Yesterday we wrote about how Sony’s high-powered lawyer on retainer, David Boies, had apparently been sending major media properties an idiotic letter warning them not to report on the leaked Sony hack emails. And then, what did we find in our mail on Monday afternoon? A copy of the same damn letter of our very own. How thoughtful of David Boies to send us a personally signed copy. I’ve asked my staff to frame it and hang it on the wall. I hope that he’s charging Sony top dollar to send us a letter we’d already mocked as ridiculous, wrong on the law and pointless.
Anyway, given that we’ve now personally received our own copy, I feel semi-obligated to respond — and to respond in public.
So, David, Leah and Sony Corp. — our official response is: go pound sand.
Here’s the really astounding thing: In December, Sony tried to turn this whole story into how the hack itself was an attack on free speech. It never was. Even if you believe the (incredibly dubious) story line that North Korea hacked Sony to try to prevent the company from showing a comedy about North Korea, the only “attack” on free speech came when Sony’s top execs actually folded and originally agreed to not release the flick. It was only after being widely mocked that Sony worked out alternative plans and then tried to wrap itself in the flag and proclaim itself a true beacon of free speech.
But to take that “we’re the bastions of free speech” and immediately turn it around and effectively threaten the media for reporting on newsworthy leaked content — something that is quite clearly protected by the First Amendment and with some pretty high-profile case law backing that up — just demonstrates how little Sony actually believes in free speech. Sony “supports” free speech when it’s useful to make the company look good and then is willing to throw around a bunch of expensive legal FUD to try to intimidate the press, when actual free speech can be used to embarrass Sony.
Yes, it sucks for Sony that its emails were hacked. It would suck for just about any company, I’m sure. But that doesn’t change the fact that the media has every legal right to report on those emails if they find it newsworthy. Threatening the media is not just counterproductive, it makes Sony look incredibly clueless and thin-skinned while at the same time just adding more life to the story itself.