Are copyrights, ownership, and interoperability possible? – Platforms surrounding blockchain games and NFTs | Ruri Web

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‘Non-Fungible Token (NFT)’ started as an extension of blockchain technology. And the concept of P2E (Play to Earn, some say Play and Earn) can be said to be the biggest topic in the domestic market this year. Some have used the term “future” for this, and on the contrary, it is viewed as a negative thing for players who use the game.

Overall, there are many stories about numbers, such as revenue or sales, rather than the game itself, but on the other hand, some possibilities are also discussed. Blockchain technology. These are ideas about what advantages NFT will bring when applied.

When NFT is applied to a game, two major advantages are mentioned. The first is that ‘the ownership of the item is given to the player’. The second aspect is ‘interoperability of items between multiple games’.

In addition to realistic possibilities, the rights of a work as a game must be clearly considered. This is because the content of a game has the value of a work made of codes, and these codes are clearly owned and given rights due to copyright law.

The so-called P2E (Play to Earn). Discussions organized around NFT leave room for some consideration in this part. Based on the current standard, the main discussion is ‘How far will the item trade go into the scope of the speculation? How, based on domestic laws. The focus is only on what type of service will be provided.

However, like music or movies, there are various rights that game content has. And there is room for different interpretations of these rights in line with the new forms of blockchain and NFT. It is not an interpretation of rights based on the circulation of money or profit / speculation, but rather a few discussions that can be considered in terms of content and copyright.


● First Discussion – Does ownership of an item solely belong to the player?

In this part, first of all, where the ownership of the code consisting of 0’s and 1’s is important. This is because the unit constituting the work of the game is the code, and it is treated as a form of expression. Therefore, the rights relationship surrounding the game item is treated in the same form as the bond held by the user.

That is, even if the freedom to manage and dispose of is given to users. Independent ownership of it is impossible. It is said that it is only an existence that can be used within the right of use acquired according to the terms and conditions, and it is limited to the subject of the right of use. Transactions in the game are only given in virtual space, and are far from actual legal discussion.

In this regard, Professor Jung Hae-sang of Dankook University’s Law Department said, “Real society only pays attention to the contractual relationship between the user and the game company, that is, the user’s domination of game items and the game company’s use and provision, and the causal relationship between the control and transfer of the game items in the virtual society is an illusion. ”(Analysis of jurisprudence of Internet online game behavior -Focused on MMORPG, 2005)It was also arranged as

This is an explanation that, from the current legal point of view, item transfer within the game is ‘having the characteristics of transferring the right to use the item to another user using the game function called the transaction window’. There is a view that it would be unreasonable to judge based on the current legal principles if the contents were composed in a completely decentralized form, but the form currently shown by P2E games seems to be far from this.


Cash transactions based on legal judgments and precedents are a form of ‘use right transaction’

Within the legal judgment of the current item transaction, the form of P2E does not deviate from the existing form. When it is made clear that the copyright and ownership of information and content belong to the game company that developed the content, and if there is a difference, it is changed to NFT. Only ownership of that NFT is given. Not the data itself, but a certificate proving that it is the original data is more like a form of transaction with value.

You can find out more easily by looking at the terms and conditions of the global version of The Legend of Mir 4, which supports even the most recent character transaction. If you look at the terms of service of The Legend of Mir 4 that supports P2E, the terms and conditions for suspension and prohibition of cash transactions. And it consists of terms and conditions for blockchain content. In Korea, where P2E service is not available, there are no blockchain-related terms and conditions, and the rest of the configuration is the same.

It is worth noting that the license and intellectual property part terms and conditions. Here, the rights and limits that users can have are stipulated. According to the terms and conditions, users do not have ownership of all services and all content created, purchased, or acquired using the services, and limitations are specified with limited licenses such as exclusive/non-transferable terms.

However, ‘Users may have limited ownership of some items of content created/purchased/acquired by the user, It can be changed or canceled at any time, and the user agrees not to raise any objectionThere is a rule stating that it must be done.


It states that limited ownership

In addition, it is emphasized that virtual currency and items acquired in the game are not given exclusive ownership to the user, only the right to use. Therefore, it is also possible to forcibly retrieve items due to violations of the workplace standards and terms and conditions.

This leads to the question of how far the concept of DApp (Decentralized Application) is applied within the game. If it is a completely decentralized content, an interpretation of ownership can be left, but so far, no game title in which the content itself is decentralized has emerged. It is still the company that owns the exclusive right, and the game item is defined in the form of a right of use.

Therefore, the distribution and recording of information due to decentralization is not an ‘item’ that is an in-game content and work, but only a digital asset exchanged with a utility coin at an external exchange. This part is also explained in the terms and conditions. What is stipulated in the blockchain-related provisions is a ‘blockchain-based digital asset’, and only rights are granted to it. The following are the things that users need to know or agree to in the blockchain-related provisions.

1) The company may designate some items of the provided services as NFT/FT contents, and has the right to change, add, or cancel the designated items at any time at the company’s discretion.

2) The user agrees that the company does not guarantee the perpetuity or continuation of the value of items designated as NFT/FT items.

3) NFT/FT items owned by users are contents that are included in or linked to the company’s services, and users can affect the value of NFT/FT contents through updates, service changes, and terminations depending on the company’s operating direction. agree to

4) All issues related to the use of NFT/FT content are the result of personal execution with the user’s consent, so the company is not responsible for it.

5) Since blockchain assets are highly volatile in nature, there is no liability or responsibility for damages caused by changes in the value of owned NFT/FT content items.

6) The management of NFT/FT content items is entirely the responsibility of the user, and the company is not responsible for problems caused by poor management.

7) Blockchain-related regulations and regulations are incomplete and uncertain, and new regulations and policies may affect the blockchain-based content included in the services provided by the company.


Blockchain-based digital assets = NFT / FT. that it is not an internal content (item)

That is, as a result, it is impossible to own an item in the game. A user’s unique ownership is limited to a utility coin or NFT / FT when a work called an item is converted. Therefore, it is designed to have ownership only on the block chain through internal and external transformation process.

Let’s take a look at the process until black iron is converted into a spot asset. First of all, about 100,000 black iron goes through the process of converting it into ‘Draco’, a utility token. Draco is converted through the in-game smelter, and for this, a Wemix ID connection, which is a wallet, is required. Only then is the structure in which digital assets are paid out to the user.

The converted Draco is linked to the Wemix Wallet, and it goes through a sell-settlement process within the Wemix Wallet to be converted into Wemix Credit. And you have to go through the process of converting it back to WeMade’s virtual currency ‘Wemix’. After that, Wemix is ​​a form of exchange through an external exchange. As mentioned earlier, this process takes place within the blockchain system and within the Wemix ecosystem, and as a result, it becomes a core element composed of a single center called Wemix.


In-game issuance – Wemix credit – Wemix – Transaction structure on external exchanges

Axi Infinite in the Philippines also has a clear distinction between ownership and ownership of digital assets in terms of copyright. The exclusive ownership of intellectual property rights such as all source code and DB, design and graphic content is given to the developer, and the user has the ownership of ‘AXI’, which is composed of ERC-721 (Ethereum-based NFT standard).

In the end, a tool called NFT is like having a more clear form of copyright and the usage right derived from it in relation to game items. The histories of people who owned the right to use are left, and information can be distributed to verify whether the data is the original. However, the copyright is still clearly owned by the original copyright holders. Even if you buy an out-of-print LP, it is as if it is impossible to demonstrate, modify, and distribute the music data contained in it.


Axi Infinite, which eventually withered, but shocked the global game market in many ways

There are no copyright / ownership disputes related to game item NFTs, but actual disputes are ongoing in NFTs related to other content. In June, there was a case where a company that had attempted to conduct an online auction by publishing a painting by Lee Jung-seop through NFT temporarily stopped the auction after a copyright controversy.

Even when director Quentin Tarantino wanted to make NFT unpublished scenes and scenarios from ‘Pulp Fiction’, the production company Miramax banned it. The same goes for MBC’s Muyaho NFT. The scope of use from the time of sale is limited only to citations/reproductions that indicate the author, and it is impossible to use or change for commercial purposes.

Even if it is an NFT concept that proves the original in digital. Even the person who created the content. This is because the copyright and ownership of each person are separated from each other. As the BCC describes the NFT as a ‘receipt for the transaction of copyrighted works’, it is also far from the transaction of copyrighted works. Jeon Jae-rim, senior researcher at the Korea Copyright Commission, said in an issue report, “It is ambiguous whether it can be seen as a valid copyright transfer or license agreement because NFT transactions only provide metadata.”


Quentin Tarantino’s Attempts Lead to Copyright Disputes

It will become clearer only when a precedent is issued, but the focus of the dispute is clear. The fact that, as with current law, copyright and ownership of NFTs are separate things, and need to be discussed. And, in light of the current precedent, there is room to regard it as a secondary work. The fact that the two are clearly differentiated deserves further discussion.

Although copyright is not a big problem in transactions using blockchain in games, etc. Nevertheless, it can be seen that it is not a clear form of transfer. Therefore, numerical adjustments and changes due to internal balance adjustments. Accordingly, there is a high possibility that the decrease in performance remains the right of the copyright holder.

Moreover, to the extent that only the NFT that issued the data is given ownership of the user. And since games currently running services separate related rights regulations, it is almost misleading to say that it is impossible to modify or change the contents of related games. Or it seems too close to a positive view.


As of today, blockchain-based connections are only tokens and transactions, not content.

● Second discussion – Is interoperability between multiple games really possible?

‘Interoperability’ mentioned in the positive aspect means the following form. This leads to the result that the items used in game A can also be used in game B through the block chain basis.

This is based on the premise that the data and contents in the game are developed based on blockchain technology, and at the same time, information is distributed and recorded and stored in one blockchain platform. As the technological environment is decentralized and decentralized, the rights of game items are distributed from content providers. As a result, it provides room for independent existence.

The ideologically mentioned form is probably closer to that shown by Roblox. Although the definition differs from person to person, there are aspects that are possible because it is Roblox, which can be seen as a kind of game production tool or platform.

The Roblox ecosystem is a small game created by each creator. And it consists of items that can be used in these games. Profits are generated by cosmetic items used to decorate the avatar / micropayments sold within each game.


Game creation tools. And Roblox as a platform

Naturally, some of these functions are interconnected. Games in Roblox use the same tools for production. Assets used internally are also the same. It is even possible to import games made by other people into a single template and edit them if the creators allow it. In this respect, interoperability has meaning.

There are other examples. The title is Mythicats. The title will be played in the form of CCG by the owners who have CryptoKitties, bringing CryptoKitties to other games. Here, CryptoKitties are converted into NFTs to be used for game play, and depending on the owner’s intentions, NFTs can be released and returned to CryptoKitties.

If you look at the concept itself, there are stories and examples that seem to have a lot of potential to be used. In reality, several difficult conditions are attached. The point is that different companies must have some support in the programming area. Or, the exclusive rights of all content should be put in place and all content should be built on the basis of blockchain.

In other words, it is the premise that the code form of the game that varies depending on the engine that develops the game / internal code style that is taken differently by each company / unique objects or items developed by each company can be managed so that they are interconnected. Or, it becomes a concept that is possible only when there is a premise that rights are freely opened. Of course, the genre of the game. Engine or development related processes are unified into one. It is impossible if there is no entity that can synthesize and share development.


In the end, it means sharing the same production method or process.

Therefore, the actual form of interconnectivity is not decentralized, distributed, and recorded, but rather close to platform dependence. inside the platform. Alternatively, the ecosystem is structured around one subject where NFTs are traded and transformation takes place. Transactions within the ecosystem are built on the technology of blockchain, but in reality, a management entity is needed.

Therefore, interoperability can be said to be the story of imagining the future based on the current standards. Because we will not let go of the rights that developers have in terms of copyright. And in reality, building all the contents and elements that make up the game based on blockchain is a waste of resources.

Even if interoperability is possible, it is also worth remembering that it is a concept that can only be achieved if other titles support it. It is technically possible to convert the NFT of the item issued by game A to game B and use it again, but it is only possible if the one who accepts it allows it to the end.

Even if you simply think about it, the introduction will only take place if all conditions such as genre / system / numerical composition of individual abilities are met. In addition, if you consider the user’s growth curve and design in the first place, it seems more difficult to be allowed to enter with a lot of data that cannot be controlled from the outside.


If you’ve published Frostmourne, how can you use it in an action game? just skins? Or even abilities?

In addition, when talking only about possibility, it is a part that is not often mentioned. As in the first discussion above, it can also be viewed from the perspective of copyright. When it is necessary to adjust numerical values ​​or correct data, the question is where is the right to make corrections.

Leaving aside the technical and practical issues, imagine that interoperability with other games is possible. What if the sword from game A has 10-25 damage, but the best weapon in game B has a 15 damage limit? Naturally, the balance is disrupted.

Therefore, either modify the value of the sword in game A. You will need to adjust. In such a situation, will A, the copyright holder, adjust the figures according to game B? Otherwise, the question arises whether game B can adjust the value of item A. Is it possible to make adjustments in terms of services for other companies? Or, it is necessary to think about whether it is possible to modify and operate the works of other companies.

Of course, it is not an easy task considering the rights of modification and distribution of a work called a game. The development process and scope of copyright and the right to use it. It is almost impossible unless the perception and production process of the global game industry as a whole, including the existing development process and the structure of the company, change dramatically.


Therefore, the realization of the idea of ​​interoperability in the current game is centered on the exchange. Or, it has to be done centered on one developer. After depositing the underlying coin on the exchange, they purchase it with their own utility tokens. It is closer to the concept of converting it back and acquiring it as an item in another game. In this structure, the exchange where blockchain-based transactions take place or the developer who issues multiple titles becomes one ecosystem entity. Bundling a larger number of titles on the exchange and coin base is inevitably the goal of survival.

Even if the game service is terminated, the privately owned NFT remains with the user. Even if the value is halved, the privately owned metadata remains in the individual’s wallet account. (The developer does not guarantee the asset value of NFTs, as it fluctuates), which can be converted into tokens and digital assets that can be used for other games on the exchange. The moment you enter, the exchange-based interoperability is a structure in which transactions are continuously made. Even if the exchange takes place at an external exchange, the exchange benefits from the conversion fee in the middle.

In summary, item interoperability between titles from different game companies is closer to an idealistic story. It is possible from a technical point of view of the NFT, but it is close to a prospect that does not consider related rights and possible problems. Leaving the matter of numbers aside, the copyright aspect. In particular, it can be expected that conditions related to granting of the right to modify and commercial use will follow.


In the end, the realistic structure becomes a form in which individual players create or subsume multiple games.

And aside from the introduction of NFTs in games / P2E, more considerations need to be made first before reforming laws and systems. Specifically, it is a matter of how to view and judge the concept of virtual assets.

In Korea, according to the Act on the Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information (Special Act) on March 25, 2021, virtual assets are ‘with economic value and electronic certificates that can be traded or transferred electronically (all rights related thereto) included), but the legal nature of virtual assets is not clearly defined. Since it is not clearly stipulated by law, how will we view it? In addition, a legal interpretation including tax laws is required.

At the beginning of 2021, NFT started with works of art. And it is clear that the concept of P2E is shaking up the domestic market this year anyway. numbers and sales. Or their discussion between regulation and innovation, but the work of a game. Further consideration must be given in terms of the characteristics and rights of the content inside. And above all else, what constitutes the content of a game is essential.


Not the content inside the game, but the NFT outside. And there needs to be more discussion outside of that.

By Jeong Pil-kwon, staff reporter [email protected]