The legal entanglement around director Quentin Tarantino's plans to auction off NFTs of his handwritten screenplay to the 1994 film Pulp Fiction has gotten a lot more complicated — and a bit uglier. On Monday, lawyers for Miramax, the studio behind Pulp Fiction, sent a letter to SCRT Labs CEO Guy Zyskind asserting that the NFTs are copyright infringement before laying out the potential consequences of going forward with the auction for not only SCRT Labs but whoever purchases the NFTs.
"Your apparent reliance on Mr. Tarantino's position about his rights to Pulp Fiction is misguided," the letter reads (via Deadline). "Whatever limited rights Mr. Tarantino has to screenplay publication, they do not permit the minting of unique NFTs associated with Miramax intellectual property, and his contrary position is the subject of a pending lawsuit."
The letter goes on to outline possible outcomes should the auction move forward, including that SCRT Labs could end up owing the proceeds to Miramax.
"Assuming that you (like Mr. Tarantino) plan on going forward with the auction, please be on notice that you are doing so at your own risk, including the risk that you will later owe the proceeds of any sales to Miramax along with other potential damages," the letter states. "We would hope that you also inform prospective purchasers of the risks of purchasing these unauthorized NFTs, including that purchasers may have to return the NFTs to Miramax and forfeit the price they paid for such NFTs, and that purchasers may incur additional liability in the event they later sell the unauthorized NFTs to Miramax, and that purchasers may incur additional liability in the event they later sell the authorized NFTs (including the potential for any statutory damages).
Last fall, Miramax filed a lawsuit against Tarantino over the filmmaker's plans to sell NFTs of the handwritten screenplay to Pulp Fiction.
"This one-off effort devalues the NFT rights to Pulp Fiction, which Miramax intends to maximize through a strategic, comprehensive approach," Proskauer Rose LLP partner Bart Williams said in a statement last fall. "Miramax will defend all of its rights in regard to its library, including rights relating to NFTs, and will not allow Quentin's representatives to deceive others into believing they have the authority to make similar deals in violation of the rights agreements they signed."
The suit claims that Tarantino's legal team hopes to move forward with the NFTs due to a "reserved rights" clause in the contract he originally signed, but Miramax argues that those rights are limited to the film's soundtrack, music publishing, live performance, print publication, comic books and theatrical and television sequel and spin-off rights.
"Tarantino's limited 'Reserved Rights' under the operative agreements are far too narrow for him to unilaterally produce, market, and sell the Pulp Fiction NFTs," the suit alleges.
Tarantino's lawyer, Bryan Freedman had a strong reply to the suit, calling it a "ham-fisted attempt" to stop Tarantino's plans.
"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," the statement said. "Now a shell of its former self and flailing under a new ownership consortium, Miramax has decided to bite the hand that fed it for so many years by bringing this offensively meritless lawsuit."
Lawyers are set to have their first scheduling conference on the matter on February 24th. The auction of the Pulp Fiction NFTs is set for January 17-21.
Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images