Sony warns media: Don’t publish hacked docs

Sony Pictures is asking news outlets not to publish troves of emails and other information stolen in a massive hack at the film studio.

If they don’t agree to the company’s request, Sony warned that news outlets could be held liable for any damages caused by the leaked data.

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The film studio “does not consent to your possession, review, copyright, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use of the stolen information,” a Sony lawyer wrote in a letter sent to Re/code. He asked for the companies’ “cooperation in destroying the stolen information.”

Outlets should notify the company if they have any stolen documents, “take all reasonable actions” to prevent people from publishing it and do their best to destroy the information, the company added.

“If you do not comply with this request, and the stolen information is used or disseminated by you in any manner, [Sony] will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by you,” including financial costs.

The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter were among other outlets to have received the letter.

The letter comes after the wide release of detailed emails and confidential business documents outlining the studio’s plans and closely held secrets. One cringe-worthy email exchange showed Sony executives joking about whether President Obama preferring movies targeting African-Americans, for which the studio has since apologized. 

Over the weekend, the hacker group that has taken responsibility for the theft, which goes by Guardians of Peace, promised more dumps of data by Christmas.

Many analysts have suspected that the hacks were launched by North Korea, in apparent retribution for “The Interview,” a new comedy about a plot to kill leader Kim Jong Un. 

The Los Angeles Times, which also received the letter, stood by its coverage over the weekend and seemed unlikely to change its tune on future stories.

"The data breach involving Sony Pictures has resulted in the release of information about the movie industry that is newsworthy," editor Davan Maharaj told the newspaper. "We have reported on this material in a manner consistent with our editorial standards, and we will continue to do so." 

It is unclear whether Sony would be able to successfully sue outlets for publishing the documents.