Sony Hack: Gawker Posts Copyrighted Clip From 'The Interview'

Ed Araquel

The clip shows the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

As the fallout from the Sony hack continues, many outlets have refrained from posting copyrighted content from the studio's films. But now Gawker has crossed that line and posted a clip from The Interview. And it’s not just any clip — it depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and is likely the most provocative scene in the film.

Accompanying the clip is leaked email correspondence, some of which has been previously published, between writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal, SPE Motion Picture Group president Doug Belgrad and Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, in which reducing the amount of gore in the scene is discussed.

Whether Gawker’s posting of the clip is protected by the First Amendment is unclear. In a leading case, the Supreme Court declined in 1985 to protect The Nation magazine from a copyright infringement suit for publishing excerpts from former President Gerald Ford’s unpublished autobiography. That contrasts with a more recent Supreme Court case from 2001, in which the Court held for the publisher. But that decision concerned confidential information where copyright wasn’t at issue.

The press' role in reporting leaked information has begun to stir controversy, with Rogen and James Franco criticizing the media for giving the hackers “exactly what these criminals want,” Aaron Sorkin calling such reporting “morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable” and Sony’s high-powered outside lawyer David Boies threatening legal action against media outlets that use or disseminate Sony’s stolen information.

Boies, Sony and representatives of the North Korean government did not respond to requests for comment.

Read more Can Sony Get Around the First Amendment to Sue the Media Over the Hack?

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