A federal judge has tossed out Quentin Tarantino’s copyright infringement suit against Gawker for linking to a copy of his unproduced screenplay, “The Hateful Eight.”
But U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter has also allowed Tarantino to refile the case by May 1.
Tuesday’s ruling found that attorneys for Tarantino had failed to adequately plead facts “establishing direct infringement by a third party” or facts that would demonstrate that Gawker had either caused, induced or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement.
“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,” Walter said. “Instead, Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place.”
The incident in question arose in January after Tarantino complained to Deadline Hollywood that someone had leaked the screenplay for his latest project when Gawker posted a story on its Defamer site titled “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script” with a link to a third party website hosting the 146-page script.
Gawker said in a March 10 filing that Tarantino’s suit should be dismissed because he had not alleged any actual copyright infringement, but only “contributory” copyright infringement.
Tarantino asserted that the market value of the script had been harmed while Gawker attorneys contended it had posted the link as part of reporting on the news that Tarantino had become upset about the script leaking and had vowed to scrap the film.
Tarantino told audiences at a reading of the script last Saturday that he was still working on “The Hateful Eight.”