Hackers have leaked dozens of documents and emails from Sony Pictures that include information about salaries, budgets, and behind-the-scenes gossip—and now Sony is demanding that publications not publish any of that leaked information.
According to the New York Times, lawyer David Boies sent a letter to media outlets on behalf of Sony saying that the studio “does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use” of the “stolen information.”
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin also had some words to offer journalists: In a New York Times op-ed, the Newsroom showrunner called any media outlet publishing the leaked information “morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.” Sorkin acknowledges that he understands publications often use stolen information and references the Pentagon Papers, but claims “there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers.”
Sorkin has a point: The leaked information doesn’t give us a shocking look at the atrocities our country has committed like the Pentagon Papers did—they give us a not-as-shocking look at what Hollywood talks about in private, including how Channing Tatum responded to 22 Jump Street‘s box office success (with a lot of excitement in all caps, according to Gawker) and what Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters film will be like (not a sequel to the original, according to The Daily Beast).
The New York Times commented on both Sorkin’s essay and Sony’s demand Monday, when executive editor Dean Baquet published a note about the paper’s policy regarding the leaks. “It would be a disservice to our readers to pretend these documents weren’t revealing and public,” he said. “But the main issue, the main thing we consider, is how newsworthy the documents are. In that regard I would say these aren’t the Pentagon Papers.”
The FBI is currently investigating the attack.