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Monday, January 27, 2014

Quentin Tarantino suing over script leak

Last week Quentin Tarantino announced he was indefinitely delaying his upcoming film, The Hateful Eight, due to the fact that the script was leaked online. Tarantino has now filed a lawsuit against Gawker because the site posted a link to the leaked script. He filed the legal complaint in the Central District of California courts citing copyright infringement and contributing to copyright infringement. Tarantino has hired Martin Singer to lead his case.

Deadline has an overall reading of the complaint:
“Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s right to make a buck. This time they’ve gone 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 article then contains multiple direct links for downloading the entire screenplay through a conveniently anonymous URL by simply clicking button-links on the Gawker page, and brazenly encourages Gawker visitors to read the screenplay illegally with an invitation to ‘enjoy’ it. There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity.”

Basically, he is saying that by posting the link and keeping it active, Gawker was encouraging their readers to download and read the script thus indulging in copyright infringement. Tarantino admitted that he had only shared the initial draft with a handful of people, including Michael Marsden, and was frustrated to learn one of them shared it with an agent who then shared it with the world. As a result, Tarantino has shelved the project and decided to publish the full story as a Western ensemble and explore the film potential again in the future. 

This isn't the first time Gawker has been in trouble for this sort of thing. A few years back they were advised by their legal team to remove links to Lena Dunham's book proposal that they obtained after it was sold to Random House. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The way of the world seems to be if it's on the internet it's basically free for anyone to see. That is if it's in the right hands.

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