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Miramax Just Won an Interesting ‘Pulp Fiction’ Battle

Quentin Tarantino & Pulp Fiction
Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
November 28, 2021

As I argued last week, I’m skeptical about Miramax C.E.O. Bill Block’s recent lawsuit against Quentin Tarantino over Pulp Fiction NFTs. Two law professors now agree with me, writing that “it looks to us like Tarantino is acting within his reserved rights to publish the screenplay (or portions of it).” But Block has another reason to celebrate with his lawyers. He just won an entirely different Pulp Fiction lawsuit, this one brought by celebrity photographer Firooz Zahedi over the famous poster image of Uma Thurman lying on a bed with a gun, a cigarette and a pulpy novel.  

You know the poster. If you’re a man in your 30s or 40s, you probably hung it in your college dorm. Zahedi was paid $10,000 to shoot the image in 1994 and, depending on who you believe, either his work-for-hire agreement was lost or it never existed because, as one former executive testified, Miramax under the Weinsteins “didn’t do contracts.” Cut to 2019, Zahedi claimed he saw his Uma photo on a pair of socks, so he ran to the copyright office and sued in 2020 alleging infringement.