Commentary

Sony Tries, Again, To Convince Media To Ignore Leaked Emails

Late last year, soon after Sony's servers were hacked, company attorney David Boies sent letters to news outlets demanding that they stop writing about emails that were never intended for public consumption.

Boies told news organizations to destroy the “stolen information” that was hacked, and said that Sony didn't consent to any publication of the material.

But despite Boies' bluster, observers downplayed the possibility that Sony would sue news outlets. That's because U.S. courts have long said that news organizations have a free speech right to publish newsworthy material, provided they didn't break any laws to obtain the information.

In Sony's case, many of the leaked emails proved to be quite significant. Consider that the hack is the only reason why the public knows about Project Goliath -- a Hollywood initiative to convince state law enforcement authorities, including Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, to target Google for allegedly enabling piracy.

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After the details were revealed in the leak, Google obtained an injunction prohibiting Hood from following through on threats to enforce a subpoena for documents from the company.

Other Sony emails about celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington made worldwide headlines in the days after the initial hack.

Despite Boies' warnings, Sony hasn't sued any of the numerous media outlets that reported on revelations in the emails.

Now that the leak is again in the news, thanks to WikiLeaks, Sony is renewing its effort to prevent the media from discussing the emails.

Late last week, shortly after WikiLeaks made available a searchable database of all of the leaked emails, Boies again warned news organizations against reporting on the material.

“WikiLeaks is incorrect that this stolen information belongs in the public domain and it is, in many jurisdictions, unlawful to place it there or otherwise access or distribute it,” Boies wrote.

So far, this effort by Sony doesn't look like it will be any more successful than the last one. As of today, new stories about revelations from the emails have appeared in publications including Gawker, The Wrap, The New York Postand Forbes.

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