Quentin Tarantino’s Strategy – The Hollywood Reporter

Miramaxlawsuit against Quentin Tarantino on plans to release non-fungible tokens based on pulp fiction opens a new front in the battle of the NFTs. The studio argues that it is a zero-sum game: only one side should be allowed to benefit from the new frontier of movie and TV exploitation. But the case may ask for a more nuanced outcome in the form of a ruling allowing both parties to sell NFTs based on ownership of certain copyrights.

The suit asks if Tarantino, who wrote and owns the copyright to the script for pulp fictionyou have the right to publish parts of the work through the sale of NFTs.

The case could depend on the interpretation of the contract. Tarantino says that the release of the NFTs is within his copyright. According to his agreement with Miramax, Tarantino has the rights to “print publishing (including, but not limited to, the publication of scripts, ‘making of’ books, comics, and novels, in audio and electronic formats, as applicable)” , as well as “interactive publication”. media.”

“The allegations in the Miramax complaint make clear that the primary content associated with the NFTs to be auctioned to the public consists of electronic copies of ‘early uncut handwritten ‘Pulp Fiction’ scripts,” writes Bryan Freedman, representing Tarantino, in a June 21 sentencing motion on the allegations. “There is no question that this constitutes an electronic publication, a distribution of one or more electronic copies, of the Script.”

Meanwhile, Miramax claims its rights are broader in scope and represent technology that had not yet been created in 1996, when the deal was consummated. The company, which owns the copyright to the film, puts blanket language front and center in its contract that says it owns “all rights. . . known now or in the future. . . in all known media now or in the future.”

Seeking an early victory in the case, Tarantino urges the court to focus on copyright law. He argues that he is not infringing on any of Miramax’s copyrights, as the NFTs will exploit the script to pulp fiction and not the movie itself.

“A motion picture script is an original copyrighted work that predates the motion picture, and the sole copyright in the script, including elements such as dialogue, characters, plot, and scene descriptions, resides with the author of the script,” writes Freedman. “The film that is created from the script is a derivative work of it.”

Miramax’s copyright to the film extends only to new elements not derived directly from the script, such as the film’s presentation, the actors’ performances of the characters, and any added music or sound effects, according to Tarantino. However, the NFTs that he plans to release are a derivative of the script. The primary content associated with the NFTs to be auctioned consists of electronic copies of early handwritten scripts from pulp fictionTarantino says.

One possible outcome of the case could be an order allowing both parties to sell NFTs based on their copyright.

“Both parties have their rights reserved and both parties have the ability to use NFTs to exercise those rights: Miramax regarding the film and Tarantino regarding the script,” says Jeremy Goldman, a partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz who focuses on Entertainment and technology law.

But this outcome will lead to an order determining that NFTs are not copyrighted by either party. Miramax relies on contract language that says it owns “all rights. . . known now or in the future. . . in all known media now or in the future”, but NFTs are not traditionally considered media.

“NFTs are not a form of distribution or media; that’s the Miramax misunderstanding,” says Goldman. “They see NFTs as a means of distribution, part of how people view content. That’s not what it is. It’s just a property record.”

Miramax’s gripe with Tarantino’s plans could be due to the director initially including elements of the film in his NFTs. Early artwork, for example, featured images of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, which would likely have infringed Miramax’s copyright on the film. Since then, they have been replaced by images of Tarantino.

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