News of the Week

The Interview/Sony/Hack: A Message in a Bottle


Our eldest daughter has a phrase she is fond of using on the frequent occasions where my understanding of her cultural touchpoints comes up empty. “It’s a thing, Dad. It really is.” she will say in order to efficiently dismiss my profound lack of knowledge while at the same time assuring me that she fully comprehends what I so clearly cannot. End of discussion. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Move on to the next topic.

Similarly the debacle that was/is the hack of Sony, the cancellation (and un-cancellation) of “The Interview” and all the censorship, privacy, ethical and geopolitical considerations seem to be “A Thing”. Meaning that they are so complex and intertwined as to be beyond easy analysis and understanding in the short term. Accordingly it seems appropriate to create a “message in a bottle” (cue The Police circa 1979) which contains an admittedly personal curation of the last three weeks of stories on the subject. The hope is that time and perspective will help our understanding of the implications to creativity of what happened, and comparing what we will know in the future to what we know know will somehow be helpful.

So without further ado a collection (in rough chronological order) of The Interview/Sony/Hack “Thing” to-date.

 The Messy Media Ethics Behind The Sony Hacks: The gray area where the leaked information resides — between public and private, prurient and illuminating — might not be the exception, but the new normal.

No Gray Area: It’s Definitely Not OK to Publish Emails From the Sony Hack: A look at the media’s strategy of relying on criminals to do their reporting for them.

Sony Fires Off Letter To Press Outlets Demanding They Cease Publication Of And Destroy Any ‘Stolen Information’

Can Sony Get Around First Amendment to Sue the Media Over the Hack? (Analysis)

U.S. Officials Determine North Korea Is Behind Sony Hack: Reports

Sony Hackers Threaten “9/11-Style” Attack On Movie Theaters

Film of graphic novel Pyongyang killed in wake of Sony hacks

Sony Officially Cancels ‘The Interview’ Release Following Hacker Threats

Sony Goes One Ridiculous Step Further: Threatens To Sue Twitter Over Leaked Email Screenshots

Seth Rogen And The Ridiculous War Of 2014: In the gutless cancelation of The Interview release, Seth Rogen and James Franco emerge the lone heroes.

Obama thinks Sony “made a mistake” pulling The Interview after hack: The president also promised a “proportional response” to North Korea.

North Korea loses Internet days after Barack Obama vows revenge over Sony hacks

Cyberwar on North Korea Could Be Illegal: Someone knocked the Hermit Kingdom offline. If it was the United States, the operation will test the bounds of international law.

Sony To Allow Screenings Of ‘The Interview’ On Christmas After All

The Interview to be streamed online through YouTube, Xbox Video, Google Play

How Tim League, George R. R. Martin & Indie Cinemas Helped Uncancel ‘The Interview’

Let the games begin: first Sony class action lawsuit filed over data breach

We Spoke To A North Korean Defector Who Trained With Its Hackers — What He Said Is Pretty Scary

Why Sony is way out on a limb with legal threats against Twitter

The Interview was pirated more than 750,000 times in its first day of release

What Would Twitter Do? Musician’s tweets of Sony e-mails lead to threats: “I don’t know what the line is,” says musician-turned-publisher Val Broeksmit.

North Korea suffers another Internet outage, hurls racial slur at Pres. Obama: Latest drama follows The Interview’s Christmas opening—which earned $1 million.

Who’s Behind The Internet Outages In North Korea, Anyway?

The Interview earns a stunning $15M from online sales: Sony got close to the $20 million weekend it was aiming for.

How ‘The Interview’s’ VOD grosses could change the game

Sony’s Own Copyright Infringement Shows How Broken Our Copyright System Is Today

North Korean defector to airdrop DVD, USB copies of The Interview: DPRK’s “leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down.”



News of the Week Top 5; December 31, 2014

1. How Copyright Makes Culture Disappear

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.14.43 PM

2. How Twitter, Google And Facebook Have Responded To Russia’s Attempt To Censor Political Opposition

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.13.48 PM

3. Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea and hip-hop’s appropriation problem: Jeff Chang offers rhyme and reason on the rap beef between the two pop stars that sheds light on the genre’s complex relationship with race and identity

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 6.12.24 PM

4. The year of GamerGate: The worst of gaming culture gets a movement

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 5.51.57 PM

5. High court justice still unsure about violent video game ruling

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 5.49.47 PM




News of the Week Top 5; December 24, 2014

1. Google SUES Jim Hood — Mississippi Attorney General Claiming Ties To MPAA

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.22.33 PM

2. How Tim League, George R. R. Martin & Indie Cinemas Helped Uncancel ‘The Interview’

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.26.37 PM

3. Flickr removes CC-licensed photos from Wall Art program

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.29.03 PM

4. Judge Floats ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ as Libel Remedy

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.30.45 PM

5. Judge: It’s OK for cops to create fake Instagram accounts

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.35.11 PM


News of the Week Top 5; December 17, 2014

1. Why the Future Will be Made by Creators, Not Consumers

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.18.12 PM

2. The Messy Media Ethics Behind The Sony Hacks: The gray area where the leaked information resides — between public and private, prurient and illuminating — might not be the exception, but the new normal.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.18.45 PM

3. Do Artifacts Have Ethics?

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.19.17 PM

4. Georgia Tech Research Finds Copyright Confusion has ‘Chilling Effects’ in Online Creative Publishing

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.19.48 PM

5. You Can’t Make a Living: Digital Media, the End of TV’s Golden Age, and the Death Scene of the American Playwright

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.20.19 PM



News of the Week Top 5; December 10, 2014

1. Wanted: a tinkerer’s charter – Users should be allowed to fiddle with the way consumer products work without suffering penalties from governments or sanctions from manufacturers (The Economist)

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.36.12 PM

2. Copyright Implications of a “Right to be Forgotten”? Or How to Take-Down the Internet Archive.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.37.41 PM

3. Authors Guild Argues That Google Books Should Be Infringing Because Aaron Swartz

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.33.12 PM

4. Facebook Prince Purges The New Republic: Inside the Destruction of a 100-Year-Old Magazine

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.26.57 PM

5. Is Our Art Equal to the Challenges of Our Times?

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.30.48 PM


News of the Week Top 5; December 3, 2014

As we ramp up towards January’s launch of this new course, am changing the format of News of the Week. If anyone is interested in the complete list of stories similar to what has previously been posted, then click through the link (in the right hand column) which will take to you to the UBC Video Game Law website where a comparable list continues to be posted every Wednesday.

The new format for this website will be to showcase (hopefully in a more visually appealing way) the five most intriguing stories of previous week relevant to the subject matter of the course. Here goes….

1. Free Speech, Facebook and Gangsta Rap (Noah Feldman)

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.05.58 AM

2. China to Send Filmmakers to Countryside for “Ideological Training”

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.03.30 AM

3. Enter the Matrix: The rise of brain-computer interfaces

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.09.05 AM 

4. Is Internet Addiction a Real Thing?

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.12.56 AM

5. The Uncertain Scope of the Public Performance Right after Aereo (Matthew Sag)

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.15.05 AM