Less than a week after his script for would-be 70mm Western The Hateful Eight hit the internet, Quentin Tarantino’s gone from merely fuming about the “betrayal” of having his script disseminated without his approval to taking legal action. To recap: Tarantino gave the first draft of his script to six people, including actors Tim Roth, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen. Intended for private reading, it quickly made its way around Hollywood. Stung, Tarantino said he’d be shelving the project for at least five years, and possibly publish it as a stand-alone screenplay.
As the story made its way around the internet, one of the snarkiest recaps came from Defamer, the Hollywood-centric wing of the Gawker media empire. Writer Lacey Donohue described Tarantino’s reaction as “what any butthurt child would do.” At the bottom of the post, she requested that if anyone would like to “leak the script to us, please do so.”
The next day Defamer posted a grab-bag of details from the script. At the bottom of that post, they linked to a copy, inviting readers to “Enjoy!” Enter Tarantino’s lawyers in a lawsuit filed today, and posted by The Hollywood Reporter. In brief, Tarantino’s legal team claims that Defamer not only posted a link to copyrighted work and refused to take it down despite multiple requests, they did it to gain all the web traffic that comes with being the first to post something.
The suit seeks their profits from effectively pirating Tarantino’s work, revenue lost from publication of the script as a stand-alone book and punitive damages. Furthermore the suit contends that “Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire Screenplay illegally.” Could this be the beginning of the end for firstie culture? Probably not, but stay tuned.