Sony Pictures urged all news outlets to stop publishing the leaked emails that hackers exposed in the past few weeks in a strongly worded letter released on Sunday.
On behalf of Sony Pictures, David Boies, the famous lawyer hired by the studio, demanded that any material obtained through the hacked leaks be taken down, avoided and destroyed if downloaded.
Sony Pictures "does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use," the letter read. The company said that any "stolen material" published would lead to legal location.
"If you do not comply with this request, and the stolen information is used or disseminated by you in any manner, Sony Pictures Entertainment will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by you," the letter stated.
However, experts say that the studio's warning may be null and void under the laws that protect freedom of press.
"I can't think of any instance where the innocent beneficiary of leaks would get restrained from publishing. If anything, there would be less a problem for media in printing corporate documents like these than printing classified documents, which the government has claimed can violate the Espionage Act," George Freeman, a former attorney for the New York Times who now runs the Media Law Resource Center, told The Washington Post referring to the newspaper's decision to publish the Pentagon Papers.
This is the first time Sony Pictures is breaking its silence on the leaked emails. A thread of embarrassing letters exchanged between the company's top executives and Hollywood bigwigs were exposed in the past few weeks.
The leaks, that included sensitive employee data like salary, social security numbers and other personal information, have marred the company's reputation significantly and pose a larger threat. Sony has been trying to control the leaks and trace out the hackers. North Korea remains a prime suspect in the issue despite denying involvement.
In the meantime, the hacker group, which calls itself "Guardians of Peace", sent out another letter threatening to expose more data if the studios didn't comply with their unspecified demands.
"We are preparing for you a Christmas gift. The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state. Please send an email titled by 'Merry Christmas' at the addresses below to tell us what you want in our Christmas gift," the group said in a post to Pastebin and Friendpaste on file sharing and torrent websites.