Marvel "consultant" harassing news sites for doing journalism to it

On July 14, during the Marvel panel at Comic Con, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that the studio's second big movie for 2014 (following Iron Man 3) was going to be Guardians of the Galaxy, and that one of the characters would be Rocket Raccoon. A couple of weeks before that, in late June, Latino Review caught wind of this information and started reporting on it.

Now, Marvel is purportedly saying that this leak was unauthorized and they want to know who did it and no one gets hurt. Latino Review reports receiving a very passive-aggressive email on the matter, and replying with a challenge: "Maybe send us a more realistically written form letter and we'll start to care."

Send from an "independent security consultant" who claims to have worked for Marvel since 1982, it accuses the editors of Latino Review of disseminating "confidential, non-public information concerning Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy." Judge for yourself.

The executives at Marvel are extremely upset regarding the release of this information and they have instructed me to find you and ascertain how you received it. My goal is to accomplish this in a quiet manner. I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble nor do I want to see anyone's career be tarnished because of this. However I am very confident that through your efforts and mine, we will be able to work through this together. I personally feel that you did not have any malicious intent when you posted your spoilers on the fanboy website [Ed. note: emphasis mine]. Like many fans out there, you just wanted to be the first one to post something on the internet. I get it, however the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxyinformation was confidential and you did not have Marvel's consent to post it. That was illegal!

If you provide me with your source, I will make it worth your effort. I want to work with you. As I stated above, I do not want to see you or anyone else get into trouble. That would be a lose-lose for everyone. I would hope that you are now realizing that this is a very serious matter and the consequences will be quite severe if I do not find out how you obtained the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy information.

My goal is to ascertain how you got the Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy informationand make this go away. All information you provide will remain confidential, even your identity. Your source will never know. Let's work together and make this happen before it is too late. To date, everyone I have worked with has not suffered any consequences. I do not want to see this situation get blown out of proportion. However if we do not work together, I will have no choice but to take this investigation to the next level and I will not stop until this investigation is completed.

I'm not stealing anything. I hear things and people I know hear things, then you talk to all the people who are in a position to know things and see if Person A can confirm Person B (and, ideally, Person C).

That's how reporting works, and that's what the head of Marvel's security department doesn't seem to understand. And no, Latino Review does not have to reveal their sources because 1. Journalism 101 and 2. a disclaimer appearing at the bottom of this email said that "Nothing contained in this e-mail shall (a) be considered a legally binding agreement, amendment or modification of any agreement with Marvel." So, good then! Latino Review can go ahead and ignore it. So can any other site that may have received it.

The Hollywood Reporter — which identifies the security consultant as Rob Grosser — says that insiders believe that the consultant may not realize that Latino Review is a journalistic web site, as opposed to a competing studio, or a company trying to use their content for advertising, etc. But they also include the legal precedent set by web sites being allowed to protect sources who leaked designs for new Apple products. (They can.) And trying to beat a precedent set by a case involving Apple is going to be a tough one, to say the least.

Marvel might not know what reporting is [Latino Review]