American film director Quentin Tarantino has been accused of copyright infringement by selling NFTs based on the screenplay for Pulp Fiction, in a lawsuit filed by television company Miramax on Tuesday.
Tarantino announced the sale at a recent crypto-art convention in New York. Tarantino said in a November 2 press release, “I’m excited to be presenting these exclusive scenes from ‘Pulp Fiction’ to fans.” The plan is to auction off NFT, non-fungible tokens, based on excerpts from Tarantino’s original handwritten script for the film, accompanied by commentary. The NFT is pitched as “secret,” meaning that its contents will be viewable exclusively by the owner.
But according to the suit, as reported by Variety, Tarantino did not consult beforehand with Miramax — which still owns the rights to the director’s 1994 classic. Miramax’s attorneys have sent a cease and desist letter seeking to block the sale, but that has not stopped Tarantino and his team from moving forward.
Miramax alleges that Tarantino’s actions have interfered with the studio’s own plans to enter the market for Pulp Fiction NFTs. In a statement, Miramax attorney Bart Williams accused Tarantino’s team of a “deliberate, pre-meditated, short-term money grab”.
The suit appears to turn on the question of whether selling NFTs based on excerpts of a screenplay qualify as a “publication” of the screenplay. According to the suit, Tarantino’s lawyer has told Miramax that Tarantino retained the right to publish his screenplay in the Miramax contract, and that he is exercising that right through the NFT sale. Miramax argues that NFTs are a one-time sale, and are not equivalent to publication of a screenplay, and that therefore Miramax owns the NFT rights.
The suit states claims of breach of contract, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition.
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