New FAQ section on nubits.com - Marketing & Legal

I’ve noticed a recent increase in projects asking about the legalities of using our Nu logos in their products, most recently with a Canadian art magazine asking over Twitter. I think it is important to publicly clarify our legal stance on the use of our Nu logos - namely, that anybody is free to use them however they wish. The Nu network benefits from free advertising in my opinion.

The other issue that should be publicly defined is our stance on the legalities of NuShare distribution. It is very clear to me that the blockchain voting mechanisms available within Nu, along with the selective distribution methods used by Jordan Lee, make Nu a classic Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO).

So, I’m proposing to create a new FAQ section on the website entitled “Marketing & Legal”. Below are the first two questions and responses. I welcome comments on both of them. I would also welcome additional suggestions of commonly-asked questions we could include under this heading.

Section Title: Marketing & Legal

Are NuBits and NuShares legal?

Each national jurisdiction will have its own rules and regulations regarding the use of digital currencies such as NuBits and NuShares. A decentralized blockchain like the Nu network does not operate within any one country. Users must exercise their own judgment as to whether the use of the Nu network is legally permitted within their country.

In regards to NuShares in particular, care has been taken to ensure that the structure of the Nu network meets the emerging definition of a “Distributed Autonomous Organization” (DAO). While there is no global consensus on the legalities of DAOs, a recent article stated:

Another use case that the authors view as less problematic through the lens of US law is the use of tokens to create distributed [autonomous] organisations (DAOs).

In this instance, tokens are used to denote membership in an organisation, with the user retaining the expectation that he or she may benefit financial[ly] from the ownership.

The report suggests that, in this case, token owners may have some control over fund utilization, “making them effectively managers and/or partners in the success of the entity”, a factor that makes them less likely to be viewed as securities.

”Depending on the nature of the organization and the actual control held by people who have committed capital, ‘shares’ organizations which are structured on the blockchain are likely not to be considered as securities,” the paper suggests.

It is important to note that all initial purchasers of NuShares were selected by lead architect Jordan Lee on the basis of being a potential business partner - someone who was capable of offering skills and abilities that benefited the Nu network. In contrast to public “Initial Coin Offerings” (ICOs) that other projects have attempted - where shares were sold indiscriminately on a public exchange - the initial distribution of NuShares was very selective.

As the article above alludes to, the unique custodial grant, parking rate, and motion voting mechanisms utilized by the Nu blockchain makes all NuShareholders “effectively managers and/or partners in the success of the entity” because “token owners have …control over fund utilization”.

Nu has no legally-recognized management, directors, or employees. It is a global DAO with no national affiliation. The Nu network will operate according to decentralized consensus of all NuShareholders.

Can I use the Nu logos for a product I’m making?

Yes. Our NuBits, NuShares, and Nu logos are free to use for anyone who would like to create products or services. Want to create a t-shirt, coffee mug or phone case? No problem! Be sure to send us a link to your Nu product on discuss.nubits.com. Our only requirement is that no verbal or written representation is made that your product is officially endorsed by NuShareholders or Nu core team developers.

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Do you know how this is handled in other coins? Is some organization the “owner” of the Litecoin logo and I need to ask them if I want to make a coffee mug with the Litecoin logo on it? I always thought that nobody has the rights on these things (except maybe the original author of the image).

I’m not aware of how other coins handle copyright issues, no.

The Nu logos were created with a designer who, as part of the creation process, granted full ownership rights to us upon completion of the logos. A core team member technically owns the copyright to the logos. I believe an FAQ entry stating that anyone is free to use our Nu logos is sufficiently permissive for people who want to use them. Perhaps it’s not needed, but it’s a good way to reassure people who are curious.

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I think there might be problems. What if someone intentionally sells products / service, or makes false statements, advertizement or propaganda, and put a Nu logo, or a look-alike, by the side suggesting it is endorsed by, associated with, or officially supported by Nu? In a sense logos are signatures. If Nu really doesn’t want to own them, there should be at least a disclaimer. Even there is a disclaimer there could still be problems as long as Nu uses them as brand symbols. They are not trademarks but I think many people regard them so.

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I like the idea of anyone being able to utilize the logo for their own use like on a t-shirt, in a blog post, magazine, etc…and this should be actively encouraged by reassuring people that anyone is free to do it, as tomjoad did in the FAQ.

But I agree with mhps, if the logo is used by the wrong people for a negative cause or if it is modified to damage Nu could be a problem and then there is nothing or very little that the Nu community can do to solve the problem or to get the logo removed from the inappropriate service or product.

Maybe for commercial use we need some sort of mandatory notification of the destination of use and/or approval?

This comment misses the point. Nu is a generic concept, not a company or current IP idea. That may sound crazy on the surface, given the nature of Today’s property ownership or copyright structure in the past, but fundamentally we’ve transcended. There are no “wrong” or “right” usages of Nu, it’s as democratic as you can get.

Nu is only as strong as the community that builds around it. Will solid, appropriate services establish themselves around a successful brand? The question is, to me… what will you do to overcome the misappropriation of the brand by doing “good” things with it to make sure that for the average person, “Nu is good”?

We could raise a motion when it is used inappropriately in the eyes of the NuShareholders. We won’t have any means to enforce it though, but at least determine what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ about it within the ShareHolders community. It is like a social contract or non-binding agreement in legal terms.

I like this philosophy but it’s important to draw a line between right and wrong.
Democracy itself is where people of a community take decisions to draw that line.

If Nu especially in its early days is used for something very wrong, and the community is just a spectator, could be very damaging to the development and expansion of the Nu community itself.

A motion where shareholders can have a say to disassociate from a specific use of the brand is an essential tool if we don’t want to protect the brand in other ways.

Right and Wrong are religious words. Whats right for you might be wrong for me and vice versa

Edit: Although the shareholders are probably the best way to determine right and wrong in the context of Nu

This is probably the best approach. It is important to note that we have no legal basis to pursue copyright infringement for harmful products, as the core team member presumably would not risk their anonymity to file a lawsuit.

The intention of writing that FAQ entry is to be permissive, not restrictive, so that people are free to create NuBits products. To be honest, I can’t think of many situations where the logo would be used for harm. We’ve seen with wallets that Trezor and others brand their products with their own name, not as an “Official Bitcoin Wallet”. In theory anything that Bitcoin is vulnerable to, we are as well.

I agree. It’s not only the core team members’ anonymity at stake. If there were an entity authorized by Nu to do legal persuit, this entity may end up act like the Bitcoin Foundation and becomes a source of centralization.

Forget why you’ve had PR battles with you-know-who’s, just a more normal example: Someone contributes a few lines of code to Nu then sells repackaged “enhanced” bots and wallets with Nu logo on them, and calling himself a Nu developer. Due to his lack of understanding of how things work his stuff blows up and costs customers hundreds of thousands and results in a high profile law suit. Nu shareholders hurry to claim this guy is not associated with Nu. But too late. The person blames Nu “vulnerability” (ala Mt Gox did bitcoin) to defend himself. People get the impression that Nu products have potentially big problems, and question why shareholders didn’t act earlier. Shareholders couldn’t keep track of such person, because there are many of them doing all sort of things.

I think Nu should release the logo with the reference implementation together, all are protected by a public license.

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I’ve updated the FAQs with the new Marketing & Legal section. The wording is mostly unchanged from what I wrote above. I also did some other minor adjustments to the FAQs including a link to the first burned NBT transaction in the “supply reduction” FAQ.

If anyone would like to add more questions or propose alternative wordings, please let me know.

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Thank you Nu for being one of the greatest DAOs in existence. It has been an amazing experience to watch how the Nu network is evolving from the day it launched, how decentralized governance is stepping in, how the transition from centralization to decentralization is achieved with the distribution of NuShares, how the members of the Nu network collaborate to clear the obstacles that emerge on the way. We saw another DAO coming into light with the efforts of Teehe. The distant future of decentralization is one day closer each day, and with efforts of whole communities we can arrive at our destination faster than we might think.

I don’t want this post to be purely a praise, but a call to arms, DAOs, DACs, DCOs are getting more and more attention, we are getting more and more guidance in terms of structuring decentralized organizations, some of this guidance is coming from the Swarm (of which I’m an Agent- anyone can sign up). I encourage you to review the information and work that has been done to frame the concept of decentralization. It may come in useful in the future.

https://swarm.fund/

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How does swarm differ from peershares?

Swarm is rather an organization or a community effort than a protocol, but to answer the question, ownership/membership/participation rights are tied to tokens. In the past and currently, to represent the rights Swarm and projects launched through Swarm relied on the Counterparty protocol, but the choice is not limited to XCP. It boils down to the choice made by each individual DCO what technology to use, be it Counterparty, Peershares, Ethereum, or any other protocol that is suitable for the needs of that particular organization. That’s a good point @cryptog, I’m going to share the idea of using Peershares as one of the options for DCOs, it would be great to have a more knowledgeable (than myself :slight_smile: ) Peercoin/Peershares advocate on board of Swarm, so please hop on, become an Agent. Let me know if anyone volunteers, or simply sign in at swarm.fund website. We’re pushing things that have never been done in human history, just like Nu is. Many members of other organizations are joining in, everyone is welcome!

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So Swarn lets you raise funds for projects that are owned by shareholders.
That ownership is managed in a decentralized way on any suitable platform.

That is correct, but Swarm is not only about crowdfunding. Initially Swarm was building a “Kickstarter powered by Bitcoin technology”, but much has changed since that time. Now the area of operation is much broader, mostly focused on decentralization, dec. governance, legal issues.

It’s encouraging to see other projects/organizations/foundations having similar vision of decentralized future, an example is the SuperDCO concept and the Basic Income concept, both of them used to be discussed separately by various organizations. With DCOs it’s possible to push it a step further, coordinate the development and allow contribution of numerous members from various backgrounds. The link below is an example of how the concept could be structured, with numerous DCOs contributing a small % of their earnings to the SuperDCO.

https://swarm.fund/projects/Super_DCO_1429643063

The SuperDCO concept is also presented graphically in the Vevue’s DCO structure.

http://www.govevue.com/dco-structure

More reading can be done here:

https://forum.ethereum.org/discussion/461/basic-income

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