Sony Threatens Legal Action Against Twitter After Users Post Hacked Emails

Sony Threatens Legal Action Against Twitter

Sony Pictures Entertainment is threatening Twitter with legal action and is calling on the social media platform to prevent its users from posting emails exposed during the recent hack of the studio.

In a letter sent to Twitter’s general counsel by Sony Pictures’ attorney David Boies, the company threatens that if “stolen information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner,” Sony will “hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by Twitter.”

One letter cited musician Val Broeksmit, in particular, whose Twitter feed includes screenshots of emails by Sony execs including Michael Lynton, Amy Pascal, Clint Culpepper, Hannah Minghella, Doug Belgrad and Dwight Caines, among others.

Sony also demanded Twitter “comply with all future requests with regard to any other account holder seeking to disseminate the Stolen Information via Twitter. In addition, we ask that you provide the Account Holder with a copy of this letter, and request that the Account Holder cease publication of the Stolen Information on Twitter.”

“SPE does not consent to Twitter’s or any Twitter account holder’s possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen Information, and to request your cooperation in suspending the Account Holder’s Twitter account and the account of any other user seeking to disseminate the Stolen Information via Twitter,” according to an email.

In response, Twitter sent Broeksmit a message letting him know that the platform “cannot provide legal advice” and that he “may wish to contact your own attorney about this matter.”

While Twitter does not let its users post another person’s private information via text or images, it does not prevent users to link to that kind of information through posts.

Reddit currently bans users who post links of emails and other documents stolen from Sony’s computer servers, but does not prevent them from posting news stories of the hacks. It already had taken down a forum that included links to the hacked documents.

Earlier this month, Sony’s attorneys demanded press destroy any information it may have obtained after information and emails were leaked online and emailed to journalists.

The letter, sent from Boies to Twitter’s general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, and subsequent emails to Broeksmit, were first reported by Motherboard.

Broeksmit has told Vice that “I’m not with a newspaper and I think I can get away with it. It’s important — the reason is it’s so new and different from anything we’ve seen before.”

The musician started posting images of Sony emails after hackers, calling themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” posted data and films stolen from SPE online, including salaries of top execs and personal info for thousands of current and former employees, forcing the studio to ultimately pull the Christmas Day release of the comedy “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, in which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is assassinated.

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  1. Duder NME says:

    So typical: don’t sue retwiters, because they represent your lowest denominator base, and for Xenu’s sake, don’t ever wait to sue the hackers (if ever found), but sue the communication institution that is automatically absovled of all guilt, thus forcing more provisions/restrictions to a popular form of free speech. Meanwhile, Sony allows such damaging discourse to occur at all within its digital, hallowed halls. Hypocrisy at its sloppiest.

  2. Very bad move. I’m disappointed in David Boies, but not surprised that Sony would do this. They haven’t made a smart decision in this affair since green-lighting ‘The Interview’ in the first place.

  3. Canary says:

    We’d love to hear from both Canary and Sony employees on anonymous workplace app Canary (bit.ly/SonyCnry). How is the Sony hack affecting the employees not named Pascal? And are these lawsuits something Twitter is actually concerned about or just hot air?

  4. macd says:

    Gee, “Annie” must be bombing really badly!

  5. Digital data cannot be stolen. Does Sony still have the original email data files? Then they were not stolen. They were copied. Like a spy copies with a mini camera. Sony is a victim of espionage, not theft. But they like to use the word “theft” so they can use the old out of date corrupt crony legal system to threaten people and media outlets and censor them and suppress free speech. Sony should go after the spies who penetrated their crappy security system and leave us innocent people alone.

  6. Bruce R says:

    Typical corporate dumbasses. Had everyone around the world willing to stay with Sony on this and then they try and “shoot the messenger” and now no one gives a crap about them again. Lack of basic social intelligence is paramount (no pun intended) amongst corporate entities these days. :o(

  7. Sony, re-assume the position and finish taking it…then sell off all your media assets and focus on bringing honor back to your tarnished company.

  8. J.E. Vizzusi says:

    Twitter is just of a indie ent company as Sony Pictures is. Twitter has no obligation to stop posts as long as they and members fall under their guidelines. Sony will never prove posts were hacked emails that twitter had knowledge of… end of suit!

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Don’t think so! Company, and for that matter, a persons emails, are no different than US mail. You cannot steal another’s mail and then show it off to everyone. That’s been the law for decades in regards to mail. Sony will prevail. Remember this years Supreme Court ruling on police and your cell phone?? Its similar.

      • cardmarc58 says:

        Twitter didn’t steal them, so they are not liable.

        Sony just can’t seem to take their head out of their but and seem to be doubling down on stupidity.

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