LOS ANGELES - Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is suing media outlet Gawker for copyright infringement in a U.S. district court in Los Angeles, after the website published links to download the script for his latest movie, entitled “The Hateful Eight.”
In court documents filed on Monday, writer-director Tarantino claimed Gawker Media promoted and disseminated “unauthorized downloadable copies of the leaked unreleased complete screenplay.”
The filmmaker is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
The lawsuit states: "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."
The lawsuit also names website AnonFiles.com, which the Gawker article linked to, and which contains downloads of Tarantino's 146-page script.
The website allows users to upload and download files anonymously, and in its terms and conditions it says users can be held responsible for “illegal and/or copyright infringement material.” It adds “do not upload anything that violates local law. Illegal files will be removed.”
As of Monday, Gawker's story, first published on January 23, was still live along with links to download the original script on AnonFiles.com. Gawker founder Nick Denton did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.
Tarantino, 50, is known for his edgy, gritty films that fuse dark humor with violence, including 1994's “Pulp Fiction” and 2012's “Django Unchained,” both of which earned him Oscar wins for best original screenplay.
The lawsuit details how Tarantino discovered that a copy of his latest screenplay had been leaked publicly on January 21, which he addressed in an interview with film industry website Deadline Hollywood.
He said he had only given the script for 'The Hateful Eight' to six people, including 'Reservoir Dogs' stars Michael Madsen and Tim Roth, veteran actor Bruce Dern and Reggie Hudlin, a producer on 'Django Unchained'. He said he believes one must have let their agent see it, who subsequently sent it on.
He told Deadline.com: "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.
"I don't know how these f***ing agents work, but I'm not making this [film] next. I'll move on to the next thing. I've got 10 more where that came from."
Tarantino said he would publish the script instead. - Piya Sinha-Roy of Reuters and Bang Showbiz