Skip to main content

Quentin Tarantino Fires Latest Shot In His War With Gawker

The legal throwdown between Quentin Tarantino and Gawker has devolved into a series of methodical haymakers between lawyers. Tarantino delivered the initial blow with an aggressively worded lawsuit. Gawker swung back with a few well-placed middle fingers aimed at the visionary director, and now, Tarantino and company have officially delivered their rebuttal. To cut through the legal mumbo jumbo, they’re now accusing Gawker of intentionally stirring the pot to manufacture an excuse to run the article that linked to Tarantino’s unpublished, copyrighted Hateful Eight script.

Here’s a recap of what happened in as plain of English as possible. Back in January, Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight script got leaked after he gave it to a few actors who he was considering for the role and one of their agents put together a rundown of the characters for casting purposes. This breach was widely covered by the media, including Gawker. In response, Tarantino officially bailed on the project. A few days later, Gawker ran a post entitled "Here Is The Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script". The site itself didn’t host the copyrighted material, but it provided links to places where readers could download it. The question of the day is whether providing those links was a crime. Tarantino says yes. Gawker says no. How a judge decides will likely come down to how he or she feels about this fascinating new argument about manufacturing news.

Basically, Tarantino’s lawyers are arguing the news cycle on the Hateful Eight agency leak had already run its course. So, in an effort to generate more coverage, Gawker allegedly went out of its way to uncover a place where the script could be downloaded, that wasn’t publicly known, and pointed people toward it. To some journalists, that might be digging for a story, but to Tarantino’s lawyers, that’s the equivalent of telling people on what street corner to buy pirated DVDs. Here’s the actual analogy used in the legal paperwork, as per The Hollywood Reporter

Gawker could just as effectively have reported the fact that the script was leaked and available on a file upload site without including any specific links to the infringing copy, just as a newspaper can report that a film piracy ring in, e.g., downtown Los Angeles, has obtained and is selling pirated DVDs of a not-yet-released theatrical motion picture without instructing exactly how, where and when readers can illegally buy their own pirated copy.

Because of how much we use it, the Internet may seem like it’s been around forever, but it’s actually not old enough for the law to have set legal precedents governing a whole lot of behavior. As a result, it’s kind of a dark wilderness out there, even when it comes to major, multi-million dollar outlets. As a result, a lot of legal scholars are looking to this case to potentially provide some clarity. Unfortunately, there’s still a distinct chance it may get thrown out because Gawker is technically located in The Cayman Islands. We’ll keep you updated, both because we want to provide readers with the most up-to-date coverage possible and because those of us here on the business end of the equation at Cinema Blend are very interested for our own selfish, not getting sued reasons.

Mack Rawden
Mack Rawden

Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.