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.


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 11:09am

    Dammit, and I like Lucha Underground. This is such a dumbass move.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 11:25am

    Interestingly, the letters assert that the reporting done by these journalists violates the NDA even if the journalist hasn't signed an NDA.

    There does seem to be a trend to extend the reach of customer agreements.

    Like the binding arbitration agreements that Wells Fargo customers agreed to when opening accounts. Extended to cover the 2 million deposit and credit-card accounts Wells Fargo created that customers never agreed to.

    Now it appears that driverless car legislation will allow binding arbitration. It's not clear whether that applies to non-passengers ("By being hit by this car, you agree to binding arbitration") but it appears to apply to passengers, even non-owners who never signed any agreement.

    Add that to shrink-wrap licenses on inkjet cartridges and software that the customer only sees after the transaction is completed. After opening the package, and it's too late to return the item. And DMCA laws preventing customers from fixing security holes that become apparent in devices only after they're brought home.

    It's getting rather one-sided.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2018 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      There does seem to be a trend to extend the reach of customer agreements.

      It's easy when it can be hidden away on a webpage nobody ever sees, and there's maybe an "I agree" checkbox or just a sentence saying "submitting your order indicates you agree". I never thought I needed a law degree to shop at Walmart, but for walmart.com I kind of do. (...So I don't shop online much.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2018 @ 5:06pm

        Re: Re:

        On the plus side, EULAs have been repeatedly shown to be legally unenforcable, so walmart.com (and any other website or program that uses a stock agreement and a yes/no button) is SOL if you do something their little 20,000 word agreement says you can't.

        Now, if it's a document you have to physically *sign* (like presumably those Wells Fargo documents) that's a different matter.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DONT MAKE ME LAUGH, 15 Mar 2018 @ 11:57am

    i got this

    we hackers will just do it and add a few extra things like names addresses and personal emails so you can address these idiots personally .... /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2018 @ 12:02pm

    We Dont Need No Stinkin Lawsuits!

    Who needs lawyers and suits? Here's how professional wrestling used to deal with 'spoilers' in the old days -- and guess what, it worked pretty well!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrX9Ca7LSyQ

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 12:07pm

    Lucha Underground, perhaps one of the few things even more fake than WWE. (Not saying it's not entertaining or interesting to watch.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 2:24pm

      Re:

      Y’know, I was gonna let this pass, but because I am in a bit of a foul mood…

      You can stop referring to pro wrestling as “fake”. We all know that the match results are fixed. We all know the feuds are (mostly) scripted. We all know the characters portrayed in the ring are not truly representative of the people who portray them. This is common knowledge and acting like it is not just so you can feel a smug sense of superiority over the people who enjoy the performance art of professional wrestling makes you an asshole.

      You are not smarter than wrestling fans when you say “LOL it’s all fake”. You are not a better person than a wrestling fan if you have to look down upon them as idiots and fools because they enjoy pro wrestling in the same way some people enjoy Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. So when you feel another urge to call out pro wrestling as “fake”, ignore itas hard as you can.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 12:40pm

    "violates the NDA even if the journalist hasn't signed an NDA"
    This is the magical thinking that what corporations want should be the law...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 1:07pm

    Barbara hasn't been a "señorita" since 1963, Tim,…

    …so from now on please express proper respect for señora Streisand!

    :P ‌ ‌ ;]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 15 Mar 2018 @ 8:01pm

      Re: Barbara hasn't been a "señorita" since 1963, Tim,…

      Isn’t “-ita” a diminutive form?

      Are you trying to suggest the good lady has gained some weight?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 16 Mar 2018 @ 3:03pm

        Nope.

        I'm observing that Barbra married Elliott in 1963. ‌ ;]

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2018 @ 4:37pm

          Re: Nope.

          Do these ancient rules of salutations and honorifics even mean anything anymore in an era when not only have traditional concepts of marriage eroded, but even the most basic concepts of sexual and gender identity have been completely redefined?

          Or has the SJW nonsense not yet infected the Spanish speaking world?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pete Austin, 15 Mar 2018 @ 1:33pm

    So your legal theory is: Professional Wrestling is Factual?

    Good luck with that

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Mar 2018 @ 2:27pm

      Re: So your legal theory is: Professional Wrestling is Factual?

      The legal theory is not that “professional wrestling is real”. The legal theory is that the events of the Lucha Underground tapings—e.g., who wrestled who, which wrestler won, who cut promos—are facts that cannot be disseminated prior to the airing of the episodes in which those events took place. And yes, that theory is as shitty as your “oh I’m so much smarter than these rubes because I know pro wrestling is staged” attitude.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 16 Mar 2018 @ 8:18am

    How can you publish spoilers for a sport where the outcome is unknown?

    :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Mar 2018 @ 3:15pm

      Re:

      I’mma give you a sincere answer: Lucha Underground tapes groups of matches over several days with the intent of editing those matches together with separately-filmed “storyline” footage to create a fictional show with serial storytelling that follows the goings-on in an underground “fight club”. People who attended the show can spoil match results such that people can get an idea of how various storylines might turn out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CharlesGrossman (profile), 16 Mar 2018 @ 8:42am

    Nice Reverse Streisand Play by Lucha

    I always admire when someone uses the Streisand Effect to garner huge publicity while pretending they're trying to avoid it. Well played, Lucha Underground!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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