As expected, Quentin Tarantino is suing the website behind the further leak of his latest screenplay, a Western tentatively titled The Hateful Eight. The Django Unchained director has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media for publishing his written material online. This comes just one week after an unknown source leaked the screenplay, which caused Quentin Tarantino to cancel plans to shoot the project in 2015.
The lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court states: 'Jury trail demanded.' Famed entertainment attorney Martin Singer signed the document, which contains the following text:
"Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people's rights to make a buck. This time they went 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: The Hateful Eight Script' - 'Here,' not someplace else, but 'Here' on the Gawker website.
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.
After learning of the leak, Plaintiff decided to postpone working on the movie, and stated publicly - in an interview that was widely reported in the media - that he intended to publish it."
The director is said to have been outraged by a number of hyperlinks directing readers to download the screenplay via the Gawker website.
After finishing the screenplay earlier this month, Quentin Tarantino gave the first draft to only six people, including Django Unchained executive producer Reginald Hudlin and actors Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern. It was discovered on January 21 that the screenplay had leaked from one of these six sources, and was making the rounds around Hollywood. While the source of the leak has yet to be identified, Quentin Tarantino canceled his plans to shoot the Western, instead deciding to publish the written work, with a thought to maybe revisit it in five years time.
The screenplay had managed to stay out of the public until Gawker made it available for downloading. The director believes that if Gawker had not made the screenplay available online, the general public would not have known about, or found a complete copy, of the screenplay.
Quentin Tarantino is currently seeking an injunction that would stop the further disseminating of the screenplay, and is asking the court for unspecified damages exceeding $1 million.
Reps for Quentin Tarantino have not made a public statement. Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton is also staying quiet at this time.