A leaked Tomb Raider script looks pretty legit now that Square Enix has it DMCA

Ever heard of the Streisand effect? That’s when someone near to suppress information, only to end up spreading it even farther than it might otherwise have traveled.

For example: Last week, I might have been skeptical if you told me that a podcaster got their hands on a casting script for the next Tomb Raider game, one that reveals that an older, lonely Lara Croft could dodge laser in a “gravity grave” and engage in a romance with another female character.

But if you also told me that Tomb Raider’s lead attorney Crystal Dynamics immediately sent out a DMCA takedown notice – one in which she attested under penalty of perjury that the podcast infringed the studio’s intellectual property – I absolutely think the script and those details are completely, totally true.

This is exactly what has happened in the last few days (via VGC). On Friday, Colin Moriarty’s Sacred Symbols podcast featured an unusual segment with part of an alleged casting script for British actors reading for the part of Lara Croft herself. “They are looking for a woman in her thirties, white, five foot six, athletic and a prototype of Emily Blunt, Rosamund Pike, etc.,” Moriarty read.

He then went on to read a large passage describing a possible new tone for the new game:

Lara Croft is now at the top of her game. Gone are the days when the inexperienced young woman dealing with issues related to inheritance and family showdown, Lara let go of her childhood and fully embraced a life of adventure and purpose. Her legendary career has been lauded by the press and tabloids, tales of adventures that have inspired a new generation of Tomb Raiders to seek their fortunes in the world. And with this new stage in her life, Lara has fully accepted her place in the ruins.

For many years, Lara has plumbed the depths of forgotten places, played cat and mouse with many nefarious opponents, and worked to uncover, preserve and protect the world’s lost secrets from falling into the wrong hands. But over the years, Lara has become alone at the top. The beginning of the next chapter presents Lara with the quintessential adult problem facing something too big to tackle alone in this new adventure. Lara will encounter a challenge that she can only win with a team alongside her. Her collaboration is foreign to her. She has always succeeded alone. So, in this situation, she is a fish out of water.

Next, his co-hosts Chris and Dustin starred in the two casting scenes, with Lara, a woman named Tanvi, and a man named Devindra (I hope I wrote correctly). Finally, Moriarty reads a note that the actress they are looking for may have “romantic scenes with another female character”, but that “there is no nudity or simulated sex”.

All of this was apparently enough to prompt Square Enix’s Crystal Dynamics to send the DMCA takedown notice the same day, albeit not to Moriarty, but rather to the Patreon page where subscribers support his podcast, directly threatening his source. of income.

On Monday afternoon, Patreon sent out the DMCA notice, and after spending $ 1,000 consulting with their attorney and time with the Patreon legal team, Moriarty says he decided to remove that specific segment of the podcast, although he thinks it probably was. an act of journalism. “I didn’t steal it, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t buy it,” he told listeners in a follow-up video about removing the DMCA. “I was acting on the idea that this is a fair use, this is of enormous general interest.”

I got a copy of the original DMCA notice from Moriarty. While I’m vague as to what, exactly, Crystal Dynamics disputes, there aren’t many possibilities. Even the YouTube version of the mainly audio podcast has no images that belong to Square Enix, no logos and no images of Lara, not even the transformative ones. It is audio only. “I read maybe 2/5 of the cover, usually literally, and then we played the two scenes that were given to me,” Moriarty tells me. Removing that audio was enough to satisfy Patreon’s legal team, he says.

Moriarty also says he doesn’t blame Patreon for not wanting to reject. “I’m not mad at them in this situation, nor do I want to blame them.” But he doesn’t want to be himself “a martyr to free speech” either.

“Personally I think we could play a ‘fair use’ game, both in the notability of the news and in our interpretation of the script, but I don’t have the time, the means or the energy to fight, and I don’t want to open ourselves up to further trouble. Easier to capitulate, unfortunately, which, if I may be a conspirator, seems to be the point in these cases. I am a person who runs a business outside the home; Square Enix is, well, Square Enix, “he tells me.

Richard Hoeg, an attorney who deals with these kinds of issues on his Virtual Legality podcast (and also has his Patreon), joined Moriarty in the follow-up video. He explained that it is difficult to say what may or may not be considered fair use.

“If it’s the design document […] that you read aloud in your video, this will give the other party more purchases to file a claim for infringement, “Hoeg suggested, while continuing to entertain the idea that it might be fair use. He concludes you can’t really tell. until there is a verdict in court – and Sacred Symbols has made it clear that it doesn’t want to fight to find out.

However, the Sacred Symbols podcast isn’t completely succumbing to what they assume are Square Enix’s demands. The original, unedited version of the podcast will remain on YouTube and their free podcast feeds until Square Enix steps in there as well.

Square Enix did not respond to a request for comment.

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