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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
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Tarantino, Miramax settle lawsuit over ‘Pulp Fiction’ screenplay NFTs

The settlement comes as Tarantino's bid to end the lawsuit ahead of a February trial date was still pending.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Film director Quentin Tarantino and Miramax settled a lawsuit the movie production company brought last year against the filmmaker over his plans to sell non-fungible tokens of handwritten pages from the "Pulp Fiction" screenplay.

Lawyers for Miramax and Tarantino filed a notice of settlement Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles. The notice didn't provide details of the settlement. The attorneys didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Miramax sued Tarantino this past November in a bid to halt his plans to sell the NFTs depicting handwritten pages of the screenplay for his 1994 movie as well as of drawings "inspired by some element from the scene.” Left unchecked, Miramax said, Tarantino’s conduct could mislead others into believing the company was involved in his venture. It could also mislead others into believing they have the rights to pursue similar offerings, when in fact Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to its film library, according to the company.

The notice comes just a week after the parties had informed U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin that a recent mediation session had yielded no settlement. It also comes while they were still waiting for the judge to rule on Tarantino's bid to thwart the copyright-infringement claims ahead of a trial scheduled for February, because, he argued, Miramax doesn't own any copyright to his screenplay.

"There is no dispute that neither Mr. Tarantino nor any successor in interest ever transferred any exclusive rights in the screenplay to Miramax," the filmmaker's lawyers said in their June 21 motion. "Even if Miramax could stitch together language from the parties’ various agreements that would suggest some ambiguity as to whether the assignment of rights in the film somehow assigned some aspect of rights in the screenplay, that ambiguity is foreclosed by the express reservation of rights that Mr. Tarantino made with respect to the screenplay in each of those agreements."

NFTs are unique digital tokens often connected with a piece of media such as a photograph, painting or video. Ownership of the NFT is stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain, the same kind of technology on which cryptocurrency relies.

Though NFTs have been around since the 2010s, they have taken off as both an object of media fascination and an asset class in recent years. Work by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann — aka "Beeple" — sold for $69 million at Sotheby's this last year. Whistleblower Edward Snowden sold an NFT of artwork made up of court documents for $5.4 million and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sold an NFT of his first tweet for $2.5 million.

Founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in 1979, Miramax helped bring American independent cinema into the mainstream with such films as the "The Crying Game," "Clerks" and "Shakespeare in Love." Its slate of films dominated the Academy Awards for more than a decade.

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