‘The Walking Dead’ And ‘Game Of Thrones’: How Far Is Too Far When It Comes To Spoilers? AMC And HBO Desperate To Keep Spoilers Under Wraps

Just how far would you go for a spoiler of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones? Would you follow fan sites online and make your own deductions, preen the source materials for information or try to get to the film locations in an attempt to see spoilers first hand? Well, if you aren’t careful, some of these acts could be an infringement of copyright.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information about the most recent seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid spoilers.

HBO’s Game of Thrones seemed to raise the bar for obsessive internet theories when their Season 5 finale saw Jon Snow (Kit Harington) stabbed to death by the Night’s Watch. For months speculation went back and forth over just how dead Jon Snow really was. There were plenty of theories formulated, both as a result of fans delving into the source material and those who were lucky enough to be close to the locations where Game of Thrones was being filmed. So, by the time Season 6 premiered, the fate of Jon Snow was well and truly correctly guessed.

Kit Harington stars as Jon Snow in HBO's Game of Thrones [Image via HBO]Now AMC have laid out a similar cliffhanger for its Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead. For fans of the comic books the TV series is based on there was the expectation they would find out who Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) killed in the finale. This was not the case and fans will now have to wait until October and the Season 7 premiere. And so begins another plethora of theories based on the source material, scouring the final scene involving the characters at Negan’s mercy, and an attempt by some fans to be on location when filming for Season 7 started.

AMC have done a stellar job of keeping the kill scene hidden from prying eyes. At first they stated the scene was to be filmed when production resumed for Season 7 and that scene was done indoors on a closed set. Now, most recently, AMC have told Walking Dead fans a death scene has been filmed for every single character at Negan’s mercy. While this may be the case, fans are supplying grainy images taken from on set showing cast members still filming, leading to the speculation that these characters are officially safe from Negan’s harm if the death scenes have already been filmed and those characters are still on set.

But how far is too far when it comes to crossing copyright lines in regards to revealing spoilers?

Sometimes just being able to correctly guess outcomes of storylines too often is enough for the likes of HBO and AMC to think the line has been crossed. Vox, who did an in-depth article on copyright of spoilers in regards to AMC and HBO, revealed how HBO once had a YouTube user and avid Game of Thrones fan’s video removed thanks to the fact the user continued to accurately guess upcoming plots in Game of Thrones. While the user did pull the video in question in the DMCA copyright claim, it wasn’t long before the video returned to YouTube as HBO admitted their claim was “flimsy.”

For AMC, it seems they may have a more solid claim after they recently issued Walking Dead fan site, The Spoiling Dead, with a cease and desist claim. This arose after a member of The Spoiling Dead claimed they had information about the exact person Negan kills. The information was not posted immediately, but the site did claim Negan’s victim had been leaked to The Spoiling Dead, implying it was perhaps an official leak. As a result of this, The Spoiling Dead refrained from publishing the leaked information.

AMC's The Walking Dead Season 6 finale [Image via Gene Page/AMC]And here lies the difference between copyright infringement and fan theories. While anyone can make an assumption on a television program, based on publicly available sources, when the information comes from an official source that has been “leaked,” technically, it can be considered theft of property. So, for the YouTube user who was scarily accurate in his predictions, being able to make deductions from readily available sources online was his saving grace. For The Spoiling Dead, having an official leak was its downfall.

And, when it comes to photos taken from public property that looks over film sets, the line between the two become even more blurred. As The Spoiling Dead points out clearly to their fans and contributors, “It is perfectly legal to be standing on public property or even on private property with the owner’s permission and take a photo of a filming set.” However, if the resulting image is then used to confirm information on upcoming storylines, is that too considered theft of property as well? So far, it isn’t, but it probably won’t be long before either HBO or AMC try this avenue in an effort to keep true spoilers away form the public eye until there are ready to reveal them in their TV shows.

What do you think about spoilers, do you search the internet for every last scrap of information about shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, or are you happy to wait? Let us know by commenting below!

[Image via AMC]