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Sony Threatens Twitter Over Tweets Containing Stolen Emails

Sony Pictures: Stop tweeting!

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Still reeling from the embarrassing disclosure of thousands of emails stolen in a devastating hacking attack, Sony Pictures Entertainment on Monday threatened Twitter with legal action over users who tweet the contents of those messages.

Twitter has confirmed it received a letter from Sony’s attorney David Boies saying that if “stolen information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner,” the studio will hold it responsible for damages or losses resulting from their dissemination.

Sony complained about Val Broeksmit, a musician who has been tweeting screen grabs of the text of Sony emails on his Twitter account at @BikiniRobotArmy starting on Dec. 13. Sony asked Twitter to suspend Broeksmit’s account and destroy any copies of the emails that may be stored on its systems.

A spokesperson for Sony declined to comment. Twitter declined further comment. Its policies prohibit the posting of another person’s private information, but does not prohibit posting links to that information. Vice’s Motherboard site first reported the threat.

Sony Pictures, a division of the electronics giant Sony, suffered one of the most devastating hacking attacks in corporate history on Nov 24. Hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace claimed to have taken virtually everything on the studios’ computer networks, including the private emails of senior executives and four unreleased feature films in protest over the film “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. On Friday, the U.S. government blamed the attack on North Korea, which has denied involvement and threatened violent retaliation.

In an interview with Re/code, Broeksmit said he found the emails fascinating and posted images of those he found “entertaining or interesting.”

Asked if he intends to stop the tweets or to delete the existing ones, he said, “Probably not … I don’t know. It’s a big question.”

“It’s the first time we’ve ever seen a multibillion-dollar corporation laid completely bare to the American public,” he added.

Readers of his Twitter feed, he said, would make requests that he search for emails on a particular subject. The ones that got the most attention concerned which actor might be tapped to play Spider-Man in future movies.

Broeksmit said it didn’t occur to him that the emails might be considered private. “I thought this stuff was all in the public domain,” he said. “I figured it was so easy to get it must be in the public domain by now. I don’t know where the line is that things become public domain. This is all so different and strange.”

He first received the letter on Sunday, but hasn’t sought any legal advice yet. “It totally freaked me out,” he said. “It was a little scary at first, and then I started talking to people who told me it was ridiculous.”

Sony first started sending legal letters to media organizations, including Re/code, on Dec. 14, demanding organizations stop publishing the contents of what it called “stolen information.”

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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