A hack at Sony Pictures has resulted in at least five of the company’s latest films being released to the Internet before they hit theaters or DVD. The hack attack shut down the studio just before Thanksgiving and has resulted in the illegal release of the films on illicit file-sharing hubs.
The films, which are all DVD screeners, include the new production of Annie (in theaters later this month), the latest Brad Pitt film Fury (still in theaters), Mr. Turner, Still Alice and To Write Love On Her Arms.
The films may be traced to the hack through watermarks, experts say, and with over a million and a half downloads all told, Sony may not be able to individually target those who’ve stolen the films. Sony has said that they consider this a criminal matter and are working with authorities.
The November 24 attack on Sony Pictures’ corporate systems left the company’s computers displaying images of a skeleton with the words “Hacked by #GOP.” The group claims to be the “Guardians of Peace” and they’ve threatened to release “secrets and top secrets” of Sony to the public. A connection between an upcoming film The Interview and North Korea is not being overlooked.
Earlier this year, the Expendables 3 film was stolen and released online about three weeks before it hit theaters. Police in London have arrested two men in connection with that theft.