You may have heard a lot about NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) recently. They are all the rage at the moment and have been gaining quite a bit of attention.
One true professional when it comes to gaining attention is Quentin Tarantino, the director and screenwriter behind such cinematic classics as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and (my personal favourite) Inglorious Basterds.
Tarantino is known for his non-linear storytelling and fetishization of violence but that is not the focus of my attention today; instead, I am more concerned with the claim issued against him by Miramax to thwart his plans to auction NFTs associated with his seminal 1994 film, Pulp Fiction.
Apparently, each NFT contains content that is only available to the owner, including high-resolution digital scans of his original handwritten pages from the screenplay he co-wrote with Roger Avary.
Miramax claims that Tarantino assigned almost all his rights relating to Pulp Fiction to Miramax way back in 1993 and that the rights he has left (including 'screenplay publication') do not enable him to auction the NFTs.
However, Tarantino alleges that his right to 'screenplay publication' covers the NFTs and that he always retained the rights to the screenplay of Pulp Fiction, only assigning to Miramax the rights in the film which he claims is a derivative work arising from the screenplay.
The issue here is that legacy IP agreements are now being considered in the context of NFTs despite being entered into long before the three letters had ever been uttered together.
The case has been scheduled for trial on 28 February 2023. Watch this space for more information.
“What makes the litigation fascinating is that it is a test case for how the courts will interpret decades-old contractual provisions and apply them to the NFT landscape,