The story goes like this: The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s latest script, found its way to the open air, leaking out after the director had shared it with a few members of his inner circle. This infuriated the Pulp Fiction helmer, causing him to take his ball (script) and go home. Maybe the western would become a novel, maybe it would someday become a movie again, but for the time being, Tarantino was moving on.
Enter… all of the internet, who reported on the leak and Tarantino’s decision to push the project to the back burner. No harm, no foul. That’s kind of the internet’s jam, but Gawker not only reported on the leak, they reportedly linked to another site that had posted the leaked script and then they closed their article with, “For better or worse, the document is 146 pages of pure Tarantino. Enjoy!”, prompting Tarantino to sue them for “contributory copyright infringement”, a suit that was dismissed yesterday, though it is entirely possible that this is merely a speed bump and not a brick wall in Tarantino’s quest.
Here’s a bit of the ruling from Judge John F. Walter:
“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. Instead, Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place. For example, Plaintiff’s complaint fails to allege the identity of a single third-party infringer, the date, the time, or the details of a single instance of third-party infringement, or, more importantly, how Defendant allegedly caused, induced, or materially contributed to the infringement by those third parties.”
So basically it seems like Tarantino’s lawyers need to show the court that someone did click on the link that appeared in the Gawker article and that they then downloaded the leaked script if they want to claim that Gawker contributed to copyright infringement.
Now, how hard or easy is that information going to be to track down in a civil case? That I do not know, but Tarantino’s side has until May 1st to update their complaint.
As for the state of The Hateful Eight, following a successful, pricey ($200 a ticket), and apparently sweltering live read that featured Tarantino directing Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, and several others through an early draft of the script, the writer/director is now taking another pass with every intention of re-writing the ending entirely. So everyone wins, except Gawker, maybe.