Updated to remove links to photos. Read more about it here.
Earlier this week, several photos leaked off of a location shoot for J J Abrahms upcoming Star Trek franchise relaunch/reboot/remake/whatever. The photos detailed some scene being shot which included a Starfleet shuttle in the background, the interior of said shuttle, a closeup of a costume, a detail of a control panel and a sign.
As expected, Paramount legal flacks quickly sprung into action, requesting the big name websites that published them take them down, presumably under some murkily worded threat over copyright infringement. This, of course, raises a few questions. Were the pictures taken by a Paramount employee as part of their duties at the studio and on the production? If not, wouldn’t copyright of the pictures belong to the photographer, as he or she is the one who created the image itself?
Also, I think that in some ways, this displays an incredible lack of understanding how the internet works, if these lawyers think believe that the pictures will just magically disappear once they ask them to. People are going to click and save the photos, pass them along to friends and repost them. They’ll be cached by various search engines. This isn’t about trying to get a cat back in the bag, it is about trying to herd a large pack of catnip crazed kitties into a sandwich baggie. It just isn’t going to happen.
But then again, as the recent Writers Guild strike showed us in so many ways, the business side of Hollywood has absolutely no idea of how the internet works and how to use the new media in a way to really service their customers, we the movie-going public.
Star Trek hits theaters in May 2009.