The leak of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight continues to have wider repercussions than the director refusing to make it, or Bruce Dern being momentarily aware that Quentin Tarantino is mad at him before returning to palling around with Jack Nicholson. The Hollywood Reporter says that Tarantino has filed a lawsuit against the recently resurrected Gawker Media website Defamer, after it posted a link to all 146 pages of the leaked script. “Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck,” the lawsuit reads, implicitly referring to past legal flare-ups over posting Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Lena Dunham’s book proposal, and maybe even that time it infringed on Rob Ford's just trying to make an honest living by posting a video of him smoking crack.
The suit continues, “This time, they went too far. 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.” (And with that, every other site that merely published a news story summarizing some of its broader details breathed a cautious sigh of relief.)
While Tarantino said around the time of the initial leak that “I do like the fact that everyone eventually posts [the script], gets it and reviews it on the net,” in this case he feels “there was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the screenplay.” And while Defamer itself didn’t actually host the screenplay, the suit blasts the site for the way it “brazenly encourages” its readers to “enjoy” it through a “conveniently anonymous URL.” Since that post, Defamer has reportedly ignored “repeat demands” to remove the links. Regrettably, should this case go to court, Tarantino won’t get an awkward reunion with recently departed Defamer editor Beejoli Shah, who got the job after going viral with her story about Tarantino sucking her toes. That would have made for a really good episode of Law & Order.
UPDATE: Gawker has finally responded, presenting a bullet-pointed list of rejoinders. As one might expect, chief among its arguments is that the site didn’t actually leak the script or even host the leak—merely that it provided a link to a site that did. It also counters that, because Tarantino “deliberately turned the leak into a story” himself, while also seemingly saying he likes the inevitable Internet discussion of his leaked scripts, writing about the leak was simply part of the site “making people aware of news and information about which they are curious.”
Furthermore, the actual charge is “contributory copyright infringement,” a hazy legal area that’s typically involved lawsuits against file-sharing services or Google for linking to other, more explicitly infringing sites, and which could make prosecuting Gawker difficult. In short, Gawker’s John Cook concludes, “We’ll be fighting this one.” Seeing as it’s a war of words, we imagine Tarantino will too.
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