When people in the entertainment industry come up with ideas they think are worth producing, they often go to friends or colleagues for advice and to see if the idea is worth publishing. But even the most trusted of confidants can let slip a million-dollar idea, which can sometimes lead to litigation in some instances.
This was the case for director Quentin Tarantino after he shared a screenplay idea with a small group of actors recently. But when one of the actor’s agents allegedly leaked the script to other people in Hollywood, Tarantino found himself needing legal representation for the problems that soon followed.
Although news sources picked up on Tarantino’s story after he acknowledged the leak to Deadline.com in January, the director says that the tabloid Gawker took their reporting too far. In a federal lawsuit filed recently, he points out that Gawker not only reported on the leak but posted a link to his screenplay, which had been posted anonymously to a site called AnonFiles.com. He says that by doing so, the tabloid “crossed the journalistic line to become an active inducer of the illegal activity about which it was supposedly reporting.”
Gawker contends that they were only reporting that the script was online and should be protected by the fair-use exception of federal copyright law. But in Tarantino’s lawsuit, the director points out that the tabloid would not have broken copyright law had it not linked to the site where the script was posted. By linking to the site, Tarantino feels that Gawker is just as guilty of copyright infringement as the person who posted the script.
Currently, Gawker is the only named party in Tarantino’s lawsuit, which seeks $1 million in damages for lost profits.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Tarantino Continues War With Gawker,” Matt Reynolds, March 27, 2014