MPAA on Sony Attack: ‘We Feel for Them’

Before hackers on Tuesday escalated their threats against Sony over the release of the movie “The Interview,” rival studios have responded with relative silence.

The MPAA, which represents the six major studios, did not issue a statement on the damaging cyber attack until this weekend, and only upon media request.

“As we’ve said, Sony Pictures is not just a valued member of our association family, but they are friends and colleagues and we feel for them,” their statement said prior to Tuesday’s attack. “We continue to be in constant touch with their leadership and will be of any assistance to them that we can.”

The reason? There has been widespread speculation that rivals fear themselves becoming targets of hacking, which the FBI says is on an unprecedented scale. The MPAA itself has been the target of hacking attacks in the past, particularly as it pursues initiatives to combat piracy.

And while there has been a great deal of consternation in the industry over media publication of stolen emails generated in the hacking attack, some of the outlets that have run with such stories have a corporate lineage of MPAA members. Fusion is a joint venture of Univision and the Walt Disney Co. The New York Post is owned by News Corp., the sister corporate entity to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st century Fox. The MPAA has yet to take a position on the legality or ethics of publishing the emails.

On Tuesday, the Sony hackers warned of a terrorist attack against theaters that show Seth Rogen and James Franco’s North Korea comedy “The Interview.”

“Remember the 11th of September 2001,” the message said. “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

The group, known as the Guardians of Peace, also released a new batch of documents dubbed the “Christmas Gift.”

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