If things had gone as planned, we’d probably be itching for the next update on Quentin Tarantino’s excellently titled new film The Hateful Eight right now while the filmmaker worked on building his cast and tweaking his script. Instead, Tarantino has opted not to make The Hateful Eight his next film after an early draft of his script—which he provided to a handful of people in confidence—was leaked to internal channels by an agent. Things have only gotten worse since Tarantino addressed the leak, as the script was published online late last week. Now the filmmaker is taking legal action against Gawker Media, which posted a link to download the leaked script under a headline titled “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script.” Hit the jump to read on.
The folks over at Deadline report that Tarantino has filed a lawsuit against Gawker Media for copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement. Here’s how Tarantino’s complaint reads:
Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s right to make a buck. This time they’ve gone 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. Their headline boasts, ‘Here is the leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ — here, not someplace else, but ‘here’ on the Gawker website. The article then contains multiple direct links for downloading the entire screenplay through a conveniently anonymous URL by simply clicking button-links on the Gawker page, and brazenly encourages Gawker visitors to read the screenplay illegally with an invitation to ‘enjoy’ it. There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity.
Seeing as how Tarantino has one of the best track records of any living director (arguably, he has yet to make a “bad” film), this whole thing is just upsetting. The prospect of seeing QT delve into the Western genre once again—with possibly Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen in tow, no less—was incredibly promising, especially since it was so close to coming to fruition. The filmmaker does indeed have a habit of letting his screenplays land online so that fans can read the source material before he digs into turning it into a film, but in the case of The Hateful Eight this was an early draft that was never intended for public consumption; he planned on approaching his actors, having conversations about the characters, and digging into another draft of the script before moving forward.
Hopefully this whole issue can be settled soon, after which we can get back to looking forward to Tarantino’s next project.