Production company Miramax has filed a lawsuit accusing director Quentin Tarantino of copyright infringement for selling nonfungible tokens (NFTs) derived from his blockbuster 1994 film, "Pulp Fiction."
On Nov. 2, Tarantino announced he would be tokenizing seven uncut screenplay scenes for the critically-acclaimed film as nonfungible tokens in December 2021. The NFTs will be built on the Secret Network, a layer-one blockchain.
Each of the tokens would feature “the uncut first handwritten scripts of “Pulp Fiction” and exclusive custom commentary from Tarantino, revealing secrets about the film and its creator.”
Miramax owns the rights to the director’s classic edition of "Pulp Fiction." In the suit filed on Tuesday in the Central District of California, it claimed that, “Tarantino kept his "Pulp Fiction" NFT plans secret,” and that the announcement has interfered with its own plans to mint "Pulp Fiction" NFTs.
“This one-off effort devalues the NFT rights to "Pulp Fiction," which Miramax intends to maximize through a strategic, comprehensive approach,” Miramax attorney Bart Williams wrote in a statement.
Williams also accused Tarantino’s team of a “deliberate, premeditated, short-term money grab.”
“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 suit stated: “He made no efforts to contact Miramax prior to his coordinated press campaign, despite having what were likely extensive negotiations with third parties to develop and sell the NFTs.”
Tarantino’s lawyers have claimed that he retained the right to publish his original screenplay in the Miramax contract, and that he is exercising that right through the NFT sale.
However, Miramax argues that NFTs are a one-time sale, and are not equivalent to the publication of a screenplay. The suit states claims of breach of contract, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition. Miramax has sent Tarantino a cease and desist letter to block the sale.
Miramax is the production company behind "Pulp Fiction," co-founded by disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein was ousted from the production company in Oct. 2017 after a laundry list of sexual abuse charges was revealed.
Miramax financed and collaborated with Tarantino on several of his more commercially successful films, including "Jackie Brown" and "Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2." "Pulp Fiction" was Miramax’s first major release following its acquisition by Disney, grossing over $213 million worldwide.