While money may be able buy you NFTs it will not allow them to get out of compliance with federal copyright laws. Despite the increasing popularity of NFTs, digital fine art and NFTs, it is still unclear whether intellectual property law should be used in fintech.
This piece will teach you something important: Intellectual property rules this space. It will place any NFT owner or its project in its legal, rightful place, regardless of how much money it involves.
This brings us to the Most important lesson in the industry for NFT owners and/or project managers – SpiceDAO or Dune.
Spice DAO is the most worrying NFT owner in the space. They believed, truthfully, that their purchase of Jororowsky’s Dune meant that they had the rights to Dune. But they don’t. They only acquired the rights to a very expensive adaptation of Herbert’s original Dune work.
It’s important to remember that Herbert’s novel Dune was filmed three times throughout history. began with David Lynch’s 1984 version on TV, followed by Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 version via Legendary Pictures, which was released last fall and starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya.
What happened then? Let’s do a brief recap.
We won the auction for €2.66M. Now our mission is to:— Spice DAO (🏜,🏜) (@TheSpiceDAO) January 15, 2022
1. Make the book public (to the extent permitted by law)
2. Produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service
3. Support derivative projects from the community pic.twitter.com/g4QnF6YZBp
#1 – A Very Expensive Book with Beautiful “Would Be” Concept Art
Alejandro Jodorowsky, a French-Chilean director, acquired the film rights for Dune in 1974 and created a complete concept adaptation of Herbert’s original story.
Due to Jodorowsky’s extremely large budget, the studios refused financial backing. The project was abandoned. Jodorowsky left behind approximately 10 concept books. Christie’s bought one of these copies at auction for $3million.
This copy, as stated above, is not Frank Herbert’s original Dune story. It is a book that Jodorowsky had written about the unmade film, which was subsequently scrapped by the studios because of its insane budget.
In its entirety, the copy contained Jodorowsky’s concept art and script.
#2 – Enter SpiceDAO
SpiceDAO is the main party in this story. They are also the biggest (and most unfortunate!) suckers in the story. continues the misinformed belief copyright law does not have a place in the digital realm. with NFTs and/or general ignorance of how intellectual property still controls and governs the entire NFT space and digital art.
SpiceDAO is a decentralized autonomous group that has been dedicated to developing and buying projects that are based on Hodorowsky’s vision. SpiceDAO announced via Twitter in January that it had won a November Auction and that it was acquiring the rights to the adaptation.
1) It wanted to “make it public (to whatever extent allowed by law)”
2) Create an animated series that is “original and limited” that is “inspired” by the book.
3. “Sell it to a streaming platform” in order to create derivative works.
Initially listed for auction on Christie’s, the adaptation was priced at $30,000 with a crowdfunding campaign that sought to raise $750,000. The adaptation was initially listed on Christie’s for auction at $30,000 with a crowdfunding effort to raise $750,000 to purchase the copy. However, SpiceDAO co-founder Soban Saqib (25 ) decided to just purchase the Dune adaptation for $3,000,000 in November to avoid a similar fate as that of ConstitutionDAO.
Spice DAO purchased the book and planned to sell individual pages as NFTs. The group then wanted to burn the physical book.
This brings us to the absurdity and legality of throwing money at things in the hope that you can get into the right circles.
SpiceDAO, a group of enthusiasts, posted on Medium a week later that they had lost the rights to Herbert’s 1965 novel , but were continuing with plans to create an original animated series. This was quickly stopped.
Continue reading to explain that “…after 2 months of outreach, conversations and consultations with former business partners, we have not been in a position to reach an agreement regarding the creation of the contents book of collected storyboards from Jodorosky’s Dune.
“… Our research over the past 2 months has only raised our respect for their work. We were so inspired and informed by the book’s creation, that we began to see how we could create our own intellectual property. We now own 100% of the rights and can control all aspects of production of an original animated series.
#3 – What’s the Legal?
SpiceDAO is not likely to go away anytime soon, at least for this project and any other intellectual property associated with Dune.
Intellectual property rules all for those who are entering the NFT or digital fine art space. To avoid costly, naive mistakes like we saw with Spice DAO, it is essential to understand what “bundle” you have in relation to Creative Commons licensing.
Copyright law in the United States grants creators of original works a variety of exclusive rights that together make up the “6 bundle” of rights known as copyright.
The Copyright Act gives owners the following:
- Copyrighted work may be reproduced
- Right to prepare derivative works that are based on the work
- Right to distribute the work to the public
- Copyrighted work may be performed publicly
- The right to display publicly the copyrighted work
- Right to digitally transmit the copyrighted work to the public.
Copyright Law Doesn’t Allow Rights Until At Most 2056
Current law provides that copyright-eligible works created after January 1, 1978 are automatically protected for the rest of the author’s life, plus 70 years following his death.
Herbert, the original owner of the Dune copyright, died in 1986. Federal copyright law protects Herbert until at least 2056.
The book purchased by the NFT collective, which was originally produced in the 1970s to promote the idea to studios is also very likely protected by copyright law until at minimum 2092 , as Jodorowsky is still living. This prevents any claims from third-parties to this work unless Jodorowsky decides to transfer or assign the rights.
The right to “Produce Derivative Works”.
A “derivative” work is one that is based on one or more preexisting works. This includes translations, dramatizations, fictions, motion pictures, art reproductions, and in this instance, adaptations of original works or “original limited television programs”.
Derivative works are protected under the copyright for the original work, which means that copyright protection for the original owner also applies to derivative works.
SpiceDAO understands that this is a clear legal fact. They cannot use the adaptation other than to enjoy it on their bookshelf.
Even so, nothing can be done with the Dune universe without permission from the Herbert estate. SpiceDAO did not purchase an adaptation by a director. This does not grant the collective the “bundle” of rights to create new material.
This costly error is a reminder for everyone involved in NFT that you will almost always lose intellectual property law no matter how much you invest.