The first round of Quentin Tarantino's $1 million copyright case against Gawker Media has been dismissed by a US judge. The director sued the company in January, claiming that its Defamer channel had demonstrated "blatant" infringement of copyright by linking to a leaked version of his script for ensemble western The Hateful Eight. But, speaking in court on Wednesday, the Californian district judge hearing the lawsuit said Tarantino's case did not show "direct infringement" as the script was already online.

Tarantino's lawyers had accused Gawker Media of "predatory journalism," and said that although the script itself was hosted on anonymous file upload site AnonFiles, they said that Gawker Media had "crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally." But judge John F. Walter ruled that Tarantino's case was lacking in evidence. "Nowhere in these paragraphs or anywhere else in the Complaint does Plaintiff allege a single act of direct infringement committed by any member of the general public that would support Plaintiff's claim for contributory infringement." Walter told Tarantino he would be able to amend his arguments and refile the suit by May 1st.

The judge said Gawker did not show direct infringement by linking to the script

In its motion for the case's dismissal, Gawker Media contended that it had not violated Tarantino's right to first publication, and that "Tarantino himself set in motion the circumstances by which the script circulated." The director claims he gave a draft of the script to six people, including actors Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern. Speaking to Deadline in January, Tarantino said he suspected Dern's agent was responsible for the original leak.

Tarantino had previously threatened to put a film version of The Hateful Eight on hold after the leak, which he said left him feeling "very, very depressed," but the recently changed his mind on the matter. The director held a reading of the leaked script in Los Angeles earlier this week, where he told the crowd he was working on a second draft of the screenplay, and "will do a third draft."