Can the burgeoning crypto and blockchain environment help revitalize copyright laws and related property rights?

The Constitution of the United States grants “Authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” for a limited time.[i] The importance of this clause cannot be overemphasized as it says much about the Constitution’s drafters who included this right in the body of the Constitution itself. It was not a latent thought requiring an amendment — rather a patent assertion that rights related to authors and inventors were founding principles for a new nation.

Technology, then as now, is vigilant in its attack on those rights and serves to test the strength of the nation’s resolve in protecting the rights of authors and inventors.

Although the United States strives to balance the public’s interest in authors and inventors works, the protective term is frequently lengthened. For example, in 1790, the term for copyright and patents was 14 years from issuance. For copyrights, the term could be renewed for another 14 years. Upon the expiration of either, the patent or copyright entered into the public domain, where anyone could use the work without paying a…


I never know what I’m going to take away from a conversation.

Every few weeks, my co-host, Scrilla, and I talk to interesting people who populate the crypto-art and music world for our podcast, (@AOTB_PODCAST). Each is influential.

This past week we had the opportunity to talk with Rob Meyers, a well-known artist, thinker and technologist. I had been reading a book “,” edited by (Editor), (Editor), (Editor), (Editor) in which he has a chapter, “Bad Shibe. During the interview I remarked upon the book’s…


Did the headline grab your attention? Wondering when the ICO will be issued? You’ll have to wait — because that is not the point of this article.

Fresh off the heady events that were the and the , I want to congratulate the astounding achievements in the form of support for and the fundraising and sales heights reached by and — all of which illuminate a bright path for crypto art and music.

Despite these fireworks, I was struck by the potentially unrealizable hope pinned on blockchain and…


Emergency Asset Freeze Order granted due to complaint filed by SEC alleging PlexCorps investor fund misappropriation. . Case: 1:17-cv-07007-DLI-RML, complaint filed in USDC EDNY, December 1, 2017.

Below is a summary SEC v. PlexCorps, the second of two SEC cases involving Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs that I said I would post. The first was In the Matter of Munchee.

Summary. The SEC filed a complaint on December 1, 2017 against PlexCorps and affiliated individuals for investor fund misappropriation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). …


Below is a summary of one of two SEC cases involving Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs that I will post. The first is In the Matter of Munchee. Based on signaling from the (SEC) and (CFTC), 2018 may shape up to be a regulation-driven year for cryptocurrencies, tokens and other digital assets. There is likely to be increased scrutiny of ICOs and other fundraising schemes which allege large returns and make false or misleading statements to the public. In addition, it has to be remarked upon that many cryptocurrency, token and blockchain-based…


“Art loves Chance, Chance loves Art”

Agathon

This article is about how content access cryptocurrency-based tokens may help diversify an artist’s branding portfolio and also raises some legal issues to consider before an artist takes the leap.

What is a token?

For purposes of this discussion, I am not going to address how people are raising money selling tokens as a crowdfunding venture (like an or ICO). Rather, I am going to address how artists can use tokens to sell and market existing art and music. …


In a I wrote about and a prenuptial created in blockchain, I attempted to draw attention to how could be analyzed under U.S. contract law.

The prenuptial smart contract I used as a test was somewhat whimsical and didn’t address more practical issues which could face, for example, a small business seeking to minimize financial transaction costs using this platform.

Therefore, I would like to take the legal analysis a step further and apply it to a hypothetical small retail business with modest income and significant transaction fees paid to banks, merchant services…


In May 2016, a couple who intend to get married in December 2016 created a on in. Ethereum is not a honeymoon resort, but provides a unique way to create, enter into, execute, pay for, secure, and enforce, contracts. The preparation of a prenuptial agreement in this manner heralds an evolution of contracts and contract management. What follows is my take on the legal intersection of autonomous contracting software and human relationships — specifically, a self-executing prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements are nothing new. Neither are virtual contracts. What is new is how this contracting…

Cynthia Gayton

Attorney, educator, speaker, and published author in the intellectual property, engineering and information technology fields.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store