Legal Research: Mattereum Contract

The Mattereum organization claims to offer a viable contractual bridge between ‘code’ and ‘law’, particularly in respect of legal ownership of underlying assets attached to NFTs.

Perhaps this is a model for simple ‘handshake agreements’ between members for rights in digital assets shared through Resonate.

I trully wonder, if we muscle up the “contractual” aspect of NFTs, what we end up with. Because to make an actual legal contract of ownership, we’d then need to confirm what it is people actually buy (copyrights? Rights of use? An encrypted file?) when they buy NFT and the reason I’m dubious we can move on that is because I see the very hazy, blurry nature of “what people own with NFT” (namely : nothing) is precisely what makes NFTs interesting to those who view them as the future. They’re great as an open air scam, but if they become just encrypted legal contracts to define ownership of artpieces then they’re just a very techy and needlessly complicated version of… Well any paper contract that we already used for centuries and that didn’t need any fixing.

Also curious what use cases you see for this beyond NFT.

I’m thinking about facilitating ‘simple’ standard licensing agreements like:

  • I will let you play my track in your cafe for X euros.
  • I will let you remix my track and add a vocal for X% of the earnings.
  • I will allow you to stream my track in your game or advertisement for X euros.

Things like that.

It was probably a mistake to use the inflammatory and poorly understood term: NFT.
I don’t mean JPEGs. I don’t mean blockchain, crypto or speculation markets.

I mean establishing routine terms of agreement for artists to offer access to various kinds of rights in their work. To be valid licenses they need to have legal effect.

I’m interested in simple models of practice the community might find useful. Haven’t looked deeply into the Mattereum model but I understand that to be their purpose (though mainly around material goods.)

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Sorry if my remark felt snarky, my question regarding use cases beyond NFT was genuine!

I’m interest in this idea of “light-yet-legally-binding-contracts” but I’m yet unclear what it could possibly mean from a user experience point of view.

Say, typical use case, that I’d like to give usage rights for one of songs to someone for an audiovisual creation, how would a digital handshake pragmatically work?

Because in the legal current world, you need to make sure your contracts are sound, cover all the needs of both the maker and the music provider, don’t rip off anyone.

So my assumption there is anyone working on a simplified contract format is providing “templates” that do this work, and if they are how are they presented? Would there be like a form page where you can generate a contract out of a list of dropdown menus proposing various answers to various needs?

Or maybe I get this all wrong and you still need to do the contracts the old way with lawyers, professionals etc. In which case, is the technology just a replacement for… Signing the deal in the end on a piece of paper (which in my experience has never been the hard part people struggle with when putting a deal together).

So yeah I’m trying to figure out which part of signing a contract our process is aiming to simplify because I do think it should be easier to do so but I also understand why, in a world where artistic works are always exploited through law loopholes, they’re a complicated thing that people don’t want to mess up to begin with.

@LLK >

here’s a good real-world example of smart contracts in action:

use case: avatar clothing designer wants to make a limited run of 50 digital hats and sell the rights to have avatars wear these hats on the decentraland platform. This is meaningless outside of the decentraland universe (since it’s so easy to just make a copy), but within the decentraland, only 50 such hats will be available.

Some players will purchase these limited run hats at a premium as some people wouldn’t be caught dead entering a room with the same outfit on as someone else.

There are other interesting smart contract examples, like in digital pet / monster / horse breeding games in which you can buy and race digital horses, being able to say you own (edit: actually own) your particular horse’s genetics is valuable within the context of the game.

source: (back when ETH was cheap I bought several CryptoKitties because they were adorable)

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I was aware of the cryptokitties use case but since that’s pretty much NFTs (I mean what are crypto kitties if not non fungible tokens !) and actually if I remember things correctly the ERC-721 contract was actually created specifically FOR crypto kitties (which by itself is a problem because it then went on to be used for most NFTs which do not share the same set of caracteristics as cryptokitties… obivously).

Does this mean then that “smart contracts” can only have use cases within a constrained ecosystem and not “overall” in the real world beyond the frontier of the walled garden they’re made for?

sure, but you can say the same thing about money in general? If smart contract says you can sell your cryptokitty for ETH and then convert that into whatever currency is available on the exchanges, then use those funds to pay bills then it’s real enough?

If you’re interested in the “but will we still need human lawyers” concept there’s the tangentially related real-world example of the proof of humanity people using the arbitration protocol to resolve disputes in their network (they discussed this at a semi-recent rxc online community meeting so it’s like real-real example not a polished use case)

Technically we don’t need lawyers to make contracts, they’re just more likely to make better / more realistic ones that won’t get you in trouble with your local government.

tbh the real-world use case for NTFs is money laundering and gambling.

Yes but that’s exactly why the NFT smartcontract in this particularly instance is a purely “virtual” concept, it’s just there for make-pretend purposes to exchange cryptocurrencies (which are then converted back into the real world). There’s nothing quite as clearly defining as “fake” as a scam contract that only exist to launder money.

Here I disagree philosophically (but I see what you’re saying) - the only reason it works is because fiat is imaginary-real money too. It’s real, and money laundering is a real use case, it’s just illegal / grey market.

I guess the best example is to explain my intuitions on this is - if ones country is having some hyperinflation is makes a lot more sense to put your savings into BTC than into whatever your local currency is. BTC is digitally native and a lot harder for the government block access to like they can do with USD or Euros.

To put up a strawman, if the solution is to “go back to the gold standard” or something else that you can hold in your hand and peg value too, that’s also comes with a bunch of magical thinking. Unless you’re going to wear your gold and pay security guards to guard your gold, it all boils down to trust that the warehouse/bank that contains the gold bars isn’t double-counting the gold bars.

I guess this is ultimately a question of power? If an army shows up at my door being paid in fairy dust I’m 100% going to believe in the value of fairy dust even though I don’t think I could believe that fairy dust is real like a table is real.

Just a quick word because this is veering into a discussion about money/cryptocurrencies and I didn’t want to go into this low level aspect of the question. Actually I didn’t want to go into this topic at all.

I’m aware money is a construct, and I have opinions about hyper inflation and state laws. I’m aware cryptocurrencies being money that doesn’t have to answer to law is a very good use case for laundering money or other use cases where laws are a problem, just the same way selling stuff like drugs without having to answer to law (and pay taxes, and meet some risk approval demands, and meet some work ethics demands etc.) is also very useful to become more powerful and make more… money (often fiat in the end, BTC is mainly powerful judged by a growth that’s only ever calculated in fiat).

But really this isn’t the debate here, or at least I hope the debate isn’t Cryptocurrencies for or against or “is money real?”. What I was just more simply referring to is that we won’t have hoards of musicians looking for an illegal way to make money, or some cool new tools to sell illegal non-binding contracts to scam people, and I’m pretty sure anything that won’t fit the legal frame of state laws and put them at risk is just another realm entirely. I called this “other realm” virtual and sorry for that.

That realm is indeed very real, but for most people, it’s just non functional and non desirable.

So with that in mind I was just wondering what kind of legally existing use case that people already do but is very complex for them and they’d need an easier / more accessible way to do, so that it could free them from costs/needing a network/needing a legal team etc.

This is how I view “digital handshakes”, but maybe I view it completely the wrong way?

Edit : I’ll also add that I’ve previously several times proposed ideas that were considered impossible because of copyrights laws and the way Resonate as a business is legally organised, so, I would really love to just say “it’s much greater to just do things and not care about the law, and the states, and the rights”, because it so happens that sometimes I think it’s true, but I can’t.

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:ocean: haha I was feeling the same. But perhaps a tangential topic for a later time can be how to send payouts to those artists in countries in which Stripe doesn’t (practically) do business.



We are a very long way from making an offering but I think it might be very interesting if this was something the Artist members wished to pursue.

Here’s another (NFT-less) example:

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You know that, the simple fact that legal contracts in culture industries are often kept private or locked behind a paywall on websites that try to then squeeze yet more money out of you when you just want a working template is, in my view, a real problem, and I think adressing that issue, in any possible way really, would be something really strong and genuinely helpful for a huge wealth of artists. In France the only people pushing for more open formats and norms of contracts and providing templates are basically the music industry unions and that’s about that. This could be, even if it takes some time, a fantastic undertaking and it would be a strong “feature” to have such a proposition in place right where the music is being discovered shared and listened to, and not on some threatening and unknown third party website people have to find after endless google searches.

Sorry for even starting it with my comment on NFTs etc, thanks for taking time to answer anyway :green_heart:

Completely agree trying to find ways to pay artists in more complicated countries (Iran anyone? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to pay an Iranian collaborator, I have, it’s a nightmare), I actually already voiced concerns a while ago in this forum about the variability of what money means for countries where 1$ is a lot which is already an issue that I see if we strive for fairness worldwide, but yes, finding workarounds for countries that live outside the realm of US-authorized economy could also be something to investigated.

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