Gawker Media is asking a California federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by Quentin Tarantino over his leaked screenplay for “The Hateful Eight,” arguing it only facilitated the reading of the unproduced screenplay and didn’t enable any copyright infringement.
Tarantino sued Gawker for contributory copyright infringement in January, after its Defamer blog published a post titled “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino ‘Hateful Eight’ Script” with download links to third-party websites hosting copies of the document. (Tarantino shelved the movie after the script got out.)
Tarantino’s suit alleges “Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism” and “crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire Screenplay illegally.”
In a motion to dismiss filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday, Gawker said that without a clear example of direct infringement, there is no case for contributory infringement. Tarantino’s suit “does no more than raise the possibility that some member of the public who accessed plaintiff’s script using Gawker’s link subsequently violated Tarantino’s rights by committing an infringement,” says the motion, which was obtained by Deadline Hollywood.
The motion continues, “Because plaintiff did not allege any facts showing that an infringing act actually was undertaken by a third party — merely accessing the script by clicking on the link is legally insufficient — plaintiff did not state a claim for contributory infringement.”
Gawker’s motion further argues that even if Tarantino could claim infringement, Defamer’s linking to the script qualifies as fair use. “Gawker’s challenged use was transformative and for the statutorily favored purpose of reporting news,” the motion says. It adds, “Gawker’s use was, at most, incidentally commercial and did not usurp the primary market for and purpose of the script: to make a movie.”
Gawker has requested an April 14 hearing on the motion.