Vice's Motherboard website reported that Sony's lawyer, David Boies, is threatening to sue Twitter if the social network does not ban accounts that are posting leaked emails in any form. The news arrives after Sony made similar threats to a number of news outlets on Sunday that were posting information contained within the stolen documents. Sites that received the warning included the New York Times and Variety.
Sony's letter to Twitter focuses on one individual, a musician named Val Broeksmit (@bikinirobotarmy), who is using his Twitter account to publish screenshots of sensitive information. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) believes that Twitter is well aware of the individual's activity and wants the social network to stop it immediately. SPE also wants Twitter to take preventive measures to ensure that Twitter employees will not gain access to the stolen information, and to destroy any copies that Twitter may have obtained.
"If Twitter does not comply with this request, and the Stolen Information continues to be disseminated by Twitter in any manner, SPE 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," the letter read.
According to the letter, SPE's stolen information includes "documents and information protected under U.S. and foreign legal doctrines protecting attorney-client privileged communications, attorney work product, and related privileges and protections, as well as private financial and other confidential information and communications of SPE's current and former personnel and others, confidential personnel data, intellectual property, trade secrets and other business secrets and related communications, and other confidential information."
SPE's letter was sent to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's General Counsel and Secretary. SPE demanded that Twitter provide Broeksmit with a copy of the letter and ensure that he will stop posting stolen information on the website. Twitter is also tasked to comply with any future takedown notices regarding the stolen information.
As Motherboard points out, Twitter's Terms of Service prohibits users from posting private information of other individuals. However, the Terms do not prohibit users from linking to that information. Meanwhile, there's no indication that Broeksmit will cease posting images of the emails contained in the stolen data, as he told Re/code that he will probably not stop despite the letter.
"It's the first time we've ever seen a multi-billion-dollar corporation laid completely bare to the American public," he said. Broeksmit also admitted that he thought the stolen emails were in the public domain because they were so easy to obtain. He's not sure where the line between private and public domains resides.
Broeksmit added he received Twitter's letter on Sunday, but he has yet to seek legal counsel.