In the end, Quentin Tarantino ’s “Pulp Fiction” NFT Collection collapsed under its own weight. Did Miramax’s lawyers scare them off? Or was there not sufficient interest in the collection by the buyers? Did the Secret Network have any technical problem that they’re not telling us about? Sadly, we can’t answer those questions at the moment.
Something happened, though. We will present the facts and nothing but the facts so that each one can arrive at their own conclusions. As a reminder, in the collection’s official site they now describe the pieces as, “Each NFT in the collection consists of the original script from a single iconic scene, as well as personalized audio commentary from Quentin Tarantino himself.”
The Story So Far
This case is very complicated. It has a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous. As soon as the news about Quentin Tarantino entering the NFT space hit the press, Miramax sued. The pieces were based on the 1994 movie “Pulp Fiction,” and they owned the rights. There was a strange caveat to the whole story, which Bitcoinist explained:
“The Secret Network is a Layer 1 privacy blockchain created by SCRT Labs. The unique value proposition from The Secret Network lies in the name; the NFTs will be “secret” and only accessible by the NFTs owner.”
“Just 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.”
Despite Miramax lawyers working overtime, The Secret Network went all in. Two days before the first auction, they were talking David Vs. Goliath.
“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.”
Tarantino NFTs’ First Sale
At first, everything seemed normal. The first piece, based on the “Royale With Cheese” scene, sold for a whopping $1.1M. The collection’s tweet sold it as a big win. “And the winner of the ORIGINAL ‘ROYALE WITH CHEESE’ SCREENPLAY NFT is AnonsNFT, who bid $1.1M! We received a lot of great bids on the first NFT in the collection, but Anons took the prize.”
And the winner of the ORIGINAL 'ROYALE WITH CHEESE' SCREENPLAY NFT is @AnonsNFT, who bid $1.1M!
We received a lot of great bids on the first NFT in the collection, but Anons took the prize.
The 2nd auction, 'Pumpkin and Honey Bunny' is now live @ https://t.co/O1fmcrN4Rm pic.twitter.com/8U44PHQ6HP
— Tarantino NFTs (@TarantinoNFTs) January 24, 2022
However, looking into AnonsNFT, the DAO defines itself as “1st @SecretNetwork PFP Collection.” So, is the organization related to the Secret Network in any way? That would put a dent in the “whopping $1.1M” story.
SCRT price chart on Huobi | Source: SCRT/USDT on TradingView.com
The Nuclear Option: Cancel The Whole Thing
A few days later, the Secret Network used the most bogus excuse to cancel the whole thing. Volatility. With a straight face, they blamed it all on volatility.
“AN IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR COMMUNITY: In light of extreme market volatility, we’ve decided to postpone the remainder of the auction to put the needs of our community first. We know that these exclusive collector’s items will be valuable for generations to come. Instead of adding to the volatility, we will wait for the right market conditions to ensure the integrity and fair market value for our community and creators.”
We know that these exclusive collector’s items will be valuable for generations to come. Instead of adding to the volatility, we will wait for the right market conditions to ensure the integrity and fair market value for our community and creators.
— Tarantino NFTs (@TarantinoNFTs) January 28, 2022
Why did they do that? Nobody knows for sure. But the cover story is terrible, volatility? Really? Miramax didn’t take credit for the kill. And the Secret Network did not admit to low interest in the series or to technical difficulties. They just shut down the whole operation.
Was Plagiarism A Factor? Did Tarantino Know About This?
This case was plagued with copyright issues. And, to add insult to injury, the Andrew Cremeans story just comes out of nowhere. “It has been brought to my attention that Quentin Tarantino has been using my art without permission to sell his Pulp Fiction NFTs,” Cremeans said in a tweet.
It has been brought to my attention that Quentin Tarantino has been using my art without permission to sell his Pulp Fiction NFTs. Please see below. #nft #nfts #pulpfiction #tarantino #quentintarantino #jules #vincent #ripoff #art #artist #graphicdesign pic.twitter.com/MuTxRi9o2p
— Andrew Cremeans (@Andrew_Cremeans) January 24, 2022
In a case as complex as this, it’s hard to believe that the operation collapsed because of an illustrator’s copyrights claims. The art is clearly his, though. And Cremeans complaint had to be brought to the front. Before dropping this story forever.
This seems to be it for the Tarantino “Pulp Fiction” NFT collection, the saga’s last chapter. It’s a shame that it leaves an open ending such as this, with no definitive answers.
Featured Image: Tarantino NFTs promotional image from this tweet | Charts by TradingView