PULP FICTION NFTS LITIGATION

Star director Quentin Tarantino plans to auction off special NFTs on secret content of his cult film “Pulp Fiction”. While fans are happy about the announcement, the US film studio Miramax is taking legal action against Tarantino’s plans. Miramax sees an infringement of its copyrights and wants to put NFTs on the market itself.

On his website called “Tarantino NFT”, the film director and producer announces his ambitions to sell Pulp Fiction NFTs. According to this, every single NFT in the collection contains “one or more previously unknown secrets of a specific iconic scene from Pulp Fiction”. The privileged person who acquires one of the few and rare NFTs will thus gain “an insight into the mind and creative process of Quentin Tarantino”. What precisely a buyer does with the tokens, however, is entirely up to them. They could keep the secret for themselves, share it with friends and family or make it available to the public. The NFTs issued are not standard NFTs, but so-called “Secret NFTs”. These have been enhanced with privacy and access control features to create hidden content and experiences.

To buy such a NFT token, the first step is to fill out a form. Afterwards, the auction of each individual NFT would take place via the cooperation partner OpenSea. To participate in the NFT auction, it is necessary to set up a MetaMask wallet and an OpenSea account. Furthermore, only ETH or another cryptocurrency supported by OpenSea would be accepted as a means of payment – ultimately triggering high transaction costs. Payment with fiat money via debit or credit card is not supported.

Who owns the rights to Pulp Fiction?

With his plans to sell NFTs about Pulp Fiction, Tarantino is not only arousing the joyful interest of his fans. The US film studio Miramax has also become aware of the sale plans and promptly filed a lawsuit and a cease-and-desist letter against the director. Miramax is the studio with which Tarantino used to produce his films. A large part of the rights to Pulp Fiction is therefore in Miramax’s hands. However, the studio and the director have apparently agreed in a contract that Tarantino may continue to publish his screenplay. Now, however, a dispute has erupted between the two parties as to whether this granted right covers the auctioning of NFTs or not.

According to the internet website Variety, Tarantino’s lawyers argue that “the sale of NFTs based on screenplay excerpts qualifies as ‘publication’ of the screenplay”. On the other hand, Miramax sees an auction of NFTs as a one-off sale that cannot be equated with the publication of a screenplay. 

Both sides are therefore making severe accusations against each other, accusing the other of breach of contract. “Miramax is wrong – plain and simple. Quentin Tarantino’s contract is very clear: he has the right to sell NFTs of his handwritten screenplay for Pulp Fiction, and this lazy attempt to prevent him from doing so will fail. But Miramax’s careless decision to disclose confidential information about its filmmakers’ contracts and compensation will irreparably damage his reputation long after this case is dropped,” Tarantino’s lawyer Bryan Freedman tells Variety. On the other hand, Miramax lawyer Bart Williams counters, telling the website that “Tarantino’s actions disrupted the studio’s plans to enter the market for ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs.” “This group chose to recklessly, greedily and deliberately disregard the agreement Quentin signed rather than follow the clear legal and ethical approach of communicating with Miramax about his proposed ideas,” Williams continues to Variety.

The NFT Hype

The fact that the dispute between Tarantino and Miramax is escalating so furiously in the public eye is no great surprise given the current NFT hype. After all, there is a lot of money at stake for both parties. The Pulp Fiction NFTs could become a real box-office hit and bring in many millions. This is probably one reason why both lawyers are fighting tooth and nail for exclusive sales rights. If one looks at the latest proceeds within the division, it quickly becomes clear what is actually at stake here. 

According to Spiegel, the auction house Christie’s sold a mosaic collage by the previously rather unknown graphic designer Beeple for 69 million US dollars in March. Similarly, according to the magazine, the musician and ex-girlfriend of Tesla boss Elon Musk Grimes are said to have generated the equivalent of 5.8 million dollars within 20 minutes. So there is a lot of money to be made with NFTs at the moment.

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