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.”
After his Hateful Eight script leaked and then showed up online, Tarantino had sued Gawker for the infringement and $1 million on January 27. Among other reactions, Gawker responded with its motion to dismiss on March 10. While considering the motion, Judge Waters had set a January 27 trial date while putting the parties into mediation earlier this month. However, all is not lost for the Oscar winner. “The Court will grant Plaintiff an opportunity to amend the second claim for relief for contributory infringement against Defendant,” the federal judge added in today’s order. Tarantino has until May 1 to file an amended complaint.
Tarantino is represented by Marty Singer, Henry Self III and Evan Spiegel of LA’s Lavely & Singer in the case. Robert Penchina and Thomas Curley of the NYC and Washington DC offices of Levine Sullican Koch & Sclutz are representing Gawker Media LLC and Gawker Entertainment LLC. Kevin Vick and Jean-Paul Jassy of LA’s Jassy Vick Carolan LLP are also attorneys for the defendants.