Last November, director Quentin Tarantino revealed his plans to direct a Western as his next film with Jay Leno. A planned Western, The Hateful Eight was met with excitement over Tarantino’s prospects in returning to the setting following the successful Django Unchained. However, the plans were scrapped last week when the first draft of the script was leaked online through one of three actors he personally gave a copy of the script to, naming Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern. Whether directly or indirectly, Tarantino believes either Dern or Madsen allowed an agent to take the script, who then spread it out. Tarantino has since decided to publish the screenplay in book form, so we’ll be able to at least read along to a presumably great story.
A week after the announcement and leak, Tarantino has decided to sue Gawker Media for publishing the script online. The director had the following to say about the outlet in his formal complaint request:
Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s right to make a buck. This time they’ve gone too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally. Their headline boasts, ‘Here is the leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ — here, not someplace else, but ‘here’ on the Gawker website. The article then contains multiple direct links for downloading the entire screenplay through a conveniently anonymous URL by simply clicking button-links on the Gawker page, and brazenly encourages Gawker visitors to read the screenplay illegally with an invitation to ‘enjoy’ it. There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity.
I can’t blame Tarantino for being so peeved about The Hateful Eight‘s leak. Gawker knows better than to make the script so readily available, so it’s not much of a shock that Tarantino decided to take action. However the case ends, we can find solace in the fact that Tarantino has many other script ideas he wants to film, so the production for his next film shouldn’t be delayed too long.