If you’re someone who prefers to go into a movie or show cold, with no knowledge of what might happen, then you’re living in challenging times. Regardless of how you feel about the concept, we’re in the age of spoilers, inescapably and ineluctably. Avoiding knowing how the hottest show or biggest movie of the moment involves staying off the internet entirely, which is wholly inconvenient; conversely, if you’re the impatient type who just has to know the big twist or shock ending, there are plenty of places to go to get the information you’re looking for — including, improbably, the Copyright Office.
From Briana Lawrence of The Mary Sue comes the story of how an intrepid fan discovered the plot of the next Sonic the Hedgehog movie by simply doing a search in the USCO database for the filing made by Paramount Pictures and SEGA for the in-process project. I won’t highlight any of the plot points here, in equal parts to avoid spoilers for those who care and because I myself have no interest in either the original or sequel or the plots as they are constructed. The description itself is only the broadest of strokes, although there is one point that might be considered spoiler-y.
Which raises an interesting question about the future of spoilers as it comes to copyright. Every film studio has the sense to file for a copyright on its projects as they start the production process, or even before that point; could we see others following the suit of a random Twitter user and diving into copyright filings for any tidbit that can be gleaned? Will studios take greater care to parse every word of the filing to ensure nothing is given away, or do the rules of the application process preclude them from being too vague?
Ultimately, it might not matter all that much. Those who want to know as much as they can about an upcoming project will always continue to dig until they find the shooting script of the movie or show, and even then continue on to see if there are photos from the set available. The rest are content to wait until whatever it is hits our screens. Still, it’s interesting that an industry that is typically good about how and when it parcels out information about its bid budget fare is bent to offer information to the Copyright Office, just like any other business seeking legal protection.