If you’ll remember, Quentin Tarantino wrote a script for The Hateful Eight, which he says he gave to six people, one of whom apparently leaked it, and it ended up online, where it was subsequently linked by Gawker site Defamer. Tarantino was pissed, going so far as saying he wouldn’t make the film (a decision he seems to have reversed). He also sued Gawker. Since he didn’t claim that Gawker was actually the first to publish the screenplay (direct infringement), the accusation against Gawker Media was of “contributory infringement.” Basically, that Gawker helped facilitate copyright infringement. Sort of like them not being the person who gave the handjob, just the party that moved the arm up and down.
In the first judgement on the case, an LA district court judge has thrown out Tarantino’s suit, while leaving open the door for him to refile.
Los Angeles District Court Judge John F. Walter ruled that the director’s lawyers had failed to demonstrate that anyone had actually seen the script as a result of the link.
“Nowhere in these paragraphs or anywhere else in the Complaint does Plaintiff allege a single act of direct infringement committed by any member of the general public that would support Plaintiff’s claim for contributory infringement, he said. “Instead, Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place.”
But he is giving the team a second chance to prove their case, allowing them to refile with a bit more evidence by the end of this month. [...]
By encouraging Tarantino’s lawyers to refile, the judge leaves the door open for a decision on whether the link amounted to fair use. Here, Gawker’s defense is that its use was transformative news reporting and only incidentally commercial, that the script was already public, and that linking didn’t amount to ‘using’ the work. In any case, it says, the link wouldn’t harm Tarantino’s ability to commercially exploit the script. [Forbes]
Now, I’m no “lawyer” or a person who regularly wears “pants,” but it seems to me that proving Gawker publishing the script hurt the films commercial chances is going to be a tough sell, considering Tarantino was able to book a live read of the leaked script and charge $200 a pop for admission. I’d pay even more to see Quentin take the stand and sweatily explain why the Gawker business model is really a metaphor for gay sex