Quentin Tarantino takes aim at Gawker's journalism ethics in 'Hateful Eight' lawsuit

By Daniel S Levine,

In the latest chapter of the Hateful Eight Quentin Tarantino script leak, the Oscar winning writer/director has responded to Gawker’s initial response to Tarantino’s lawsuit.

Tarantino alleged that Gawker’s Defamer blog post made it easier for the script to be distributed, but Gawker asked that the suit be dismissed. Gawker’s reasoning is that Tarantino turned the whole leaked script ordeal into a story by telling Deadline that it was leaked in the first place. Gawker did not leak the script, but posted a third-party link to it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tarantino filed his response to Gawker’s own response. His lawyers go right after Gawker’s journalistic ethics, saying that it “contrived the very 'news story' that it now seeks to hide behind.”

Tarantino’s lawyers said that Gawker acted like a newspaper reporting on an illegal activity and then telling readers how to take part in it.

“Gawker could just as effectively have reported the fact that the script was leaked and available on a file upload site without including any specific links to the infringing copy,” the response read, notes TheWrap. “Just as a newspaper can report that a film piracy ring in, e.g., downtown Los Angeles, has obtained and is selling pirated DVDs of a-not-yet released theatrical motion picture without instructing exactly how, where and when readers can illegally buy their own pirated copy.”

The response also notes that, prior to Gawker’s post, the location of the leaked script was not well-known outside of Hollywood circles. The lawyers claim that Gawker asked for a link to the third-party site that hosted the script, distributed it “to users infringing PDF copies of the complete copyrighted Screenplay. Gawker then fabricated another, new ‘story’ that the script had been made publicly available online solely so that Gawker could then trumpet to the world without impunity exactly where on the Internet the infringement was taking place.”

The issue at the heart of the case is whether Gawker actually infringed on copyright even though it posted a link to a third-party site that hosted the infringed material. Tarantino’s lawyers note that they did list a “John Doe” as a defendant, covering whoever it was that posted the script on AnonFiles.com. Tarantino’s lawyers also say that Gawker refused to take the link down, even after being requested to.

“It cannot reasonably be disputed that Gawker's linking to webpages featuring the script was done as part of its reporting about the script becoming available,” Gawker has said, “the leaking of the script and its appearance online was the news.”

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