For Sony Pictures and the creative talent behind The Interview, the past several weeks have been extraordinary. With Sony falling to a crippling hack attack reportedly at the hands of North Korea, never before has a movie resulted in so much corporate destruction.
As the dust settles, at least temporarily, Sony finds itself between a rock and a hard place. After pulling the movie this week following threats of terror attacks on theaters, Sony was criticized by President Obama yesterday who described the decision as “a mistake“.
Sony responded with a statement from CEO Michael Lynton: “We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie.”
But with theaters dropping like flies and “not been one major VOD or one major ecommerce site” stepping forward to show the film, the studio’s options are limited. Last night, however, a hero stepped forward to take on the tyranny of state-sponsored terrorism.
“Like everyone else around the world, we’ve been following this egregious hacking of Sony’s servers over the past few weeks,” BitTorrent Inc. said in a statement to VB.
“A trend has emerged among commentary in the days since Sony announced they would not release the motion picture, ‘The Interview.’ There have been calls for Sony to release the film online. And many have contacted us asking: Would they be able to release the movie using BitTorrent?
“Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes,” the company said.
BitTorrent Inc. believes that Sony’s best option to “take back control of their film” and not cave in to “terrorist threats” is to utilize the company’s BitTorrent Bundles.
Not only would Bundles allow everyone to view The Interview at home safe in the knowledge they aren’t going to get blown up, but this would strike “a strong note for free speech” while allowing Sony to set whatever price they like for the film, BitTorrent Inc. says.
While there is certainly a promotional aspect to BitTorrent Inc.’s offer, releasing the movie using the BitTorrent protocol would solve Sony’s initial distribution problems. The company could probably flick the switch and have this movie out by Monday, if they’re really wanted to.
Of course, any release via BitTorrent Bundles would mean that The Interview would also become available on public and private torrent sites within hours. At this point anyone could download the movie for free. There had been suggestions earlier this week that Sony should go straight to torrent sites with the movie anyway, but BitTorrent Inc. thinks this is a bad idea.
“We disagree, however, with some that have suggested that Sony should make the film available through piracy sites. That would only serve to encourage bad actors. It’s also important to make the distinction that these piracy sites are not ‘torrent sites.’ They are piracy sites that are wrongfully exploiting torrent technology,” the company said.
It seems unlikely that BitTorrent Inc. will seal the deal with Sony, but if they were successful this would not only be a major coup for the company but one steeped in irony.
As BitTorrent Inc. promises to strike a blow for freedom using BitTorrent, for the past several weeks the Sony hackers have also been using the BitTorrent protocol to distribute the very files they obtained from Sony.
Just goes to show, BitTorrent technology really can be used for anything.