LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Quentin Tarantino sued the news and gossip website Gawker on Monday over a post that directed readers to a leaked copy of the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s latest movie.
Tarantino’s lawsuit accuses Gawker Media LLC of contributory copyright infringement for posting a link to the 146-page script for a planned film titled “The Hateful Eight” last week. A link to the script was posted on Gawker’s Defamer blog and remained active Monday afternoon, despite demands from Tarantino’s lawyers to take it down, the lawsuit states.
“There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of (Tarantino’s) copyright in the screenplay, and it’s conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity,” the lawsuit states.
Gawker Editor-in-Chief John Cook said the company would fight the lawsuit and pointed out that the company was being sued for posting a link to the script, not the actual document.
“News of the fact that it existed on the Internet advanced a story that Tarantino himself had launched, and our publication 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 said.
Tarantino is also suing an anonymous file-sharing site that is linked in the post for copyright infringement. The contributory copyright infringement claim against Gawker contends the site’s link allowed more people to find the script and infringe Tarantino’s copyright by downloading and copying it.
The writer-director blasted the leak last week in an interview with Deadline.com and said he would abandon the project as a film. His lawsuit states he planned to publish the screenplay and that practice in the past has earned him hefty royalties and advances. His lawsuit states his damages as a result of the Gawker post will be more than $1 million.
The leak of Tarantino’s script was initially limited to a few people, his lawsuit states, and “The Hateful Eight” script did not appear online until after Gawker posted an item encouraging anyone who had a copy to leak it to them.
Tarantino has won screenwriting two Academy Awards for his films “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained.” He also received best director Oscar nominations for “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglourious Basterds.”
In October 2012, former wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with the wife of his best friend. A Florida judge ordered the site to remove footage, story and comments about the video, but a state appellate court overturned that order Jan. 17 after determining the ruling violated the First Amendment.
Tarantino’s lawsuit was first reported Monday by The Hollywood Reporter.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .