Tarantino Says Gawker’s Publication of Script Was Not Fair Use under Copyright Law

At a hearing on Gawker’s motion to dismiss his copyright infringement claim, Academy Award-winning writer and director Quentin Tarantino contended that the site’s link to his screenplay for a Western called “The Hateful Eight” was not fair use.
Gawker had included a hyperlink to the script posted by anonymous users on AnonFiles.com in its story on the leak of the script. Tarantino charged that the link was merely an attempt to generate ad revenue and failed to serve a legitimate journalistic purpose.
According to Tarantino’s court filings,
It would be a nonsensical endeavor to attempt to evaluate whether [Gawker] engaged in fair use where, by its own admission, Gawker did not actually ‘use’ the script. The very limited doctrine of fair use … has no application to the present situation and does not excuse [Gawker] from liability for willfully infringing Tarantino’s copyright.
According to the complaint,
Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s rights to make a buck. This time they went too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally.
The headline on the Gawker story was “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script.”
Tarantino sent Gawker a take-down notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). He claimed that the site failed to “expeditiously disable” the link to the script.
Gawker claims that the use of hyperlinks as part of a news story is a classic case of fair-use in news reporting.
After learning of the leak, Tarantino announced that he would postpone making the movie and publish the script instead.
Tarantino is seeking $2 million in damages and an injunction prohibiting any further distribution of the script.

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