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Obama: Sony Made A Mistake By Canceling Release Of 'The Interview'

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President Barack Obama said Friday he believes Sony Pictures Entertainment "made a mistake" with its decision to scrap the release of "The Interview" amid threats from hackers.

In his year-end press conference from the White House briefing room, Obama expressed sympathy for Sony but warned that the move sets a dangerous precedent.

The plot of the "The Interview," a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, revolves around a fictional assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony had previously been prepared to release the film even after a cyber-attack led to the release of embarrassing e-mails and personal data but subsequently relented after receiving threats.

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United State," Obama said.

He added, "Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don't like or news reports that they don't like."

Obama also cautioned against similar concerns leading producers, distributors and others to start engaging in self-censorship.

The president acknowledged that Sony is a private company worried about liabilities but said he wished they'd spoken to him first

"I would have told them 'Do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these types of criminal attacks,'" Obama said.

Obama's remarks came not long after the Federal Bureau of Investigation formally accused North Korea of the cyber-attack against Sony.

The FBI said it began an investigation shortly after attack and has concluded that the North Korean government is responsible.

The president pointed to steps the administration has taken to prevent cyber-attacks but urged Congress to pass a cyber-security bill.

Obama discussed a number of other issues during the news conference, including his plan to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba and areas of potential compromise with the new Republican-controlled House and Senate.

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