A group of crypto enthusiasts has made an unusual purchase: a rare copy of Dune, by science fiction writer Frank Herbert, for a staggering €2.66 million ($3.04 million).
It's an odd occurrence when a book expected to fetch €25,000 goes for 100 times that amount, but the stranger part is that the buyers – a collective called SpiceDAO – appear to believe that owning an early copy of the hit sci-fi about space worms gives them the copyright, to do with what they will.
"We won the auction for €2.66M," SpiceDao wrote on Twitter. "Now our mission is to: 1. Make the book public (to the extent permitted by law). 2. Produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service. 3. Support derivative projects from the community."
In fact, they have bought none of these rights. They have bought a book. This is like picking up a copy of Lord of The Rings and believing you can make the official film yourself now.
Writing on their forum before the purchase, one user outlined an idea to create a "first-of-a-kind" purchase of a culturally significant work, then "issue a collection of NFTs that are technically innovative and culturally disruptive".
In the plan, they talk about buying a book, converting it into JPGs, then burning the book, meaning that the "only copies" remaining will be the JPGs.
The poster believed that this would enhance the value of the NFT chain as the only legal copy of the book, and would be an "incredible marketing stunt" and may even present an opportunity to sell a video of them burning the book as an NFT.
In their announcement for having purchased the book (which again is not the copyright) however, their goal appeared to be to allow others to read it by making it public, before releasing an animated series of the novel, which would undoubtedly get them sued into the ground by the actual copyright holders, currently The Herbert Limited Partnership, should they so choose.
"We are in the development stage of our original animated limited series at a time when streaming wars are seeing media groups compete to spend $100+ billion on new content," they wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Who wants to tell them?