Welcome to “This week in the metaverse,” where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and the metaverse. Email email@example.com with tips.
In a potential setback for the NFT space, French luxury brand Hermès triumphed in court over the NFT creator Mason Rothschild and his Birkin bag-eque collection MetaBirkins. While Harlow tried to argue that his NFTs—which look similar to Hermès signature handbag except with colorful fur instead of leather—were art protected by the First Amendment, the jury disagreed.
The nine-person jury in New York said the collection more resembled a commodity that was subject to trademark laws. As part of the terms, Hermès was awarded in total damages, according to Bloomberg Law.
Still, Emily Poler, the founder of New York law firm Poler Legal and a specialist in commercial disputes, said Rothschild’s intentions may not have been purely artistic.
When the Judge for the case was denying both parties’ motion for summary judgment he presented statements where Rothschild said “that you can get away with a lot in art by saying something is ‘in the style of,’” Poler said.
“There were some indications that Mason Rothschild came up with the explanation for the MetaBirkins project after the project itself,” Poler said in an email. “If that’s the case, my guess is that it hurt his case. Another project without that origin might well have a different ending.”
Meanwhile Rothschild took to Twitter to criticize the justice system and question what Hermès defines as a real artist.
“What happened today was wrong,” he wrote in a Tweet on Wednesday. “What happened today will continue to happen if we don’t continue to fight. This is far from over.”
In other metaverse news, Meta is planning to open up its Horizon Worlds platform to teens as young as 13 years old, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. The app is currently available to people 18 years or older, but the Meta Quest VR headsets are targeted to kids as young as 13, according to the Journal.
The move to include younger users is part of Meta’s “Horizon 2023 Goals and Strategy,” which also includes upping the low retention rate of 11% for the metaverse platform. These goals and strategies are key to growing the metaverse, which remains one of the company’s biggest priorities, Zuckerberg said on Meta’s fourth quarter earnings call.
Despite outperforming analyst expectations for its most recent earnings, the company’s metaverse division reported a loss of $13.7 billion for all of 2022, up from a $10.2 billion loss for 2021.
In other news:
Doritos is extending its Super Bowl LVII commercial, made in collaboration with rapper Jack Harlow, into the metaverse. Jack Harlow’s Doritos Triangle Studio has been recreated inside metaverse platform Decentraland, complete with triangle-mania wearables, musical triangles, and BBQ Doritos chips for visitors to “snack” on while they interact with other fans. At Doritos Triangle Studios, fans can create and record custom beats using the unique sounds from the commercial, like bag crinkles, chip crunches, and a musical triangle. Participants will be able to submit their beats for the chance to win a Blue-chip NFT, including digital collectibles from CloneX and Meebits valued at over $20,000 total.
Courtesy of Doritos
Starting Feb 13, Paris Hilton will host a dating reality show in the metaverse, Deadline reported. The socialite’s 11:11 Media team launched the new experience, dubbed Parisland, where people can jump into the metaverse platform The Sandbox for a month to choose wedding rings and outfits, rescuing a castaway, and flirting with five potential romantic partners before choosing their match.
Web3 payments company Moonpay teamed up with NFT marketplace LooksRare to make paying for an NFT that much easier. The partnership will allow LooksRare customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as LOOKS, ETH, and wETH through MoonPay. In the future it will also let customers buy NFTs on both the primary and secondary market with a credit card.
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