Recently, Quentin Tarantino filed a contributory copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media, famous for publications like Kotaku, Vallywag, and (of course) Gawker. The suit claims that, by linking to a download of Tarantino’s recently shelvedHateful Eight script on Gawker affiliate Defamer, Gawker assisted in copyright violation.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained a copy of the lawsuit, and has the full complaint available here. Tarantino is seeking at least $1 million of Gawker’s profits from the story, in addition to “actual and statutory damages.” Gawker Editor-in-Chief John Cook posted a response yesterday, stating that the company would be “fighting this one.”
I’m genuinely not worried about either party in this case, neither Gawker nor Tarantino classify as “little guys” (aka the only people I ever sympathize with in a lawsuit). Everyone on the Internet should be watching this case, however, as the result could definitely set a precedent. If Tarantino wins, linking to material like this becomes unlawful.
As an employee of an independent web-based company, I’m kind of in Gawker’s corner by default. And Tarantino told Deadline he likes that “everyone eventually posts it, gets it and reviews it on the net.” But, then again, I do love Tarantino and this is definitely a legal gray area.
This isn’t likely to end in a settlement considering the egos involved, so we’ll update you all once a decision has been reached.