IP Update March 2021 Edition - Banksy, Beeple, NFTs, WonderCon, Spinning, and even Mr. Potato Head
“The artist brings something into the world that didn’t exist before, and he dos it without destroying something else.”
- John Updike
In all honesty, I am a bit bummed. I know 2020 is but a distant memory and 2021 promises a return to normalcy (of a sort), but it was hard to suffer the one-two blow delivered earlier this month when the organizers of the most highly anticipated popular media events on the West Coast announced that WonderCon 2021 and San Diego Comic-Con 2021 would both be virtual this year. AGAIN.
While I understand the logic underlying the postponement of the live version of both events until 2022 (the San Diego event may host a smaller, one-time convention in November, details pending), the heart wants what the heart wants.
Luckily, there are always new developments in the IP world to keep me distracted.
Whether it was street artist Banksy’s recent social commentary/graffiti caper on the walls of (former) Reading Prison in the U.K. or the sale of one of his pieces, Morons, by Injective Protocol, a cryptocurrency company, which then burned it (yes, burned it into nonexistence) while broadcasting live through a Twitter account @BurntBanksy. However, before going up in flames, Injective Protocol had digitized Morons into a non-fungible token (or NFT) so that the digital version could still be sold for a pretty penny.
What’s an NFT you may ask? And why should I, an average, well-to-d art collector, be concerned about them? Luckily, this month’s IP Update explains (or, at least tries to explain) why NFTs have become an influential means of acquiring rights, including rights to digital art, and why their implications may spread far beyond the rarified air of the art world.
Interestingly, Banksy was not involved in the digitization process nor was he involved in the creation of the NFT and subsequent destruction of the original work, raising a number of copyright issues that may plague future sales of artwork NFTs.
And, if these developments haven’t already made your head (or your exercise bike) spin, try understanding what’s been going on in the Potato Head household and at Hasbro.