Tarantino Takes Another Copyright Infringement Swing at Gawker

LOS ANGELES—In an amended complaint filed yesterday in a federal court in Los Angeles, attorneys for a clearly pissed off Quentin Tarantino are now accusing Gawker.com of the direct infringement of the director's script for The Hateful Eight. The lawsuit against Gawker was filed in January, but hit a snag in late April when Judge John F. Walter issued an order granting a Motion to Dismiss by Gawker, but allowed Tarantino to file a corrected amended complaint.

In his order granting the motion to dismiss, Judge Walter states that Tarantino's original complaint was fatally flawed because it "failed to adequately plead facts establishing direct infringement by a third party or facts that would demonstrate Defendant either caused, induced, or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement of those third party infringers.

"Plaintiff," he adds, "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.''

In the new complaint, Tarantino's lawyer's appear to have more than corrected those egregious errors by describing in excruciating detail the step-by-step actions allegedly taken by Gawker in its effort to, as the complaint puts it, "...publicly [solicit] its purported 47 million monthly United States readers to infringe Tarantino’s copyright, asking and inducing anyone to leak and provide Gawker with an unauthorized infringing copy of the Screenplay."

Indeed, Tarantino's opinion of Gawker is practically inked in blood in the document, alleging as it does that the New York-based blog "has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck. This time they went too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating within certain limited Hollywood circles without his permission, Gawker crossed the journalistic line, first by requesting that a reader 'leak' an infringing copy directly to Gawker, then second, after obtaining a link to and itself directly downloading an infringing PDF copy, and then third, by promoting itself to the public as the first source to download and read the entire Screenplay illegally and directing the public to do so."

Stating additionally that the purpose of the Copyright Act is to "protect against ... Gawker’s conduct," the complaint also argues that it made repeated "demands for the removal of the posted URL links for direct downloading of the unlawfully posted script, including submissions of DMCA notices of copyright infringement," but that "Gawker failed and expressly refused to remove their directions to and URL links to get the infringing materials. Gawker knowingly and actively acted as a promoter of copyright pirates, and, itself, did directly cause, induce, contribute to, enable and materially facilitate copyright infringement."

Tarantino is seeking actual damages "in an amount exceeding $1,000,000 to be determined at trial," as well as statutory damages, attorney's fees and costs, and injunctions enjoining the defendants from even looking at the screenplay again.

The amended complaint can be read here.