This is not a First Amendment issue.
If the leaked material proves a crime has been committed, then the leaker and the distributors should be protected as whistle blowers and the data should be used to prosecute and be made public.
If the data contains nothing but a bunch of shaddy dealings that make juicy headlines for me to scorn Sony with, I really dont feel like that stolen material is any of my business.
I disapprove of posting juicy industry gossip on your news outlet, but I will defend to the death your right to generate revenue through sponsored click-bait.
If Sony is threatening journalists with criminal prosecution (debatable based on the threat/demand letter) then they are claiming that the law has a prior restraint on the reporting of these materials. That would cause it to fall into a First Amendment realm.
If this was/is just one origination threatening other organizations with “We will be unhappy if you do this” the it would be fine. Maybe even “We will file a civil action if you do this”, but that is stretching it.
The letter itself implies anyone using the documents is in violation of the CFAA, that does push us into the criminal law realm, meaning that Sony is claiming that reporting the contents of the leaks is a federal crime. One would suppose the intent of the letter is also to imply that they would go to prosecutors and try an pursue chargers. Weather they would really do that instead of just implying that they would is unknown at this point.
…+1 for “It was an inside job” Sony conspiracy theory…
…because it would be really convenient if Sony could write legislation that would forbid people from talking about things that it decided were illegal…and it has the deep pockets and Washington connections down pat with this link…
…not that it would ever do such a thing…
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