Sony Pictures Entertainment’s decision to cancel the release of the comedy “The Interview” in response to an unspecified threat from North Korea has taught us some important lessons.

We don’t want to be in a foxhole with Sony. We don’t want Sony to represent us on the world stage. We don’t want the company to defend our rights.

Because Sony is a corporation and it can’t be courageous, diplomatic or statesmanlike, it can only act in the best interests of its stockholders. If it can make more money not showing a movie than it can by showing it, the movie won’t be shown. Unless we own Sony stock, the company has very little interest in what we think.

America will probably survive without another Seth Rogan film. And it’s probably a good idea for Americans to realize that North Korea is no joke: We may find their leader comical, but he tortures and intimidates the people under his power and he has nuclear weapons.

But the most troubling thing about this incident is how quickly a major transnational corporation is willing to sacrifice our tradition of freedom of expression when standing up for those rights is not in line with the company’s short-term financial interest.

We are in an era in which large companies have outsized influence over our government and our lives. Some of them have a tremendous amount of our financial information, and not just the banks. Retail stores have our credit card numbers and, as has been shown by several well-known supersize data breaches and many lesser-known smaller ones, they are not always careful with the information.

According to the FBI, the cyberattack on Sony was conducted by the government of North Korea. What happens if that government next strikes at Home Depot or Target? Will they be better able to fend off an intrusion than Sony? Will they be any more protective of our rights?

Corporations might be people in the eyes of the Supreme Court when it comes to making campaign contributions, but they should not be assumed to have the same passion for universal freedom as the flesh-and-blood persons who actually make up this country. Corporations will not stand up for our interests unless they have to.

In this age of cyberbullying on an international scale, we need the government to hold these businesses accountable. The effects of one of these attacks could be felt by everyone, even if a corporation’s dividends only go to a few.