Quentin Tarantino’s Lawsuit Against Gawker Is Back On

Senior Editor
05.02.14 10 Comments

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Quentin Tarantino’s lawyers have refiled his lawsuit against Gawker over The Hateful Eight script leak, adding a new claim of direct infringement. If you’ll remember, QT’s initial suit was dismissed last week, with the judge ruling that “Plaintiff only speculates that some direct infringement must’ve taken place.” That ruling left open the door to refile and present additional evidence, and now, you guessed it, the new suit includes specific allegations of direct infringement and additional evidence.

Tarantino is now asserting that Gawker committed direct copyright infringement. As a result, the judge now has the opportunity to address whether a news site that downloads copyrighted material is violating the rights of the author.

Tarantino and his attorneys at Lavely & Singer believe that that Gawker “crossed the journalistic line” in the way it behaved in relationship to the director’s unproduced 146-page script.

Gawker’s motion to dismiss the first time around alleged that “merely accessing the script by clicking on the link is legally insufficient” for infringement. Now, Tarantino’s lawyers are asserting that Gawker DID commit direct infringement, by downloading the script themselves. I hope the trial is just hours of the two sides shouting “NAH UH!” and “YES SIR!”

“Anyone who sought to read or obtain the Screenplay from the Screenplay Download URL necessarily had to first download a PDF copy of the work onto their own computer,” says the amended complaint. “On January 23, 2014, after Gawker obtained the Screenplay Download URL in response to its request for leak of an unauthorized infringing copy of the Screenplay, Gawker itself illegally downloaded to its computers an unauthorized infringing PDF copy of the Screenplay — read it and learned that the PDF download document was 146 pages — directly infringing Tarantino’s copyright.” [THR]

Ah, the old “how did you know how many pages it was if you didn’t download it” argument. This is getting pretty nitpicky at this point. Should Gawker go down for disseminating already disseminated links, and downloading an already much-downloaded script? A lot of this case rests on the idea that people reading a script hurts a film’s eventual box office chances, which I find specious at best. Seems to me, Tarantino’s real beef is with whoever uploaded it online, not the Tarantino fans desperate for any crumb of his work. Anyway, I’m not sure what we’ve learned from all this, other than that I’m really glad I didn’t go to law school.

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