Gawker Media responded to a lawsuit filed by Quentin Tarantino over his leaked script, claiming linking to something online is not the same as publishing it.
The company made it clear that its Defamer celebrity gossip site isn't backing down after linking to "The Hateful Eight" script on third-party file-sharing sites.
Tarantino's suit against Gawker accuses the media group of "predatory journalism" and facilitating the dissemination of the director's leaked movie script.
The item leaked last week after he gave it to a handful of actors; Tarantino said he was so outraged that he is now shelving plans to make the film.
The suit says Gawker went beyond "publishing a news story reporting that plaintiff's screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission."
Rather, he claims "Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally."
With its "enjoy!" tone (not to mention the traffic it no doubt garnered from this) Gawker certainly didn't feel bad for Quentin ... but that legal argument is tough.
In a post titled "Quentin Tarantino Sues Gawker Over Link to Script He Wants Online," Gawker editor John Cook said he did not leak the script or publish it.
Instead, Gawker merely linked to file-sharing sites AnonFiles and Scribd.
"Gawker had nothing to do with [the script's] appearance," Cook writes.
"No one at Gawker transmitted it to AnonFiles. No one at Gawker encouraged anyone to do so. No one at Gawker has any earthly idea how AnonFiles obtained a copy."
Cook adds that Tarantino himself deliberately turned this into a major story, and that Gawker linked to it "because it was news," adding, "We'll be fighting this one."
He makes an interesting point. If this becomes a protracted legal battle, and if Tarantino digs his heels in and doesn't make the film, it will be the stuff of legend.
Oh, what might have been ... the unrealized Tarantino masterpiece.
However, if the suit generates enough publicity, he could change his mind and make the movie anyway, leveraging all the free publicity to his advantage.
Nothing like a little bit of unplanned marketing ...