Miramax is suing director Quentin Tarantino over his plans to sell seven non-fungible tokens based on his 1994 film “Pulp Fiction.” The Hollywood studio argues that Tarantino would be violating the copyrights it holds for the film.
On November 2, Tarantino announced his plans to sell the digital collectibles based on “exclusive scenes” from the film. The NFTs would contain hidden content for each owner.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accuses Tarantino of breaching his contract, copyright and trademark infringement, and unfair competition. The complaint claims Tarantino signed an agreement on June 23, 1993, which gave Miramax the “sole and exclusive right” to all copyrights and trademarks of the film.
The suit says Tarantino holds some “reserved rights” which are “far too narrow for him to unilaterally produce, market, and sell” the NFTs.
Miramax claims Tarantino kept the NFT plans a secret from the studio because he knows Miramax holds “broad rights” to the film. The company has requested the lawsuit be settled in a jury trial and asked to be reimbursed for damages and the cost of lawyers. ViacomCBS owns a minority stake in Miramax.
“Left unchecked, Tarantino’s conduct could mislead others into believing Miramax is involved in his venture,” the lawsuit reads. “And it could also mislead others into believing they have the rights to pursue similar deals or offerings, when in fact Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to its deep film library.”
However, the director’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, argues that Tarantino has the right to sell the NFTs. “Miramax is wrong — plain and simple. Quentin Tarantino’s contract is clear: he has the right to sell NFTs of his hand-written script for Pulp Fiction and this ham-fisted attempt to prevent him from doing so will fail,” Freedman told the Associated Press.
“Pulp Fiction” is Tarantino’s second film, which helped establish him as a highly sought-after director. The film, which stars Uma Thurman, John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, weaves the stories of gangsters, mob bosses, and hitmen in a violent, cult classic. In 1994, the movie won the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes film festival, and was later preserved in the Library of Congress in 2013 for its cultural importance.
“My work is kind of unmistakably me, and I like that about it. But you know, you are either going to really dig it or you’re gonna be against it,” Tarantino told CBS News in 2009.