Quentin Tarantino Files New Gawker Lawsuit Over 'Hateful Eight' Script Leak

The Instigators
Miller Mobley

Quentin Tarantino's latest offering, The Weinstein Co.’s Django Unchained, has ruffled more than a few feathers with its brazen use of the N-word (more than 100 utterances) and extreme violence (particularly in a post-Connecticut-school-shooting America). Pressed about some of the harsher criticisms of his filmmaking philosophy, Tarantino doesn’t flinch: “I believe in what I’m doing whole-heartedly and passionately. It’s my job to ignore that.”

STORY: Why Quentin Tarantino Isn't Concerned With Violence in 'Django Unchanged'

Quentin Tarantino has added a bold new claim in his lawsuit against Gawker over the leak of his script, The Hateful Eight.

After failing in his first attempt to punish Gawker for contributing to the dissemination of his work but being allowed the opportunity to amend a complaint, 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.

A lawsuit filed in January alleged contributory copyright infringement against Gawker and asserted claims against the anonymous individuals who uploaded the copy to AnonFiles.com.

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Gawker attacked Tarantino's lawsuit as shallow. According to the motion to dismiss, "Because plaintiff did not allege any facts showing that an infringing act actually was undertaken by a third party -- merely accessing the script by clicking on the link is legally insufficient -- plaintiff did not state a claim for contributory infringement."

Is that really true? Is accessing a script not an infringing act? Tarantino's lawyers are challenging. The lawsuit is no longer just about a news site's linking.

"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."

Tarantino is also looking to buttress the contributory claim by among other things, arguing that Gawker "publicly solicited its purported 47 million monthly United States readers to infringe Tarantino's copyright, asking and inducing anyone to leak and provide Gawker with an unauthorized infringing copy of the Screenplay."

The amended lawsuit also says that the director sent a takedown notice pursuant to the DMCA, and that after the script was taken off its original location at AnonFiles, Gawker pointed elsewhere.

"On January 26, 2014, after a Gawker reader and third-party infringer had downloaded a copy of the Screenplay which originated from the AnonFiles Screenplay Download URL (prior to the page being disabled) and thereafter uploaded a PDF copy to the website Scribd.com, Gawker amended and updated its January 23rd Article, writing: 'the script has been made public online here and here,' to add the text 'and here' into its article — with the subsequent text 'here' an additional new URL click-through link directly to a subsequent replacement available copy of the complete Screenplay, hosted on the website Scribd.com."

Gawker says it is still reviewing the latest legal papers.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner