Days ago, Summit Entertainment took the unusual step of announcing it had identified and was filing criminal charges against a woman in Argentina identified as the “principal hacker who earlier this year stole unreleased materials from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn which were then distributed on the internet.” Now, Summit is responding to allegations made by Daiana Santia after she held her own press conference this morning to deny she was the master hacker depicted by Summit and the filmmaking team behind Twilight Saga. In her press conference, Santia reportedly said she only saw Twilight Saga images while combing the web and that she doesn’t have the computer savvy to distribute them to anyone. She also claimed that she and her family were harassed by Summit in an attempt to go through her hard drive and that Santia is considering legal action of her own for harassment and defamation of character. She is also insisting that Summit’s claims be handled in Argentina and not in the U.S.
Summit swiftly responded to her charges in a memo just sent to Deadline:
- First and most important this is NOT about greed or the Studio wanting to bully a woman from a small town in Argentina – rather, it is about stolen material that is private and sensitive which was obtained by illegally accessing private/secure servers as well as personal email accounts. Ms. Santia’s actions came to light after these materials began appearing on the internet towards the end of March, 2011. Since Summit learned of Ms. Santia’s involvement in late May 2011, Summit has been in contact with Ms. Santia and her representatives with no resolution or further good faith efforts on their part, thus the only alternative left was to pursue legal action to ascertain that Ms. Santia no longer holds the images and video in any shape or form. Prior to said action the studio clearly communicated to Ms. Santia and her representatives that a press release would be distributed naming the actions being taken as well as naming her specifically.
- Summit’s first meeting with the Santia family occurred on May 31, 2011 at which point the studio was told they would fully cooperate. A subsequent meeting took place on June 8, 2011 with Ms. Santia and her lawyer at which time Ms. Santia confessed to the intrusions. It is also important to note that Ms.Santia is 24 years of age. The family was contacted as a group as the IP address used was registered under a family name.
- Specifically on June 8, 2011 Ms. Santia confessed in the presence of her attorney that she accessed servers and email accounts via a systematic attack — stealing photographs, unfinished images and video footage over several months. Additionally there is indisputable evidence linking her directly to IP addresses that were used in the unauthorized access. Her actions appear to be premeditated and not done on a whim, but rather using technology and tactics that require thought as well as time and skill. Because Ms. Santia decided that she does not want to cooperate, Summit has been unable to settle this matter privately with Ms. Santia and her representatives in Argentina.
- Ms. Santia claims to have deleted the stolen materials off her lap top as well as her family’s desktop computer, however both common sense and historically similar cases have proven that a defendant’s word cannot be taken as final. Additionally, Summit must confirm the extent to which Ms. Santia shared the materials with others.
- When first approached by Summit, Ms. Santia’s representatives indicated their willingness to permit Summit to review the computers. Based on this communication, Summit flew technical experts to Posadas, only to have Ms. Santia renege on their offer after the arrival of these experts. To this day, Ms. Santia has refused to cooperate in giving Summit access to these two computers to verify for itself that the images and footage have in fact been deleted, and to confirm the extent to which files were shared. We do not feel this is an unreasonable request but rather a prudent move to protect the IP and the studio. Additionally the studio has made an offer to have representatives chosen by Ms. Santia present when the computers are searched in order to protect the Ms. Santia’s privacy relating to anything else that is not related to this particular situation as they are of no interest to the studio.
- Had Ms. Santia cooperated Summit and its representatives would have worked with her to reach a compromise that would not necessarily involve legal action in Argentina and the United States.