Sony Wants Lawsuit Over Alleged Failure to Prevent Movie Piracy Under Arbitration Cloak

To Write Love on Her Arms

Sony Pictures couldn't stop its confidential data from being hacked in 2014, but in response to a lawsuit filed in July that contends it was obligated to prevent one of its films from being circulated on the internet, demands the legal action be moved from a public courtroom to private arbitration.

The lawsuit comes from Possibility Pictures, the production company behind To Write Love on Her Arms, one of four films prematurely released thanks to the 2014 hack. The complaint in Florida federal court contends Sony has breached the anti-piracy provisions of its distribution agreement by not doing more to prevent or mitigate a cyber attack that has been attributed to the North Koreans.

Possibility Pictures says its film starring Kat Dennings and Rupert Friend was downloaded for free nearly 20,000 times after the hack and demands Sony fork over the movie's projected revenue of $8.7 million.

On Monday, Sony filed a motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings.

A memorandum in support addresses the merits of the claims by suggesting that the plaintiff is "conflating SPWA’s right to use technical measures to try to prevent piracy with any contractual obligation to do so."

However, Sony's primary aim is to get the case before a JAMS arbitrator.

"The Distribution Agreement provides that any claims the parties may assert against each other must be pursued in an arbitration forum," Sony tells a Florida federal judge.

Sony adds that it attempted to advise Possibility that the dispute must be arbitrated before the lawsuit was filed. Chalk it up to one more instance where Sony couldn't quite keep things under wraps.