Miramax sued Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” NFT project for copyright violations. However, Tarantino has asked a California court to throw out the case. The director’s lawyers filed a motion for judgment, saying that the movie company’s claims don’t hold up. They stress that the Pulp Fiction movie is based on the script, not the other way around.
In the past year, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have become even more popular.
It’s getting celebrities’ attention and some have agreed to put their names and work on these digital collectibles.
Quentin Tarantino also joined last fall. The director of “Pulp Fiction” said he would sell NFTs to the public. These NFTs will give collectors access to handwritten scripts. There will be exclusive custom commentary from Tarantino, which could be worth a lot of money.
Miramax Sues over Pulp Fiction NFTs
This plan didn’t make everyone happy, though. Miramax, which owns most of the rights to the movie, thinks that the project is a breach of contract and a violation of copyright. In a lawsuit filed in November in a federal court in California, the movie company said that the director was trying to make money off something he didn’t fully own.
“Eager to cash in on the non-fungible token (‘NFT’) boom, as widely reported in the media, Quentin Tarantino recently announced plans to auction off seven ‘exclusive scenes’ from the 1994 motion picture Pulp Fiction in the form of NFTs,” the complaint read.
Even though this happened in court, the first NFT already received a lot of attention and sold for more than a million dollars. After that, the project was on break, maybe because people wanted to see the situation with the lawsuit.
Tarantino Wants the Lawsuit Dismissed
Tarantino says that Miramax’s claims are not valid. According to his lawyers, the accusation was “offensively without merit,” and they filed a motion for judgment asking that the whole complaint be thrown out this week.
“Miramax’s copyright claim fails because it misapprehends fundamental principles of copyright law and ignores the clear language of the agreements and assignments,” Tarantino’s lawyers write.
The film company thinks that when the director gave Miramax the rights to the film, he also gave up the rights to his Screenplay. The lawyers say that is not true.
The Film is a Derivative
Tarantino thinks the movie is based on the Screenplay he wrote and still owns the rights to, not the other way around.
“Miramax’s complaint assumes that an assignment of copyrights in a motion picture encompasses an assignment of exclusive rights in the underlying Screenplay for that motion picture. That turns copyright law on its head,” the lawyers write.
Even if Miramax could prove that when Tarantino gave up the rights to the film, he also gave up the exclusive rights to the Screenplay, that wouldn’t be enough. Both parties’ contracts show that the director didn’t give up the rights to the script.
“At every turn, the parties bent over backwards to make clear that Mr. Tarantino was not assigning any rights in the Screenplay to Miramax,” Tarantino’s lawyers note.
The legal team for Tarantino makes it clear that the NFTs will not have any of the movie’s content. They will be based on the script, which the director still owns and has copyright rights.
“The Film came from the Screenplay, not the other way around. Because Mr. Tarantino never assigned any rights in the Screenplay to Miramax, Miramax’s copyright claim fails,” the lawyers reiterate.
It’s important to remember that when TarantinoNFTs.com first came out, it had a lot of movie-related features.
For example, the early artwork had famous pictures of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, which have since been replaced by a picture of Tarantino himself. Miramax said that the original artwork broke their rights, so this change seems to be a direct response to that claim.
Also, several tweets from the Tarantino NFT team that allegedly broke copyright laws were deleted. These tweets are also used in legal papers as examples of how the law was broken.
The court must now decide if there are enough reasons to throw out the complaint or not. Before that happens, Miramax might give an official answer to Tarantino’s points.