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Sony Pictures Agrees to Settlement in Data Breach Class-Action

Sony Pictures is still feeling the financial fallout from the massive 2014 data breach that resulted in embarrassment for celebrities and company brass alike—and not a few job losses. A judge has approved a multimillion dollar settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by former Sony Pictures Entertainment employees.

Sony has agreed to provide identity theft protection for 437,000 people—as well as an optional service that will cover up to $1 million in losses. It will also create a fund to cover any additional losses. The deal covers those affected from the time of the hack through 2017. The plaintiffs' attorneys will be paid at a later date.

Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace broke into company computers and released thousands of emails, documents and sensitive personal information to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks went on to release about 170,000 emails, including mails making fun of Angelina Jolie and those containing racially tinged comments about the kinds of films that President Obama may like.

Studio head Amy Pascal—who stepped down in the aftermath—and producer Scott Rudin joked that Obama’s favorite films are black-themed movies like Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave.

 “Would he like to finance some movies?” Rudin asked. Pascal wrote back, “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” Rudin responded with “12 YEARS,” and Pascal came back with other films starring African Americans: “Or the butler. Or think like a man? [sic].”

Rudin also called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” as the two discussed Cleopatra. “She’s studying films” he said. “Kill me now.”

The cyber-attack was blamed on North Korea. The attack, according to federal investigators, was in retaliation for its film, the Interview, which spoofed that country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

Sony in 2015 said that the cost for dealing with the breach totaled $15 million for the quarter in which it occurred: “The current quarter is expected to include approximately 15 million U.S. dollars (1.8 billion yen) in investigation and remediation costs relating to the above-mentioned cyber-attack,” it said in its February 2015 earnings.

Photo © CHRISTIAN DE ARAUJO/Shutterstock.com

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