A US judge has dismissed director Quentin Tarantino’s case against gossip website Gawker, who he claimed helped leak his screenplay The Hateful Eight.
Quentin Tarantino filed legal papers seeking $1 million in compensation from the site, after scrapping plans to film the movie.
District judge John F. Walter said Quentin Tarantino had failed to demonstrate “direct infringement” of his copyright.
Gawker posted a link to the leaked 146-page script in January.
Quentin Tarantino accused Gawker Media of “predatory journalism”, but the publisher argued it had only provided a link to Anonfiles.com, an anonymous online location where the screenplay could be viewed.
Gawker said it was not a “scoop” as the document was already available and did not violate Quentin Tarantino’s “right to first publication” as the script was already online.
The website added: “Tarantino himself set in motion the circumstances by which the script circulated” by giving it to several people.
The judge ruled Quentin Tarantino’s lawyers had failed to demonstrate whether anyone had actually seen the script as a direct result of the link on Gawker.
In January, Quentin Tarantino revealed to Deadline Hollywood he had only given the script to six people – including actors Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Roth – and was “very, very depressed” about the leak.
Quentin Tarantino said he found out about the leak when his office began getting calls from agents pitching their clients for acting roles.
At a reading of the script held by Quentin Tarantino in Los Angeles last week, the director told the audience he was in fact still working on the film.
“I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft but we’re reading from the first draft,” he said.
Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Tim Roth all took part in the reading of the story about bounty hunters in 19th Century Wyoming who get trapped by a blizzard.
The judge has given Quentin Tarantino’s legal team a second chance to prove their case, according to Forbes magazine, which reported they will be allowed to re-file their case with more evidence by the end of this month.
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