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Spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.

It’s no huge spoiler that online piracy is a practice that irks television execs to no end, and many have taken steps to keep their popular TV shows from being downloaded and shared across the Internet. But what about the people who are only sharing the information from future episodes, rather than the episodes themselves? AMC’s answer was apparently bulking up its “no tolerance” policy for Walking Dead spoilers, as the network has brought its biggest foot down yet on the popular forum The Spoiling Dead Fans and its accompanying social media sites. 

As reported by one of the site’s administrators, AMC issued a DMCA take-down notice, which landed Spoiling Dead Fans in hot water on Facebook, and the social media giant’s administrators locked the group’s page for everything but deleting comments and banning users. This punishment will supposedly last for three days. (The forum’s Twitter and Tumblr pages were next up for getting negative attention, according to the post.) Now, is it a coincidence that the Walking Dead Season 6 finale, the one that’s been touted as one of the greatest episodes of anything ever (by the cast and crew), is airing in three days? Of course not. 

This show of offense from AMC is undoubtedly in response to The Spoiling Dead Fans’ post earlier today that featured an audio clip of the season finale’s last scene, when the dreaded Negan arrives and uses his baseball bat Lucille to turn someone’s head inside out. I have to assume that AMC employees shit their pants when news of that clip got to their ears, and it’s really no surprise that they took official action. 

It also probably won’t surprise anyone that Spoiling Dead Fans has already been at the receiving end of DMCA notices in the past, and the admins have claimed that the reasons behind the complaints aren’t very concrete, and that it doesn’t appear as if AMC is going after any other spoiler sites but this one. We at Cinema Blend have no way of knowing if that’s true, but it makes sense that the network would want to start out by taking on the biggest of the bunch, to send a message to everyone else. The spoiler site is also where previous reports of scenes from the finale originated, as well as other huge episode moments from past episodes.

Unlike outright piracy, where there’s an actual theft of intellectual property happening, posting spoilers exists in a gray zone of entertainment ethics. On the one hand, Spoiling Dead Fans is hosting information for others to go and seek out, information clearly received from people with early access to the episodes, putting the paper webpage trail back to AMC’s side of things. Plus, there are people out there who truly enjoy spoilers more than watching episodes without any foreknowledge. But on the other hand, it’s a no brainer why AMC would want to try and shut Spoiling Dead Fans down in any way it can, since the zombie drama is built so heavily on shocks and surprises. And for better or worse, they’re a big money-making network with a multi-faceted legal team taking on a non-profiting forum where the members’ anonymity is key, so AMC will likely win this battle any time it enters it. And it’ll presumably do so as many times as it takes.

The Walking Dead Season 6 finale, which will hopefully answer all of our questions, airs Sunday night on AMC.

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