Sony wants Twitter to suspend account of user who posted leaked documents

Confidential information from Sony was leaked after a hack in late November

Sony has asked Twitter to suspend the account of a person who is alleged to have posted internal company documents and information released by hackers.

Twitter has also been asked to destroy the "stolen" documents that are in its possession or control.

A letter sent Monday by Sony Pictures Entertainment's attorney David Boies to Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde, and obtained by some news outlets, claimed that someone using the Twitter handle @bikinirobotarmy is in possession of, and is using the account to publish "stolen documents and information" from the recent hack.

Sony Pictures was hacked in late November and a variety of information, including corporate, employee data and unreleased movies were leaked. Some leaked emails of executives have proven to be particularly embarrassing for the company.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has said North Korea was responsible for the hack, which came ahead of the release by Sony of a comedy movie about a plot to assassinate the country's leader Kim Jong Un.

The Twitter account Sony wants suspended belongs to Val Broeksmit who describes himself on his website as a person who "writes records, mixes and masters his own music."

Broeksmit said on Monday that Twitter had forwarded to him the letter from Boies. The attorney had asked Twitter to hand over a copy of his letter to Broeksmit and ask him to cease publication of the information on Twitter.

In a telephone interview, Broeksmit said he had tweeted the "silly, stupid stuff" that he thought was already in the public domain, and did not tweet any sensitive corporate information that could damage Sony. The musician had tweeted, for example, an email that suggested that Sony paid an actor to tweet about films.

"It's absurd that Sony is going after me," he said. "They keep making mistakes." Broeksmit said he hadn't yet decided whether he would back down to Sony's demand or hire a lawyer.

"SPE does not consent to Twitter's or any Twitter account holder's possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen Information, and to request your cooperation in suspending the Account Holder's Twitter account and the account of any other user seeking to disseminate the Stolen Information via Twitter," Boies wrote in the letter.

Twitter has previously suspended accounts of users publishing the confidential information, which was acknowledged by Boies in his letter.

Citing Twitter's prohibition in its terms of service on the unauthorized publication of copyrighted material and other people's private and confidential information, or the use of Twitter for illegal purposes, Sony has threatened to hold Twitter responsible for damages or losses to Sony, if the account is not suspended and the information continues to be disseminated.

"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," Boies wrote.

Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said the company had received the letter on Monday afternoon, but did not comment on the letter or indicate whether it planned to suspend the account.

Boies had previously written to some news outlets to warn them that they weren't allowed to use stolen information, threatening them with possible responsibility for damages incurred by Sony in connection with the reports.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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Tags internetlegalInternet-based applications and servicesSony Pictures

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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