Cybercriminals have stolen sensitive, highly classified documents regarding the status of 007 from the mainframe of a large, shadowy organization. It sounds like it could be the plot of the latest James Bond movie, now known to be titled Spectre, but it’s not. It’s real.
Sony’s PR nightmare in the wake of an online security breach last month continued today, worsening with the revelation that an early draft of the Spectre script may very well be among the documents purloined by hackers. The folks at Variety have reproduced a press release from Sony Pictures Entertainment, and we’ve reproduced that reproduction below:
“EON PRODUCTIONS, the producers of the James Bond films, learned this morning that an early version of the screenplay for the new Bond film SPECTRE is amongst the material stolen and illegally made public by hackers who infiltrated the Sony Pictures Entertainment computer system. Eon Productions is concerned that third parties who have received the stolen screenplay may seek to publish it or its contents... Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq LLC will take all necessary steps to protect their rights against the persons who stole the screenplay, and against anyone who makes infringing uses of it or attempts to take commercial advantage of confidential property it knows to be stolen.”
On Saturday, one of the hackers made a cryptic reference to an impending “Christmas gift,” quite possibly another large dump of private files onto the Internet, perhaps including Spectre’s script. Because 2014 was sort of the year of the open letter, and because I strongly suspect it will fall far out of favor come 2015, I’ve taken this opportunity to compose an open letter to the e-hoodlums responsible for the recent uproar.
Dear Sony hackers,
By this point, it’s pretty obvious that you don’t have much regard for the law. You’ve done enough by now that I know it would do nothing to remind you that releasing the script online would be extremely illegal. Like, jail-time illegal. But if you were anxious about that, you probably wouldn’t have traipsed into Sony’s Internet tubes. I’d like to instead approach you as one moral being to another. (Operating under the assumption that this whole crime wasn’t executed by some kind of sentient computer program, unless it was, in which case I surrender unconditionally. Please don’t publicize my search history.)
You shouldn’t release the Spectre script. To do so would hurt movie-lovers just as much as the higher-ups at Sony, which I don’t think you want to do. To me, it seems as if y’all fancy yourselves some kind of informational Robin Hood, stealing embarrassing secrets from the rich and giving them to the bored. I get that. Faceless corporations such as Sony are easy to make into the bad guys, as long as you can conveniently forget that they comprise living human people. But publicizing whatever draft of the Spectre script you may be currently dragging your cursor over while whispering “Precious...” is not worth what we’ll all have to sacrifice.
It may very well hobble Sony’s plans for one of its banner properties, but it’ll also ruin the film for the innumerable Bond faithful. Because if you put the script online, we’re gonna read it. I, like so many similarly minded movie lovers, have no self-control. Put the script in front of us and we’re clicking on it, no second thoughts. The words “new James Bond” get us in a fugue state. And then, a year from now, what will we have to look forward to? A series of images that we can disappointedly compare to the ones that played out in our heads when we first read the script months ago? A sad substitute for what looks to be a worthy follow-up to Skyfall.
I know Scott Rudin might not be a tremendously sympathetic guy, though this week probably softened him up a bit. So don’t do this for him. Do it for us. Nobody wants the Christmas gift you have in mind. We’ll just take a gift card, or whatever.
The Dissolve news team