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Miramax, Tarantino and a Fight over Bright Shiny Objects (copyrightlately.com)
39 points by detaro 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 64 comments





At some point the author seems to forget what he said before about the NFT not containing the scans themselves. He accepts Miramax’s premise that what Tarantino proposes to sell is an image of the script, but he wouldn’t be selling that at all. He would be uploading the images to the internet for all to see. The only thing sold would be a hash if the image or its url.

Strangely a lot of articles about NFTs get confused about that.

I've also seen self-styled NFT experts get confused about that too. One particularly amusing example involved a "senior NFT stragetists" getting upset at people screenshotting themselves doing the right-click-save-as thing some of those ape NFTs, and being very confused after someone explained to them that they only "owned" the token, and not necessarily the image itself.

At least the NFT fad has been entertaining, I suppose.


It’s no mystery why. It remains unclear why the ownership rights of a digital signature — which do not also convey the ownership rights to the digital object signed — have any value whatsoever. So everyone not NFT-pilled assumes that the explanation is wrong and fills in the gaps: you must mean the NFT owner owns some portion of that image, right?

Think of it like a patron buying a piece of art but donating it to the public (museum, church, public square, whatever). You still get the prestige, but you avoid the hassle with keeping the art stored yourself.

The prestige of buying a piece of Microsoft office clip art and dropping it on the floor of a mens room in the basement of a museum.

We can't all be Rockefeller or Carnagies! I get your point - most NFT does not have great prestige and is probably more a question of speculation. My example was more to explain why formal ownership of a piece of art could be valuable even if it didn't mean ownership of any physical object or even ownership of the copyright. For people paying hundreds of millions for a van Gogh, the purpose is probably not the physical access to the thing (I assume it is just in some safe vault anyway, when not on loan to a museum) and it is not because they expect great returns on selling reproductions either. It is just the prestige of ownership and probably the hope that the piece sell for even more in the future.

What you say is true of historic artworks like a Van Gogh.

Almost no NFTs are in any way like a historic artwork.

An algorithmically generated cartoon character that is one of thousands, simply isn’t valuable. The fact that you have what amounts to a receipt for paying for one, is more a mark of stupidity than prestige.


The image with text in the article seems to imply that each initial buyer will choose whether to upload the backing information “for all to see” or not.

He is selling the statement that someone owns that image.

I'm really curious how NFTs will play out. My first reaction is to think buying them is idiotic, but I'm starting to think they're around here to stay so maybe I'm the clown.

Everything about NFTs is irritating. They're pure positional goods, with no real utility beyond signaling social status. They're subject to intense, irrational financial speculation. They attract insiders, hypesters, and scam artists. Their fans are prone to wildly overstating their capabilities and importance. The pieces of art they point to very often demonstrate almost no technical skill. They're built on technology with objectively terrible performance characteristics.

But I've thought Facebook was stupid since 2004. Experience has taught me that I'm a weirdo and my aesthetic objections are usually anti-correlated with a project's success. I am the George Costanza of social media. If you're reading about Non-Fungible Tokens on Hacker News, I suspect you are too. These things are here to stay.


> Experience has taught me that I'm a weirdo and my aesthetic objections are usually anti-correlated with a project's success. I am the George Costanza of social media.

Oh god this describes me.

I was about 14-15 when MySpace started catching on and I didn't like the idea of it then, but I did at least see people having fun making their own pages and stuff. A bunch of people I knew played around with themes and such. Not for me, actually it irritated me, but hey people were having fun.

Then FaceBook came and it seemed a lot like MySpace but with less user control. Again core functionality doesn't appeal to me at all.

Twitter came along and I thought it was weird to make a service where people could basically write a public SMS, but thought "hey this kind of makes sense for like businesses and governments such to write announcement type messages that get pushed - "Hey we're doing XX see LINK" type stuff. But people insist on using it and worse on having complicated or long discourse on it. The number of twitter threads I've seen which is a person replying to themselves to get around the character count is huge and I don't even have a twitter account. Simply baffling, and yet it is a huge success. I legitimately can't even comprehend why people use it.


Can I say both your comment and the parents are cathardic to me. I just dont see the appeal of social media anymore. Living through transition from people being in the moment to now everyone documenting everything so they can brag about it online is odd to me. Early on it was a great tool to reconnect people. When it started becoming integrated into daily life things got messy.

People can now advertise themselves, and present a highly constrcted image of how they want to be seen. The lack of authenticity apparently not problematic, or is a blind spot as they complain about the fakeness in social media on the same platform.

It's the race to the bottom for your attention. Low quality references and expressions, a recursive meme. A new slang for thoughts that have no depth.

Perhaps I just never understood it, and I am the weirdo. Thats what people tell me.

The silver lining, maybe this social platform, HN, has made me feel like Im not the only one. Perhaps thats what this whole thing is about.


Ha, just as a small example, this post as typed concluded with a single U+1F61D: https://unicode.org/emoji/charts/full-emoji-list.html#1f61d

Hacker News is the kind of place that strips emoji from your posts, because they're kind of frivolous. I love that. Because I am a weirdo.


are there HN comments with emoji from before the filter? or was it applied retroactively?

It's the MMO version of "I Am Rich". Demonstrate your social position, now with themed factions and skins!

Isn't most real world art buying also about social signaling and the scarcity and uniqueness associated with it?

I’m not so sure it’s ‘just’ signalling.

If I was a billionaire, I would definitely own some $100K watches and probably have some million dollar artwork.

Why? Because some expensive watches are really nice, and so are some expensive paintings, and why wouldn’t I buy them if I could easily afford them?


I'd like to think I wouldn't, were I in that lucky position. Genuinely-made art, perhaps I might have some time and cash for, but expensive wrist baubles that exist solely for the purpose of extracting money from rich people to salve their ego? No.

I'd hope I'd consider it for barely a half second then elect instead to give that money to charity instead.

I'm regularly in this mind, walking as I do around London and seeing the sheer array of useless crap that monied people spend money on to advertise the fact they have money. Instead, I wonder at how many people's lives could have been eased if instead of that expensive car, they'd bought a car actually suited to this city.

.

As an aside to this, I spent a week working at the house of a Rothschild a few years back. His admittedly fancy pad was utterly laden with artworks. His car, on the other hand, was a crappy small Japanese thing and he dressed about as scrappily as I do. I had a lot of respect for that chap.


> expensive wrist baubles that exist solely for the purpose of extracting money from rich people to salve their ego?

Why not just say you are an inverse snob?


Why must I when someone as helpful as you can come along and do it for me?

Enjoy your watch or whatever other pointless tat it is that you value.


I guess my point is that you don’t seem to know much about watches, and are basing your view on a caricature of ‘rich people’. To my eye, some watches certainly do look like silly baubles, but that is a question of taste.

For me, personally I look at the life of someone like Roger Smith, and envy his craftsmanship and dedication to mastery. I see a great deal of similarity between him, and say John Carmack - as dedicated masters of their medium.

I would like to own a Roger Smith watch, partly because it’s beautiful, and partly because I would like to live in a world where more people get to develop their skills, and where skills are passed on, and artistry is encouraged.

Of course it’s terrible that more people don’t have the opportunity to do this, but that doesn’t have anything to do with watches.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_W._Smith

Yes, it’s easier for the rich to possess art than the poor, of course. No, that doesn’t mean art is only about the rich.


Well, in that case you sound like an exception to the generality, so good for you (and I mean that genuinely, not the British snarky mode it's usually delivered).

However, most people use such baublage to signify success and wealth, appropriately or not.

I don't think it snobbish (inversely or otherwise) for me to think that this is a sad squandering of resource and a more than slightly horrid aspect of the human character.


> However, most people use such baublage to signify success and wealth, appropriately or not.

Do they? Maybe some do, but how do you know they aren’t just buying nicer stuff because they can afford to and it’s you know, nicer?

> I don't think it snobbish (inversely or otherwise) for me to think that this is a sad squandering of resource and a more than slightly horrid aspect of the human character.

I don’t see how people making fine watches is a ‘squandering of resources’. It’s also not obvious why you are attributing this ‘horrid aspect’ only to a stereotypical rich person.

Surely wearing a football shirt, cutting the labels of your clothes, wearing a chairman Mao suit, or a pair of Nike sneakers are all signalling status in one way or another.

Why are these things ok and watches are not? Why are expensive baubles more worthy of sneering than cheap ones?


For fine art, maybe? For music, writing, theater, film and television, video games: seems like it's mostly about the enjoyment the patron gets from interacting with the art. The social signaling part strikes me as kind of squicky.

Maybe NFTs turn out to be a way to redirect that gross status-seeking impulse, to turn it into incentives to create art and income for artists without copyright, DRM, and associated ugliness. That would be a pretty cool hack! There's a decent chance it works.


This is exactly what's happening. As a part of the NFT community/digital artist, I've never seen artists happier.

What artists? All the NFT art I’ve seen has been either generative cartoons or internet memes.

The ETH scene is sociopathic/absurd/ridiculous. Most non shit art is on Tezos, where indie artists from all over the world are killing it.

https://hicetnunc.art/

And a more organised storefront at https://objkt.com/

https://www.fxhash.xyz/ is doing generative art straight on the blockchain.

I have an account on Twitter as @CryptoAntonioni and I share decent art, avoid the trash.


Interesting - very good to know about the Tezos scene.

As for fxhash, I don’t see that being much more than a ‘because we can’. Nothing on there strikes me as worth money, since there is an infinite supply of art like that and there is no distinguishing character to it. The point of a Non-Fungible token goes away if the art itself is fungible.


At the higher levels, yes. At the low/local level I think it really is mostly about aesthetic appreciation and patronage— visit hipster cafe, see attractive piece on display, contact artist and negotiate price, display piece in your own home.

And in today's world, right click, save as.

I don't think anyone talking seriously about "real world art buying" is referring to the digital representation of .... oh damn, this is a discussion about NFTs, isn't it.

This is a great take.

I'd recommend you read this text, or skim it, to see what happened with NFTs https://meaningness.com/geeks-mops-sociopaths

Basically sociopaths have taken over the space and they are promoting absolute crap.

BUT There is real art and artists in the space if you take your time to look for it.

Look at - https://www.fxhash.xyz/ - you'll see a remarkable thing: real innovation, Generative Art being placed right onto the blockchain. Something that would be very hard to monetize only 2 years ago is now a liquid permissionless marketplace for Generative Artists to experiment. It's like shadertoy has become an art market. You can now spend your days experimenting with shader art and make real money. That's incredible to me.


Right there with you… but these types of observations seem to hold in crypto vs fiat currency, no? I feel that’s the vibe the op is getting at.

Personally, I don't see how the NFTs of today will have any long term value. Maybe a few, simply for the history/novelty.

The blockchain itself has no legal authority. It's just a transaction log. You could buy a link to an image that seller doesn't own. Then what? Now the transaction log assigns ownership to someone with no rights to it. If it ever came to it, the courts would override it. Then what happens to the block chain "asserting" that ownership?

I think it's possible that the NFTs of today will be the progenitor of something that does make sense longer term. But even for that, I'm a bit skeptical.


Yep. NFTs right now are proof of concept. That doesn't make them any less interesting.

They'll be A LOT more interesting when AR/XR become commonplace. I can imagine people having NFT AI companions, NFT XR art that's only distributed to token holders. Digital Fashion will also become a "Real" thing when XR becomes commonplace.


I don't see how AR/VR assets are any different than jpegs, etc.

If enough systems integrate with the blockchains to allow transfer of ownership, maybe it will take hold. I think central authorities with interop would be a better solution.

The problem with both of those solutions is how much incentive systems have for interop. I get that some people see NFTs as a way to break from the tyranny of the tech monoliths. I'm just skeptical that we'll get there. It's kinda like "Linux on the Desktop."


Central authorities have refused to interop even on text messaging, up to the point where text messaging was possible between apps 10 years ago but has been made impossible. We went from Pidgin to 10 messaging apps that don't interop basic text.

The incentives on central authorities is always to abuse their power. That's how we got Facebook.

Blockchain is not a promise of an utopia, but the incentives are radically different. And in some ways, "central authorities with interop" is a description of blockchain where not everyone is running a full node.


But why do you need an NFT for user 53245 has unique item xyz? Isn’t that just…software?

NFTs are actually a good way to enforce data portability. A big NFT website recently was deleted by its webmaster.

Since everything was open source, and the JPEGs/art were hosted on IPFS, the commnity quite simply rebuilt the website frontend and nothing was lost.

You can read more about this here:

https://www.coindesk.com/tech/2021/11/18/what-hic-et-nuncs-r...

This is the strength of having a decentralised open source blockchain - suddenly digital asset ownership can be "established" even if their utility for now is close to nil. But that's allowed a vibrant digital art market to explode.


Probably an ignorant question here, but what's stopping someone from taking someone's jpg, changing a few pixels, and adding it to the blockchain. How do you know which is the original?

At this moment nothing. The more centralised markets - SuperRare, Nifty Gateway - probably do some form of KYC.

That's the risk you take when using fully permissionless markets, but I'd say if you are a collector, you take 5 minutes to check whether the artist exists. I don't buy anything unless the artist is on Twitter/instagram linked to his profile. There are ways to verify identities on both Tezos and Ethereum blockchains which is usually how I look into and make sure the artist is legit.

I myself own an Ethereum Name Service and Tezos domain (.eth and .tez). For a few dollars the owner of one of the main tezos scan websites also creates verified identities using Twitter profiles. Takes a bit of effort but it is worth it.

Having an active twitter account is also a big thing in the NFT space, it helps enforce a minimum level of difficulty to art stealing.


Blockchain records provenance : who owned the token before you, so the nft is not “I own this jpeg”, it’s “I bought this jpeg from the artist with public key X”

Digital data (and media by extent) is _meant_ to be cloned and distributed.

Hence I can't understand NFT's either.


It struck me that NFT's in the context of art are basically autographs. People will pay far more than the standard value of a hardback for a hardback autographed by the author and even more for a first edition of a hardback autographed by the author than a second edition.

It only becomes "special" because the author signed it. NFT's are basically digital autographs on something that's even cheaper (free) to copy than a book.


NFTs don't stop cloning or distribution. They just allow digital deeds/watermarks. They're a good way to support digital art. Other than that I won't speculate.

I think as a concept they might stay and find some use. In terms of art and collectibles though, I predict a huge crash within the next 2 years.

People now pay thousands of dollars for algorithmically generated images. How many of buyers pay for the "access to the community" and how many are speculators that just want to sell them later? Most of these communities that are created around NTFs will become inactive soon and with a nearly infinite supply of new NFT series, the resale values will drop by 90%+. A limited number of communities will remain active, and maybe their NFTs will increase in value (since they offer some exclusivity).

Same with people who now support graphic artists and photographers by paying $5,000 for NFT of some photo. Why people who have never commissioned anything now are paying so much for NFTs, and will they keep supporting artists when they realize that they can't make a profit anymore?

I'm curious what will happen, as I believe we're entering the "Peak of inflated expectations" stage [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gartner_hype_cycle


Lots of questions here.

How many of buyers pay for the "access to the community" and how many are speculators that just want to sell them later? Lots of speculators for sure.

will they keep supporting artists when they realize that they can't make a profit anymore? 90% will leave. Speculation is a part of any market tho, including the art market. Look no further than the Mad Men episode where the agency owner bought a Rothko "because the price will double in 6 months".

"Peak of inflated expectations" Yes. This seems like a good description.

I think as a concept they might stay and find some use. Every concept of how to make NFTs more useful is actively being worked on. So yes they will stay/become more useful.


I thought they were idiotic, then I tried to buy one to see what the fuss was about and decided they were ridiculously idiotic, a ton of transaction fees just to get my avatar next to some Opensea listing. Bragging rights within the terminally online crypto zealot echo chamber, that's all it provides.

Try hit ec nunc on tezos. Fees are lower than a dollar. Art is much less shit.

https://hicetnunc.art/

If you want something more organised, like OpenSea, again OBJKT on Tezos is great. https://objkt.com/


NFTs will be awesome if they get some legal backing. Would be awesome if buying a book, music, movie or game NFT entitled me to legally consume that content in any device or format I wanted. Until that happens there's no point since we don't really own anything.

I think that's the direction it's going. NFTs are a revolution for digital artists tho - as they allow for a global liquid marketplace that enforces automatic royalties. That's the power of smart contracts - suddenly I can make digital art that automatically reverts profit from subsequent sales to me - 10% or so at least.

The NFT itself only enforces any of that on the NFT itself (more or less the sales receipt), not the digital art. What's the incentive to jump through all of the hoops that end up with the artist receiving a percentage of the transaction? Laws? A central commercial organization? The good will of people who like the artist? Then why use a blockchain at all?

Yeah, that's a totally awesome idea. I'm not exactly sure how it interacts with the realities of copyright though. NFTs currently don't give consumer any rights. They're also completely useless for enforcing artificial scarcity: you can always just download the art instead.

ATM I would say NFTs are little else but a way to pay directly to fund digital artists.

I would say they might become useful in an XR world, where XR assets might include companions/digital clothing acessories. Enforcing NFT rights in XR would be more feasible.


I think it is like most things and follows a Gartner hype cycle curve. It will cool off and the real uses will come into play later. There are many valid uses for NFTs, buying silly jpgs isn’t one of them. A good 2022 crypto bear market will separate the wheat from the chaff just like always.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/94/Ga...


There are very interesting things happening in NFTs ie - https://www.fxhash.xyz/ - which encodes Generative Art straight onto the Tezos blockchain.

Digital artists never had a liquid global permissionless marketplace. It's creating some incredible art.

On long term value I have no idea. But as far as supporting digital artists, it's a novel way to do it and really cool. Lives are being changed by NFTs atm.


FWIW I highly doubt you'll be remembered as the clown.

Everyone older than 20 or 30 has no problem understanding the essential nature and value of NFT's, regardless of the technology they happen to be made out of.

https://duckduckgo.com?q=name+a+star


Honest question: Are NFTs, which use blockchain, susceptible to a 51% attack?

I'm not sure. However I made the mistake of worrying about 51% attacks for ages, and they've proven to be a bit of a red herring.

Basically running a 51% attack would fundamentally devalue the entire blockchain due to loss of trust, so I don't think anyone has committed one on a blockchain with good valuation and decent number of nodes.

It's cryptoeconomics/game theory - what use is there to rob a bank if it then leads to hyperinflation? So it hasn't happened, to my knowledge, in any major chain.


Might some large governments be interested in destroying a cryptocurrency?

The “Pulp Fiction” script is almost old enough for Tarantino’s termination rights to come into play. If NFTs had just taken about 6 years longer to be developed this would have been quite a different situation.



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