Movie-Inspired Collector ‘Tokens’ Spark Dispute Over the Right to Sell IP-Related Assets

Quentin Tarantino, writer and director of the 1994 classic ‘Pulp Fiction’ is engaged in a fight with the film’s owner over whether he has the right to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that relate to scenes not included in the final cut of the movie.

The NFTs are being marketed without the consent of Miramax, the producer and owner of the rights to the film, who says its ownership rights are being violated.

A suit recently filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accuses Tarantino of breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition, according to court documents.

“I’m excited to be presenting these exclusive scenes from ‘Pulp Fiction’ to fans,” Tarantino said in a news release. The goal, he said, was to auction a collection of seven uncut “Pulp Fiction” scenes as “secret NFTs,” stating their content would be hidden except to the owner.

For the full story in the current Intangible Investor column appearing in IPWatchdog, go here.

A Piece of Greatness

People have a desire to own a tiny piece of greatness, a unique part of history, no matter how obscure, especially if it has the potential to appreciate dramatically, like great art.

At the heart of the dispute is what is actually owned when an NFT is sold and what is its relationship to the underlying asset? It could be an incremental part of the asset, distributed on a blockchain that confers some or all rights and provides pricing transparency and trading efficiency.

It can also have a tenuous relationship to the original property, a separate but highly limited edition or artifact, based more on computer code and buyer interest than IP rights. Regardless of the outcome of the case social media-fueled demand – much like iconic meme stocks whose price transcends their performance – will be the likely catalyst for these and other NFTs to become a tradable asset class.

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