- For those who are unfamiliar with the notion, the simplest though far from a full way to visualise the Metaverse is to imagine oneself as a character in a real-life video game
- Is Nike simply being Nike? Sure, but if we define that as generating net-new revenue sources, as it has done throughout history, then so be it
- In the real world, the Museum of Forgeries is a recent art initiative with considerable financial implications
For those who are unfamiliar with the notion, the simplest though far from a full way to visualise the Metaverse is to imagine oneself as a character in a real-life video game. Nike makes an appearance and gives some extremely awesome metal stuff. Nike has been actively accumulating the tools with which it can conduct business in the Metaverse, according to patent filings dating back to the pre-Metaverse reality in 2018. Sneakers will be among the digital tools, as will avatars and other types of virtual branding. Sure, Nike wants to sell you digital items, but the meta-plan is centred on complete digital worlds.
Is Nike simply being Nike? Sure, but if we define that as generating net-new revenue sources, as it has done throughout history, then so be it. The Metaverse stuff will be owned by someone, and it might as well be Nike. Nike needs to be ready for the idea of duplication-induced annihilation.
Nike has recently become exceedingly litigious with its intellectual property in this temporal universe (IP). Duplication, on the other hand, will surpass our existing notions of what is permissible in the Metaverse. The value of Nike’s meta-wares will undoubtedly be influenced by what the corporation considers pirates but which others refer to as artists.
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In the real world, the Museum of Forgeries is a recent art initiative with considerable financial implications. In a nutshell, the Brooklyn art collective Mschf paid $20,000 for an original Warhol and created 999 perfect replicas. It then mixed in the original and sold all 1,000 may be real Warhols for $250 apiece, totalling $250,000, with $230,000 profit. In the Metaverse, the same thing will happen. Some rare Nike drops will be genuine, while others will be consciously or naively false. As Patel put it, that in the metaverse (MV), legal principles such as real property rights, breach of wet contracts, and copyright infringement of human-derived material will regulate interactions.
So, when Nike wants to engage in the MV, whether it’s with virtual stores, avatar attire, or creating new items solely for the MV, its attorneys must show a link between the MV legal breach or claim and meatspace, he stated. The fact that few judges have heard or used the word meatspace is an issue in and of itself. In contrast to cyberspace or a virtual environment like the Metaverse, the phrase relates to our real world. Metaverse claims will need to be dumbed down for courts, at least at first, by writing them in such ordinary ways and using such standard language, so that judges don’t get confused.
Patel sees this as a huge opportunity. Nike has the financial resources to educate judges through trial because they can afford to pay their lawyers to drag out litigation, he said. However, other smaller petitioners would have a difficult time convincing a judge that they own virtual property that exists on a virtual land registry maintained by a decentralised blockchain.
Patel told me that if he bought virtual land in the Metaverse, the court would most likely regard the transaction as a sale of products rather than a transfer of the real estate. Because legislative requirements do not recognise or consider virtual real estate, this virtual land cannot be documented in a virtual land registry, which is not administered by a municipality or sovereign.
For example, if Nike sells a pair of virtual sneakers but fails to deliver the footwear to the customer, this is a breach of contract in the sale of sneakers. However, the agreed-upon exchange of value must be expressed and may be documented in meatspace, Patel stated. In fact, this will provide a problem for courts in cases when there is no evidence of a contract being established in the Metaverse, such as a verbal agreement between two avatars. So, how can a court rule in favour of one party in this case? It’s precisely the same as a meatspace verbal contract. There may be evidence to support a plaintiff’s claims if an avatar can establish reliance on the verbal contract in the Metaverse, just as they may be able to accomplish in meatspace.