The Interview may get shown after all.
After Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that a threat from a shadowy hacking group would cause the movie to be shelved, the online site BitTorrent has stepped up and offered to release it online.
Sony’s move to scrap the release of The Interview after the threat from hackers — believed to be from North Korea — was met with widespread criticism. Even President Obama said he disagreed with the decision.
“Sony’s a corporation. It suffered significant damage, there were threats against its employees,” Obama said at his annual year-end news conference from the White House. “I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.”
Obama added that he wished Sony had “spoken to me first,” so he could encourage them not to cave into threats from hackers. He warned that the precedent to self-censor could lead to situations where other projects are cancelled when it offends “somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.”
The movie, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, is about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Now BitTorrent wants to help The Interview find an audience. In a statement released Friday, the file-sharing service said it has reached out to Sony “on a number of fronts” about carrying the movie.
“It seems like no one else wants to touch this, but for us this about the two things we care about most: an open Internet and a sustainable future for creativity,” said BitTorrent Chief Content Officer Matt Mason. “This is bigger than this film at this point. As a company, we feel we have no choice but to help Sony Pictures and defend these principles.”
The movie would be released through BitTorrent Bundle, which Deadline describes as “an alternative digital-distribution option for artists, musicians, filmmakers and distributors to release material to consumers” for a fee.
BitTorrent Director of Communications Christian Averil also issued a statement about the company’s desire to release The Interview.
“Like everyone else around the world, we’ve been following this egregious hacking of Sony’s servers over the past few weeks.
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. BitTorrent Bundle is in fact the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiesce to terrorists threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech.
Bundle has a self-publishing platform that anyone from Sony can use. Using the paygate option, Sony are able to set the price for the film and release it widely without implicating anyone or exposing any third party to a terrorist threat.
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.
BitTorrent Bundle is a safe and legal way for Sony to release this film and they would join the nearly 20,000 creators and rights holders now using the Bundle publishing platform.”
Sony has not responded to BitTorrent’s offer to release The Interview.