Sony Lawyer Letter Says News Sites Should Delete ‘Stolen’ Data

Sony attorneys have sent a letter to news organizations demanding they delete any information they have been given from that taken from the company in a devastating cyber attack last month. Deadline’s parent company, PMC, was one of the news organizations receiving the letter from heavy-hitting litigator David Boies.

The Sony information continues to be released in batches from unknown sources, including one today in an email to news organizations that included a link to more information cached in online sites and promised an unspecified “Christmas gift” to come. In the three-page letter Boies sent to news organizations today, he wrote that the studio “does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use” of the information.

The letter says the media companies should avoid the information, and delete/destroy it from their computers if they’ve downloaded what Boies called “stolen information.”

Boies is one of the nation’s most prominent litigators. Among much else, he argued such big Supreme Court cases as the Bush v. Gore suit (he represented Al Gore) over the 2000 presidential election results in Florida and the successful challenge to California’s Prop. 8 banning gay marriage. Boies also represents Gore in his ongoing legal disputes with Al Jazeera.

His letter to media (and general involvement in the case) suggests Sony has opened another front in its efforts to contain the unfolding damage from the hacking attacks, which have exposed executive salaries,  embarrassing emails between studio executives and producers on film projects, along with racially tinged comments over films to be shown to Barack Obama and much else.

The letter’s language somewhat echoes Quentin Tarantino’s unsuccessful lawsuit earlier this year against after a version of his Hateful 8 script was leaked online. Gawker had invited readers to download the script from a link it posted on its site. Gawker has also written a lot of stories about the Sony disclosures.

Sony is also using some of the same anti-piracy tools it and other Hollywood studios use to suppress pirated films online to make it difficult to find valid copies of the company data on BitTorrent and similar file-sharing sites.

The MPAA, of which Sony is one of six members, also finally broke its silence on the hacking attack and its impact on the studio, current and former employers and many others in Hollywood who have done business with the studio. The lobbying group issued a statement, but did not provide other comment:

“Obviously this is a very difficult time for Sony. Sony is not just a valued member of our association family, but they are friends and colleagues and we feel for them personally. From the highest levels of our organization working with the highest levels of theirs, we are doing anything and everything that Sony believes could be helpful and will continue to do so.”

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