A cooperation that is being developed by the business that is responsible for stewarding the sunken vessel will result in the artifacts that have been salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic being tokenized using blockchain technology.
RMS Titanic (RMST), a business located in Hong Kong called Venture Smart Financial Holdings, and Artifact Labs, a company specializing in Web3 technology, have formed a collaboration to begin tokenizing rare relics from the Titanic in order to unleash a wide variety of Web3 capabilities.
Certain items from the lost ship Titanic will be maintained as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which will enable the general public to take part in shared ownership of the artifacts. The RMST is the only organization authorized to retrieve items from the Titanic and the larger debris field that it left behind from the ocean floor in the northern Atlantic Ocean.
Tokenizing the intellectual property that is associated with the artifacts will be the responsibility of Venture Smart Financial Holdings, which will be given this duty. To facilitate “compliance money raising” for the purpose of funding continued research, recovery, preservation, display, and licensing of RMST’s assets, the tokenized instruments are planned to be provided to accredited investors. This will establish an avenue for “compliant capital raising.”
Using the in-house NFT blockchain system that Artifact Labs has developed, the company will issue NFTs for each of the 5,500 objects that were salvaged from the sunken ship. It has been decided that any future items that are recovered from the location where the Titanic came to rest would likewise be issued as NFTs.
It is said that these NFTs provide collectors with a variety of special experiences, such as invitations to VIP events and exhibits, seminars led by historians, and other unique opportunities. Outside of the actual displays that will take place in Atlanta and Las Vegas, the NFTs will develop a digital method to engage with the RMST material.
The statement states that the first collection of Titanic NFTs would include an extremely limited number of digital artifacts. This will serve as the cornerstone for the Titanic Web3 community.
Artifact Labs is also aiming to establish a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called the Titanic DAO. This would provide members the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and suggestions pertaining to upcoming exhibits at the Titanic site.
The production of educational programs, digital material and films, research, collaborations, and events will also be facilitated by the DAO. Additionally, it is anticipated that members of the DAO will have some input about the conservation and display of objects salvaged from the debris.
The treasury of the Titanic DAO will be administered by members with the use of governance tokens, and it will be financed using the revenues from the sale of NFT.
The cryptocurrency community is currently split on the question of whether the recent implementation of a nonfungible token (NFT) protocol on the Bitcoin mainnet would be beneficial to the Bitcoin ecosystem.
The software programmer Casey Rodarmor is responsible for the creation of the protocol, which is known as “Ordinals.” He is also the one who formally debuted the programme on the Bitcoin mainnet after writing a blog post on January 21.
On the Bitcoin network, NFTs are referred to as “digital artefacts,” and the protocol effectively enables the creation of Bitcoin’s own version of them.
These “digital artefacts” might be in the shape of JPEG photographs, PDF documents, or even audio or video formats.
The introduction of the protocol, on the other hand, has caused discord within the Bitcoin community. While some claim that it expands the financial applications of Bitcoin, others argue that it moves Bitcoin further from Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision of the cryptocurrency as a decentralised peer-to-peer cash system.
Dan Held, a Bitcoin bull, was one among many who supported the idea. He pointed out that it would boost demand for block space — and hence costs — while also adding additional use cases to Bitcoin.
Some people have pointed out that the block space on the Bitcoin network has been taken up by structures that are similar to NFTs, which might cause transaction costs to increase.
A person on Twitter with the handle “Bitcoin is Saving” is one of such individuals. On January 29, they claimed to their 237,600 followers that “privileged affluent whites” who wish to utilise JPEGs as status symbols may restrict marginalised people from participating in the Bitcoin network.
Eric Wall, a researcher in the field of cryptocurrencies, was of the other opinion and said that Bitcoin’s built-in block size restriction would prevent an increase in transaction costs.
The trademark infringement trial between French luxury company Hermès and digital artist Mason Rothschild is scheduled to begin on January 30 in a federal court in Manhattan. Both parties allege that the other infringed on their respective trademarks.
Because the nonfungible token (NFT) artist was marketing and selling MetaBirkins, a series of NFTs that was alleged to be inspired by the luxury brand’s Birkin bags, the luxury company accused the NFT artist of infringing on its trademark.
On January 14, 2022, Hermès lodged a complaint against Mason Rothschild in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the artist had refused to stop selling his NFT collection. This event marked the beginning of the trial as well as the related lawsuit that was filed at the same time.
According to papers that were submitted to the court on January 23, Hermès is arguing that the collection has made an illegal use of the Birkin trademark and may have caused clients to believe that the premium brand is affiliated with the initiative.
In the meanwhile, the court documents disclose that Rothschild thinks his work is protected under the First Amendment, which places no restrictions on free speech and prohibits censorship of any kind.
In the days leading up to the trial, several attorneys specialising in intellectual property law and other areas of the law have offered their opinions, stressing that the case may have repercussions for the NFT business.
An associate at the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP named Laura Lamansky referred to the case as a “momentous turning point for Web3 and digital products” in an article that was published on January 18 and discussed the trial as well as its potential repercussions for the future of the NFT business.
The issue that has to be answered is, to what degree are trademarks from the physical world enforceable in the digital realm? “We will be keeping a close eye on this case to see how we can most effectively strengthen rights in the digital world,” she added.
“It will hopefully shed some light on how artwork and the First Amendment interact with consumer goods and NFTs and how far a brand’s rights in its trademarks or products extend in the digital space,” added Lamansky. “It will also hopefully shed some light on how a brand’s rights in its trademarks or products extend in the physical space.”
Michael Kasdan, a lawyer who specialises in blockchain and technology, has been keeping up with the case as well, although he does not seem to believe the outcome will be very important.
“It’s only going to be one district court case data point in the end, but it’s certainly going to be an intriguing one,” he added.
Companies and brands have started to enforce stricter policies on non-fungible token (NFT) projects, which they believe violate copyright, intellectual property, and trademark laws.
StockX was accused of committing trademark infringement on February 4, 2022, when Nike filed a lawsuit against the online reseller for the purported creation of NFTs that were modelled after Nike’s shoes.
After a base-layer blockchain provider, Secret Network, announced the auction of “uncut screenplay scenes” from Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction as NFTs, film director Quentin Tarantino settled a lawsuit filed by Miramax in September 2022. The lawsuit had been filed after Secret Network announced the auction.
Web 3.0 technologies are making further inroads into a variety of traditional businesses, hence introducing innovation to previously established protocols.
This encompasses creative industries that have a long history, such as the music business, as well as more contemporary creative sectors, such as the film industry.
The new film Fuzzy Head will have its world debut this year at the Slamdance Film Festival, which is an Oscar-accredited film festival for independent filmmakers. The production of the film was made possible by the blockchain-powered crowdfunding site Untold.io. “The most crucial part of crypto and blockchain integrations in the film business will be increasing fan interaction through NFTs and opening up a new asset class to all different sorts of investors via compliant security tokens,”
Dapper Labs and Untold have formed a partnership in order to advance Untold’s technology and provide its programmes with more accessibility.
Other noteworthy movies, such as “The Comeback Trail,” which stars Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman, have also received financial backing via this platform. It is not the first time that a film festival has seen the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in films that are making their world premieres.
In 2019, representatives from the Filmio blockchain platform went to the venerable Sundance Film Festival in order to explore potential ideas for the blockchain-based entertainment platform that they are developing.
During Sundance Film Festival of the previous year, Liquid Media Group made an announcement about their first blockchain film streaming with a slate of digital panel discussions.
Additionally, the business discussed the effect that nonfungible tokens (NFTs) have had on filmmakers and the communities in which they work.
The movie “Prizefighter,” which was directed by Russel Crowe and released in 2022, used non-traditional forms of financing (NFTs) in order to partially support its production. The director described the movie as being “audience-driven.”
According to Aksu, the use of blockchain-based technologies by heritage directors and large festivals adds awareness to these tools for small filmmakers, who stand to gain tremendously from using them. These are also wonderful possibilities to build a genuine community that supports ground-breaking initiatives like blockchain.
The previous year, film director Anthony Hopkins was successful in selling all of the items in an NFT collection that was based on characters from movies that he had previously produced.
In addition, Quentin Tarantino developed novel film techniques (NFTs) based on his groundbreaking film Pulp Fiction.
Later on, he became embroiled in a big legal dispute with the film production business, which centred on allegations of copyright infringement.
London-based British auction house Christie’s has announced its undisclosed investment in LayerZero, the first ever commitment it will be made through its new investment arm- Christie’s Ventures.
As revealed by the company, Christie’s Ventures will deploy funds to back emerging tech startups and financial innovations that are relevant to the art market.
“As a global leader in the art market, Christie’s has both an incentive and a responsibility to further innovation and deepen experiences for our clients,” said Ben Gore, Christie’s Chief Operating Officer, adding that “the intersections of technology and financial products are increasingly relevant and prevalent, and we believe strongly in the opportunities ahead. For the companies we select to work with, as well as for our clients, the Christie’s Ventures value proposition combines the power of our brand and capital together with our network and expertise; it is another example of the formidable Christie’s Advantage.”
The new Christie’s Ventures offshoot will be led by Devang Thakkar, who said the investment arm will “focus on products and services which can solve real business challenges, improve client experiences, and expand growth opportunities, both across the art market directly and for interactions with it.”
Christie’s has always been setting the pace when it comes to embracing digital innovations. The company signalled its full backing for the digital currency ecosystem and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) offshoot when it helped auction Mike Winkelmann’s record-breaking NFT collage dubbed Everydays: The First 5000 Days.
The NFT was later revealed to be acquired for $69.3 million by Metakovan. Per the ultimate goal of Christie’s Ventures, any startup with the promise of advancing arts reach will be getting financial and professional support.
More major industry players across both Web2.0 and Web3.0 are floating funds through which they plan to invest heavily in Web3 initiatives. With the investment into LayerZero, Christie’s has revealed how willing it is to deepen its ties in the nascent blockchain world.
Through a global coalition of advocates, digital innovators, artists, and educators, an AI-generated NFT collection has been established to conserve Ukrainian art and raise funds for humanitarian aid.
Dubbed MINT FOR UKRAINE, the non-fungible token (NFT) collection of one million artworks is seen as a stepping stone toward keeping Ukrainian culture in the history books.
Tymofiy Mylovanov, the President of the Kyiv School of Economics, noted:
“There is no nation without its culture. Now with the help of AI and the blockchain, we have a chance to make pieces of Ukraine stay forever in the world’s history. While we are fighting for the freedom of our country, join us in the fight for our culture and help Ukraine.”
Minting the NFT art pieces will be done for free after creating a wallet and donations channelled through crypto or currency of choice. Per the announcement:
“Up to 10% of donations are directed to support the Ukrainian culture (artists and cultural institutions), while the remaining 90% are devoted to humanitarian support of Ukraine, through the vetted network of charities.”
Phil Bosua, the creator of the collection, pointed out:
“I think the human/AI collaboration is the next great art movement. We now have a direct line from thought to expression and we can create as much art as we can imagine. When we pair these ideas with a global cultural crisis, art has the ability to cause change on a scale we’ve not yet imagined.”
The MINT FOR UKRAINE is also being made a reality through a joint effort by OpenSea, the Kyiv School of Economics Foundation, four Ukrainian Ministries, Polygon, Artificial Intelligent Mind Collective, Ukraine.ua, Polygon Studios, and Reface.
Last month, Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation launched a MetaHistory NFT Museum, a blockchain-based collection of digital images, to tell the story of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA is launching a large-scale showcase of non-fungible token (NFT) art from April 29 to June 19, 2022, along with educational workshops and talks for all ages.
Over 200 pieces of art by more than 30 solo artists and NFT projects alike will be on display across nine floors, K11 MUSEA said. The artists vary in age from eight years old to world-class artists such as Tom Sachs and Takashi Murakami among others.
K11 MUSEA said that its ‘METAVISION’ exhibition is curating NFT art by some of the world’s top artists. All of the art on display is collective estimated to fetch a total of over 26,000 ETH (approximately US$82 million / HK$646 million).
Hong Kong’s local 8-year-old artist Arthus Ng is one of the popular names to look out for at the exhibition as his recent digital drawing of snakes has caught many eyes.
K11 MUSEA said that it is on a social mission to democratise and demystify NFT art for everyone by hosting exhibitions and talks.
The programme of workshops and talks has been designed for all ages to explore the fast-emerging sector of NFT art and is powered by HSBC and strategic partner Visa.
K11 MUSEA has been hosting immersive art and culture experiences since opening in 2019.
In 2021, K11 MUSEA collaborated with Sotheby’s in the lead-up to presenting Wong Kar-wai’s popular NFT launch. It has also partnered with Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama in showcasing an array of hybrid NFT and physical sculpture collectables.
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Ownership is one of the most critical aspects of nonfungible tokens (NFT). They are a representation of the evolution of execution and ownership of art, content, music, in-game assets, etc., since they are digital assets with distinctive identities that are verifiable on a blockchain network.
However, they have also created a new dimension of discussion about the interaction and grey area around copyright, intellectual property (IP) and trademark laws.
In a recent highly publicized fiasco in the cryptoverse, crypto decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) Spice DAO was mocked for believing that the ownership of a copy of the unpublished manuscript of the film Dune granted them its copyrights as well. The DAO intended to produce an “original animated series” inspired by the book to be sold to a streaming service for which it would require copyrights. The book was won at a Christie’s auction in November last year for over $3 million.
In this case, copyright laws dictate that the copyright is valid throughout the lifetime of the creators and even 70 years after their death which entails that the DAO cannot make the animated series without the permission of the living co-creator, Alejandro Jodorowsky. Cointelegraph discussed this incident with Andrew Rossow, a technology attorney and Ohio law professor, who said:
“The Spice DAO and Dune fiasco was a landmark in its own right that sends a very powerful message to everyone involved in the NFT space — creator or owner. The $3-million mistake that was made proved that intellectual property’s dominion in digital fine art is essential to its success and longevity.”
While it might not be a secret that the ownership of an NFT doesn’t necessarily mean that the underlying copyright of the work has been transferred to the owner, it doesn’t seem evident to all market participants. Rossow explained that copyright law affords six “bundles of rights” or exclusive rights to a creator, which collectively establish their copyright. The first four rights are crucial to NFTs right now — the right to reproduce the work, the right to create derivative works, the distribution right, and the public performance rights.
Marie Tatibouet, chief marketing officer of cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io, spoke with Cointelegraph about the Dune fiasco, noting that anyone who did the proper research and due diligence would’ve known that the sale of a book’s copy had no copyrights attached to it. She said, “There still seems to be a wider misconception around what exactly NFTs are and what’s included when one purchases or trades an NFT in the space. As the industry develops, so will educational resources and a wider understanding of the market.”
Lawsuits begin to pour in
As things now stand, brands and companies have begun to crack down against NFT projects that violate copyright, IPs and trademarks. On Feb. 4, Nike filed a lawsuit against StockX for trademark infringement on Nike sneaker NFTs. The sneaker company has lodged a 50-page long complaint that claims the reseller has sold nearly 500 Nike brand sneaker NFTs impacting Nike’s reputation and legitimacy. Additionally, the shoemaker has accused StockX of selling the NFT sneakers at inflated prices amid “murky terms of purchase and ownership.”
Even French luxury fashion house Hermes has recently had a legal confrontation with Mason Rothschild, creator of Hermes Birkin bag-inspired NFTs MetaBirkins. Hermes mentioned in its complaint, the “defendant’s MetaBirkins brand simply rips off Hermès’ famous Birkin trademark by adding the generic prefix ‘meta’ to the famous trademark Birkin.” In response, the creator compared himself to Andy Warhol painting Campbell soup cans in that he is making art from a well-known commercial image.
Jeff Gluck, CEO of CXIP Labs — an NFT minting platform — discussed the incoming lawsuits with Cointelegraph. Gluck is also an IP and copyrights lawyer with over 14 years of experience in the legislative domain. He stated:
“There are dozens of artists preparing lawsuits against OpenSea for selling infringing NFTs. These examples are a sneak preview of a wave of litigation heading towards the space. It’s both good and bad in that it discourages creativity and growth in some ways, but it’s beneficial because it will ultimately help provide some guidelines in terms of clear legal parameters and guidelines for the space.”
Gluck further pointed out that one of the biggest problems NFT marketplaces are facing right now is that if they mint NFTs for their users and/or provide any level of curation, they are not shielded by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and thus can be sued directly for copyright infringement by creators. The DMCA was passed in 1998 to implement the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization’s Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty. In part, it creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement.
Rossow believes that is an essential requirement for any NFT creator to highlight the copyright, trademark and IP implications of the NFTs they launch. He said, “The smart contract behind an NFT is what governs the rights on how it can be used. It would also make sense that the creator(s) behind any NFT project are crystal clear to their audience before minting on what rights they will have with the NFT once they mint and purchase it.”
Blockchain and copyright laws
The NFT industry has grown faster than even its participants could have imagined. The market sales surpassed $40 billion in 2021 just on the Ethereum blockchain. A recent NFT market report from Chainalysis found that the weekly total cryptocurrency value and average value per transaction have grown hand-in-hand from January to October in 2021. The prime reason for this growth is the hype that has surrounded these assets for the last two years from minting platforms, games, marketplaces, exchanges and others.
Related:From art to gaming: The biggest NFT trends of 2021
As a by-product of this high supply and demand, there are a lot of scams, hacks and other intentional property law violations that have been become more frequent. Tatibouet elaborated on this phenomenon, stating, “Considering many platforms have made minting NFTs quick and easy, it’s also made it possible for those with malicious intent to produce and sell NFTs of copyrighted items. Platforms are slowly starting to adapt to this; however, it may remain to be an issue for the foreseeable future.”
She also noted that platforms will need to adapt quickly and introduce barriers to those looking to abuse the system since they are liable to face legal repercussions, being the direct link between consumers and creators. As multinational companies that have large intellectual property libraries that are being abused, the NFT industry can expect legal issues down the road.
However, NFTs are also a relatively new innovation compared to the existing prevalent copyright, IP and trademark laws, which could be an opportunity to amend the law to account for this new technology. Varun Sethi, founder of blockchain legal services firm Blockchain Lawyer, told Cointelegraph that copyright laws need to recognize the tokenization of digital assets as a revolutionary and evolving legal option and accept the NFTs owner as the copyright owner.
However, Sethi noted the obstacles involved, saying, “There are challenges pertaining to updating of the registered owner as per copyright record plus fragmentation of ownership of a single digital art into multiple NFT owners plus payment of filing fees for becoming actual owner and not just an ostensible owner.”
Sethi foresees even more ownership issues when NFTs change hands unless the law is amended so that all NFT sales are recorded as ownership swapping as per the copyright office’s records.
Even though NFTs as a whole fall under copyright and IP laws of the countries in which they are issued, there are NFT projects that are now aiming to solve the grey area around this legal concern and offer copyrights for NFTs as well. CXIP Labs is such an example wherein copyright registrations are included in the minting process itself.
A platform called GuardianLink is using its proprietary artificial intelligence technology to monitor the web for any duplicate, rip-offs and copy-cat NFTs of the creators using their platform. This enables both creators and collections to protect their NFT assets.
The cryptocurrency community is known to adapt to changes fairly quickly due to the nascent nature of the industry and the technology. Thus, as the legal issues around NFTs develop and reveal more about what modifications need to be made to the prevalent structure, there will also be protocols that adapt.