Lucha Underground Wrestling Sends Legal Threat To Journalists For Publishing 'Spoilers'
from the it's-fake dept
Spoilers suck, sure, but this is the internet and some things cannot be avoided. Still, for those that produce content, there are better and worse ways to handle the issue of spoilers. Some large entertainment groups try to sue over spoilers, but it rarely works. Others settle for mere DMCA takedowns. Most entertainment groups, meanwhile, don’t do a damn thing about spoilers, because that’s the correct course of action.
Still, even with that wide spectrum of past responses, sending legal threats to journalists over spoilers, such as the Lucha Underground wrestling show has done, is a new one for me. The legal threats rest on the NDAs the audience has to sign before attending a show.
Since the series started filming in late 2014, it has always required audience members to sign non-disclosure agreements. But with hundreds of fans there, spoilers always get out.
This week, Lucha Libre FMV, a joint venture of Factory Made Ventures and Mexico’s AAA promotion, went a bit further than it had before, sending legal threats to wrestling reporters who published spoilers from the first tapings of Lucha Underground season four. Letters from attorney Paul D. Supnik were emailed on Wednesday to former TMZ producer Ryan Satin, now of Pro Wrestling Sheet, and to Steve Bryant of SoCal Uncensored. Satin published his on Thursday morning and Deadspin obtained Bryant’s around the same time. Reading the effectively identical letters, it seems as if the fact that both Satin and Bryant live in the Los Angeles area, where Lucha Underground is shot, may have played some role in them being targeted. It may just be that all the spoilers from the February tapings are attributed to their reports, but the letters do pointedly ask if their recipients attended the shows. Both Satin and Bryant maintain that they did not, and since FMV would have the NDAs, the implication is that they think both may have attended using aliases.
Interestingly, the letters assert that the reporting done by these journalists violates the NDA even if the journalist hasn’t signed an NDA. This novel legal theory is predicated on Lucha Underground asserting that the spoilers, or event results, are trade secrets. The letter goes on to say that the journalists are or should have been aware of the status of event results as trade secrets, which opens them up to liability.
Spoiler alert: none of that is true.
The first amendment is quite clear on the matter of a journalist’s right to report factual information, even factual information that an individual or company would rather keep hidden. If the Pentagon Papers can be published, surely so can the results of an underground wrestling event. And, even if that fact were more in question than it is, journalists, who rely enough on these protections to know their ins and outs, are the exact wrong people to try to threaten into silence. As one would expect, the end result of these threats is that both these journalists and their work has gotten far more attention that it would have otherwise.
Nacho Libre, meet Senorita Streisand.