🍔 Pulp Fiction Friction
Butch Coolidge won't find himself in another messy fight anytime soon, nor will Quentin Tarantino. The writer/director of 1994 hit Pulp Fiction was facing a lawsuit over his sale of NFTs based on the film. The auteur retained rights to his script, and the NFTs were to give buyers access to exclusive handwritten drafts, commentary, and more, but Miramax (who owns the film and its IP) saw it as a breach of contract. This month, however, both sides have reached a settlement and are expected to file dismissal papers within the coming weeks.
As The Verge notes, Miramax claimed Tarantino's NFTs constituted an “emerging technology” and sued on grounds that “whatever limited rights Mr. Tarantino has to screenplay publication, they do not permit the minting of unique NFTs associated with Miramax’s intellectual property.”
The first Pulp Fiction NFT (“Royale with Cheese”) was sold in January 2022 for $1.1 million to a collective known as AnonDAO. Shortly thereafter, the auction for the remaining NFTs was suspended due to “extreme market volatility,” reports Gizmodo.
“The parties have agreed to put this matter behind them and look forward to collaborating with each other on future projects, including possible NFTs,” a comment attributed to both Miramax and Tarantino said of the suit.
Pulp Fiction definitely is not the first film to be used for NFTs. Both Space Jam and The Matrix series have been leveraged by Warner Brothers to mixed success. Meanwhile, forward-looking movie moguls have announced that they will be using NFTs (and the Decentralized Autonomous Organization, or DAO) as a structure to produce new projects, says Deadline.
As high-profile cases involving Nike and Hermes (and now Pulp Fiction) have illuminated, the IP question has not been fully solved for NFTs. And this, like several other issues, requires substantially more legal precedence as well as increased government regulation to protect stakeholders and investors alike. As NFTs continue to undergo a market correction, it seems like the opportune time for the SEC/FTC to roll out its rules and enforcement.