What a difference a week makes. On May 1, Quentin Tarantino was back in the legal ring to take another swing at Gawker with an amended complaint in his The Hateful Eight copyright infringement lawsuit. Now, he’s walked away from his $1 million rumble with the site over their posting of his previously leaked screenplay. “NOTICE is hereby given that… plaintiff Quentin Tarantino (“Plaintiff”) voluntarily dismisses the above-captioned action, in its entirety, without prejudice,” said a filing made in federal court by the Oscar-winning director’s lawyers Marty Singer, Evan Spiegel and Harry Self III late Wednesday (read it here). Of course, being smart attorneys, the trio hasn’t entirely lowered its client’s gloves. “This dismissal is made without prejudice, whereby Plaintiff may later advance an action and refile a complaint after further investigations to ascertain and plead the identities of additional infringers resulting from Gawker Media’s contributory copyright infringement, by its promotion, aiding and abetting and materially contributing to the dissemination to third-parties of unauthorized copies of Plaintiff’s copyrighted work,” adds the 2-page filing.
A little over a week after a federal judge dismissed Quentin Tarantino‘s copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker over the site’s posting of his leaked screenplay The Hateful Eight, the Oscar-winning writer-director today filed an amended complaint (read it here). The 15-page complaint is now just one claim: Copyright infringement (Direct and Contributory). Tarantino’s legal team had until today to file the amended complaint after Judge John Walter ruled April 22 that the plaintiff was not able to display a particular case of infringement facilitated by Gawker’s actions. Walter did, however, leave Tarantino a window to refile.
Unlike before, where Gawker was called out for the site’s promotion and dissemination of the leaked material, today’s amended complaint picked up on Walter’s ruling that Tarantino “merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place.” This time the director and his lawyers went very direct: “Gawker engaged in direct copyright infringement by their unauthorized download of a PDF copy of the leaked unreleased complete screenplay for Quentin Tarantino’s motion picture The Hateful Eight (the “Screenplay”),” says the revised suit.
Just days after a triumphant live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script, Quentin Tarantino today took a hit in his copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker over the site’s promotion and dissemination of the leaked material. “The Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion on the grounds that Plaintiff has 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,” said Judge John Walter today in an order (read it here) on Gawker’s motion to dismiss. Essentially, by not being able to display a particular case of infringement facilitated by Gawker’s actions, the judge decided the director has nothing solid to move forward with.
“Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place,” says Walter. “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.”
Looks like it’s going to be a while before Quentin Tarantino and Gawker face off in court after all. Just less than two weeks before a motion to dismiss hearing, a federal judge today set a trial date of January 27, 2015 for the director’s copyright infringement lawsuit over the site’s promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved screenplay The Hateful Eight script. That’s a year to the day from when Tarantino filed his $1 million suit against the website. Of course, that estimated three-day jury trial may not happened at all as Judge John F. Walter also moved the matter to private mediation. The judge has given the two sides until September 8, 2014 to complete the mediation, during which the parties will be able to conduct discovery and prepare their cases as a scheduling and case management order (read it here) from the judge today outlines. Of course there’s no promise that Tarantino’s lawyers and Gawker’s attorneys will work anything out in their heated dispute by then, but it does take the April 14 hearing on Gawker’s motion to dismiss the case off the calendar, which certainly lowers the immediate temperature.
Today’s orders come a day after the parties presented a joint report to the court estimating a four- to seven-day trial, and two days after Gawker responded to Tarantino’s response to its March 10 motion to dismiss the case. Gawker basically said the director is going after the wrong party, that his argument “misconstrues, misunderstands, and misstates” the law and part of the reason he’s suing is because of the Oscar winner’s “displeasure with Gawker’s past and present reporting about him.” Bet that’s going to be a topic of some discussion in the mediation.
Gawker Says Quentin Tarantino Suing Because Of Overall “Displeasure” With Site’s Coverage Not Copyright Infringement
The red-hot copyright battle between Quentin Tarantino and Gawker is becoming a true pulp non-fiction. Two weeks before the dueling parties face off in federal court over the director’s copyright infringement lawsuit over the site’s promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved The Hateful Eight script, the outlet today offered a brand new theory as to why they’re being sued: Tarantino doesn’t like the way they talk about him. ”As reflected by the vitriol in his papers, Tarantino’s claim against Gawker is animated by his displeasure with Gawker’s past and present reporting about him, rather than the possibility that some unknown persons may have accessed his script online,” said Gawker in a filing today (read it here). Having said that, Gawker doesn’t provide a single example of their reporting that may have teed the director off – though they’ve certainly had their fun and taken a bite or two out of him over the years.
Today’s filing was a reply of support to Gawker’s own March 10 motion to have Tarantino’s January 27’s $1 million copyright infringement and contributory copyright infringement suit against the site dismissed. Tarantino is going after Gawker for its post “Here Is The Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script.” Last week the plaintiff in an opposition filing of his own (read …
EXCLUSIVE: More than a month after Quentin Tarantino slapped Gawker with a copyright infringement lawsuit over its promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved The Hateful Eight script, the website today responded in court — and it wants the whole thing thrown out. “Because there was no primary infringement to which Gawker’s links contributed, plaintiff has failed to state a claim for contributory copyright Infringement,” said Gawker Media LLC’s lawyers in a 26-page motion for dismissal today (read it here). “Even if plaintiff had been able to establish the elements of such a claim, Gawker’s use of links to materials already posted to the Internet by third parties was privileged as a fair use.” Gawker has requested an April 14 hearing before federal district Judge John F. Walter on their motion.