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Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction Lawsuit Over NFTs Has Taken A Turn

Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction
(Image credit: Miramax)

As far as filmmaking icons go, you’d be hard pressed to find one more stylized and well-known as Quentin Tarantino. The Reservoir Dogs writer and director has been the face of many cult classics over the last few decades, and one of his “best”, most well known films is the center of a lawsuit against the beloved director. Apparently the legal battle, which erupted after Tarantino announced he’d be selling NFTs of his hand written Pulp Fiction script and other film related content, has taken quite the turn after Miramax has sent out a statement on the matter to the intended broker for the sale.

Even though Quentin Tarantino both wrote and directed Pulp Fiction and the film is heavily associated with his name, Miramax was the company who distributed the film and currently owns the intellectual property. In a letter sent by Miramax’s council (via Deadline), the plaintiff’s argument as to why Tarantino does not have the right to sell the Pulp Fiction NFTs that are scheduled to be auctioned off next week is laid out. Here’s what was said:

Whatever limited rights Mr. Tarantino has to screenplay publication, they do not permit the minting of unique NFTs associated with Miramax’s intellectual property, and his contrary position is the subject of a pending lawsuit. What your press release calls Mr. Tarantino’s ‘never-before-seen handwritten screenplay’ cannot yet be ‘iconic; or a ‘fan favorite,’ so it is transparent that you and Mr. Tarantino are trying to capitalize on Miramax’s content, intellectual property rights, and brand.

Digital assets are becoming more and more normalized, first with the increasing success of Bitcoin and now the introduction of NFTs. They are still a relatively new thing though, which makes the rights in regard to them somewhat of a blurred line. They certainly were not even a thought back when Pulp Fiction was originally released in 1994, so they would not have been put into any type of contract at that time. 

Even so, the letter was sent to SCRT who had planned to go forward with Tarantino’s NFT sale despite the ongoing lawsuit between the director and Miramax, and it seems to outline some possible consequences for the broker. According to the letter, SCRT may be required to turn over any proceeds of the NFT sales to Miramax and the purchasers may have to forfeit their goods won in the auction. Here it is in their own words:

Assuming that you (like Mr. Tarantino) plan on going forward with the auction, please be on notice that you are doing so at your own risk, including the risk that you will later owe the proceeds of any sales to Miramax along with other potential damages. We would hope that you also inform prospective purchasers of the risks of purchasing these unauthorized NFTs, including that purchasers may have to return the NFTs to Miramax and forfeit the price they paid for such NFTs, and that purchasers may incur additional liability in the event they later sell the unauthorized NFTs (including the potential for statutory damages.

Now this is, of course, all dependent on the lawsuit’s result, and Miramax’s lawyers seem to be just laying out what could happen if the lawsuit goes their way. If SCRT goes through with the deal, it can reasonably be assumed that they agree with Quentin Tarantino and his representation in that Miramax is wrong and he has full rights to sell NFTs of his hand written content.

The sale of Pulp Fiction NFTs by Quentin Tarantino is, at this time, still on and scheduled to start on January 17th. Tarantino is stepping away from the filmmaking game soon, as he has said he’s serious about his retirement, which makes it the perfect time for his fans to invest in digital memorabilia. If you do plan on taking part in what will most likely be a pretty pricey auction, just know that Miramax is making it clear it’s not a risk-free auction for any party.