Quentin Tarantino’s attempt to sue the gossip Web site Gawker just hit a major speed bump
A federal judge in California dismissed the director’s claim against Gawker that the Web site had conducted copyright infringement by directly linking to a different site that was housing a copy of Quentin Tarantino’s work-in-progress screenplay for Hateful Eight. Tarantino tried to claim that Gawker was "contributing" to the infringement of his copyrighted work. Gawker tried to hide behind the fact that they were merely "reporting" on the existence of this leaked script. They filed a motion in court to dismiss Tarantino’s lawsuit. THR reports that on Tuesday, a judge granted the motion because Tarantino "failed to adequately plead facts establishing direct infringement by a third party or facts that would demonstrate [Gawker] either caused, induced, or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement of those third party infringers."
You can read the entire court decision here.
That doesn’t mean Quentin Tarantino’s fight against Gawker is over. The court will allow the filmmaker to amend his complaint and address the flaws that were brought up in the decision. He and his attorneys have until May 1 to resubmit the complaint.
By now, however, the cat is out of the bag. Quentin Tarantino recently held a star-studded reading of the Hateful Eight screenplay in question, gathering assorted, veteran Tarantino thesps like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, James Parks, Michael Madsen and James Remar for a spirited run-through in Los Angeles. And during said live reading, the director confirmed that he would be re-writing Hateful Eight, specifically changing the bleak ending with an intention to film at some point in the future.
Quentin Tarantino, at most, was trying to make a point with this lawsuit: That Gawker had established a potentially dangerous precedent where Web sites could report on the existence of leaked, copyrighted material. They aren’t "sharing" it directly, but by pointing out the existence of said materials, they are helping spread content that Tarantino argues should be protected. It creates a slippery slope that could continue to violate the privacy of artists who file copyright protections against material they have created.
But I wonder if Tarantino still has the passion to refile the lawsuit, amend the changes the court suggested, and keep Gawker’s feet to the fire. At this point, as we’ve mentioned, he helped get Hateful Eight out to the people (in a limited fashion). And he is reworking the script into a project he officially can back. At the time of the violation, Quentin Tarantino said he mainly was hurt because he’d only shared the Hateful Eight script with a handful of trusted colleagues. I wonder if that fence has been mended in the process.