Cryptocurrency companies that love magic cards don’t understand copyright law

Magic: Gathering

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

A group Magic: Gathering fans, assembled as “mtgDAO”, announced plans to create what is essentially their own platform/version of the game Wizards of the Coast’s, using digital versions of reality Magic tokens and mint them as NFTs.

They don’t create something in the same genre or based on Magic. They just want to represent Magic from design to text to illustrations and transfer them to the blockchain. In a hilarious attempt to try and dodge the Wizards of the Coast lawyers, they added a note that players will only be able to use cards they already own on different formats of the game. play:

Players will need the actual card to legally play the game, whether it’s a paper card, an Arena card, or a MTGO card. NFT is not intended to establish ownership of a card, it will only be used to allow that card to be played in the mtgDAO format. We do not build gaming software or print copies of official cards. Games will still be played using Arena, MTGO or tablet with real cards. NFTs can be thought of as tickets to tournaments or a way of expressing temporary ownership in a cube draft, not copyrighted card ownership.

It doesn’t work.

Your enthusiasm for MAGIC: THE GATHERING is evident and much appreciated. The Wizards team is also impressed by the work you’ve put into developing a new format for playing MAGIC: THE GATHERING. Unfortunately, your intended use of Wizards’ intellectual property, including its trademarks and copyrights, would be illegal.

It sounds like you are operating under the false assumption that the project is legit since you are only allowing the copying of MAGIC tokens as NFTs by a player who has purchased physical cards, Arena cards or MTGO tokens. This LAF is not correct. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, such as the MAGIC tag, in any format. Although there is an exception in the copyright rule for making backup copies or “archiving” in some cases, “this privilege only applies to computer programs and not to other types of works.” other.” For example, see the US Copyright Office FAQ on Copyright and Digital Files.

There’s a lot to be angry about when it comes to Web3, from its cult-like nature to the enormous Ponzi Scheme it’s running to the environmental impact. But this idiotic scam in particular reveals perhaps the entire thing’s biggest issue in a practical sense: it’s a solution looking for a problem.

Absolutely nothing about this is of any benefit to anyone whatsoever. Well, almost. Magic players already have loads of ways to own and play the game, both in the real world and digitally, so a scam like this stands to benefit only those looking to profit off these NFTs, and/or those who are so brainwormed by the cult of the blockchain that they’re trying to do this simply because inertia demands it, no matter how stupid it looks (and is!) to everyone else. Case in point: if you want to see insanity unfolding over a series of tweets, check the team’s reaction to the Wizards letter, it didn’t change at all.

If you’re not sure what a group like this (“DAO) is really about and you haven’t seen it, Chapter 12 of Dan Olson’s excellent NFT video should get you up to speed:

Also! While we’re here laughing at these damn storks, remember not to let the Wizards of the Coast get stuck, as they end their correspondence with:

While Wizards is currently evaluating its future plans for NFTs and the MAGIC: THE GATHERING tokens, no decisions have been made at this time. Therefore, the use of NFTs in connection with Wizards’ intellectual property is strictly prohibited.

I don’t care if this is intended boilerplate legalese, any the company is still “evaluating” their plans in this space which, for all we know about it for now, could enter the bin. Cryptocurrency companies that love magic cards don’t understand copyright law

Curtis Crabtree

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