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Sony's lawyers warn the media: stop reporting on leaked documents, or else

Sony's lawyers warn the media: stop reporting on leaked documents, or else


'SPE will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss'

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As hackers continue to leak out emails from last month’s attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio is stepping up its battle against the media outlets that have been reporting on the incident. In a letter sent to multiple publications — including The New York Times, Gawker, Recode, and The Verge — attorney David Boies asks that companies stop downloading and delete any information they may have, otherwise "SPE will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss" that could result. (You can read Boies' letter to The Verge right here.)

The emails and data leaked since the hack have spurred on a media frenzy. Gawker did a deep dive on email exchanges between producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal about the embattled Steve Jobs biopic, while other outlets have covered everything from the salaries of Sony executives to the aliases movie stars use. Last week The Verge uncovered evidence of Project Goliath, an aggressive initiative between the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios designed to thwart piracy that could potentially alter the open nature of the internet itself.

Aaron Sorkin called journalists "morally treasonous"

But the studio itself has mainly kept quiet thus far, save for Pascal (and Rudin) apologizing for racially offensive jokes made about President Obama’s taste in movies. That changed yesterday with the letters from Boies, a legal world heavyweight who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and Oracle in its failed infringement suit against Google. The conversation moved further along yesterday with a New York Times op-ed from writer Aaron Sorkin, whose own emails had been leaked as part of the Jobs biopic discussion. In yesterday’s opinion piece, Sorkin called journalists reporting on the leaked information "morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable," and claimed that none of the emails contained information that warranted public discussion. (Our own Emily Yoshida outlined our thoughts on the ethical implications of reporting on the leaks — as well as the importance of bringing Project Goliath to light — last week.)

Despite Boies’ efforts, however, it seems unlikely that a letter will stop press momentum on the story. Recently Gawker published an email from Channing Tatum celebrating the success of 22 Jump Street, and just this morning The Daily Beast revealed talks between Tatum and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt about a new Ghostbusters film. And that’s just from the data that’s been leaked already: a recent post claiming to be from the group behind the Sony hack has promised a "Christmas gift" of even more leaked information.