Los Angeles - Gossip website Gawker has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by Quentin Tarantino seeking at least $2m over the publication of a leaked screenplay for what was to be his latest movie.
In a motion for dismissal filed on Monday, Gawker Media said it only provided a link to an online location where the screenplay could be viewed, and as such did not provide a "scoop" because the document was already available.
The Pulp Fiction director announced in January that he had scrapped plans to film The Hateful Eight as his next project because the screenplay had been leaked.
He subsequently filed a lawsuit accusing Gawker of "predatory journalism" over the 146-page script.
But Gawker said in its motion filed in California this week that Tarantino was responsible for publicising the leak.
It insisted it did not "scoop plaintiff's right to first publication, as the script was online prior to Gawker's links," adding: "Tarantino himself set in motion the circumstances by which the script circulated."
"Gawker made minimal use of the script - it reproduced no part of it but merely linked to another publication. Gawker's use was, at most, incidentally commercial and did not usurp the primary market for and purpose of the script: to make a movie."
'A business of predatory journalism'
Tarantino's lawsuit, filed in January, cited Gawker Media and ANONFILES.COM, the anonymous website where the screenplay was posted.
It sought at least $1m for violation of copyright by the person who published it online, and the same amount for contributory violation of copyright - the claim specifically targeting Gawker.
"This action is necessitated by Gawker Media's and the other defendants' blatant copyright infringement by their promotion and dissemination of unauthorised downloadable copies of the leaked unreleased complete screenplay," it said.
"Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people's rights to make a buck.
This time they went too far," added the legal document filed in the federal court in California.
The Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained filmmaker had gone on the warpath a week earlier, telling Deadline.com that he believes the screenplay was leaked by someone linked to only six people with whom he shared the screenplay.
"I'm very, very depressed... I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn't mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now. I gave it to six people, and apparently it's gotten out today," he said.