Over the weekend, Spice DAO was celebrating its grand plan of releasing NFTs based on a rare book detailing film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune. In November, they got their copy from a Christie’s auction for 2.66 million euros (a little over $3 million). The listing valued it at €25,000-€35,000, so the DAO paid 89 times above the estimate.
However, there’s a problem. A big one!
The group mistakenly thought that the purchase included acquiring the copyright to produce NFTs based on the book. As such, crypto Twitter savagely pointed out the costly blunder along with a few other things that Spice DAO missed.
More About Spice DAO’s Dune NFT Blunder
In the tweet, Spice DAO said it would “Make the book public and produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service. Lastly, support derivative projects from the community.”
Unfortunately, in the United States and European Union, copyright typically extends throughout the life of the last surviving co-creator and an additional 70 years after their death. Original copyright owners Jean Giraud and H.R. Giger are deceased. Meanwhile, Jodorowsky is still in good shape at 92 years of age.
So as mandated by the law, Spice DAO must seek co-creator consent. Only then will they have the green light to make an animated series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service. The alternative is to wait 70 years after the death of Jodorowsky. By then, the works would enter the public domain.
Another big blow to the project is that around ten copies of the book are believed to exist. In addition, @TheNinjaWhippet shared a link to a free and publicly accessible copy of the book, which has existed online since 2011. The tweet garnered has over 8000 likes as of press time. Since then, Twitter users and crypto enthusiasts have been throwing shade and ridiculing the DAO for its latest move.
Furthermore, reselling the book at market value is out of the question. Previous copies circulated to producers and executives in the 1970s have sold for around $25,000.
Anyway, if y'all wanna read a free and publicly accessible copy of the book, here's one that's been online since 2011 https://t.co/EQk8gUnDu4
— Alex (Boba Fett Era) | He/Him (@TheNinjaWhippet) January 16, 2022
Doomed Dune Project
In the mid-1970s, Jodorowsky envisioned a 14-hour film produced in collaboration with Herbert, who released the novel in 1965. They famously tapped Salvador Dali to act in the film for $100,000 per hour.
The book gained popularity after the release of the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. It chronicled the ambitious but ill-fated production plans of the French-Chilean director. The bigwigs scrapped his version of the movie because it was too long and expensive. With how things are going, it looks like the Dune NFTs will suffer the same fate as Jodorowsky’s film.
Last year, French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve released a well-received blockbuster adaptation of the novel. Still the same, Jodorowsky’s plans for Dune have a cult following among fans of Herbert’s masterpiece. So let’s see if Spice DAO can rise above the situation and prove the critics wrong.