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The first round in the legal battle between writer/director Quentin Tarantino and Gawker over his leaked The Hateful Eight script went to Gawker. However, Tarantino will be able to file the lawsuit again after making some changes.
Tarantino filed the copyright infringement lawsuit in January after Gawker posted a link to the leaked script. Although Gawker didn’t actually leak the script itself, Tarantino claimed that, by linking to it, the site had distributed copyrighted material without his permission. The two sides traded jabs in filings, continuing to last month.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter ruled in favor of Gawker, reports Variety. Walter said that Tarantino and his lawyers failed to prove that Gawker was directly involved in copyright infringement just by posting the link.
“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,” Walter wrote. He said that Tarantino is merely speculating that Gawker had a role in the script being leaked.
Tarantino made the public aware that the script had been leaked when he spoke to Deadline in January, revealing that he gave the script to Tim Roth, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen. In that interview, he put suggested that Dern’s CAA representatives might have been to blame, but the agency denied that.
In the meantime, Tarantino has said that he’s still working on the project during a live reading of the script in Los Angeles Saturday.
If Tarantino wishes to continue perusing his case against Gawker, he and his attorneys can amend the suit and refile by May 1.