Eminent domain to seize “The Interview”?

It’s being suggested, in the wake of widespread outrage over the yanking of the film under threat, but please: let’s not run the whole country like the state of Maryland.

Also on the Sony affair, from @conor64: “Failure to release The Interview is less a sign of corporate cowardice than overbroad liability laws that would let people sue after attack.”


  • Is it possible that Sony might yet release this picture and that with all the free publicity it’s received, exceed its wildest expectations of box office receipts?

  • Don’t forget that families of victims at the Colorado movie theater killings sued the theater chain, alleging that they should have foreseen this possibility and taken necessary precautions. I don’t recall any outrage from the usual left of center types over this action. Now that there is a case where there was a direct threat aimed at theaters that showed The Interview, why shouldn’t they have chosen to cancel showings?

  • I have been making a similar proposal to Prof. Magliocca’s:

    Leaving Sony to twist in the wind will send a message to the rest of the American press not to offend the World’s other evildoers. Today we lose a frothy comedy, but serious reporting would be next. We see the model in current reporting from Gaza: sturdy denials from all but a few brave souls of Hamas’s human shield tactics.

    (1) Following the 9-11 example, Congress should set up a fund to compensate Sony, their clients, and others for substantive losses. Apart from that, our court system should be closed, especially to lawsuits citing failure to humor thugs as “negligence.”

    (1a) Some might claim that Sony deserves to be sued anyways for substandard security. We should not go down that road unless Sony was blatantly below the standards of their industry. Otherwise, we might encourage other media companies to appease thugs as a cheaper alternative to upgrading their security.

    (1b) As part of the settlement, the US government can seize reprint rights of the film by eminent domain, and distribute it at will.

  • We are now seeing the opposite side of the same coin vis how to deal with tyrants.
    Recall how CNN was oh so cozy with Saddam Hussein, so that CNN reporters could report from Baghdad and were getting access and exclusive interviews. The fact that Saddam’s regime was dictating the propaganda to CNN was, well, sort of swept under the rug. That relationship provided ammunition that lefties used against President Bush.
    Now that a tyrant is using a different tactic, one that affects the livelihood of those same lefties, well, not so cozy a relationship now, is it?

  • Seizure using eminent domains presents freedom of speech issues, but I see no objection to the government paying Sony to dedicate the film to the public domain.

    Also, there is predcedent for the government assuming liability in order to get a private company to act. The pharmaceutical companies were reluctant to produce the swine flu vaccine in 1976 due to liability concerns so the federal government assumed liability for bad reactions.

  • @Hugo: Your ideas seem almost contradictory. You don’t want to give media companies “cheaper alternatives to upgrading their security”, yet you want to bail them out when their security is breached? And you’d have the United States bail out a Japanese company for an action taken by North Korea?

    Also, it would only be eminent domain if the movie was taken from Sony against their wishes (if Sony agreed to this as a condition of a bailout, it would essentially just be a sale.) I cannot fathom how such an action could possibly be appropriate.

  • @David–

    I am proposing a “friendly” eminent domain seizure (with the Fifth Amendment guarantee of “just compensation”), to give Sony a “force majeure” excuse to dodge continuing censorship demands from North Korea.

    Sony is more than just “a Japanese company”: it is also one of America’s largest media companies. North Korea is an old enemy with lots of American blood on its hands.

    The specific “cheap alternative” to state-of-the-art security for media companies that I wish to obviate is to become tame servants of the world’s thugs. Note also that under current US tort law, even “state of the art” is not an adequate defense for liability, once it is breached.