Quentin Tarantino sues Gawker over ‘The Hateful Eight’ script leak

Director's lawsuit seeks $1m in damages against website

Quentin Tarantino is suing Gawker for copyright infringement, according to reports.

The filmmaker has filed a lawsuit against the website for publishing a leaked screenplay of his project The Hateful Eight. The BBC says that Tarantino, who shelved plans to make the Western after the script leaked, is seeking $1m (£603,000) against Gawker, in addition to $1m against the anonymous file-sharing site where the leaked script was hosted.

Tarantino’s lawyers asked for the link to the script to be taken down earlier this week (January 27) and allege that hosting the screenplay had effectively lost him royalties that he could have earned by publishing it himself. The lawsuit says: “There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of [Tarantino’s] copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity.”

It also claims that the original leak was only limited to a small number of people, and that it only appeared online after Gawker encouraged any readers who had a copy to leak it to them. However, the site’s editor-in-chief John Cook said that they will fight the lawsuit and that it was their job to provide information by posting the link.

He said: “News of the fact that it existed on the internet advanced a story that Tarantino himself had launched, and our publication of the link was a routine and unremarkable component of our job: making people aware of news and information about which they are curious.”

Tarantino was reportedly livid after he gave the script for The Hateful Eight to six people only for his agent, Mike Simpson, to begin fielding phonecalls from agents trying to land their clients roles in the film. Describing the leak as a “betrayal”, he said: “I’m very, very depressed. I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn’t mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now. I gave it to six people, and apparently it’s gotten out today.”

Tarantino had originally revealed his plans to shoot a Western film as his next project in November last year. His last film, Django Unchained, was a critical and commercial hit upon its 2012 release and subsequently won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, with Christoph Waltz pick up the Best Supporting Actor gong.