A cryptocurrency-backed consortium that paid £2.2m – 100 times the estimate – for concept art for an unmade film adaptation of Dune has claimed their animated version is in development despite the copyright issues.
The group, called Spice DAO, caused a wave of excitement on social media when they announced last weekend that they had purchased the art book, created by director Alejandro Jodorowsky in the 1970s, at auction in November and planned to “make the book public”. (to the extent permitted by law)” and, more ambitiously, to “produce an original animated limited series based on the book and sell it to a streaming service.”
Frank Herbert’s novel Dune has been filmed three times: the David Lynch version in 1984, a television mini-series in 2000 and the Denis Villeneuve version released last fall.
However, as many people pointed out in the thousands of replies to Saturday’s paper Posting on Twitter, ownership of a copy of a book, regardless of price, does not confer any intellectual property rights to distribute copies or to adapt it in another medium.
The announcement was downright dismissed as a stunt by social media users who suspect that Spice DAO’s ultimate plan is to sell the book’s individual pages as NFTs – digital images with proprietary rights – all the more that there was speculation on a Spice DAO internet forum that the physical book might be burned as a publicity stunt after the NFTs were sold.
While the book actually has sell at Christie’s in Paris for €2.6 million on November 21, Spice DAO did not provide any actual proof that they are the buyers, nor explain why the price paid was so astronomical when the auction house had made an estimate of €25,000-35,000. He was reported that Spice DAO co-founder, millionaire Soban Saqib, financed the bulk of the purchase costs from his own funds after raising $750,000 (£550,000) from consortium members.
Adrien Legendre, from Christie’s book department in Paris, told the Guardian the book came from an individual’s private collection and bids were taken the same day from the room, by telephone and online – hence came the winning bid, which Legendre was not free to discuss. As for the surprising price achieved by the book, Legendre said the estimate was based on “the results of previous sales, reflecting the appetite and the market for the object and the context”.
In one Average position On Thursday, Spice DAO appeared to admit they had no rights to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel – and were instead going ahead with creating an original animated series.
The message reads: “After two months of outreach, conversations with former business partners and consultations with legal counsel, we have been unable to reach an agreement with any of the rights holders involved in the creation of the content of Jodorowsky’s Dune Collected Storyboards Book.
“Our research over the past two months has only increased our respect for their project and we have been so inspired by the book and learning more about its creation that we saw how we could develop our own intellectual property that we 100% own and control every aspect of the production of an original animated limited series.
Spice DAO claims are in development and have a “flash week of meetings” with writers, producers, three LA animation studios, graphic novel publishers and “the entertainment attorney for Drake.” – presumably the Canadian-born rapper.
Kirsty Stewart, General Counsel and Trademark Attorney in the Dundee office of law firm Thorntons, written on the company’s website: “Unfortunately for Spice DOA, the collective who bought Jodorowsky’s Dune bible, Frank Herbert died in 1986, which means that copyright persists in the basic text of Dune until at least 2056. even, the book they bought, because it was produced to sell the idea to the studios at the time, is probably copyrighted until at least 2092, because Jodorowsky, one of the authors of the book, is still alive.
“Thus, to produce or authorize derivative works such as an animated series, Spice DOA would have to obtain licenses from the Herbert estate, as well as potentially Jodorowsky (and any other authors such as Michel Seydoux) if the adaptation was based on the Jodorowsky’s book. Similar to how buying a Batman comic doesn’t give you inherent rights to produce a new Batman movie, buying this director’s bible doesn’t give Spice DOA any inherent rights to produce new material. .
Franco-Chilean director Jodorowsky acquired the film rights to Dune in 1974, and envisioned an epic longer than 15 hours. Jodorowsky hired a trio of comic and science fiction artists – Jean Giraud, dit Moebius; Chris Foss, a British illustrator famous for his science fiction novel covers; and Swiss artist HR Giger, who would later become known for his concept work on the Alien films – to design the look of his intended adaptation.
However, they failed to secure financial backing from the studios and the project died, its only legacy being the concept art books that Jodorowsky produced – of which Christie’s says only about ten survive.
The lot sold in November was described by Christie’s as “oblong octavo (210 x 295 mm). 11 color plates, from drawings by Christopher Foss, Jean Giraud-Moebius and HR Giger, a title page, 268 black and white plates, mainly the film’s storyboard, with dialogues in French and English, and some studies of characters, environments and vehicles, a page with the name and address of the printer. All plates are photographic reproductions, printed on one side.
It has been pointed out on social media that many pages of the rare book are already available online.
Spice DAO was contacted via his Twitter account and after initially appearing open to conversation, blocked this writer after being asked, “How do you propose to adapt a book you don’t have the rights and get a streaming service to take it? Or is it more about selling the pages as NFT? »