A few weeks ago we reported on a dispute involving non-fungible tokens (NFTs) associated with stormtrooper helmets from the Star Wars franchise. The potential of NFTs has been recognized by other artists as well, such as world-renown film-maker Quentin Tarantino.
Quentin Tarantino recently filed his statement of defence against Miramax who alleged Tarantino broke his contractual obligations, and copyright and trademark law, through the sale of NFTs relating to the screenplay of his well-known film, Pulp Fiction.
Putting aside the rhetoric coming from both parties, the wording of the contract signed between the two prior to making the film appears to be a key proving ground for the suit. The contract grants certain rights to Miramax for making the film, e.g. copyrights and trademarks in the film, and reserves certain rights to Tarantino, e.g. screenplay publication in electronic format. It appears an important question to be answered is, "Does the release of NFTs containing high-quality digital scans of the screenplay fall within the reserved rights held by Quentin Tarantino, or the rights held by Miramax?".
One lesson learned for future creatives and innovators is obvious. If you want to have your Royale with cheese and eat it, then explicitly include NFTs in commercial agreements so the question of ownership is beyond doubt, even if your work is not the same "critical darling and financial success" as Pulp Fiction.
The rights granted to Miramax herein are hereinafter referred to as the "Rights". ... excluding only the following rights ("Reserved Rights") which are reserved to Tarantino: soundtrack album, music publishing, live performance, print publication (including without limitation screenplay publication, "making of” books, comic books and novelization, in audio and electronic formats as well, as applicable)
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