If you haven't been keeping up with the news on No Film School, Quentin Tarantino has been trying to sell non-fungible tokens of his Pulp Fiction screenplay. Everything was going according to plan until Miramax stepped in and said he couldn't do that because they owned it.
That's where a very interesting legal battle began. The question at the center was, who owned the images of the screenplay? Miramax's lawyers claimed they owned the “broad rights” to offer NFTs based on the script. Tarantino’s legal team argued that the original deal he signed gave him the right to “publish” his screenplay, so he should also be allowed to publish NFTs on the blockchain.
This case is super important because its ripple effects will set a precedent across Hollywood. And if writers don't own scripts, and studios can make a profit on them, there's a lot more money to be made, which won't be benefitting the creators. Unless that's previously agreed upon.
And yes, it is a lot of money. The first Tarantino NFT sold for over a million dollars a few weeks ago.
Well, after that happened, Secret Labs, the maker of the NFTs, said they would indefinitely postpone future Tarantino sales, and then their Twitter account announced that it would “change directions” that “activity of this channel will now be 100% dedicated to this new endeavor.” Meaning it probably would not be NFTs of the screenplay pages, since that's what the fight with Miramax was all about.
Right now, neither side is claiming a win or a loss, but this standstill shows just how murky these rights situations are, and how much is at stake.
Matthew Belloni is reporting that another thing could be that the demand for such NFTs might not be as high. Sure, one sold for a lot of money, but it does not mean everyone would want to spend that much. There's a belief SecretLabs would roll out something like 10,000 of the same NFTs and just release them like art prints as well.
We'll keep our eyes on if this becomes a bigger story and how it all ends.
Let us know what you think in the comments.