Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Tolkien estate has smote JRR Token — but the NFTs persist

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It appears our prediction {that a} Lord of the Rings-themed “JRR Token” cryptocurrency was destined for the fires of Mount Doom was correct — the World Intellectual Property Organization (or WIPO) has declared that it violated a trademark belonging to the estate of creator J.R.R. Tolkien, and ordered that one in all the mission’s net domains be transferred to that estate (by way of the Financial Times).

If you’re unfamiliar with JRR Token (not Tolkien), right here’s the lore — it was a cryptocurrency mission that drew heavy inspiration from The Lord of the Rings. Its tagline was “The One Token That Rules Them All,” its web site featured Tolkien-esque imagery of rolling hills and wizards, and there was even a promotional video that includes an actor from the films making Hobbit puns and claiming that the token was going “to the moon.” It promised a bunch of economic options known as “Tokenomics,” the precise particulars of which had been left annoyingly unclear by its (Lord of the Rings-themed) white paper and web site.

As many, many individuals predicted, all this didn’t sit properly with the famously litigious Tolkien Estate — it filed a criticism with WIPO on August seventh, the day after the tokens went on sale. The estate claimed that the mission’s website, jrrtoken.com, violated its logos, and offered paragraphs of detailed explanations about how the web site was infringing on The Lord of the Rings. Honestly, although, you possibly can most likely get the gist by simply taking a look at an online archive or screenshot of it.

If you look intently, you possibly can see refined references to Lord of the Rings.
Via: The Wayback Machine

(Note: the mission additionally had one other website, thetokenofpower.com — based mostly on Wayback Machine archives, the two websites seem to have had the identical content material, but solely the former is talked about in WIPO’s writeup. Neither website comprises details about the token anymore.)

In its protection, legal professionals for the token tried to argue that individuals wouldn’t confuse JRR Token with JRR Tolkien as a result of the “L” and “I” in Tolkien are “conspicuously absent” in Token, and the two phrases are pronounced in a different way. The response additionally reads, partly:

J R R TOLKIEN is just not confusingly just like JRR TOKEN. The former is a surname used as a trademark and the latter is an English phrase which means a type of digital forex.

Strangely, the WIPO panel (to not be confused with the Council of Elrond), wasn’t satisfied by these arguments, or by the ones saying it was meant to be a parody — it mentioned in its resolution that the area title was registered “in bad faith,” and that it “was selected for the sole purpose of creating a false association with” creator J.R.R. Tolkien. All the Lord of the Rings references and imagery on the token’s web site didn’t assist the mission’s case both, in response to WIPO, nor did the undeniable fact that it was a industrial enterprise.

The panel additionally mentioned that the developer’s alternate rationalization that the “JRR” in “JRR Token” truly stood for “Journey through Risk to Reward” was most likely bogus, provided that the phrase didn’t appear to be used on the website. In its personal phrases:

It is just not clear to the Panel what “Journey through Risk to Reward” truly means, and why the time period “journey” is related to the buy of tokens.

“There is no doubt that the Respondent was aware of Tolkien’s works and created a website to trade off the fame of these works,” reads a part of the WIPO’s resolution.

According to The Guardian, the Tolkien estate is now working to “delete any infringing online content” — and certainly the token’s Twitter account, YouTube channel, and web sites seem like gone. To misquote The Fellowship of the Ring’s opening scene: one after the other, JRR Token’s websites and social media accounts fell to the energy of worldwide copyright regulation.

But, as they are saying, there have been some that resisted.

Like The One Ring in Tolkien’s story, the token has survived after a vogue — in the type of an OpenSea assortment. Of course there are JRR Token NFTs, and for those who thought the most important mission was blatantly biting LotR simply wait till you feast your eyes on these (akin to how Gollum disgustingly feasts on a stay fish in that one scene I nonetheless hate watching).

This could also be the final haven for JRR Token’s on-line presence.

I too love to say that the unhealthy guys of LotR had been pro-centralization, after which make all my NFTs depict the villains of the story.

Interestingly, the NFTs weren’t talked about in the WIPO’s case write-up, although the timeline might supply some perception into that. As beforehand famous, the Tolkien estate filed its criticism in early August, and the NFTs weren’t marketed on JRR Token’s web site till someday between August thirty first and September eleventh, in response to captures by the Wayback Machine.

Looking at the blockchain offers us much more exact timing — OpenSea exhibits that the NFTs had been minted on August thirty first, and had been both listed on the market or transferred to different accounts on September 1st. That is, by the method, is the very same day the WIPO’s report says that JRR Token filed its response to the criticism. I pray that sometime I’m granted the confidence (but not the audacity) of the one that creates NFTs with characters from Lord of the Rings whereas preventing an infringement criticism from the Tolkien estate.

I’m undecided what is going to find yourself taking place to the JRR Token NFTs, although I don’t think about the Tolkien estate shall be completely satisfied if it finds out about them. As for the remainder of the mission — if I’m sincere, that is just about precisely what I anticipated to occur. The Eye of Sauron could also be ever watchful, but the eye of The Tolkien Estate is much more so — and no mere token will be anticipated to withstand the powers of the WIPO.



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