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4 Latest Developments In Sony Hacking Scandal: Google Takes On MPAA, Team America Screenings 86’ed & More

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Dec. 19 2014, Updated 9:44 a.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email has all the latest in the Sony hacking scandal that’s rattled foundations from Hollywood to the Silicon Valley to Washington D.C., including a nasty spat between giants of the entertainment and tech industries, as well as another North Korea-based film yanked out of movie houses, and a mysterious move from Sony on the heels of pulling The Interview from theaters.

Google Vs. Hollywood

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Another conflict that’s stemmed out of the content of the hacked Sony emails has pitted the major studios and Motion Picture Association of America against Google. Google Senior Vice President Kent Walker, in a blog Thursday, said that the Hollywood superpowers continue to quietly work in concert “to revive the failed Stop Online Piracy Act legislation through other means.” Walker wrote that the studios and MPAA earlier this year looked into new paths to rehash SOPA, including persuading state authorities to crack down harder on Google in terms of what content it links to; and having each studio earmark annual budgets to fight Google through the courts. The MPAA shot back that “Google’s effort to position itself as a defender of free speech is shameful,” and that the search engine empire is passing off free speech as “a shield for unlawful activities.” They added that Walker’s post was a distraction tactic to downplay Google’s role “in enabling and facilitating illegal conduct — including illicit drug purchases, human trafficking and fraudulent documents as well as theft of intellectual property.”

No Puppet Show Here

Paramount Pictures Thursday put the kibosh on screenings of Team America: World Police, the 2004 Trey Parker and Matt Stone puppet film that had been offered by some theaters as a replacement for The Interview. The Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse cited “circumstances beyond our control” as to why “the film was pulled from release.” The comedy focused on an elite American military unit doing battle with late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

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New Trailer

of The Interview due to safety concerns, Sony raised eyebrows posting a 32-second preview of the film to their YouTube page on Thursday, with the tagline, “In Franco and Rogen we trust.” The preview, a montage of humorous excerpts of the film, continued to advertise Christmas Day as the film’s nationwide release date, and included a caption acknowledging the headlines it’s created, reading, "Only one movie has the whole world talking.” The clip was later set to private.

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Payback Plans

Some have called for the U.S. to take the offense against North Korea in the fallout of the scandal, following the hacking of Sony and subsequent threats levied to movie theaters slated to show The Interview. While anonymous government higher-ups said evidence pointed to North Korea as the culprit of the criminal activity, the White House has officially stayed mum on the issue. The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., is on the record saying he believes North Korea’s most-skilled hackers were responsible for the recent incidents. He called the hacking “an act of aggression against the United States by a foreign government” and much more than “a corporate security issue.” Royce suggested the U.S. take measures of retribution against North Korea sanctioning a dozen banks (mostly based out of China) that do business with North Korea, which would impact their access to hard currency.

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