• Miramax attorney Bart Williams said Tarantino’s actions were “profoundly disappointing” and accused him of a “deliberate, premeditated, short-term money grab”
  • “The case is an example of how complicated the evolving electronic world has become,” according to former CFTC enforcement attorney, Braden Perry

Miramax filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against director Quentin Tarantino over the upcoming sale of a “Pulp Fiction” non-fungible token (NFT) collection. 

The Hollywood studio’s attorneys allege that Tarantino and his team committed copyright infringement, trademark infringement, breach of contract and unfair competition, according to the complaint. 

Miramax attorney Bart Williams said Tarantino’s actions were “profoundly disappointing” and accused him 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,” Williams told Blockworks in a statement. 

Attorneys for the studio allege that Tarantino did not disclose plans with the studio prior to “a coordinated press campaign” for the NFT collection and having “what were likely extensive negotiations with third parties to develop and sell [them].”

According to the suit, Miramax previously served the director’s team a cease and desist letter to block the auction. But the sale is still set to begin in December on OpenSea.

“The fact that Tarantino kept Miramax out of the loop is particularly problematic because he granted and assigned nearly all of his rights to “Pulp Fiction” (and all its elements in all stages of development and production) to Miramax in 1993, including the rights necessary for the “secrets from Pulp Fiction” that he intends to sell,” according to a filing first reported by Variety.

Tarantino first announced the upcoming release of seven NFTs earlier this month. The digital collectibles consist of never-before-seen handwritten scripts and commentary from “Pulp Fiction”, the award-winning director said. (The classic film originally garnered over $200 million and took home the Oscar for Best Screenplay in 1994.)

“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.” 

The NFTs run on Secret Network’s blockchain and allow both the holder and creator to lease, own, and sell said art privately, co-founder of Secret Network Guy Zyskind told Blockworks. 

“We are aware of the lawsuit from Miramax brought against Quentin Tarantino. We are here to support and empower any artist or creative that wishes to join the NFT community and connect with their audience using Secret Network,” Zyskind said when Blockworks requested comment on the matter. 

Additionally, the lawsuit states that Tarantino’s auction interferes with Miramax’s own plans to enter the NFT space with “Pulp Fiction” NFTs. “This one-off effort devalues the NFT rights to “Pulp Fiction”, which Miramax intends to maximize through a strategic, comprehensive approach,” Williams said. 

Outside of potentially throwing a wrench in Tarantino’s plans, the lawsuit could challenge traditional contractual and copyright legal principles, according to former CFTC enforcement attorney, Braden Perry.

“This case is an example of how complicated the evolving electronic world has become. NFT rights and ownership are highly complex and outside the regulatory [and] current legal guardrails,” Perry said. “The implications for the NFT space [are] significant. Here, when technology surpasses a regulatory scheme, there’s no precedent nor guidance, and individual cases will have to fill in the many blanks in the emerging field.”

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  • Morgan Chittum is a New York-based reporter covering NFTs, the metaverse, play-to-earn gaming and other emerging Web3 tech for Blockworks. Previously she was a street reporter, covering crime at New York Daily News, and a media and journalism fellow at the Poynter Institute. Contact Morgan via email at [email protected]