Tarantino tells court Miramax has no right to block 'Pulp Fiction' NFTs

16th Rome Film Fest
Quentin Tarantino looks on at the red carpet as he arrives at the 16th Rome Film Fest, in Rome, Italy, October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
  • Miramax sued to block NFTs of 'exclusive' 'Pulp Fiction' content
  • Tarantino said NFTs only relate to his screenplay

(Reuters) - Director Quentin Tarantino has told a Los Angeles federal court that Miramax LLC cannot block his auction of "Pulp Fiction" non-fungible tokens because the NFTs are based solely on his screenplay, which he says the studio has no rights to.

The NFTs grant access to images of Tarantino's early scripts and custom commentary, but no content from the landmark 1994 film itself, the director said in a court filing on Tuesday asking the court to toss the studio's lawsuit.

The case is one of the first intellectual-property disputes over the popular digital assets known as NFTs.

Miramax attorney Kyle Casazza of Proskauer Rose said Wednesday that Tarantino's motion "conveniently and disingenuously glosses over" that their original agreement grants Miramax "all rights (including all copyrights and trademarks) in and to the Film (and all elements thereof in all stages of development and production)."

The studio sued Tarantino in November after blockchain provider Secret Network announced Tarantino would be selling tokens of seven "uncut Pulp Fiction scenes" with "secrets" and exclusive content.

Miramax said in the lawsuit that its agreements with Tarantino gave it all of the rights to "Pulp Fiction" except for specific ones reserved for the director, that do not cover the NFTs.

The studio accused Tarantino of breaching a contract and infringing its copyright and trademark rights. It asked the court to block Tarantino from violating its rights and requested an unspecified amount of money damages.

Tarantino responded Tuesday that the court should throw out the case because the NFTs were derived solely from his screenplay. He said his agreements with Miramax specify that he kept the copyright in the screenplay "separate and apart from the specific assignment of rights to distribute the film."

The auction announcement "does not suggest that the NFTs will contain any content from the film," the filing said, but only "the uncut first handwritten scripts of 'Pulp Fiction' and exclusive custom commentary from Tarantino."

The case is Miramax LLC v. Tarantino, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-08979.

For Miramax: Bart Williams, Kyle Casazza, Jeffrey Neuburger, and Wai Choy of Proskauer Rose

For Tarantino: David Nimmer of Irell & Manella; Bryan Freedman of Freedman & Taitelman

(NOTE: This story has been updated to correct a misspelling in the name of attorney Jeffrey Neuburger.)

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Miramax sues Quentin Tarantino over 'Pulp Fiction' NFTs

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, for Reuters Legal. He has previously written for Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters Practical Law and practiced as an attorney. Contact: 12029385713