Month: November 2021

Non-fungible Tokens

Side Eye Chloe

If you keep up with the news or just like to know what is current in the crypto-based world, you will have heard about the new craze that is non-fungible tokens (nfts for short). These are unique digital assets that utilise blockchain technology, i.e. A digital ledger which stores transactions and ownership of nfts. Many nfts are part of the Ethereum blockchains, a cryptocurrency which supports nfts.

How is this different to buying the physical form of something and what is the point?

In short, it allows buyers to own the original content but unlike physical forms which can be stolen or plagiarised, the blockchain technology notes down the exact time a transaction is made and creates a unique code which only the owner now has, in turn, making fakes harder to circulate. Copies can be made of the content but the NFT unique code represents a form of true ownership of the work.

What is being sold?

Basically, anything digital – be it digital art, collectables, or visual content – even ‘Side Eye Chloe’, an internet meme which has had more than 20 million views on youtube, recently sold as an NFT for around £54,000 – and shockingly that’s not even a lot in the newly popular world of nfts.  Back in 2013 the video sees a young girl, Chloe, and her sister reacting to a surprise trip to Disneyland.  Whilst her sister is elated, the two-year-old looks seemingly unimpressed with the revelation, a moment captured perfectly by her mother and now known as the ‘Side Eye Chloe’ meme. Chloe (or perhaps her mother) not only received a huge amount of cash from the meme, but she has also amassed more than 500,000 followers on Instagram and been hailed the ‘Queen of Everything’ on Tumblr.

What else is out there?

Whilst nfts have only recently gained popularity, especially during the global pandemic, this is not the first time digital content has sold for big bucks, in fact some have even sold for millions of dollars like Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, who sold his first Tweet for $2.9 million.  Memes haven’t done so bad either, for example, ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’ sold for £298,000 in April 2021, ‘Disaster Girl’ for $430,000 and ‘Nyan Cat’ sold for over $880,000.  Music artists have also been getting in on the action. The Kings of Leon have sold some of their original content as nfts for £1.4 million so far. Like all things though, there are some questionable goods on offer, take Logan Paul’s nfts as an example. His short video clips sell for up to $20,000 each, even though they are readily available on youtube FREE OF CHARGE!

Want to get in on the action?

If you have a meme which you want to sell, there are always risks with putting something online. Going viral can entail people using your content without your consent, mocking it or claiming it as their own. For creators happy accepting these possible downsides, there are huge opportunities to make some big money off their content through this new trend. Buyers can include extremely wealthy people who are willing to pay a lot for the content, for example, a collection of nfts by American digital artist Beeple sold for $69 million – so if you’re thinking about selling any of your work, you could strike it rich.

Virtual round table

Virtual Round Table

We recently hosted a University IP Commercialisation virtual round table with a particular focus on university spin-out companies.  Topics discussed included:

  • Strategies for incentivising the spin-out management team;
  • Protecting the university’s interest – shareholder arrangements and university involvement; and
  • Applying revenue share policies to spin-outs

It was fantastic to see so many faces attend the event, albeit virtually – although hopefully in person soon, and we would like to give a special thank you to Richard Underwood, Managing Partner of niche corporate and commercial firm, Legal Clarity, who shared his expertise on the subject area.

We would also like to show our appreciation towards the attendees and their first-hand experiences and thoughts on the topics – as always we are fascinated by the variety of viewpoints expressed throughout the event and look forward to exploring other areas in future.  The Burley Law team also offered perspectives from both IP and HR angles on the topics.

University IP Commercialisation will always be an important driver in the world of innovation as research unearths new theories and inventions, and we will delve deeper into key issues in future events.

If this is an area of law which interests you be sure to attend our next virtual round table which will be in February 2022 please follow us or get in touch

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