Quentin Tarantino is being sued by Miramax Studios over his plan to sell digital rights to parts of his Oscar-winning film Pulp Fiction in the form of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
NFTs are unique digital objects that confer ownership. While their content may be copyable, the NFT is "the original", in much the same way that there are innumerable prints of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, but only the Louvre museum has the original.
Visionary director Tarantino is auctioning script pages from seven scenes that did not make the final cut of the 1994 movie, along with audio commentary, he said this month.
But Miramax, which produced the film, says Tarantino is overstepping, and impinging on its own plans to sell NFTs, so is suing him for breach of contract.
According to the complaint filed this week in Los Angeles, seen by AFP, Miramax wrote to Tarantino to ask him to give up his NFT projects, claiming to hold all the rights on the script of Pulp Fiction, including sections that did not make the final cut.
He refused, claiming he owns the rights to the film script in written form.
"Tarantino's conduct has forced Miramax to bring this lawsuit against a valued collaborator in order to enforce, preserve, and protect its contractual and intellectual property rights relating to one of Miramax's most iconic and valuable film properties," the company wrote in its lawsuit.
"Left unchecked, Tarantino's conduct could mislead others into believing Miramax is involved in his venture.
"And it could also mislead others into believing they have the rights to pursue similar deals or offerings, when in fact Miramax holds the rights needed to develop, market, and sell NFTs relating to its deep film library."
Miramax was founded in 1979 by now-disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein and his brother Robert. It is now owned by BeIN Media and Viacom CBS.
Investors and wealthy collectors have clamoured in recent months to get involved in NFTs, which rely on the same blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies and cannot be forged or otherwise manipulated.
Recent auctions have seen eye-watering sums paid for NFTs, including a staggering $69.3 million for a digital work by artist Beeple at a sale at Christie's.