In a filing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Tarantino asserts that Gawker infringed his copyright through its unauthorized download of a PDF copy of the screenplay.
“Gawker has made a business practice of predatory journalism,” the revised suit said. “This time they went too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating within certain limited Hollywood circles without his permission, Gawker crossed the journalistic line, first by requesting that a reader ‘leak’ an infringing copy directly to Gawker, then second, after obtaining a link to and itself directly downloading an infringing PDF copy, and then third, by promoting itself to the public as the first source to download and read the entire screenplay illegally and directing the public to do so.”
U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter had tossed out Tarantino’s suit on April 22 but had also said he could refile the case by May 1. The judge had found that attorneys for Tarantino had failed to adequately plead facts “establishing direct infringement by a third party” or facts that would demonstrate that Gawker had either caused, induced or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement.
“Nowhere in these paragraphs or anywhere else in the complaint does plaintiff allege a single act of direct infringement committed by any member of the general public that would support plaintiff’s claim for contributory infringement,” Judge Walter said. “Instead, plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place.”
The incident in question occurred in January after Tarantino complained that someone had leaked the screenplay for his latest project. Gawker posted a story on its Defamer site titled “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script” with a link to a third-party website hosting the 146-page script.
Gawker said in a March 10 filing that Tarantino’s suit should be dismissed because he had not alleged any actual copyright infringement, but only “contributory” copyright infringement.
Tarantino had asserted in his original suit that the market value of the script had been harmed, while Gawker attorneys contended it had posted the link as part of reporting on the news that Tarantino had become upset about the script leaking and had vowed to scrap the film.
Tarantino told the audience at an April 19 reading of the script that he was still working on “The Hateful Eight.”
In the revised suit, Tarantino is seeking actual damages and profits of more than $1 million, statutory damages, a court order preventing Gawker from using the screenplay and attorney’s fees.
Attorneys for Gawker were not immediately available for comment.