Last week, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s email system and other internal systems were hacked by a group called “Guardian of Peace.” This week, five of the studio’s movies were leaked online, including “Fury” and “Annie.” Oddly enough, the two incidents may not be related because it is being reported that the movies, which have been uploaded to many “torrent” websites, were ripped from DVDs.
Online piracy is a serious problem with serious consequences. Two men were recently arrested in London for the their role in leaking the movie “The Expendables 3,” which had over 2.2 million views before it even hit theaters this past summer. The theft of these five Sony movies likely could cost the studio hundreds of millions of dollars before it is over, especially considering that four of the five movies have not been released in theaters yet.
Online piracy is very detrimental to encouraging creative content, so it is important that various groups work together to quickly reduce it. The Motion Picture Association of America recently released a new website, WheretoWatch.com, which helps consumers quickly locate legal content online, in stores, or at the movies theaters. Rightscorp is another good tool that notifies Internet Service Providers, content companies, and consumers when content is pirated online.
Although this recent Sony incident is a step in the wrong direction, hopefully more tools that help secure strong intellectual property rights, like WheretoWatch.com and Rightscorp, will continue to emerge. The protection of intellectual property is essential for encouraging more innovation, creative content, and economic growth.