The leaked Tomb Raider script is trying fairly legit now that Sq. Enix DMCA’ed it

Ever heard of the Streisand effect? It is when a person effort to suppress information, only to wind it up and spread it further than it would otherwise travel.

For example: Last week, I might have been skeptical if you’d told me that a podcaster had gotten his hands on a casting script for the next Tomb Raider game — one that shows an older, lonely Lara Croft avoiding lasers in “ gravity tomb” and engage in romance with another female character.

But if you are too He told me that the lead lawyer at Tomb Raider studio Crystal Dynamics immediately sent a DMCA takedown notice – a notice in which he testified under penalty of perjury that the podcast infringed on the studio’s intellectual property – I would absolutely assume that the script and details are completely, absolutely true.

That’s exactly what happened in the last few days (via VGC). Friday, Colin Moriarty’s Sacred Symbols podcast there was an unusual segment containing part of an alleged casting script for British actors reading for Lara Croft herself. “They are looking for a female in her mid-30s, who is white, five-foot-six, athletic, and a prototype of Emily Blunt, Rosamund Pike, etc,” Moriarty read.

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

Lara Croft is now at the top of her game. Gone is the inexperienced young woman dealing with matters of inheritance and family accounts, Lara has lost her youth and has fully embraced the life of adventure and territory. Her career is highly praised in print and tabloid, tall tales of adventure that have inspired a new generation of Tomb Raiders to seek their fortunes around the world. And with this new phase of her life, Lara fully accepted her place among the ruins.

Over the years, Lara has delved into the depths of forgotten places, played cat and mouse with many formidable opponents, and worked to find, preserve and protect the lost secrets of the world lest it fall. they into the wrong hands. But as the years have passed, Lara has become lonely at the top. The beginning of this next chapter introduces Lara to the quintessentially grown-up problem when faced with something too big to handle alone in this new adventure. Lara will face a challenge that she can only overcome with a team on her side. There is collaboration abroad with her. She always succeeded on her own. So, in this case, she is a fish out of water.

After that, co-hosts Chris and Dustin performed the two casting scenes, featuring Lara, a woman named Tanvi, and a man named Devindra (I hope I’m spelling it right). Finally, Moriarty reads a note that the female actor they are looking for may have “romantic scenes with another female character,” but “no nudity or gender simulation.”

All of that was enough to push Crystal Dynamics Square Enix to issue a DMCA takedown notice the same day – albeit not to Moriarty, but to the Patreon page where subscribers support his podcast, directly threatening his source of income.

On Monday afternoon, Patreon sent the DMCA notice, and after spending $1,000 to consult with his own lawyer and time with Patreon’s legal team, Moriarty says he decided to remove that one specific segment from the podcast — though he thinks probably 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 the DMCA takedown. “I was acting on the notion that this is fair use, this is a matter of great general interest.”

I received a copy of the original DMCA notice from Moriarty. While it’s unclear what exactly Crystal Dynamics is, the possibilities are endless. The YouTube version of the mostly audio podcast has no videos of Square Enix, no logos, no pictures of Lara, not even transformative ones. It’s just sound. “I read maybe 2/5 of the cover page, usually word for word, and then we acted out the two scenes I was given,” Moriarty tells me. Removing that sound was enough to satisfy Patreon’s legal team, he says.

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

“I personally think we could do a ‘fair use’ play, in terms of the significance of the news and in our interpretation of the script, but I don’t have the time, resources or energy to fight, and I don’t want to. opening us up to more trouble. It’s easier to say, alas, which — if I conspire — that seems to be the point in these cases. I am someone who runs a business out of my home; Square Enix is, well, Square Enix,” he tells me.

Richard Hoeg, a lawyer who covers these types of issues i his own Virtual Legality podcast (and he also has his own Patreon), joined Moriarty in the follow-up video. He explained that it is difficult to say what could be considered fair use.

“If it’s the design document […] that you read out loud in your video, which will give the other side more buy-in to bring an infringement claim,” suggested Hoeg, while still entertaining the idea that it might be fair use. He says you can’t really tell until there’s a verdict in court – and he’s made it clear with Sacred Symbols that he doesn’t want to fight to find out.

However, the Sacred Symbols podcast isn’t quite living up to the claims they think Square Enix is ​​making. The original unedited podcast will remain on YouTube and its podcast feeds will remain free until or unless Square Enix takes action there as well.

Square Enix did not respond to a request for comment.

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