Tarantino filed a complaint with a Los Angeles district court on Monday, claiming Gawker was “promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally.” According to the lawsuit, Gawker posted an article titled, “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script”, which included links to copies of the script for the western at a “conveniently anonymous” URL.
“Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck,” said the complaint. “This time they went 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.”
The complaint also claims that Gawker solicited its readers to provide it with a copy of the work by stating, “If anyone would like to... leak the script to us, please do so at [email address].”
In a response posted on Monday afternoon, Gawker writer John Cook said the website will fight the case. He claimed that the copies of the script were leaked by unknown people and Gawker merely linked to it. Cook also claimed that Tarantino turned the leak into a news story by talking to it at length to another gossip site, Deadline Hollywood, and that Gawker was just reporting on the events.
“News of the fact that it existed on the internet advanced a story that Tarantino himself had launched, and our publication of the link was a routine and unremarkable component of our job: making people aware of news and information about which they are curious.”
Cook said that to his knowledge, no claim of contributory copyright infringement has succeeded in the US against a news source.
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