When the script for what was to be Quentin Tarantino's next movie, western "The Hateful Eight," leaked online last week, the disappointed director vowed to scrap the project. Now, Tarantino is suing Gawker Media for posting links to the script online.
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In a lawsuit filed Monday and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Tarantino's attorneys argued that by posting the script, Gawker website Defamer was practicing "predatory journalism" and "violating people's rights to make a buck."
"This time, they went too far," the lawsuit reads. "Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that [Tarantino]'s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire Screenplay illegally."
Defamer posted a link to the 146-page script last Thursday under the headline, "Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script." The lawsuit alleges that Gawker has ignored "repeat demands for the removal of the posted URL links" and "submissions of [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] notices of copyright infringement."
In a lengthy post defending itself, Gawker hit back at Tarantino on Monday, refuting many of the claims in the lawsuit, as well as clearing up misconceptions about the suit floating around the interwebs. Editor John Cook noted that Gawker itself did not leak the "Hateful Eight" script, but merely linked to other sites that did so. Tarantino himself wanted the script online, Cook wrote, quoting the director's interview with Deadline where he stated, "I do like the fact that everyone eventually posts it, gets it and reviews it on the net. ... I like the fact that people like my sh*t, and that they go out of their way to find it and read it."
Gawker Media is being sued for contributory copyright infringement, explained by Cook as "a legal theory that has traditionally been deployed against file-sharing sites and search engines-venues that explicitly exist as directories to copyrighted content."
"[P]ublication of the link was a routine and unremarkable component of our job: making people aware of news and information about which they are curious," Cook wrote. " ... Gawker and Defamer are news sites, and our publication of the link was clearly connected to our goal of informing readers about things they care about. As far as I can tell (but I'm no lawyer!), no claim of contributory infringement has prevailed in the U.S. over a news story. We'll be fighting this one."
THR writes that the suit is seeking "actual and statutory damages as well as Gawker's profits in the amount of at least $1 million." The entire complaint is available through THR.
[h/t HuffPost Entertainment]