For the longest time, it looked certain that The Interview would be pulled indefinitely by Sony following a series of cyberterrorist threats that forced the studio to cancel all screenings of the controversial assassination film. But now, following an intervention from Barack Obama along with a showing of support from both the Director’s Guild of America and online streaming client BitTorrent, the company is poised to make a dramatic u-turn that would see the film distributed mere days after its alleged cancellation.
That’s according to Sony’s attorney David Boies, who firmly stated that Seth Rogen and James Franco’s film will see the light of day one way or another.
“Sony only delayed this. Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed. How it’s going to be distributed, I don’t think anybody knows quite yet. But it’s going to be distributed.”
Originally slated for a release on Christmas Day, Sony opted to cancel The Interview in the wake of threats directed at any cinema chain that dared to screen it. Since then, the hack and subsequent threats of terrorism have been attributed to North Korea, though the country has denied any involvement in the act, even going so far as to offer its support to the United States to carry out a joint investigation.
But amid all of this, many have called upon Sony to release the movie digitally via its streaming service Crackle, though Boies has since stated that no plans are in place as of yet. However, it looks as though the company may have another option on the table after BitTorrent came forward and offered to release The Interview digitally — a move that it believes would be a statement of intent for Sony in taking back control of the film.
Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes. BitTorrent Bundle is in fact the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, not acquiesce to terrorists threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech.
Whether or not Sony turns to BitTorrent as a viable platform for distribution remains to be seen, but given the wave of support in favor of releasing The Interview over the last fortnight or so, jettisoning the film was perhaps the wrong decision to make. In fact, the Director’s Guild of America issued a statement on the matter and stressed how it hopes the “chilling effect” won’t force the censorship of other, similarly controversial films and that freedom of expression should still prevail.
This unprecedented situation demonstrates that even basic rights such as freedom of expression can quickly fall prey to those who would misuse and abuse the Internet to steal from, intimidate and terrorize our industry and our nation, and stands as an excruciating illustration of the heightened need for the federal government to increase its efforts to protect our society against cyber crimes, terrorism and all of its implications.”