In two days, the auction of the first Pulp Fiction NFT will take place. A historical moment for the nascent industry, one that will set precedent for years to come. When Quentin Tarantino and the Secret Network announced a partnership aimed at releasing NFTs from the classic ’90s film, the world listened. Unfortunately for them, so did Miramax. The studio still holds the right to Pulp Fiction, so they sent a cease and desist letter.
Related Reading | Upside Potential in NFTs is Massive Says Gary Vaynerchuk
The caveat here is that “the unique value proposition from The Secret Network lies in the name; the NFTs will be “secret” and only accessible by the NFTs owner.” When NewsBTC covered this story, we explained:
“That fact makes the lawsuit endlessly interesting. Only the person that buys the NFT can see what’s inside, so Miramax has no clue about the kind of content they’re suing for. They just know they own the rights to the picture and the discarded material, but, besides the reports and the marketing material, they’re as in the dark as the rest of us about the actual content.”
What has happened since then? A LOT. Let’s explore the new developments in the case.
— Tarantino NFTs (@TarantinoNFTs) January 10, 2022
Unreleased Scenes And Material
In the beginning, the implication was that the NFTs would contain unreleased material from Pulp Fiction. Miramax entered the picture and everything changed. Again, from NewsBTC’s previous report:
“On the day of the announcement, The Secret Network released a statement that quotes the director himself.
“I’m excited to be presenting these exclusive scenes from PULP FICTION to fans.” Tarantino says. “Secret Network and Secret NFTs provide a whole new world of connecting fans and artists and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.”
Tarantino’s words suggest simpler times. We’re nowhere near that stage anymore.”
The Content Of The Pulp Fiction NFTs Changed
After the cease and desist letter, it transpired that Tarantino only kept the rights to Pulp Fiction’s script. Recently, IndieWire quoted a statement that Proskauer Rose, one of Miramax’s lawyers, sent them:
“There’s been no attempt to dismiss any of Miramax’s claims by Tarantino’s team, nor have they filed any counter claims or motions against Miramax, and since Miramax filed its lawsuit, the promotional website and Twitter account for the proposed sale have scaled back the unauthorized use of imagery from Miramax films (including Pulp Fiction)”
And he’s right about that. A casual visit to the @TarantinoNFTs Twitter account will reveal that the people involved in the sale fazed out all images related to Pulp Fiction and replaced them with just text or high contrast images of Quentin Tarantino himself. The content of the NFTs also changed, now The Secret Network describes them as:
“Tarantino owns the exclusive rights to publish his Pulp Fiction screenplay and the original, handwritten copy has remained a personal creative treasure he has kept private for decades. In collaboration with SCRT Labs, Tarantino has turned chapters from this historic document into a one-of-a-kind NFT publication. Each NFT in the collection consists of a single iconic scene, as well as personalized audio commentary by Tarantino himself.”
Are they legal now? That’s the question.
SCRT Market Cap, calculated by TradingView | Source: TradingView.com
The Secret Network Proceeds
The auctions will go from January 17th to the 31st. It will happen on the Secret Network and not on OpenSea, as originally announced. Did OpenSea run away from the controversy and possible litigation? We wouldn’t know. The Secret Network, on the other hand, is milking the situation to the extreme. Money can’t buy this kind of publicity.
Their press release quotes Guy Zyskind, founder and CEO of SCRT Labs:
“Secret Network is proud to stand with Quentin. We are committed to working with talented artists across the globe, by providing them a better way to release their works directly to fans without relying on older distribution models, which favor conglomerates over creators.”
3 days to go. Historical fact #1:
Quentin Tarantino writes his screenplays by hand ✍️ For Pulp Fiction, he kept the original screenplay a secret for *28 years.* This priceless piece of history will be revealed for the first time in next week’s auction – but only to the buyer 🤫 https://t.co/wXbIUPOXUO pic.twitter.com/msgwomNs27
— Tarantino NFTs (@TarantinoNFTs) January 14, 2022
For their part, Miramax’s lawyers sent Zyskind a letter that claims:
“Contrary to what you assert you are being told by Mr. Tarantino and his team,
You do not have the necessary rights to mint the Pulp Fiction NFTs described in your press releases and other promotional materials;
You do not have the necessary rights to market or promote those NFTs; and
Despite your now having assumed the role of auctioneer, you do not have the necessary rights to promote and sell those NFTs.”
Not only that, they included a direct threat to possible NFT buyers:
“We would hope that you also inform prospective purchasers of the risks of purchasing these unauthorized NFTs, including that purchasers may have to return the NFTs to Miramax and forfeit the price they paid for such NFTs, and that purchasers may incur additional liability in the event they later sell the unauthorized NFTs”
Guy Zyskind response? He took to Twitter and replied:
“Your attempt to bully and intimidate us, and our community, will not work. This lawful sale of TarantinoNFTs will continue as planned, despite your efforts to sabotage it.”
Hey @Miramax. Got your letter. Your attempt to bully and intimidate us, and our community, will not work. This lawful sale @TarantinoNFTs will continue as planned, despite your efforts to sabotage it.https://t.co/1Qjkgfy8U1 pic.twitter.com/jpjbYDNmNp
— Guy Zy𝕊kind (@GuyZys) January 10, 2022
The TarantinoNFTs account contributed to the conversation by saying, “We will not be stopped. We will not let bullies intimidate our community.”
Related Reading | January Proves Turbulent For Investors But NFT And GameFi Seems To Be Eating Good
Is that enough? Or are they making a big mistake? Is Miramax in the right? Or do they know that they don’t have a leg to stand on and thus turned to intimidation?
Turn on to NewsBTC next month for the next chapter of the Pulp Fiction NFTs’ exciting saga.
Featured Image: Tarantino NFT Collection promotional material | Charts by TradingView