One of the many conversations attendees to ETHDenver 2022 had throughout the four day conference involved discussions surrounding “ownership” and the intellectual property NFT holders are actually receiving when they make their purchase.
With the prevalence of social media, particularly Twitter Spaces, today’s entertainment landscape has opened its doors to incorporating Web3 and NFTs into its historically fragmented skeleton.
There’s no question that our traditional media landscape is broken, which only makes sense as to why industry professionals are suddenly and impulsively flocking to the metaverse.
However, for those who believe that Web3 is that second chance to do things right, beginning with fixing the unbalanced relationship between creators and consumers, intellectual property (IP) proves to be a powerful solution that can empower the industry to be better than it has in the past.
From TV to spooky NFT characters
Since 2015, television horror studio Crypt TV has been leveraging its in-house IP and turning it into scary, entertaining content for television, live events, and video games.
Now, it’s turned its attention to taking that content and empowering fans with NFTs for their storylines as it continues its mission to continue empowering its near 4 million fans as they journey into Web3 and the metaverse.
Launching its Monster Fight Club NFT collection, the company encourages fans to not only own a monster, but to accept that intellectual property should be leveraged throughout the community and in favor of creators.
“Hollywood likes what it knows and nobody really understands NFTs yet,” said Crypt TV co-founder and CEO Jack Davis to Be[In]Crypto in an email.
Referencing other collaborations such as Reese Witherspoon’s partnership with World of Women, Davis believes that there needs to be more partnerships such as these for the entertainment industry to be able to move NFT IP forward.
“All genres and types of content can thrive as NFTs, if there is deep thought and care put into the storyline, creative, and lore,” he noted.
Holders of Monster Fight Club will be able to use their NFTs as profile pictures or as a monster avatar to use in the metaverse. Some of Crypt TV’s investors include NBCUniversal, Blumhouse Productions, Lerer Hippeau, and Advancit Capital.
You can watch a teaser of the upcoming release here:
Royalty-Free License NFT Collections
Turning next to the question of “ownership,” we have already begun to see some of the complexities in understanding what attributes and rights NFTs carry from issuer to holder.
Right now, the legal landscape is faced with these questions, forcing the courts to address the direct relationship between trademark protection and NFTs as seen in the ongoing litigation between Miramax/Quentin Tarantino, Nike/StockX, and Hermes/Mason Rothschild.
Typically, most NFT issuers do not intend to transfer the underlying rights to the intellectual property over to the future holder, but instead transfer certain exclusive rights to display and perform the work – which allows for individuals to display their NFT as a profile picture avatar or rocking them on their clothing and apparel.
Yet, much of the confusion seems to stem from what rights are actually being transferred to a holder upon purchase, begging the question of how sophisticated the underlying NFT smart contracts actually are versus what the issuer is communicating to their community.
Under federal copyright law, there are six exclusive rights afforded to any copyright holder, which also include the right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, and of course, the right to distribute the work.
While most NFT holders do not have the right to fully commercialize their purchased NFTs or prepare derivative works with them, some believe that there’s a way it can be done – in this case, through a royalty-free license and partnership with a digital anti-counterfeiting and copyright protection technology known as REV3AL.
Earlier this week, a cryptocurrency project called ZINU announced what it says is the industry’s first fully-animated 3D NFT collection and royalty-free license, demonstrating “the truest form of decentralized intellectual property” seen to date, where holders can use their NFT in almost any way they choose to, without fear of legal trouble.
The NFT collection, dubbed the “Zombie Mob Secret Society” grants each holder a royalty-free license to their specific Zinu zombified character, empowering holders and creators to use and commercialize their respective NFTs within their own industries, according to the press release.
“Whether they already own a small business or are just starting out, holders of ZMSS NFTs will be able to introduce their own Zinu to their customers and leverage the IP that the entire community is building,” the press release explains.
Behind ZINU are senior members who worked at Amazon, Google, Intel & Microsoft, who believe that by leveraging fully-animated 3D NFTs that can “walk, strut, run, flip, dance, and fly” can really change the landscape for how these works are utilized in apparel and toys to comic books and film.
You can watch a teaser from the upcoming release here:
Where do we go from here?
Indeed, the entertainment industry is ready to embrace the power of animation and intellectual property, recognizing the infancy stages we are still in with NFTs.
However, the conversations necessary to move this technology forward requires a strong understanding and appreciation for federal copyright laws – meaning that NFT issuers and holders need to be on the same page when it comes to supporting one another with these types of works.
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