As part of Sony Picture Entertainment’s media blitz today to defend its decision of pulling The Interview after President Barack Obama called the move “a mistake,” SPE CEO told NPR that Sony “very much wanted to keep the picture in release” but “we don’t have any takers, neither on the video demand side nor on the e-commerce side.”
That is not exactly the case — at least one outlet has volunteered its services to release the Seth Rogen comedy, which triggered one of the biggest hacking scandals in history. BitTorrent Chief Content Officer Matt Mason told Deadline today that his file-sharing service wants to circulate The Interview. “We have reached out (to Sony) on a number of fronts,” he said. “It seems like no one else wants to touch this, but for us this about the two things we care about most: an open Internet and a sustainable future for creativity. This is bigger than this film at this point. As a company, we feel we have no choice but to help Sony Pictures and defend these principles.” The idea is to use BitTorrent Bundle, an alternative digital-distribution option for artists, musicians, filmmakers and distributors to release material to consumers at for a fee. The company says nearly 20,000 creators and rights holders use the Bundle publishing platform.
Among the most notable BitTorrent Bundle releases was for Drafthouse Films’ The Act Of Killing. The Oscar-nominated documentary, which profiles the death squad leaders who committed mass murders in Indonesia in the 1960s re-enacting their murders for the camera, was downloaded more than 3.5 million times.
BitTorrent Director of Communications Christian Averil issued this statement today:
Like everyone else around the world, we’ve been following this egregious hacking of Sony’s servers over the past few weeks.
A trend has emerged among commentary in the days since Sony announced they would not release the motion picture, “The Interview.” There have been calls for Sony to release the film online. And many have contacted us asking: Would they be able to release the movie using BitTorrent?
Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes. BitTorrent Bundle is in fact the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiesce to terrorists threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech.
Bundle has a self-publishing platform that anyone from Sony can use. Using the paygate option, Sony are able to set the price for the film and release it widely without implicating anyone or exposing any third party to a terrorist threat.
We disagree, however, with some that have suggested that Sony should make the film available through piracy sites. That would only serve to encourage bad actors. It’s also important to make the distinction that these piracy sites are not “torrent sites.” They are piracy sites that are wrongfully exploiting torrent technology.
BitTorrent Bundle is a safe and legal way for Sony to release this film and they would join the nearly 20,000 creators and rights holders now using the Bundle publishing platform.