YouTube release of 'The Interview' being considered by Sony chiefs after 'North Korea hack'

David Boies told NBC on Sunday that Sony 'only delayed' the release

Tim Walker
Monday 22 December 2014 00:50 GMT
Michael Lynton, head of Sony Pictures, says he was ‘forced’ to cancel release of ‘The Interview’ (AFP/Getty)
Michael Lynton, head of Sony Pictures, says he was ‘forced’ to cancel release of ‘The Interview’ (AFP/Getty) (AFP/Getty)

A lawyer for Sony Pictures has said the studio still intends to distribute its controversial comedy The Interview, and could put it on YouTube.

Sony pulled the planned Christmas Day release last week after hackers which the US says are linked to North Korea threatened cinemas that chose to screen the film, which depicts the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in a rocket explosion.

But yesterday, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton rejected claims by President Obama that the company had made a mistake cancelling the film, and insisted it had "not caved" to the hackers.

And when asked whether 'The Interview' might be put on YouTube, he said: “That’s certainly an option and certainly one thing we will consider.”

Last week, he claimed that the company had "no further" release plans for the film.

A still from Kim Jong Un's death scene in The Interview (Columbia Pictures)

David Boies, a lawyer for Sony, told NBC yesterday that Sony “only delayed” the release. “Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed,” Mr Boies said. “It will be distributed. How it’s going to be distributed, I don’t think anybody knows quite yet. But it’s going to be distributed.”

In an interview with CNN, US President Barack Obama reiterated his belief that Sony “made a mistake” by pulling The Interview from cinemas: “If we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt... a company’s distribution chain or its products and, as a consequence, we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem," he said.

The problem, Lynton insists, is that there are no major video-on-demand or e-commerce sites will to distribute the movie.

The studio still hoped to distribute the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as hapless US TV journalists enlisted by the CIA to assassinate Mr Kim, but that cinema chains and VoD distributors remained reluctant to release a film that had prompted a devastating cyber-attack on Sony.

Mr Boies described the hack of Sony's computer systems last month as “a state sponsored criminal attack on an American corporation and its employees.” Acknowledging the assistance of the FBI in investigating the attack, he added: “This is not a Sony security problem. This is a national security problem. And the government has got to lead.”

North Korea has denied responsibility for the hack, and said it would retaliate if subjected to reprisals by the US. The country’s National Defence Commission said in a statement on Sunday that it was “ready to stand in confrontation with the US in all war spaces including cyber-warfare space.”

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