UPDATE: It appears Sony executives have had a change of heart and will in fact release The Interview online through sites such as YouTube Movies, X-Box Videos, and Google Play. Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment Michael Lynton said in a statement that, the intention was always to release the film nationally. “We never stopped pursuing as wide a release as possible for The Interview. It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech. We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release. President Obama applauded the decision as a victory for free speech. The ball is in your court hackers. Bring it on!!
Sony’s response to the cyber-attack by North Korea is nothing short of cowardice and it should immediately reverse its decision not to release the film. If indeed 80% of theatres refused to show The Interview, the owners of the theatres should also reverse their decision not to show the film.
The slippery slope argument is one I consider to be the weakest available but in this case it has merit. Despite the money involved, a movie release is a rather minor event. The world will not change and will in no way be negatively impacted if the movie is never released. However, we live in a so-called free country. In fact, Freedom is the Most Important foundation on which these United States were founded. Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press. These Freedoms cannot be compromised if we are to remain a Free and Democratic country.
Putting things into perspective, a cyber attack is nothing more than someone with a computer unlawfully accessing information from someone else’s computer. A crime, but not a lethal crime. Who really cares if the head of Sony referred to Angelina Jolie as talentless? Is there anyone naïve enough to believe that this type of rhetoric isn’t going on despite it being buried in secrecy. If Sony executives don’t want this information being available then they shouldn’t send messages on line that are easily accessible to hackers. If they want privacy they should send handwritten letters or use the phone. There is no such thing as privacy and security in cyber space and that is a fact. But access to e-mails and nude photos for that matter is really a “who-cares” crime.
On the other hand, it’s crucial that the distinction is made between calling for a film not to be released or hacking e-mails and threatening a “real” attack. If the implication of the cyber attacker is that there will be bloodshed in the theatre if the movie is released, that needs to be dealt with harshly. Never, ever, ever, can we back down to a physical threat by an individual or a country like North Korea. Sony would have been far better off calling out the cyber attacker on the threat. Our government would then have to decide the appropriate response if such a threat was acted upon. Cowards on the internet can hide behind the curtain of secrecy and even then, those responsible can be discovered. But actual acts of violence always leave a physical trail, evidence.
The ostrich believes he is safe because he can’t see the enemy approaching as his head is in the ground. But his back side makes for a very vulnerable target. Placating the enemy only makes him more brazen and emboldens him. History has proven that time and again. Sony needs to reverse this decision and must stand up to this cyber attack with defiance. The proper response should have been and should now be, “We will not be threatened into silence.” Period! End of story!!