Quentin Tarantino looked like he was planning some big things when it came to putting Pulp Fiction-related memorabilia out into the universe. The director has previously announced a plan to produce some NFTs (non-fungible tokens) around the movie with the hopes of selling them off. But Miramax is saying not so fast on that move and they’ve stepped in to legally block Tarantino from moving ahead with the project. Deadline is reporting that the studio sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tarantino with a not-so-gentle reminder that the studio, not Tarantino, owned basically everything related to Pulp Fiction. They are saying the director didn’t have the legal grounds to pursue projects like this now or in the future.
The original plan announced by Quentin Tarantino was to auction off seven never-before-seen scenes from Pulp Fiction which were going to go out in the form of NFTs. The secret NFT plan from Tarantino was going to be for him to put together uncut scenes from the movie as well as commentary from the director, handwritten notes about the movie, and other things as well. They were going to go up for sale on OpenSea, one of the largest NFT markets. But Miramax is making sure the brakes are pumped on the idea.
According to the Deadline reporting, Miramax is opening a lawsuit against Quentin Tarantino over these plans and has filed paperwork in California. As part of the filing, Miramax says, “Tarantino’s conduct has 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 film properties”.
This appears to be a preemptive strike not only against Quentin Tarantino in this particular venture, but also something like a not-so-subtle warning to other directors, creators, and the like to not think about trying similar projects. Miramax is reminding everyone that the movies and IP they own are theirs to sell, work with as they see fit. A director like Tarantino apparently can’t produce independent projects, especially not ones openly for sale, where the rights of the original movie are concerned.
And just in case anyone thought that this lawsuit was the first word Quentin Tarantino and company were hearing from the studio in terms of pushback, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Apparently, Tarantino and his legal team believe they are fully within their bounds to produce Pulp Fiction NFTs as part of the Reserved Rights clause in the contract. This language is around producing screenplay-related publications. While that part might be true, if parts of the scenes were supposed to be in there as well then the area might become somewhat grayer.
The world of NFTs is opening up entirely new avenues for creators to capitalize on their works. It offers the chance for projects to go onto the blockchain and for art to be digitally authenticated like never before. And with all emerging technologies, the rules around who owns what might become increasingly less clear especially around contracts written in the “old” way of doing things. That is likely the case here with Quentin Tarantino and Miramax, both of whom feel like they are acting correctly around a thing they never could have imagined decades ago when Pulp Fiction first hit the big screen.