As has become customary in the past few weeks, the so-called Guardians of Peace hackers contacted TorrentFreak on Tuesday advising us of the latest release from their Sony hack.
The tone on this occasion was different. Threats of destroying Sony’s business had given way to suggestions of 9/11 style attacks on locations daring to show the now-controversial movie The Interview. Under increasing pressure, last evening Sony decided to pull the film.
“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,” Sony said in a statement.
While it’s believed the US government will officially point the finger at North Korea today, not everyone is scared of being associated with the movie. In fact, BitTorrent-loving, Pirate Bay-supporting, best-selling author Paulo Coelho is interested in buying the rights – and then some.
In a message to Sony this morning, Coelho – who offered to testify for the defense in The Pirate Bay trial of 2009 – laid down his offer.
“I offer @SonyPictures 100k for the rights of ‘The Interview’ I will post it free on my blog,” the author announced.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Coelho confirmed that if successful he’ll make the movie available for free using BitTorrent. But what made him want to get involved in the controversy?
“As a writer, freedom of information /distribution is important for me. You can’t bend to threats,” Coelho told TF.
“Worse, you can’t give an excuse that [Sony] decided to pull the plug fearing ‘terrorist attacks’. It is my understanding that what they really fear are email leaks.”
While the amount offered by Coelho is small beans against a movie that could end up costing Sony $100m (hack costs not included), it’s being offered by an individual who knows all about leveraging file-sharing to his benefit.
In 2007 Coelho sold in excess of 100 million books and since its release his novel The Alchemist has shifted more than 165 million copies. Extraordinary writing talent aside, Coelho is unusual in that he embraces piracy and is more than happy to let people download his work for free.
In an earlier interview with TorrentFreak the Brazilian said that he wanted people to have the opportunity to ‘try’ his books for free, but some of his publishers wouldn’t agree to that right away. So, taking matters into his own hands, Coelho put his books onto BitTorrent and hosting sites to achieve his aims.
“The ultimate goal of a writer is to be read. Money comes later,” he said.
In fact, BitTorrent distribution is helping Coelho’s sales today more than ever before.
“Adultery, my new book, broke all records this year, and I believe that one of the reasons was there being many copies on P2P sites,” the author says.
Coelho concluded his offer to Sony Pictures this morning by suggesting he should be contacted via the company’s Brazil division. Whether a response will be forthcoming will remain to be seen, but in any event it seems unlikely that The Interview will remain dark forever.
Although Sony has reportedly killed its theatrical and VOD releases and has “no further release plans” for the movie, in the piracy world forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. File-sharers are now very keen indeed to get their hands on the movie, which is known to be available in DVD screener format.
Should that leak – and copies usually do – then there will be absolutely nothing that anyone can do about that, North Korea included. It won’t land on The Pirate Bay of course, but Coelho doesn’t think that will be too much of a problem.
“Thanks isoHunt,” he concludes.