Director Quentin Tarantino’s recent announcement of NFT collectibles based on his classic film “Pulp Fiction” generated a lot of buzz amongst movie buffs. However, it also caught the attention of Miramax, the studio that distributed the 1994 film—and not in a positive way.
Today, Miramax filed suit against Tarantino, alleging that he is not legally able to produce NFT collectibles based on the film. According to a copy of the filing reviewed by Decrypt, Miramax alleges breach of contract, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition.
Miramax’s suit paints Tarantino as being “eager to cash in on the [NFT] boom” in announcing the collectibles in partnership with SCRT Labs, as one of the first projects to launch on the Secret Network blockchain network. The NFTs feature content that only each respective owner can view, such as exclusive audio commentary with previously-unreleased content.
The studio alleges that Tarantino “kept his ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFT plans secret,” and that it sent the director a cease and desist letter sent following the November 2 announcement, demanding that he cancel the planned release.
The original handwritten ‘Royale with Cheese’ scene will soon be on sale. Alongside the screenplay, the NFT includes a recording of Quentin Tarantino, revealing new details only available on @SecretNetwork. If you'd like this 1-of-1 please fill this form: https://t.co/geYd0rWtaS pic.twitter.com/jfHd845MBs
— Tarantino NFTs (@TarantinoNFTs) November 15, 2021
At issue are “reserved rights” regarding commercialization of the project, as specified in the original 1993 agreements between Tarantino and the studio. Miramax claims that Tarantino’s rights are “far too narrow” to release his own independent NFTs based on the film.
However, an attorney for Tarantino told The Hollywood Reporter that the director believes his right to “screenplay reproduction” allows for the creation of the NFT collectibles. Miramax claims that it holds the rights to release NFTs based on the film, and apparently plans to do so.
“This one-off effort devalues the NFT rights to ‘Pulp Fiction,’ which Miramax intends to maximize through a strategic, comprehensive approach,” said Miramax lawyer Bart Williams, partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, to The Hollywood Reporter. “Miramax [...] will not allow Quentin’s representatives to deceive others into believing they have the authority to make similar deals in violation of the rights agreements they signed.”
An NFT acts like a deed of ownership to a rare digital item. In this case, the seven ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs will be based on the film’s original screenplay, and feature additional content. SCRT Labs has since announced an “Artifact Collection” spanning thousands of additional NFTs inspired by Tarantino’s films. The collectibles are set to release in December.
SCRT Labs representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Decrypt will update this story if we hear back.