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Sony Bullying Twitter Over Users' Posting of Hacked Documents

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Boies' bluster is still blustery. And it may be having the opposite of the desired effect.

Last week, we told you about the letters noted litigator David Boies has sent on behalf of Sony to numerous media outlets. The letters basically threaten to rain down fire and brimstone upon anyone who reports on or posts information that was stolen in the big hack that has been the story in the news for the past few weeks.

Not content with challenging the freedom of the press, however, Boies has now moved on to a new target: Twitter and its users.

Meet @bikinirobotarmy

Val Broeksmit is a musician in a band called (you guessed it) Bikini Robot Army. He tweeted out some of the leaked emails, such as this one where Sony talks about how they paid Kevin Hart $2 million to tweet about "The Equalizer." Hart is not in "The Equalizer"; he was just paid to tweet positive thoughts about the movie:

Sony demanded that Twitter take down the tweets in a sternly worded letter, reports The Wall Street Journal:

If Twitter does not comply with this request, and the Stolen Information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner, [Sony Pictures Entertainment] will have no choice but to hold Twitter responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by Twitter, including any damages or loss to SPE or others, and including, but not limited to, any loss of value of intellectual property and trade secrets resulting from Twitter's actions.

Good times. It's interesting, it's newsworthy (both as entertainment news and as part of the story of the hack), and Sony really needs to chill the hell out. That's not just our opinion, by the way -- UCLA law professor and The Volokh Conspiracy blog founder Eugene Volokh told the WSJ that it's not at all clear that Twitter has any obligation to take down the tweets at issue.

Sony Is Streisanding So Hard Right Now

There is an Internet phenomenon called the Streisand Effect. We've talked about it before -- hilariously, it was in reference to Sony's attempts to quash some embarrassing video game footage -- but it boils down to this: The more you try to get something taken off the Internet, the more attention is paid to it.

I've never heard of Bikini Robot Army. I didn't know that Sony loves Denzel (OK, everybody loves Denzel). And I didn't know that they paid Kevin Hart more money than I'll make in my entire lifetime to tweet about Denzel's movie.

But bullying Twitter and its users got me to click. And click. And read. And blog about it. And now, a small ripple from the big Sony hack story just became a full-fledged wave. That is the Streisand Effect.

Then again, maybe that was their plan. Who was thinking about "The Equalizer" before they read this?

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