Quentin Tarantino told a federal court in Los Angeles that a court couldn’t stop him from auctioning off non-fungible tokens based on his screenplay for the film “Pulp Fiction” because they aren’t based on the movie storyline, which the studio doesn’t have any rights.
According to Tarantino, the NFTs grant access to images of Tarantino’s earlier scripts and custom commentary, but not the actual content of the landmark 1994 film itself, he said in a court filing on Tuesday asking the court to toss the studio’s lawsuit against him.
Copyright Still Causing Problems
It is an important case for intellectual-property rights concerning what is known as NFTs, or next-generation digital assets.
As told Wednesday by lawyer Kyle Casazza of Proskauer Rose representing Miramax, Tarantino’s motion conveniently and disingenuously brushes aside that their original agreement grants Miramax all rights, including the copyrights and trademarks in and to the film and all elements therein, during all stages of development and production.
In November, the studio sued Tarantino after the blockchain company, Secret Network, announced on its website that Tarantino was planning to sell tokens of seven never before seen scenes from Pulp Fiction that contain secrets and exclusive content.
“Pulp Fiction” belongs to the entire Miramax acquisition, including the right to produce, distribute and screen the film, with the exception of specific rights that belong to Tarantino that do not extend to non-financial considerations.
Tarantino was accused by the studio of infringing its trademark and copyright rights by breaking a contract. According to the lawsuit, Tarantino has been requesting monetary damages and insuring his rights, which the court must prevent Tarantino from violating.
In his response to the court on Tuesday, Tarantino said the court should throw out the case since the NFTs are based solely on the screenplay. His agreement with Miramax specifies that he kept the screenplay copyright separate and apart from the specific distribution rights, including the rights to distribute the film, which was assigned to Miramax.
There was no mention in any of the auction announcements that the NFTs would contain any footage from the movie. However, the filing did mention that they would have the uncut first-handwritten script of ‘Pulp Fiction’ along with his individual custom commentary.
The latest lawsuit between the director and the studio shows a long history of copyright challenges. Some may believe NFTs and digital ownerships may solve the problem, but the challenge is still causing burdens and needs time to solve. After all, it clearly shows more and more artists are becoming interested in NFTs and digital collectibles, which may help the ecosystem grow very faster.