveals the major plot twist. Let’s say all the marketing is played against that previously unknown plot twist. Now everyone knows the twist (infinite distribution, everyone has access), and as a result, the marketing campaign is no longer relevant.

Millions spent, lost because someone revealed the “truth”.

Oh yeah,I am not a shill. But you are being a Tardian asshole. Enjoy.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Your example assumes that everyone will access the image, and everyone will understand the relevance and ‘break the plot twist’ (which, is that even relevant for a movie based on a book that’s already been read by the fans? Hey… did you know Snape kills Dumbledore?!), and that as a result of all that, no one will go and see the movie.

Would the people designing the secret be pissed that they worked their butts off for ‘nothing’? Probably. Will that adversely affect the box-office results? Probably not… at least, a lot less than you seem to be implying.

In closing, your example is a rather silly and ungrounded ?what-if?. While such rhetorical discussions are fun around the coffee table, they really don?t do much for reality.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Hmmm… you really seem to be giving the studios too much credit while attacking the fans. What a surprise…

On the one hand, you have a person sharing an image of a movie they’re really looking forward to on Twitter. Most people who are interested in this movie have probably read the novel or at least its major plot points (I despise the series and have only seen 2 of them (damn women), yet I still have a rough idea of Bella’s fate, for example).

On the other hand, you have a corporation who are trying to kill this speech. You excuse this on the off chance that not only does the image reveal important information (which you don’t know), but that the entire marketing campaign revolves around this point (which is unlikely).

If you’re correct, then the person in charge of marketing should be fired. If their entire multi-million dollar campaign can be undermined by a single photo, they’re stupid. After the first previews, any spoilers will be out there, and they probably already are considering the fan base for the source novels.

It’s just yet another stupid example of millions being wasted on ineffective marketing, when a single Twitter user is apparently more effective. Of course, that’s just assuming you’re correct. More likely, we have an overbearing use of the law that kills free advertising for the movie and produces no positive results in turn.

Sorry, your hypothetical situation doesn’t hold water.

“Oh yeah,I am not a shill. But you are being a Tardian asshole. Enjoy.”

There’s certainly an asshole here, but I don’t think it’s TDR…

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I know you are kidding, I hope, but think about the effects of jailing someone. First, they become wards of the state and ultimately the taxpayer. Second, they get a criminal record and quite possibly can’t get a job better than burger flipper. So next the taxpayer will be supporting the guy through welfare, food stamps, etc. If the Dems have it there way, those programs will only get more generous. So now we have marginalized a guy who might otherwise have been a productive member of society. For what? For promoting a movie he was a fan of?

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Of course I was kidding, but many companies and corporations are well known for cutting off their nose to spite their face all the time, so this is just business as usual for them.

They know it will only cost society, not them, in the short or long term. If the government raises taxes on businesses to pay for incarceration of “fans”, then who will pay the increased costs? Certainly not the business as they can just increase the cost of their products, move production to another cheaper country, find a better tax shelter, sue more and more people for alleged file sharing (but let you “opt-out” for a nominal “we won’t sue you” donation), get mandatory fees passed on all blank media (whether you put your own self produced material on it or not) to support their perceived “you must be guilty, as you obviously bought blank media to copyright infringe” verdict, and so on.

The whole point of the matter is “they don’t care” about anything, except their profit margin. Anything that gets in the way of that (real or imagined) will be squashed like a bug with any available hammer they can find. I agree that it’s shortsighted to alienate fans, but it’s what many overbloated, overbearing and overlawyered companies do best, attempt to sue their way to a bigger piece of the pie, regardless of the outcome.

ts says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

How is underage drinking, speeding, and robbing banks related to promoting a movie by sharing a picture? Your “logic” makes my head hurt. If you think someone needs to be locked up over this, then you are an idiot.

The point of this article is that Summit is trying to make money. Going after *fans* of your work for promoting your work is not going to make you any money. Is that so hard to understand?

Ccomp5950 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

but, but, but, piracy!

All these things are against the law! All these things hurt people! Obviously they are one and the same and can be used interchangeably while I ignore the fact that some “piracy” actually has some positive value (such as promoting a movie, even if without permission from the producers of that movie).

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even you must see that all you achieve by suing your fans is that you’ll drive them away, and they stop being your fans. Less fans mean less word-of-mouth advertising. In fact I’d go so far as they’d become the polar opposite of what they were. They advocate against watching your movies/reading your books/listening to your music.

“Ah don’t bother with any of Summit’s movies, they screwed me over royally, by suing the hell out of me. Now I don’t have money to go to the cinema to watch the latest Twilight film, nor will I be able to in the near future. Screw them, I don’t need them! If I were you, I’d go spend that money on something else. If you must watch that movie, just download it, Summit doesn’t deserve your money.”

Alucard says:

I think, fans of this Twilight should be sued, maybe that does get them away from a incredibly bad depiction of vampires? Thus, I think Summit is doing us all a favour, because real vampires don’t sparkle. 😉

(P.S.: For people with a faulty detector for certain forms of language, not all of the above was meant entirely like it might appear (I’d suggest the “sue” part as a good candidate))

Francisco (profile) says:

At least here in Argentina the facts are not so clear. Apparently the accused hacker is just a distributor and, at most, can face criminal and civil charges for infringement and not for hacking.

Anyway she lives in Misiones (North Eastern Argentina) and a local paper published her picture (good looking girl bad picture). I find it hard to believe that she is an international hacker… but I thought the same about Trinity and we all know the ending of the Matrix.

Rex (profile) says:

Help Summit fight the fans!

I think that suing the fans is great! We should help Summit fight the idea that it’s ok for a 106 year old man to sleep with a 16 year old high school girl.

Ok, my bias of how stupid Twilight really is aside:

I hope this kind of crap NEVER ends! It just means that smarter people who actually have good product value and are smart enough to not stab their fans will have all that much more “wiggle room” in the market and will be appreciated that much more.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:


According to the Twitter TOS, Twitter is technically a copyright holder of any Twitpics sent over their network.

Shouldn’t Summit Entertainment be suing Twitter as well? But..but… isn’t Twitter the actual copyright holder? Wait… Shouldn’t Twitter be suing these people for sharing images Twitter owns? Or should Twitter be suing Summit Entertainment because Twitter is the copyright holder of the pics? WTF?? This whole copyright thing is just confusing.

Anonymously Brave says:

Legal? Yes. Smart? Well....

Mr. Summit was sleeping soundly when a fire broke out in his home. His neighbor, Ms. Fan, happened to be walking by and noticed the fire. Since Ms. Fan likes Mr. Summit, she kicks down his door, races upstairs and carries his unconscious form out of the house.

When Mr. Summit awakens to see what has happened, he…

…immediately sues Ms. Fan for Breaking and Entering, Trespassing, Destruction of Property, and Kidnapping.

Even though Ms. Fan’s actions were done for the right reasons and were beneficial to Mr. Summit, she did not secure prior permission before taking them; therefore Mr. Summit is fully within his rights to sue.

That said, Mr. Summit is incredibly stupid.

Remember, just because you can do something, does not always mean that you should.

What do you think Ms. Fan will do next time she’s walking by and sees Mr. Summit’s house on fire?

DogBreath says:

Re: Legal? Yes. Smart? Well....

What do you think Ms. Fan will do next time she’s walking by and sees Mr. Summit’s house on fire?

Take a video of the fire and death of Mr. Summit, and since she personally took the video and owns the complete and total copyright on it, she’ll sell it for a tidy profit to the highest bidder of some news organization.

When asked by reporters if she had anything to say about the incident, Ms. Fan replied: “Thanks Mr. Summit for putting my kids through college with the footage of your untimely death, and thanks also for the earlier lesson in copyright law. Now if you’ all excuse me, I’m going to Disneyland!”

collier (profile) says:

The business of Holywood...

I think we often confuse the hype, marketing and spin, for the reality. The business of Hollywood is not creating new amazing movies, cutting edge media, art and/or beauty for the sake of art and beauty. Hollywood is all about getting people to “pay” to “consume” a given piece of content. When the stars are really shining on the Hollywood Executives, the “consumer” will see a movie in the theater, buy the DVD, by the special edition box set, and when they upgrade to blue-ray, hopefully they will buy that.

Why risk funds investing in an unproven concept, when you have vaults of successful proven ideas that with a little update, can be marketed and sold to a whole new audience. If the regurgitated concept is one where he original author can be screwed out of royalties or the like, again, even better.

While “creative works” come out of Hollywood, these things are not the work of the executives who would see kids and fans in general face criminal prosecution for things like shooting a 20 second clip of a movie to share with you sick sister who could not attend your birthday outing, or sending 4 or 5 low resolution stills from a cell phone to friends as you excitedly tell them you are at the Vampire movie you have been waiting months to see.

The people who make this stuff and do the real hands-on work, get paid at the time it is made.

The executives are just the leeches trying to figure out how to squeeze the most money out of the work of others.

Mimi666 says:


You have to ask yourself one question, how was Summit damaged? If a fan had posted the film online an fans downloaded the film without paying for it, then you could argue that there are monetary damages. For downloading images, how would you calculate lost earnings?

I am all for punishing copyright infringement when it prevents theft for copy written materials in this case, however, I cannot see how a court will award damages or for that matter criminal prosecution

Mimi666 says:

Collier, you are wrong

The reason the studios regurgitate the same branded concepts over and over is simple, the public buys tickets. Case in point, the Smurfs movie. Need I say more. Not only is it doing great numbers here in the US but it will do giant numbers overseas. Since I am probably the only person in here who actually works in film distribution in here I can tell you that the foreign markets are even more drawn to blow em up violence and branded content. Film studios are businesses they do not exist to create art. The sad thing is that all of the people out there who steal content on the Internet are slowly but surely killing the independent film industry as we are losing 35-50% of our revenues to international piracy. So some filmmaker who spends a million dollars of his own money to finance an independent film never recoups his investment because douche bags Ike you are pirating his/her movie online and you eat away the small amount of money these producers can expect to recoup. What you are doing is stealing and you have absolutely no idea who you are stealing from.

collier (profile) says:

Re: Collier, you are wrong

Mimi666, you obviously did not read my post carefully. I can tell because you just regurgitated much of what I ACTUALLY said in my original post. You also called me a “douche” and concluded that I am a movie “Pirate”.

Let’s clear a couple of things up. I do not go to movies anymore because my only option to protest the absurd policies of the MPAA and the like, is to vote with my dollar and NOT partake of their offerings. Does this mean I pirate movies, no, I either wait for them to appear on TV, netflix, hulu and failing that, I read. You know, books. Ah, you do read don’t you? I am guessing you fall more into the category of non-readers based on your complete lack of comprehension after reading my post.

Numerous studies have consistently shown, that “piracy” leads to more sales AND greater profits by exposing more people to the “content”. Attacking your customer base and treating them like criminals, engaging in the promotion of legislation that makes us all less free and generally being idiots plays a substantial role in your falling profits.

When an industry is perceived to act like ass-hats by the public, the public will simply stop buying their product.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not need to go to the theater or rent a dvd for my life to be complete, fortunately, many other options for aesthetic enrichment are available. So please kiss my rosy red a**! And, please understand the reason I will never see your movies, is entirely your own doing!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...