Director Quentin Tarantino is suing online media company Gawker for leaking the script of his unproduced western film The Hateful Eight online, seeking actual and statutory damages, as well as Gawker’s profits to the tune of at least U$1 million.
Details of the script first appeared online last week, enraging the man behind Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction so much that he said that The Hateful Eight would no longer be his next project. The Gawker site Defamer then linked to the entire screenplay with a note telling readers to “enjoy”, triggering legal action from the 50-year-old.
Tarantino’s lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles, claims that Gawker Media “has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck”:
“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.”
But Gawker editor John Cook has responded by saying that his site didn’t leak the script but merely reported on it, and that Tarantino actually turned the leak into news by kicking up such a fuss:
“Someone unknown to Gawker put it on a web site called AnonFiles, and someone unknown to Gawker put it on a different web site called Scribd. Last Thursday, Gawker received a tip from a reader informing us that the script was on the AnonFiles site, after which Gawker published a story reporting that the script had surfaced online.”
The lawsuit raises the issue of whether it’s illegal to share links online of material known to be copyrighted, something highlighted in recent legal battles between adult entertainment industry publishers and Amazon and Google.
Gawker are refusing to remove the links, with Cook simply saying, “We’ll be fighting this one.” You can read their full response to the suit here.