Popular Hollywood director, producer and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media after he claims they illegally published a link to his new screenplay online. This copyright infringement case is a bit complicated since Gawker Media did not actually post his screenplay on one of their blogs. Rather, they linked to third-party websites that had copies of the screenplay.
The lawsuit says Gawker Media committed contributory copyright infringement back in January. The lawsuit alleges that Gawker Media used the leaked screenplay to get more readers and showed readers how to illegally access the leaked screenplay with links in their blog post.
Gawker Media has responded to the lawsuit by filing a motion to have it dismissed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The company said that just because they have a link for readers to access the screenplay is not evidence of anyone actually reading the screenplay. They also said that Tarantino has no valid claims or evidence of direct copyright infringement, which means they cannot be held liable for contributory copyright infringement.
This case is a unique example of the legal action individuals can take if they believe contributory copyright infringement has taken place, and how difficult if may be to prove contributory copyright infringement according to California laws. It will be interesting to see how the court rules in this case, and the implications this ruling may have on future contributory copyright infringement cases that are quite common in the movie industry.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Gawker seeks dismissal of Quentin Tarantino copyright lawsuit,” Oliver Gettell, March 11, 2014