August 03, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

On July 25, ABC announced one tantalizing tidbit about Lost‘s fourth season: the return of Harold Perrineau’s Michael. The drama begins shooting this month, but won’t return until early 2008, meaning Lost will have almost the entire season in the can before anyone sees an episode. We asked exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse if they’re doing anything different to make sure key details aren’t leaked by spoiler hounds.

Carlton Cuse
It was gratifying to see a backlash against the spoiler posters because the people who did go to the spoilers really had the [season 3] finale ruined for them. We’re not the CIA; we can’t keep the show from getting spoiled. This season we’re counting on our fans to police the Web and keep the spoilers away from the majority of viewers who want to watch the show without knowing what’s going to happen.

Damon Lindelof
We’re not worried because we accept that it’s going to happen. Any other approach is naive. By the time an episode of Lost is locked, almost five hundred people have either read the script or watched the episode. Our only recourse would be to literally take legal action against the sites that are spoiling us (on the grounds that betraying our secrets damages the franchise), but ultimately, are we going to punish fans for being too fanatic? There will always be people who need to turn to the last page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before they even start reading it. It sucks for us, but hey — what’re ya gonna do?

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