Tarantino Withdraws IP Lawsuit Against Gawker Over Script Leak
Barely a few weeks ago Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino filed an amended complaint in his lawsuit against the website Gawker, alleging that the site had committed copyright infringement by allowing a copy of his latest script, The Hateful Eight, to leak on the internet. Now, Tarantino and his lawyers have decided to walk away, voluntarily dismissing the lawsuit.
The controversy began after Gawker posted a downloadable PDF version of Tarantino’s script online. The two-time Oscar winner responded by filing a $1 million contributory copyright infringement lawsuit against the news and gossip website in California federal court. (He also claimed to abandon the idea of bringing the project to the screen.) That complaint was then dismissed by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. In essence, Judge Walter felt that Tarantino had failed to properly allege contributory copyright infringement, stating that “[the p]laintiff’s complaint fails to allege the identity of a single third-party infringer, the date, the time, or the details of a single third-party infringement, or, more importantly, how [the d]efendant allegedly caused, induced, or materially contributed to the infringement by those third parties.”
Tarantino’s amended complaint asserted a single cause of action for direct and contributory copyright infringement — in essence, it alleged that Gawker’s act of downloading the unreleased screenplay was sufficient to adequately plead unauthorized infringement and entitle Tarantino to damages. For now, the truth of that allegation will remain undetermined.
This might not be the last you hear from Tarantino on this matter, however. His court filing noted:
This dismissal is made without prejudice, whereby Plaintiff may later advance an action and re-file a complaint after further investigations to ascertain and plead the identities of additional infringers resulting from Gawker Media’s contributory copyright infringement, by its promotion, aiding and abetting and materially contributing to the dissemination to third-parties of unauthorized copies of Plaintiff’s copyrighted work.
And interestingly, Tarantino is not letting the leak keep him from bringing Hateful Eight to cinemas. Following a recent live reading of the script, the director confirmed that the project is currently undergoing rewrites.