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.
Quentin Tarantino filed legal papers seeking $1 million in compensation from Gawker, after scrapping plans to film the movie
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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Quentin Tarantino was joined by Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen in Los Angeles for a reading of his leaked script, Hateful Eight.
Once due to be the follow-up to Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino cancelled the film in January after the script spread around Hollywood and film websites.
At the time, the director said he was “very, very depressed” by the leak.
However, Quentin Tarantino, 51, was in better spirits for the one-off live reading and hinted his movie may yet see the light of day.
“I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft but we’re reading from the first draft,” he told the audience at Los Angeles’ Theatre at the Ace Hotel.
He also suggested the script would be changed substantially in future drafts – in particular the final act, which he described as the “fifth chapter”.
“The chapter five here will not be the chapter five later so this will be the only time it is seen, ever,” he said.
Quentin Tarantino was joined by Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Dern and Michael Madsen in Los Angeles for a reading of his leaked script, Hateful Eight
Set in post-civil war Wyoming, the Western drama takes place after a blizzard diverts a stagecoach from its route, stranding a mismatched group of outlaws in a “haberdashery”.
Among their number are a competing pair of bounty hunters, a renegade Confederate soldier and a female prisoner.
Four of the five “chapters” take place almost entirely within one room, said the Hollywood Reporter, which described the plot as an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit, albeit with added violence.
Several of Quentin Tarantino’s old cast-members took part in the reading, with Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Kurt Russell (Death Proof) and Amber Tamblyn (Django Unchained) all on stage.
“We’ve been rehearsing this for the last 3 days and we’re not bad,” said Quentin Tarantino.
Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell played the dueling bounty hunters, while Michael Madsen played cowboy John Gage and Quentin Tarantino narrated.
“Guys, you are starting to drift away from the dialogue on the page,” he told the ensemble at one point.
“No more co-writing!”
About 1,200 people attended the show, with tickets priced between $150 and $200.
Among the audience were film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has distributed several of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, and X-Men writer David Hayder.
Mobile phones were banned, and there was no live stream of the event.
Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino is suing gossip website Gawker for contributory copyright infringement after it posted a link to the leaked screenplay.
The trial is due to start on January 27, 2015.