Crypto investment collective Spice DAO is determined not to waste the $3 million it spent on an effectively worthless book of ideas for an unmade Dune movie.
Spice DAO now says it’s planning its own original contribution to the sci-fi genre. Unfortunately, it will have to do without the use of any established Dune characters, stories, or other copyrighted material.
The embattled decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) splashed millions on a copy of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s storyboard (or “bible”) for his failed Dune adaptation last November.
Spice DAO raised the funds by issuing and selling a token, SPICE, on Ethereum-powered decentralized exchange Uniswap.
Like other DAOs, token holders can vote on decisions related to treasury spending and other boardroom business matters.
But for some reason, Spice DAO believed the storyboard would somehow imbue the group with Dune intellectual property.
After winning the Christie’s auction, Spice DAO had naively hoped to produce a new animated series based on the original storyboard, which was intended to fill a film up to 15 hours long.
Spice DAO then wanted to simultaneously make the book “public to the extent permitted by law” and hawk the series to a streaming service like Netflix.
Unfortunately, the Dune book Spice DAO won at auction is simply memorabilia, of which there are between 10 and 20 known copies in existence.
To make matters worse, its contents were already readily available via Google Photos. Christie’s initially estimated the book would sell for about $30,000 — implying Spice DAO overpaid by nearly 10,000%.
Spice DAO’s token is still down 90%
Spice DAO’s confusion over IP rights, auctions, and obscure collectables echoes the plights of newbie non-fungible token (NFT) buyers, who often believe NFTs represent copyright or commercial rights of their associated media.
“After two months of outreach, conversations with former business partners and consultations with legal counsel, we were not able to reach an agreement with any of the rights holders,” conceded Spice DAO last week (our emphasis).
Still, rather than accept failure, the organization (which mostly exists on Twitter and Discord) is optimistic that it still has hot property on its hands.
In a blog post last week, it claimed to have fielded meetings with Drake’s attorney, a writer from Netflix’s “Love, Death & Robots,” and other entertainment industry insiders.
“While we do not own the IP to Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, we are uniquely positioned with the opportunity to create our own addition to the genre as an homage to the giants who came before us,” the group said (via IndieWire).
It’s not clear how Spice DAO plans to do that without infringing on any copyright, especially now that Dune is a successful Hollywood franchise.
As for the DAO’s native token: SPICE is down nearly 90% since the DAO overpaid for the Dune bible at auction, with trade evaporating almost entirely.
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