Posts Tagged ‘Guardians of Peace’

Guardians of Peace -1 Sony + Hollywood – 0

December 18, 2014

Well Sony and the US theatre owners caved in and the release of The Interview has been cancelled for now and put off indefinitely. It will not even be released as a Video on Demand. There is a wave of indignant voices about the attack on “free speech”.

By all accounts the film itself was of little artistic merit. It is apparently the imbecilic, tasteless but clever form of humour that teenagers and tabloids love. But I am no longer a teenager and I am bored by the tabloids. So I feel no great sense of loss with the cancellation of the release. It is not a movie that I would have watched anyway.

HuffPo: Sony Pictures will not release “The Interview” on Christmas Day, and the studio has “no further release plans” for the film, this according to a studio spokesperson. It had been speculated that Sony would consider releasing the film either via on-demand services or in theaters at a later date.

Sony announced “The Interview” will not come out as planned in a statement:

In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.  

Sony’s decision caps a whirlwind day, which saw the nation’s five biggest theater chains cancel plans to screen “The Interview.” Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Cineplex Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas pulled the comedy following a terror threat made Tuesday by hackers who had attacked Sony Pictures.

The indignation is not about the film but about the “spineless caving-in to terrorism”. I am not so sure about that. Big Entertainment, with Sony as a leading light, has been quite ruthless in bullying and killing any move when their music revenues have been threatened by smaller and more innovative players. They have lobbied and obtained extensions of copyright protection to quite unjustifiably long periods. They have brought their clout to bear and cracked down viciously on “piracy” in films and music. Even where the so-called piracy has been quite trivial. Nothing wrong with any of that of course. Any enterprise is justified in protecting its market. But they have relied too much on on their “power” and size. They have used the threat of legal action to terrorise the small entrepreneur who has no possibility of bearing the cost of defending against their big legal guns.

So when a group of hackers brings one of the Entertainment Giants to its knees – mainly because they were complacent and thought thought they were invincible – I may not be moved to cheer but I am inclined to smile quietly. I have a tiny bit of sympathy for the makers of the film but none for Sony. And if the hackers – Guardians of Peace – are really an off-shoot of the North Korean government, it is even more remarkable.

Not much sympathy for Sony(Goliath) in their war against GoP (David)

December 17, 2014

I know I am supposed to be against the evil hackers.

But I’m afraid I am only amused by Sony’s predicament in their battle against the “Guardians of Peace” hackers. Sony’s heavy handed approach and their legal threats to those who might disseminate the stolen material only makes them look even more foolish. The battle has a David and Goliath feel about it and David is winning. The indignant squeals of Hollywood celebrities at having their dirty underbellies revealed only adds to the amusement. When Aaron Sorkin (he who does not think much of actresses) takes as much space in the NYT to attack the hackers as the mass massacre of children by the Taliban gets, he only reduces any sympathy one might feel for the “hacked”.

Reuters:

The New York premiere of “The Interview”, a Sony Pictures comedy about the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong-Un, has been canceled and a source said one theater chain had scrapped plans to show it, after threats from a hacking group.

The hackers, who said they were also responsible for seizing control of Sony Corp’s computer system last month, on Tuesday warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, and darkly reminded moviegoers of the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on the United States in 2001.

“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time,” the hackers wrote. “(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

Hollywood celebrities exploited their media access to whinge and whine:

The Guardian:

Various Hollywood figures, including Brad Pitt, Aaron Sorkin and Seth Rogen, have publicly criticised the media for publishing stories based on information hacked from Sony Pictures.

The hack by the group Guardians of Peace revealed email conversations between Sony executives and actors, discussing the likes of Pitt’s wife Angelina Jolie, who was described as a “minimally talented spoiled brat” by producer Scott Rudin. ……. 

Seth Rogen meanwhile, whose North Korea-baiting film The Interview was cited as a catalyst for the hacks by Guardians of Peace, said in an interview that “everyone is doing exactly what these criminals want… It’s stolen information that media outlets are directly profiting from.”

Aaron Sorkin, whose screenplay for an upcoming Steve Jobs biopic was at the heart of one set of hacked emails, has penned a New York Times opinion piece where he asserts that the media is “giving material aid to criminals… the minor insults that were revealed are such small potatoes compared to the fact that they were revealed. Not by the hackers, but by American journalists helping them. …… 

Guardians of Peace have threatened to release another batch of files as a “Christmas gift”, leading to pre-emptive manoeuvres by Sony staff. Co-chair Amy Pascal, whose correspondence has frequently been featured in the hacked emails, has contacted the likes of producer Harvey Weinstein to apologise if any disparaging remarks are leaked, according to Variety.

Any moral or ethics issues over the “stealing” of the information are overridden by the massive embarrassment for Sony in spite of the triviality of the titillating information released. That an electronics and entertainment giant such as Sony could be hacked so easily smacks of incompetence. That overpaid, under-employed Sony executives are having their positions threatened (for their own incompetence) arouses little sympathy.

Sorry – but I don’t perceive any great moral issues here.

“Go GoP”!


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