Gawker Media responded Monday afternoon to a copyright lawsuit filed by Quentin Tarantino over the leaked script for his unproduced western "The Hateful Eight," making it clear the company and its Defamer website aren't backing down after publishing links to the script hosted on third-party file-sharing sites.
Tarantino's suit, filed Monday morning, accuses Gawker of "predatory journalism" and facilitating the dissemination of the "Hateful Eight" script, which leaked last week after he gave it to a handful of actors. (Tarantino said he was so outraged over the leak that he was shelving plans to make the film.)
The suit says that "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." (Gawker, of course, often takes this "Enjoy!" tone.)
In a post titled "Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Over Link to Script He Wants Online," Gawker editor John Cook said the company did not leak the script or publish it but instead only posted links to the script on the file-sharing sites AnonFiles and Scribd.
"Gawker had nothing to do with the appearance of 'The Hateful Eight' script on the Internet," Cook writes. He adds, "No one at Gawker transmitted [the script] — or anything else at all — to AnonFiles. No one at Gawker encouraged anyone to do so. No one at Gawker has any earthly idea how AnonFiles obtained a copy."
In the post, Cook says Tarantino himself "deliberately turned the leak into a story" by speaking about it at length to Deadline Hollywood.
Cook wraps up the post by arguing that Gawker published links to the script "because it was news." He adds, "We'll be fighting this one."
It will be interesting to see what effect the lawsuit has on whether "The Hateful Eight" ever sees the light of day.
If it's caught up in a protracted legal battle, or if Tarantino digs his heels in and refuses to make the film, it could go down as a famous unrealized opus. But the suit generates enough buzz to pique moviegoers' attention, the whole row could serve as a potent bit of marketing.
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