They should unlock the secret thoughts of Quentin Tarantino - and make their owner smarter than all other fans of his cult film "Pulp Fiction". The director and screenwriter Tarantino plans to auction several images from the original manuscript of the film - as non-fungible tokens (NFT). In doing so, however, he brings the production company Miramax against him, which is suing him for violating the contract concluded with her in 1994. "Pulp Fiction" made Tarantino famous and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The film grossed $ 214 million worldwide and is considered the most successful independent film of all time.

Now Tarantino wants to benefit from the boom in NFT. These cryptographically encrypted ownership certificates based on blockchain technology are intended to make digital and thus infinitely copiable works of art unique and tradable, but are also used to expand physical objects with a display of ownership stored on a blockchain. Since the auction house Christie's sold the NFT of a digital collage by the graphic artist Beeple for $ 69 million, the tokens have been awakening a gold rush mood. The Beeple NFT sold was the third most expensive work by a living artist to ever be auctioned. There are copies of the work online - but the buyer of the NFT can now call himself the only owner of the authentic “Everydays”.

Tarantino's art is in the script of "Pulp Fiction". He said the NFT was composed of pictures of the original plus a sound recording of him. What is meant is that the NFT code probably contains a link to a website on which the purchased images can be seen and the soundtrack can be heard. The NFT would give buyers a unique insight into both the “secrets of the script” and “into the head and creative process of Quentin Tarantino,” said the director when presenting his plan. His website also states that the new owner of the NFT can choose to keep these secrets to himself “forever”, to share them with a few confidants - or with the whole world.

Miramax accuses Tarantino of violating his contract and of copyright and trademark law with the planned sale of the Pulp Fiction NFT. The company believes that the 1993 agreement also gives it the rights to the NFT. The director, in turn, secured the rights to the printed publication of the script and other materials as well as books that would appear after the film, such as "Making Ofs".

The conflict between Tarantino and Miramax now revolves around whether the publication of NFT falls under these criteria or not.

The distributor also argues that the director does not have the right to sell the script page by page.

Tarantino, in turn, relies on American copyright law, according to which it is not a question of regular publication if copies of a work are only given to a very small group.

After all, the director only wants to sell the NFT to a few people.

NFT are a status symbol

In order to prove a violation of the trademark law, the lawyers of Miramax would have to show that the NFT itself can be mistaken for a product of the rental company. The company also owns the rights to advertising material for the film, such as t-shirts or mugs. If the court found that NFTs fell closer to that category, Tarantino would likely have to pay a fine. Aaron Moss, California copyright attorney, doesn't believe this will happen. Ultimately, NFTs are “glittering objects”, and legal disputes about them therefore receive a lot of attention. The actual copyright issue will be easy to resolve, Moss said in an interview. In the end, the dispute is only the crypto variant of the important argument aboutthe Los Angeles Times commented on whether an artist could use his already exploited work to earn money again.

Meanwhile, Brian Frye, a law professor at the University of Kentucky, made fun of the dispute by generating his own Pulp Fiction NFT.

This is done via an app.

The NFT gives the buyer property rights over "certain secret and confidential thoughts" on his part in the film, wrote Frye.

He also wanted to show how easy it is to make an NFT from things whose owners have not approved.

The NFT themselves do not solve the problem of authentication and representation of works of art - but they give the owner the feeling of having something exclusive, even if it is supposed secrets from the mind of a filmmaker.

Last but not least, they are a status symbol, even if the buyer has nothing “in hand” at the end of the day.