Quentin Tarantino, the "Django Unchained" filmmaker, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against news website Gawker, for allegedly leaking an unproduced screenplay of his film "The Hateful Eight" and posting links to its script that came up on a website.
Tarantino is demanding $1 million from the defendants for contributory copyright infringement and seeking punitive, statutory and exemplary damages to be highlighted in court. He is also demanding an injunction to hold back any material that could lead readers to the movie's script, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Deadline.com got hold of the legal papers, which alleged Gawker media of practicing 'predatory journalism' and circulating the script without permission. In the lawsuit, Tarantino names six unidentified people involved in the infringement and AnonFiles.com, a website that allows users to upload files anonymously. The links on Gawker led to the website where the 146- page script was available for download.
An excerpt from the lawsuit read:
...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.
In response to the lawsuit, Gawker posted an article defending its actions. It states that the claims are false and had apparently received a hint from a tipster about the script appearing on AnonFiles.com. The post goes on to explain that they are being sued for contributing to the copyright infringement and not directly for it. It also claims that Tarantino wanted the script to be published online and turned it into a news story himself.
John Cook's Gawker post reads:
Gawker and Defamer are news sites, and our publication of the link was clearly connected to our goal of informing readers about things they care about. As far as I can tell (but I'm no lawyer!), no claim of contributory infringement has prevailed in the U.S. over a news story.
We'll be fighting this one.
Talking to Deadline.com earlier, Tarantino admitted that he had given the script to six people and it got out 'suspiciously'. He said he was very depressed about it and decided to shelf the project then.
However, the new turn of events definitely means more publicity for both parties. The world shall watch as the two bigwigs of their own industries battle it out in court.