YouTube to stream 'The Interview'

 
People can purchase the movie "The Interview" on YouTube, Google play and other platforms starting at 1 p.m. Thursday.
 
Google announced customers can either buy or rent the movie through one of its streaming services, as well as through Xbox Video and www.seetheinterview.com
 
Sony Pictures, the technology giant that produced the movie, had been in talks with Google, which owns YouTube, and others since last week about making the movie available online. 
 
"After discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be)," Google's chief legal officer David Drummond wrote in a blog
 
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He noted that security implications have always been at the forefront of the companies' minds. 
 
Sony Pictures initially canceled the movie's Christmas release date after hackers threatened physical attacks at theaters and the nation's largest chains refused to screen the film.
 
But the studio reversed course on Tuesday, promising a limited release on Christmas. Nearly 300 theaters are slated to show the comedy about two TV journalists tasked with assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 
 
There had been speculation that the film could also be released online after a lawyer representing the studio insisted earlier this week that the film would still be distributed. 
 
Lawmakers and the White House cheered Sony's reversal.
 
“The president applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film,”  said the White House in a statement on Tuesday. “As the President made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression." 
 
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted Wednesday: "If you're interested, celebrate America's freedom by watching."
 
This story was updated at 12:41 p.m.