In a move that screams “douchebag,” one of the muckraking websites has illegally published the first draft of Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight. I’m not going to say which one until Tarantino’s lawyers get into it, but that seems like a fairly bold thing to do, inviting everyone to link to an illegal copy of the script. A screenwriter friend informed that, given that this is Tarantino-owned material that he plans to publish as a book and make into a movie, it won’t be too hard to prove damages. Deadline revealed the other day that Tarantino was so incensed that the script leaked after he gave it to a handful of actors, he was going to shelve that script and work on a different one, publishing it in book form instead. Always curious to see how well-capitalized these websites are. Maybe we are about to find out.
In a related development, we got an email from the agents of Michael Madsen, one of the actors (along with Bruce Dern and Tim Roth) who got scripts. “Kismet Talent Agency is the exclusive talent agency for Michael Madsen. As we never received the Tarantino script in question, we therefore could not possibly be the source of the purported leak,” wrote agent Vicki Roberts. Since the script wasn’t watermarked, it will be next to impossible to solve this. But publishing Tarantino’s work online seems a new low. If you look at the landscape of mega-budget pictures coming down the pike, we’ve got three more Avatar films, and a new series of Star Wars films, and at least two Terminator films. You have to imagine that at some point, someone’s going to get pissed enough that they will actually press a lawsuit when a script is publicized online. In this case, the offending website has presented a downloadable and told its readers to help themselves and enjoy the script. Maybe Tarantino will be that guy — the one who makes such cavalier intellectual property theft a perilous proposition.