LOS ANGELES — Hollywood studio Miramax sued director Quentin Tarantino on Tuesday over his plans to sell digital collectibles based on his 1994 film “Pulp Fiction.”
Tarantino recently announced that he will sell a series of unique non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, based on his handwritten screenplay for the 1995 Palme d’Or winner, a movie described by the Cannes film festival as a set of “dime-store stories set in lowlife LA.”
A website for the NFT sales says they will include a digital version of the film’s profane and “iconic ‘Royale with Cheese’ scene,” as well as a recording of Tarantino revealing “secrets” about the project.
The lawsuit by Miramax, which produced the film and is owned by Bein Media Group and ViacomCBS, alleges that Tarantino also plans to sell NFTs of page scans and digital film props.
Tarantino’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday, “Miramax is wrong — plain and simple.”
“Quentin Tarantino’s contract is clear: he has the right to sell NFTs of his hand-written script for ‘Pulp Fiction’ and this ham-fisted attempt to prevent him from doing so will fail,” Freedman said. “But Miramax’s callous decision to disclose confidential information about its filmmakers’ contracts and compensation will irreparably tarnish its reputation long after this case is dismissed.”
According to the suit, which seeks unspecified damages, a lawyer responded to Miramax’s Nov. 4 cease-and-desist letter by saying Tarantino holds reserved rights to print publication of the script.
Miramax argued in the suit that print publication and NFTs are not the same.
“The proposed sale of a few original script pages or scenes as an NFT is a one-time transaction, which does not constitute publication, and in any event does not fall within the intended meaning of ‘print publication’ or ‘screenplay publication,'” the suit says. “The right to sell NFTs of such excerpts of any version of the screenplay to Pulp Fiction is owned and controlled by Miramax.”
In the suit, which was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Miramax argues that Tarantino essentially signed away rights to “all media” for “Pulp Fiction” in perpetuity when the film was under development in 1993.
“Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to its deep film library,” the suit says.
CORRECTION (Nov. 17, 2021, 8:21 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled Quentin Tarantino’s attorney’s first name. He is Bryan Freedman, not Brian Freedman.