Last week, we reported that two time Oscar winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was shelving his Western project “The Hateful Eight” because the script was leaked. Now, with a situation that could mirror a scene from one of his films, Tarantino is out for blood!
A lawsuit was filed today against Gawker Media for publishing “The Hateful Eight” script in U.S. District Court which states: “Jury trial demanded.” Famed entertainment attorney Martin Singer signed the document which reads:
“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. Their headline boasts ‘Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ – ‘Here,’ not someplace else, but ‘Here’ on the Gawker website”
The primary focus of Tarantino’s anger came as several hyperlinks were posted directing readers to download the screenplay for themselves. The lawsuit states:
“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.”
Tarantino distributed his script to only six people, and to his surprise discovered on January 21st that unauthorized copies were being circulated, “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.”
Tarantino alleges that the script might have stayed out of the publics’ hands , but Gawker published the story the following day under the title: 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.]”
The filmmaker believes that if Gawker had not published their findings “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 representatives 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.
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.”
One question can be asked from this entire incident. Is there a price to be paid for being first to break a story?