Quentin Tarantino is out for revenge – no kidding this time.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained has filed a contributory copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media for publishing his script for the planned Western The Hateful Eight, a project he says he has now shelved because of the leak.
The lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court states: “Jury trial demanded.”
The document is signed by famed entertainment attorney Martin Singer, but the text of the lawsuit sounds a lot like Tarantino himself: “Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck. This time they went too far,” it reads. “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. Their headline boasts ‘Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ – ‘Here,’ not someplace else, but ‘Here’ on the Gawker website”
The main thing enraging the director were several hyperlinks directing readers to download the screenplay themselves. “There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the Screenplay, and it’s conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity,” the lawsuit states.
Tarantino claims he distributed the script to a small handful of people, and discovered on Jan. 21 that unauthorized copies were making the rounds, “albeit in a limited manner (i.e., online search engine searches for a copy of the script, through January 23, did not have any positive results).” The lawsuit also states: “After learning of the leak, Plaintiff decided to postpone working on the movie, and stated publicly – in an interview that was widely reported in the media – that he intended to publish it.”
The filmmaker alleges the script might have stayed out of the public eye until Gawker published this story the next day: Quentin Tarantino Throws Temper Tantrum After Script Leak.
The suit asserts that Gawker “actively solicited its readers to provide it with an unauthorized infringing copy of the Screenplay, stating “if anyone would like to … leak the script to us, please do so at [redacted email address].”
If Gawker hadn’t published their findings, Tarantino believes “that the general public would not have known about or found the complete copy of the Screenplay,” according to the suit, which also names anonymous users of the website AnonFiles.com as defendants, for allegedly uploading his screenplay to that site.
Tarantino is seeking an injunction against the sites that would stop them from further disseminating the screenplay, and asks the court for unspecified damages exceeding $1 million.
The filmmaker’s reps declined to comment on the lawsuit. Gawker publisher Nick Denton also did not immediately respond for request for his site’s side of the story,
and a request left with the general media inquiry address has not yet been answered.
UPDATE: Gawker published a rebuttal Monday afternoon that asserted Tarantino deliberately leaked the script himself, although the site provided no evidence to back this up. The response also claimed the site had no liability for linking to the website page that hosted the script for The Hateful Eight.