Books

Crypto bros spent $3.04m on a copy of Dune thinking they’d get copyright

An NFT group purchased a rare physical copy of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s adaption of Dune because they thought they would get the film rights.

What was expected to be sold for €25,000 got 100 times that amount from an NFT group because they thought owning a rare edition of Dune would give them the copyright.

You might be re-reading the last couple of sentences thinking ‘Wait, what did they buy?’. You’re not going crazy. Yes, they just bought an old book.

Credit: Alain Jocard:AFP:Getty

It’s like if you thought you could make your own Harry Potter movie because you have a copy of the book or you could release a version of Shake It Off because you downloaded it. Even Taylor Swift couldn’t re-release her own music willy nilly.

A decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) dedicated to buying and developing Jodorowsky’s work, SpiceDAO won an auction for the book last November but, over the weekend they Tweeted about their plans with the film adaptation and the Twitterverse got a good laugh.

“We won the auction for €2.66M,” They 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.”

At first, people were unsure if the group were legally able to develop these projects but then they remembered that they don’t in fact have the rights, they just have a book.

SpiceDAO has been trying to obtain as much of Jodorowsky’s shit because they’re obsessed with the guy. The surrealist director was at one time in line to direct the film adaptation of Dune but, the project went way over budget and was inevitably canned.

The pitch book for the film was recently listed for auction at Christie’s and valued at €30,000 but to avoid being outbid, one of the DAO’s co-founders Soban Saqib, a 25-year-old NFT collector, bought the book for nearly $3 million.

A week after the purchase the DAO asked its members for $6 million. $3.8 mil to buy the book from Saqib and another $2.2 mil to fund an animated film based on the pitch book.

It sounds like a bit of a scam for Saqib to charge $3.8 million but apparently, that was to compensate him for taxes and legal fees.

Although it seems like the DAO are somewhat aware of the fact that they can’t just use the illustration or story from the pitch book, they may be looking to create something heavily influenced by it.

“While we do not own the IP to Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, we are uniquely positioned with the opportunity to create our own addition to the genre as an homage to the giants who came before us,” the DAO said on its website.

The adaptation has been influencing sic-fi writers for decades though and none of them had to spend millions of dollars to get their hands on the pitch book.