NFTs Are Causing People To Burn Books?

By Joseph Farago | 4 months ago


After pouring millions of dollars into a physical copy of director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune adaptation, a group of crypto collectors decided on wild plans involving the legendary story. Alongside wanting to shoot their own version of Dune, the collective wanted to burn tangible books to increase the worth of Dune NFTs. The online group faced fierce backlash, condemning their misunderstandings of copyright and NFTs.

The individuals who now own Jodorowsky’s story bible, the Spice DAO, plan to create a Dune web series. After coming under fire for mistaking owning the physical book for owning the story rights, Spice DAO now intends to make a series inspired by the themes of Dune. Whether the group understands copyright infringement or NFTs is complicated, but Spice DAO intends to put Jodorowsky’s story bible to good use.

Spice DAO wants to upload each page of Dune as an NFT. This way, the pages would be democratized and not owned exclusively by an individual. Utilizing something called JPEG mining, the group intends to solve the technical challenges that NFTs face.

To understand what’s going on with Spice DAO’s JPEG mining, you need a small introduction to NFTs. NFT (non-fungible token) is an image stored on a blockchain that can be sold and traded. Each NFT is non-interchangeable, meaning individual images have unique prices and values. Instead of NFTs storing image information data, its metadata holds a link to the web image stored somewhere else on the internet.

JPEG mining, just like Bitcoin mining, is the process of creating new data and adding it to a blockchain. The new parts of the images produced would give miners an NFT as a reward. Transforming Dune into an NFT requires many individuals to JPEG mine. The miners responsible for transferring pages to the NFT form will get an identical book page as payment.

On Spice DAO’s forum, the group included an optional activity for its miners and collaborators. The group wrote that burning the physical copy of Dune books would increase the profitability of their NFTs. A massive burning would mean owning the Dune NFTs would be the primary way to get the book. Unfortunately for the community, Dune is already available online. Spice DAO also stated that book burning would be an “incredible marketing stunt” if it became widespread.

Many commenters involved with the project are torn on its precedents, intent, and voting procedures. Forum users quickly pointed out book burning‘s ties to Nazism and how the public would perceive it. Others questioned the legality of uploading and distributing Dune’s pages without owning the copyright. The group’s critics also point out how the JPEG mining payment might not be worth the struggle.

The Spice DAO community has yet to confirm how far into the NFT or remake process they’re at. With members still confused by the legality of these proposals, it’s unclear what the next steps are for this audacious group. If a Spice DAO interpretation of Dune is on its way, a larger company may shut it down for intellectual property violations. NFTs may be the way of the future, but their producers still have to comply with standard copyright laws.