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Marvel seeks to unmask leaker of Avengers trailer

The entertainment company has aimed a subpoena at Google to find out who leaked the trailer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on Google Drive.

A clip from the trailer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" YouTube/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Marvel wants to know the secret identity of the person who spilled the beans on its upcoming Avengers movie.

In a subpoena filed Tuesday against Google in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Marvel asserts that a person using the name "John Gazelle" posted a clip of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on a Google Drive account. Marvel sent the search giant a takedown request but it now wants to know the IP address as well as the YouTube and Google+ accounts of the alleged leaker, according to court documents and the Hollywood Reporter, which reported on the case Thursday.

The incident started on October 22 when the trailer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" was leaked online before Marvel was able to release the official version, which it planned to do the following Tuesday during an episode of its "Agents of Shield" TV series. Marvel quickly released the official version of the trailer via YouTube later that same day. But the damage had already been done.

Unveiling the trailer for the first time on "Agents of Shield" would likely have given the TV series a ratings boost. The series, which began its second season on September 23, has suffered from lackluster ratings since its first season kicked off in 2013.

Due to hit theaters in May 2015, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is the sequel to the hit 2012 movie "The Avengers" directed by Joss Whedon. As seen in the trailer, the Avengers must do battle with Ultron, an intelligent robot that sees humanity as imperfect and therefore wants to wipe us out.

The movie reunites the familiar characters of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye, but adds at least a couple of new characters, notably Quicksilver and the Scarlett Witch, both of whom are well know to Marvel comic book fans.

While executed on Tuesday, the subpoena was granted on Wednesday, as noted by The Verge. Google must appear in court on November 18 with the information requested by Marvel.