An attorney for Sony Pictures Entertainment is demanding media outlets ignore a new WikiLeaks database of internal documents obtained during a high-profile hack last year. The searchable archive, published Thursday, contains more than 200,000 documents and emails from a cyberattack that created a public relations nightmare for the studio, and which the U.S. government linked to North Korea.
Lawyer David Boies sent a warning letter regarding use of the database to news outlets on Friday. The Hollywood Reporter said that it received the letter, and Bloomberg News reported it had reviewed the letter as well.
“SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen Information,” Boies wrote, according to the Bloomberg report.
Boies issued similar warnings to news organizations and to Twitter back in December, as the studio grappled with threats from cybercriminals who opposed the release of the “The Interview,” a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Hackers who called themselves Guardians of Peace leaked a glut of files that contained sensitive information about individual employees and studio negotiations, as well as illicit downloads of films.
This week, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said information from the attack on the studio unit of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation “belongs in the public domain” because of the company’s connections to the White House and “the US military-industrial complex.”
"This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation,” Assange said in a statement. “It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict.”
Boies, however, said that WikiLeaks’ publication of the database “rewards a totalitarian regime seeking to silence dissident speech,” according to Bloomberg.
In an earlier response to WikiLeaks, before the Boies letter went out, Sony Pictures said that the company “will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees."