A federal judge has tossed out Quentin Tarantino’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media for linking to his leaked, unproduced script for “The Hateful Eight,” but the legal battle may be far from over.
U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter granted Gawker’s motion to dismiss the suit while also giving Tarantino’s legal team until May 1 to amend and refile the contributory copyright complaint, which accused Gawker of disseminating copies of Tarantino’s script on its Defamer website and said the company “has made a business of predatory journalism.”
On Tuesday, the court ruled that Tarantino’s suit “failed to adequately plead facts establishing direct infringement by a third party or facts that would demonstrate [Gawker] either caused, induced, or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement of those third party infringers.”
In plainer words, the suit didn’t assert that anyone actually clicked on the links on Defamer, downloaded the script and infringed the copyright; and without that direct infringement, there’s no valid contributory claim.
Ever since the dispute arose in January, when Defamer posted links to Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight” script hosted on third-party websites and Tarantino responded with the lawsuit, neither side has shown any sign of blinking. Gawker long ago established a reputation as a controversial news and gossip site and staunch free-speech advocate, while Tarantino has proved to be fiercely protective of his work.
It remains to be seen what, if any effect an ongoing legal battle will have on Tarantino actually making the movie.
Despite his previous insistence that he was putting the project on hold for the foreseeable future, the director held a staged public reading of “The Hateful Eight” on Saturday and revealed that he was still working on the script.