Miramax sues Quentin Tarantino for auctioning Pulp Fiction NFTs

Miramax versus Quentin Tarantino. It might seem the title of a film by Tarantino himself, a cinematic western (literally) with a duel between the production house and the director directed in his own way. But it is reality.

The US production and distribution company has moved against the director with whom it has collaborated on several occasions, producing several of his masterpieces. The reason? Because Tarantino has auctioned seven NFTs concerning pulp Fiction, the 1994 film produced by the film production company founded in 1979 by brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Not just any film but the first Miramax film to become a blockbuster.

Miramax today is owned by BeIN Media Group and ViacomCBS and claims to have the rights to everything related to pulp Fiction, including non-fungible tokens. Although at the time the contract was signed in the early 1990s, NFTs did not yet exist.

The director who directed the cult work in 1994 put up for auction the tokens made by the blockchain Secret Network at the beginning of November 2021. Encrypted tokens that immediately appealed to cinephiles all over the world, given that it would be seven scenes never seen before.

The auction

The NFTs were auctioned on the OpenSea specialty marketplace.

Each of the tokens is characterized by a “secret” content, including some audio comments by Tarantino and the first scripts of the film, written freehand by the author himself. They have starting prices ranging from 5 to 10 Ethereum, or approximately 22,400 and 44,800 dollars. Theoretically, the auction should have been active until last November 10, the latest date beyond which it would no longer be possible to grab one of Quentin’s delicious NFTs, however the news of Miramax’s complaint would speak of Tarantino’s intention to put them on the spot. auction. Certainly until a few days ago the NFTs were still available for sale on the aforementioned specialized marketplace, while now the 404 error appears at the link of the personal page entitled to the director, the one with page not found (you can access the link here).

However Tarantino has made it known that he does not want to give up the sale, as reported by the American site TMZ, even if it will have to respond to the legal action brought by Miramax, which seeks compensation and the stop of the auction.

“Quentin Tarantino’s conduct forced Miramax to bring this lawsuit against a valued collaborator in order to enforce, preserve and protect its contractual and intellectual property rights relating to one of Miramax’s most iconic and valuable cinematographic properties,” he said. written the production company in the legal documents filed, as reported The Hollywood Reporter.

“Left unchecked, Tarantino’s conduct could lead others to believe that Miramax is involved in his venture. And it could also mislead others into believing that it has the rights to pursue deals or similar offers, when in fact Miramax holds the necessary rights to develop, market and sell NFTs related to its vast library of films, “Miramax spokespersons continue. .

The “indicted” NFTs

This “Tarantino NFT Collection” launched on OpenSea in collaboration with SCRT Labs and Secret Network is enriched with “secret” content, inaugurating a new and more attractive type of cryptographic tokens that incorporate a kind of “easter egg” inside.

The NFTs available on the auction site have a part that is publicly visible but also other hidden content, which can only be seen by whoever wins the auction. Among the “surprise contents”, there would also be unpublished parts of the script, as announced by Tarantino himself.

Tarantino owns some rights to the film

Quentin Tarantino appears to have some rights to pulp Fiction, for example those of the soundtrack album, music publishing, live performances, then the paper publication, interactive media, in addition to the rights of any sequels, remakes, theatrical, film and television reboots, as well as those of television series and spin-offs.

As for the print publication, the publication of scripts, comics or novels should also be included in both print and audio and electronic formats, but we will know for sure if its auctioning of the NFTs violated the contract with Miramax or not. waiting to know the evolution of the legal process.

Meanwhile, however, in response to Miramax’s warning, Quentin Tarantino’s lawyer stated that his client would act within his “Reserved rights”, ie on the basis of the right to “publication of the script”.

But at the time of the contract, NFTs did not exist

The legal issue could relate to the fact that in the 1990s, the decade at the beginning of which pulp Fiction was produced, NFTs still weren’t something anyone in the film industry was thinking about, let alone as a business. In practice they did not exist. For this reason, it becomes necessary to understand well what the rights reserved for what concerns interactive media and scripts. But maybe it won’t be a very easy undertaking, who knows.

Certainly this cause will open new scenarios to the NFT market, as well as to the film market.
The interest of the production companies is at the highest levels, given that the non-fungible tokens would allow them to still make profits from films that today do not make much money anymore, since they are no longer new.

Miramax’s lawyers also allege that the production house has been working for some time to try to exploit its film titles on the NFT market. They would have sent a letter of formal notice to Tarantino so that he did not act alone, as if pulp Fiction it was just something of his property in short.

The collaboration contract between the two, according to what the lawyers of the production company say, would also bind the NFTs, which, however, did not yet exist at the time of the signing of this contract …
Yet, in their opinion, every product linked to the film – even the audio commentary the director allegedly made to accompany the film’s never-before-seen scenes – would be owned by Miramax.