3 Count: Blockchain Battles

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1: Hermès Wins MetaBirkins Lawsuit; Jurors Not Convinced NFTs Are Art

First off today, Zachary Small at the New York Times reports that the fashion brand Hermes has emerged victorious in a battle against artist Mason Rothschild over the NFT project MetaBirkins, which featured modified versions of Hermes’ famous Birkin handbags.

Hermes sued Rothschild over the line, which it claimed violated their trademarks in their brand. Rothschild defended his work, saying that it was art and that his appropriation was protected. However, the jury ruled that the NFTs were not art and, instead, were more similar to commodities, which have strict trademark rules.

In addition to awarding Hermes some $133,000 in damages, the jury also found that NFTs are not protected speech and do not qualify for protection under the First Amendment. In a statement, a lawyer representing Rothschild said it was a, “great day for big brands,” and a, “terrible day for artists and the First Amendment.”

2: Craig Wright Loses Bitcoin Copyright Claim in UK Court

Next up today, Jack Schickler at CoinDesk reports that self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator Craig Wright has suffered a significant defeat in a UK courtroom as a judge has ruled that the file format for Bitcoin cannot be protected by copyright because Wright can’t show how it was first recorded.

Wright has long claimed to be the person behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakomoto, who created the original Bitcoin format and whitepaper. Though he has not provided solid proof to support that claim, he has engaged in a legal campaign against Bitcoin Cash, a currency that was forked from Bitcoin, as well as others involved in the industry.

Among his claims was that forks of Bitcoin violated his copyright because they used the same file format. However, the judge has ruled that the file format alone cannot be protected by copyright, dismissing those claims. However, claims regarding the original white paper and Wright’s authorship of it will be addressed in later rulings.

3: U.S. Copyright Office tells Judge that AI Artwork isn’t Protectable

Finally today, Matt Growcoot at PetaPixel reports that the United States Copyright Office (USCO) has hit back at a lawsuit against them, telling the court that works created by an artificial intelligence (AI) are not protectable under copyright.

The lawsuit was filed by artist Stephen Thaler, who tried to register a work on the behalf of his Creative Machine system, known as DAUBUS. That registration was rejected by the USCO on the grounds that only works of human authorship can qualify for protection under the law.

Thaler is hoping that the court will force the USCO to overturn that decision. The USCO, in its filing, is asking the judge to deny Thaler’s motion for summary judgment and to dismiss the case.

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