- Miramax filed a lawsuit accusing Tarantino of copyright infringement in November
- The NFT auction will start on Jan. 17 and end on Jan. 31
Award-winning movie director Quentin Tarantino will release his line of “Pulp Fiction” NFTs despite Miramax’s lawsuit against the 58-year-old screenwriter and his team, according to a press release on Wednesday.
Tarantino’s attorney Brian Freedman maintains that the filmmaker has every right to create and sell his non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on the 1994 movie, which garnered $214 million at the box office.
“Quentin Tarantino’s contract is clear: he has the right to sell NFTs of his handwritten script for Pulp Fiction, and this ham-fisted attempt to prevent him from doing so will fail,” Freedman told Blockworks in a statement on Tuesday.
The Hollywood studio, which produced the film, filed a lawsuit on Nov. 16, accusing Tarantino of breaching his contract, committing trademark infringement, copyright infringement and of unfair competition, according to a court filing.
According to the lawsuit, Tarantino did not disclose any NFT plans with the studio prior and despite being served a cease and desist letter to cancel the sale, he still publicly announced the collection.
Miramax attorney Bart Williams, a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, told Blockworks on Wednesday that Tarantino’s team filed their answer to Miramax’s complaint on Dec. 9, but nothing further has been done, and that litigation remains pending.
“There’s been no attempt to dismiss any of Miramax’s claims by Tarantino’s team, nor have they filed any counter claims or motions against Miramax, and since Miramax filed its lawsuit, the promotional website and Twitter account for the proposed sale have scaled back the unauthorized use of imagery from Miramax films (including Pulp Fiction),” Williams said.
Williams, previously accused Tarantino and his team of a “deliberate, premeditated, short-term money grab,” describing their actions as “profoundly disappointing.”
“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,” Williams previously told Blockworks on Nov. 17.
Freedman has since fired back at the movie studio’s allegations.
“Miramax’s callous decision to disclose confidential information about its filmmakers’ contracts and compensation will irreparably tarnish its reputation long after this case is dismissed.”
Tarantino first announced the blockchain-based lines of digital collectibles in early November.
Each NFT consists of a single scene from the screenplay, along with personal audio from the director himself.
“The best artists and creators want complete control over how their stories are told and how they connect with their audiences,” Tarantino said, when the collection was first revealed. “They want to be able to experiment, share their truths and create their own worlds.”
Secret NFTs appeal to Tarantino
The NFTs will be powered by Secret Network’s blockchain, which allows both the creator and holder to display, sell, lease and own the art privately, according to Secret Network co-founder Guy Zyskind.
“For artists like Quentin Tarantino — whose work is highly valued and internationally renowned — retaining this control is necessary,” Zyskind told Blockworks in a statement.
“For collectors, this protection and control is what secures the intrinsic and long-term value of their NFTs.”
Zyskind said Secret Network, also called SCRT, has not been named in any litigation around the lawsuit.
“[Quentin] has made [it] clear in court filings that he is very confident that the grant of rights to SCRT is proper, and we support his effort in bringing his art, which is now a landmark in pop culture, into the NFT space,” he said.
The auction will begin on Jan. 17 and will release the digital collectibles on various dates until Jan. 31. Miramax has commenced discovery, and the parties have an initial scheduling conference before the Court on Feb. 24, over a month after the auction is set to go live.
Although threats of legal action did not stop Tarantino’s plans, former CFTC enforcement attorney Braden Perry said the lawsuit could serve as a cautionary tale for future artists.
“It’s critical for artists who enter the NFT market to grasp the full legal rights owned by the artist, and those rights owned by others,” Perry told Blockworks in a statement. “A full understanding of the NFT market and the minting process together with intellectual property rights would help alleviate many legal issues.”
This story has been updated on Jan. 5, 2022, at 11:35 am ET, with additional comments from Miramax.
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