Sony Attorney to Media: Don't Spread WikiLeaks Documents

Julian Assange - P 2014
AP Images

Julian Assange - P 2014

David Boies says the group "rewards a totalitarian regime" by spreading sharing documents.

Sony Pictures Entertainment lawyer David Boies sent a letter to news organizations Friday asking them to ignore documents WikiLeaks published a day earlier.

WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures that were obtained during a hack attributed to North Korea in retaliation for the studio's The Interview. WikiLeaks published them in a searchable format, something that had not been done before.

In his letter, Boies urges media outlets to prevent employees from publishing or otherwise spreading the hacked documents. He also takes issue with WikiLeaks' assertion that the information in these documents "belongs in the public domain," saying that in many jurisdictions spreading the documents is illegal. 

"Despite its purported commitment to free expression, WikiLeaks’ conduct rewards a totalitarian regime seeking to silence dissident speech, and imposes disincentives on entities such as SPE who depend on trade secrets, confidential information, and protection of intellectual property to exercise their First Amendment rights every day," Boies wrote.

The Hollywood Reporter was among the media outlets to receive the letter. He sent a similar letter to the media in December, warning news outlets not to share information gleaned from the hack.

"SPE therefore again asks for your help in protecting the First Amendment and declining to exploit the Stolen Information," the letter concludes. 

On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange described the documents as "newsworthy" and as an archive showing "the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation."