Miramax is suing Quentin Tarantino over his recently announced plans to sell seven non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of the highly acclaimed film “Pulp Fiction.”
Production company Miramax has sued director Quentin Tarantino over his non-fungible token or NFT collection based on Pulp Fiction. The lawsuit, filed yesterday in California court and noted online by attorney Mark Jaffe, says NFTs don’t fall under Tarantino’s reserved rights for the film. Miramax accuses him of violating the company’s copyright and trademark, and it’s demanding a halt to the upcoming sale.
Tarantino’s NFT collection is supposed to include blockchain tokens associated with high-resolution scans from his original handwritten screenplay of Pulp Fiction, plus a drawing inspired by some element of the scene. But Miramax alleges that Tarantino’s limited contractual rights for Pulp Fiction — including interactive games, live performances, and other ancillary media — don’t cover NFTs linked with the film’s screenplay.
In papers obtained by The Post, Miramax claims it was not made aware of Tarantino’s NFT auction plans and only found out per a third party, at which point it sent a cease-and-desist letter to the 58-year-old Tennessee native. The letter claimed Miramax owned the rights to virtually all of “Pulp Fiction’s” media-related rights, including NFTs.
In response, Tarantino not only continued with his NFT plan but began aggressively promoting the controversial NFTs on social media, according to TMZ.
Miramax is now seeking not only money from Tarantino but also an end to his NFT auction.
“‘Pulp Fiction’ is one of the many beloved, award-winning, culturally iconic films in the Miramax library – with its brilliant storytelling and unique characters who still resonate with audiences more than 25 years later. So it was profoundly disappointing to learn of this deliberate, premeditated, short-term money grab by the Tarantino team to unilaterally circumvent Miramax’s rights to ‘Pulp Fiction’ though the illicit development, promotion, and distribution of NFTs,” said in a statement that Miramax’s legal representation, Proskauer Rose LLP partner Bart Williams, sent to The Post. “This group chose to recklessly, greedily, and intentionally disregard the agreement that Quentin signed instead of following the clear legal and ethical approach of simply communicating with Miramax about his proposed ideas.”
The statement notes that Miramax is exploring NFT partnerships on its own and that in 1993 Tarantino signed away nearly all of his “Pulp Fiction” rights to the company.
“Left unchecked, Tarantino’s conduct could mislead other Miramax collaborators into believing they have the rights to pursue similar deals, when in fact Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market and sell NFTs relating to its deep film library,” the statement added.
NFTs are a frequently baffling but highly lucrative technology providing an alternate revenue stream for people to profit off media outside traditional licensing deals. Tarantino’s NFTs are supposed to add a layer of “privacy and access control features” that will hide previously unknown secrets about his work – apparently inspired by a description of NFTs as having hidden “matrix code” inside of them. The market for NFTs, digital art tied to the blockchain, has exploded this year, with nearly $11 billion in sales in the third quarter alone. Celebrities, athletes, and artists alike have joined the craze, creating and minting their own NFTs to sell on marketplaces like OpenSea in exchange for cryptocurrency.