Late last week, acclaimed film director Quentin Tarantino and co-defendant Visiona Romantica Inc. insisted that Tarantino has every right to offer non-fungible token (NFTs) related to his original screenplay. In their answer, the defendants said that by bringing the suit, “Miramax implausibly attempts to use the concept of NFTs to confuse the public and mislead this Court in an effort to deny artists such as Tarantino their hard earned and long-standing rights.”
NFTs are digital assets that can represent ownership of a digital item, often bought with cryptocurrency and stored on blockhain.
As previously reported, the Hollywood studio sued the director last month, arguing that even after it sent cease and desist letters, Tarantino continued to pursue the planned sale of ‘Pulp Fiction’ NFTs in violation of the parties’ contracts, federal copyright and trademark law, and California’s Unfair Competition Law. The complaint acknowledged that Tarantino has some rights, but that they do not afford him the ability to sell NFTs said to contain “secrets” about some of the film’s iconic scenes and page scans of the movie’s script.
Tarantino now argues that the rights to his screenplay and the film he directed, “a critical darling and financial success that would, more than any other motion picture, define Miramax’s role atop the independent film pyramid,” are unfairly under fire. He accuses Miramax of struggling after a management transition and now “bit[ing] the hand that fed it for so many years by bringing this offensively meritless lawsuit.”
According to Tarantino, the parties’ contracts clearly grant him the right to publish the portions of his screenplay he seeks to. The answer also states nine defenses, including failure to state a claim and lack of standing. The complaint’s copyright, trademark infringement, and unfair competition law claims are barred because the alleged conduct constitutes fair use, the filing adds.
An initial discovery conference is scheduled for February 24, 2022. Tarantino is represented by Freedman & Taitelman LLP and Irell & Manella LLP and Miramax by Proskauer Rose LLP.