LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino filed a lawsuit against media outlet Gawker for copyright infringement in a U.S. district court in Los Angeles on Monday, after the website published links to download the script for his latest movie, entitled “The Hateful Eight.”
Gawker editor John Cook denied the publication had infringed on copyright in a post published on Gawker.com on Monday. He said Gawker did not leak Tarantino’s 146-page Western movie script and only published a link to a website where the script could be downloaded.
In court documents, writer-director Tarantino claimed Gawker Media promoted and disseminated unauthorized, downloadable copies of the leaked screenplay.
The filmmaker is seeking more than $1 million in damages for each of two copyright infringement claims.
The lawsuit also names website AnonFiles.com, which the Gawker article linked to, and which contains downloads of Tarantino’s script.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact AnonFiles.com for comment.
Cook said Gawker had nothing to do with the appearance of “The Hateful Eight” script on the Internet and said it didn’t know who had uploaded the document to AnonFiles.com.
Cook also said that Gawker was being sued for contributory copyright infringement, for publishing links to AnonFiles.com, which is being sued for direct copyright infringement.
AnonFiles.com allows users to upload and download files anonymously, and in its terms and conditions it says users can be held responsible for illegal and copyright infringement material. It adds that illegal files will be removed.
As of Monday, Gawker’s story, first published on January 23, was still live along with links to download the script on AnonFiles.com.
Tarantino, 50, is known for his edgy, gritty films that fuse dark humor with violence, including 1994’s “Pulp Fiction” and 2012’s “Django Unchained,” both of which earned him Oscar wins for best original screenplay.
The lawsuit details how Tarantino discovered that a copy of his latest screenplay had been leaked publicly on January 21, which he addressed in an interview with film industry website Deadline Hollywood.
Tarantino said he was “very, very depressed” at the leak and scrapped his plans to make the movie, saying that he would publish the script instead.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker