Ethics & Responsibility On The Net

So there was a leak on the internet of The Avengers script last week.  The Samuel L. Jackson copy of the script was stolen by someone that was hitting up websites trying to sell it to the highest bidder.  Leaked scripts are not a new occurrence.  It’s actually fairly common sadly.  But now comes word that because images of the script (where you can read some of it) has spread all across the internet, the studio has halted production on The Avengers and want rewrites of the scene(s) affected.  This is probably not true and as I’m writing this, it is looking like there is no way they are going to halt the production of such a big film.  Devin Faraci over at Badass Digest seems to have contacted Disney and they are unaware of any such thing.  (And thanks to Devin for crediting me in his story.. I’ve made it big time people!!)

However, it brings up the lack of responsibility people have on the internet.  We are safe and secure behind our glowing monitors typing unfiltered comments in forums and message boards.  If we want to look at stolen material via the internet, we can because we feel no guilt in doing so.  How could we.. it’s the internet right? As soon as we close our internet browser, it was like we were never there.  It’s not a person or something physical that can be accounted for or hurt.. it’s a cloud of information that everyone has access to.

A leaked script can become widespread with no problem nowadays because there seems to be some people out there that lack ethics and respect when it comes to things internet based.  So whose to blame for this?  We’ll use this Avengers production halt rumor as an example.  Is the guy that stole the script and put it on the web to be blamed?  Yes.  Is it the websites that linked to it spreading word of this leaked script?  Yes it is.  Is it the reader of the web site casually clicking on the link?  Yes, I think so.  If the studio had ordered a rewrite, it wouldn’t be because the script was stolen by one person.  It would be because thousands (or more) people clicked the link and read those leaked pages.  It’s because the information is now known by many people.  If it had just been one guy stealing the script but no website had disseminated it and read by internet users, then the studio wouldn’t order a rewrite.  They don’t care that one person found out.  So the responsibility falls on everyone involved, from the thief to the reader of said internet story.  Stating that it’s not your fault that some guy stole a script may be true, but you didn’t have to read it.  The people behind websites will post things that they think will get a lot of hits garnering traffic to their site.  You could have ignored it out of respect for the creator and the people hard at work on the movie, who are making it for us nonetheless.

It’s time we start taking responsibility for our actions on the internet.  Be respectful of people and their work.  Don’t advocate the dissemination of stolen material.  If you do, don’t lay the blame at someone else’s feet.  Take responsibility for your actions.  Don’t hide behind your monitor.

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