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Miramax Hits Tarantino With Copyright Suit on ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs

Nov. 16, 2021, 8:28 PM

Miramax LLC is accusing filmmaker Quentin Tarantino of copyright and trademark infringement for listing uncut scenes from “Pulp Fiction” as nonfungible tokens, in a California federal court lawsuit.

Tarantino, who directed and wrote the screenplay for “Pulp Fiction,” listed exclusive scenes from the film as NFTs on OpenSea, which Miramax alleges goes beyond the scope of the rights he reserved after their agreement, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Tarantino granted Miramax “all rights (including all copyrights and trademarks) in and to the Film” in all current and future media, according to the complaint. Tarantino reserved rights to more specific media, including music publishing and interactive media. Miramax said in the complaint that Tarantino’s rights don’t include NFTs.

“While Miramax’s rights include ‘all rights . . . now or hereafter known . . . in all media now or hereafter known,’ Tarantino’s Reserved Rights, which are a narrowly-drafted, static exception to Miramax’s broad, catch-all rights, do not contain any forward-looking language,” the complaint said.

An NFT is a digital asset recorded on a blockchain that can represent and certify its owner’s right to access specific digital content associated with the NFT, which would be the case with the “Pulp Fiction” tokens. Tarantino is one of several celebrities trying to cash in on NFTs.

Tarantino announced this month that he will sell pages of the “Pulp Fiction” script, images and graphics related to the film, and scenes that contain “previously unknown secrets” from the movie. He has detailed the plans on his website, tarantinonfts.com, and Twitter account, TarantinoNFTs, though didn’t consult with Miramax, according to the complaint.

Miramax sent Tarantino a cease and desist letter but he responded that he has the rights to sell the NFTs, according to the complaint.

Tarantino’s attempt to sell the NFTs could mislead consumers into thinking Mirmax is associated with the sale, the complaint said, and encourage similar infringing conduct.

“It could also mislead others into believing they have the rights to pursue similar deals or offerings, when in fact Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to its deep film library,” Miramax alleged in the complaint.

Causes of action: Breach of contract, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition

Relief: damages, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees

Response: Tarantino couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Attorneys: Proskauer Rose LLP represents Miramax.

The case is Miramax LLC v. Tarantino et al, C.D. Cal., No. 2:21-cv-08979, 11/16/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Samantha Handler in Washington at shandler@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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