Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Media over Hateful Eight Script Leak Copyrigh

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Quentin Tarantino figure at Madame Tussauds Hollywood (Credit: Loren Javier via FLickr)

Film director Quentin Tarantino is suing Gawker Media over “blatant copyright infringement”  after one of its blogs linked to a leaked script, according to Mediaite.

Tarantino was planning to direct a movie titled The Hateful Eight but said last week he decided against it because the script leaked. On Jan. 23, Gawker’s Defamer blog reported on the leaked script, linked to the leaked script, and included descriptions of the script. The Defamer blogpost is headlined: “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script.” One of the links directs to anonfiles.com, a website that allows “anonymous file upload.” That link now reads: “file does not exist.” Another link to the script, published on badassdigest.com, now says the script page was “removed by lawyerly request.”

Tarantinio’s copyright lawsuit accuses Gawker Media of “predatory journalism.” It reads in part:

“Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’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.”

The lawsuit goes on, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which obtained a copy of the complaint:

“Their headline boasts… ‘Here,’ not someplace else, but ‘Here’ on the Gawker website. The article then contains multiple direct links for downloading the entire Screenplay through a conveniently anonymous URL by simply clicking button-links on the Gawker page, and brazenly encourages Gawker visitors to read the Screenplay illegally with the invitation to ‘Enjoy!’ it.”

Further, the lawsuit claims that the leaked script wouldn’t have been noticed had Gawker’s blog not promoted a link to it.  The complaint states:

“Plaintiff is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that the general public would not have known about or found the complete copy of the Screenplay on the AnonFiles Website if not for Gawker Media’s article post and specific click-through URL links to the Screenplay. Gawker Media’s article linked to the first (and otherwise unknown) incidence of the complete Screenplay being posted online.  Gawker Media’s article and links became the source for spread of the leak, as it was then widely commented upon and referred to by various other media outlets.”

The lawsuit also claims that Gawker Media wouldn’t unpublish the links to the leaked script or comply with “submissions of DMCA notices of copyright infringement.”

Tarantino wants a jury trial, according to the lawsuit.

iMediaEthics has written to Tarantino’s lawyers and Defamer for comment. We’ll update with any response.

UPDATE: 1/27/2014 5:44 PM EST: Gawker’s editor John Cook has responded to the copyright lawsuit news with a blogpost on Gawker sayin the site would “be fighting” the lawsuit.

Cook’s post stated that “Gawker did not ‘leak’ Quentin Tarantino’s script,” nor ask anyone else to, but only linked to another website. As such, the Daily Caller’s headline was inaccurate by saying Gawker leaked the script. He added that “Gawker is not being sued for copyright infringement. We are being sued for contributory copyright infringement for linking to a site that is being sued for direct copyright infringement.”

Cook further argued that Tarantino was responsibile for publicizing th leak of the script, and that Gawker’s post on the script leak “was news.”


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UPDATED: Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Media over ‘Hateful Eight’ Script Leak Copyright

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