Sony canceling the release of ‘The Interview’ following the hacking of the studio’s private information and terrorist threats against theaters that planned to screen the film isn’t just the biggest movie news story of the year. It may very well be the biggest movie news story of the decade. These events are unprecedented and the “Guardians of Peace” (who United States officials claim are from, or at least work for, North Korea) are enjoying their victory in the most obvious way: Gloating and issuing even more threats.

Their latest message to Sony (via CNN) is essentially a victory lap, one final insult to the massive corporation they kneecapped and humiliated through theft and intimidation. If they continue to get their way, ‘The Interview’ will never be released. Here’s a particularly unsettling portion of the message:

Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy.

Right now, no one knows exactly what’s going to happen to this completely finished film. Some have suggested that Sony will permanently shelve it in an attempt to recoup their investment through insurance money. Others have predicted a quiet VOD or DVD release sometime in 2015. But if Sony keeps on giving in to the hackers, this may become a permanently lost movie, and that’s just scary. If you aren’t unsettled by a foreign power run by a ruthless dictator erasing a comedy from existence because it makes fun of him, you need to start getting unsettled. This is a nasty precedent.

And the group’s demands keep on getting more specific. They don’t just want the movie gone. They want all the evidence that it ever existed gone too:

And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately.

Of course, they also remind Sony that they have all of their private data (including the personal information of thousands of employees), saying that they will “ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble.” Yes, that is blackmail.

The potential ramifications go far beyond a simple movie release. This wasn’t just a hack; it was an act of cyberterrorism. Some people may laugh off this whole situation and wonder why everyone is getting so worked up over a goofy Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy, but this is genuinely terrifying. Now, any hate group can try to shut down any movie with similar tactics. Any nation that feels that Hollywood (or anyone else) isn’t representing them can retaliate and cause genuine harm and fear. This is scary.

It doesn’t matter that the United States government said the threats from the hackers aren’t credible and it doesn’t matter that the impoverished nation of North Korea probably couldn’t launch an effective physical strike against America. An enemy of freedom stared down several of the world’s largest corporations and won, and are continuing to hold them hostage. ‘The Interview’ isn’t just a movie anymore. It’s now a part of history.

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