There seems to be some (Pulp) friction amongst certain Hollywood circles. Director Quentin Tarantino has sued the media and gossip blog Gawker for contributory copyright infringement. A script entitled “The Hateful Eight” was circulated amongst six of Tarantino’s acquaintances, and subsequently leaked to two file sharing sites. Gawker then posted a story titled “Here is the leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script” with links to file sharing hosts. Very inglorious indeed.
Last week, Tarantino’s contributory copyright infringement suit was thrown out; as his lawyers had failed to provide evidence that a direct infringement had occurred at all. They had only speculated that some direct infringement had taken place in support of their claim for contributory infringement. Interestingly, the court took a view that even if someone accessed the script via the links on Gawkers site, this would not aid Tarantino’s case, as simply viewing a copy of allegedly infringing work on one’s own computer does not constitute direct infringement. This is in contrast to the American case of MAI Systems in 1993, which states that the automated copying of protected material into a computer’s RAM, is potentially grounds for direct infringement despite its temporary existence. Nevertheless, the court did allow Tarantino to re-file the case with more evidence by the end of April, which no doubt kept his lawyers working from Dusk ’til Dawn.
And so last Thursday, Tarantino refiled his suit, now alleging that Gawker had infringed his copyright through its unauthorised download of a copy of the screenplay. Tarantino argues that rather than simply publishing a news story on the leak, Gawker has crossed the journalistic line by downloading an illegal copy themselves, and also inviting the public to do so.
Tarantino is seeking damages of $1 million, statutory damages, a court order preventing Gawker from using the screenplay and lawyer’s fees. Amounts which most would kill (Bill) for and will no doubt prove very helpful if his suit is successful. Tarantino continues to work on the script even though he initially decided to scrap The Hateful Eight project after being so appalled by the leak.