Gawker: Quentin Tarantino to Blame for Script Frenzy

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Website defends linking to 'Hateful Eight' script after director files contributory copyright infringement suit

After Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker Media on Monday for linking to a leaked script of his project “Hateful Eight,” the company defended its post and suggested that it was the director himself who bore responsibility for calling attention to the script.

Tarantino sued Gawker Media in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claiming contributory copyright infringement, after its Defamer site linked to an AnonFiles posting of the script. The director also sued AnonFiles for direct infringement, but the challenge there will be to actually find the identity of the defendant.

Gawker’s John Cook wrote in a post on Monday that “contributory infringement is a legal theory that has traditionally been deployed against file-sharing sites and search engines—venues that explicitly exist as directories to copyrighted content. Gawker and Defamer are news sites, and our publication of the link was clearly connected to our goal of informing readers about things they care about. As far as I can tell (but I’m no lawyer!), no claim of contributory infringement has prevailed in the U.S. over a news story. We’ll be fighting this one.”

Cook pointed out that it was not Gawker that leaked the script, and that the director was the one “who  turned his script into a news story, one that garnered him a great deal of attention.” He cited a quote that Tarantino gave to Deadline in which he said of his material, “I do like the fact that everyone eventually posts it, gets it and reviews it on the net.”

Cook also denied that Gawker encouraged anyone to leak the script.

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  1. Xybernauts says:

    I don’t think Gawker is in the wrong. In the end they did not leak the script and they didn’t store the script on their website. They are responsible for providing the link to the the said site.

    And I mean who decides what is news worthy? News site inform their audience of the location of illegal activity on the net all the time. For example I recall a lot of attention being brought to the now defunct Silk Road website that used to sell illegal drugs. Prior to that news I never knew where one could buy illegal drugs online. And there have also been stories about prostitution on Craigslist. Journalist bring attention to the location of illicit materials all the time. In the case of Craigslist one could argue that the stories brought attention to a problematic aspect of Craigslist that needed to be fixed and as a result I believe it was. Whose to say that what Gawker did won’t further QTs goal of preventing scripts from being leaked in the future.

    One of the most prominent examples of journalists advertising the location of illicit materials was all the attention brought to Wikileaks. Should the government prosecute journalists for committing or contributing to treason for broadcasting and essentially publicizing to existence of said site. Pinning the blame solely on Gawker is unfair and doesn’t get to the root of QT’s problems.

  2. chris says:

    This would be no different if Gawker had posted a link to a bootleg copy of the wolf of wall street or gravity — it’s not legal.

  3. Ivan says:

    So will QT be suing Variety for posting this story? The fault lies with the person who posted the scrip on-line. No one should be allowed to be sued over hyperlinks. If you can, then Google should be sued every time someone posts anything illegally.

  4. the other guy says:

    The thing is Gawker is right, if QT hadn’t made such a massive fuss out of it being leaked I probably wouldn’t have even known. QT is keeping this story and his leaked script in the news. If he had juts shrugged his shoulders and and realised it was gonna happen at some piont anyway (like he says he actually likes and thinks ‘cool’) then it would have just quietly slipped away. And lets face it by the time the movie would have come out there would probably have been countless changes to it anyway.

    • Xybernauts says:

      We’ll maybe QT is making a fuss because he wants to draw attention to this movie. Perhaps this whole spectacle is just one big publicity stunt designed to draw attention to the movie or to draw attention to QT to helps add value to his future projects. One could argue that Django Unchained illustrated that QT’s acclaim has begun to fade in Hollywood.

    • Jay Swan says:

      Maybe not now, but when the moment came that the film was being hyped like Django was it would have been massively downloaded.

  5. RUN UMC says:

    Quentin looks like crap these days. He has been a heavy drug (especially amphetamine) user for decades and it’s caught up with him.

  6. Thom says:

    They are pathetic, they truly crossed the line. Quentin, go for the throat!

  7. David Testerman says:

  8. Wm Todd Holt says:

    WHY would anyone think readers would care to read a movie script. Isn’t that like the biggest “spoiler” of them all? Give me a break. It’s the most ridiculous attempt to “please readership” or boost readership I have ever heard of. How cool would it be if Quentin published the story you had set for your next day’s headlines…not just any story, the top 10 stories of the year. Calling a movie script news is low; I hope that the “readers” enjoy NOT seeing the movie.

  9. Kelly says:

    In the same Deadline interview, Tarantino stated his intention to publish the script as a book. Gawker absolutely interfered with Tarantino’s livelihood and profits from the planned book by linking to the script.

  10. jerry says:

    Tarantino is a pathetic loser!

  11. Cash McAllister says:

    I remember reading a leaked script of Kill Bill way back when when I was obsessing over tarantino films in high school. I read it no big deal, I figured I’d wait for the movie and I did and I saw it, and even though the two films should have been one movie it was still pretty cool. The point being his scripts have leaked before so why such a big fuss now? I’m sure this has to do with something else

  12. Huey says:

    If only he could stop crying. Poor QT :(

  13. Michael says:

    Any directors have the right to “talk”, “show”, “present”, “showcase”, their up-coming project. A project that belongs to them. If Gawker claims “The director brought attention to this, which isn’t our fault”, Gawker itself has to be careful not to bring too much attention around them. It only is few hours away before finding a potential system administrative failure to shutdown their website. Then again, who to blame? Gawker, of course…for bringing our attention to them.

    If none of this make sense, then Gawker leaking a script isn’t either. It is QT’s propriety. Would Gawker do the same for an upcoming LucasArt project? Because George Lucas has “talked” or “evoked” it?

    This is outrageous, and it has crossed the journalist line.
    Journalism : the activity or job of collecting, writing, and editing news stories for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio

    I think we’re passed Journalism, we’re toward stealing a product that is still currently under production process. Who to blame? The owner, or the stealer?
    If Gawker steals your house, is it your fault because you’ve had a huge house no one can miss out? Or is it simply the stealer?

    1 million USD for copyright infringement is fairly low, for the amount of money studios, distributors, and publicists invest in the project. After all, what’s QT’s point of opening a film if it has been already stolen?

    We talk about multi-millions projects, films/movies. Investments are crucial steps, and Gawker simply messed it up. There’s a lot to invest, and a lot to receive back at the box office.

    To my opinion, QT is doing the right thing. Gawker will never try to sign a million dollar check, but, that being said, if it was me, I’d try to make them signing half what’s my project is worth. Because it has lost value by being “opened” online, before its “official” opening date.



  14. Michael Anthony says:

    Sorry Gawker, but you’re wrong. Perhaps you’ll prevail in court as you play the innocent “news” site, but your nothing more than a bully in this case. Its no different than providing links to places where you can watch films not yet released or download unreleased music. Report the story, but by providing the link then supports the original leakers.

    Imagine if you had detailed strategic plans hacked and Tarantino blogged about it and provided links so one could read your strategic plans. I’m sure you’d be crying and claiming damages by Tarantino’s actions.

    Reputable news sites publish and investigate for its news. They don’t become part of the story!

  15. Glenn C. says:

    As much as Iike Tarantino’s work for the most part, I think this Gawker guy gas a point. That quote from Deadline from Tarantino says a lot. He is basically saying out loud it’s ok to read my material on a public site. Maybe next time QT will be more cautious and careful on who he gives his scripts to. You have to be in today’s world.

  16. Bill says:

    The “oh, it wasn’t us, we just LINKED to it” argument is increasingly tenuous, especially when those posting the link resist requests to remove the said links once informed of infringement.

  17. Needs a new job says:

    Yes! You’re right Cheryle! NEW JOBS FOR ALL!

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