Tarantino tells court Miramax has no right to block ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs

By June 22, 2022NFT
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16th Rome Film Fest

(Reuters) - Director Quentin Tarantino has told a Los Angeles federal court that Miramax LLC cannot block his auction of "Pulp Fiction" non-fungible tokens because the NFTs are based solely on his screenplay, which he says the studio has no rights to.

The NFTs grant access to images of Tarantino's early scripts and custom commentary, but no content from the landmark 1994 film itself, the director said in a court filing on Tuesday asking the court to toss the studio's lawsuit.

The case is one of the first intellectual-property disputes over the popular digital assets known as NFTs.

Miramax attorney Kyle Casazza of Proskauer Rose said Wednesday that Tarantino's motion "conveniently and disingenuously glosses over" that their original agreement grants Miramax "all rights (including all copyrights and trademarks) in and to the Film (and all elements thereof in all stages of development and production)."

The studio sued Tarantino in November after blockchain provider Secret Network announced Tarantino would be selling tokens of seven "uncut Pulp Fiction scenes" with "secrets" and exclusive content.

Miramax said in the lawsuit that its agreements with Tarantino gave it all of the rights to "Pulp Fiction" except for specific ones reserved for the director, that do not cover the NFTs.

The studio accused Tarantino of breaching a contract and infringing its copyright and trademark rights. It asked the court to block Tarantino from violating its rights and requested an unspecified amount of money damages.

Tarantino responded Tuesday that the court should throw out the case because the NFTs were derived solely from his screenplay. He said his agreements with Miramax specify that he kept the copyright in the screenplay "separate and apart from the specific assignment of rights to distribute the film."

The auction announcement "does not suggest that the NFTs will contain any content from the film," the filing said, but only "the uncut first handwritten scripts of 'Pulp Fiction' and exclusive custom commentary from Tarantino."

The case is Miramax LLC v. Tarantino, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-08979.

For Miramax: Bart Williams, Kyle Casazza, Jeffrey Neuberger, and Wai Choy of Proskauer Rose

For Tarantino: David Nimmer of Irell & Manella; Bryan Freedman of Freedman & Taitelman

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