Metaverse, Fashion Law and image rights assignment

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cesion de derechos de imagen

Metaverse, Fashion Law and image rights assignment

The Metaverse is an environment where people interact as avatars in cyberspace, acting as a parallel world to the real world, but without physical and economic restrictions.

In mid-2021 Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, confirmed that the company was working on its own Metaverse, a series of initiatives developed over the last two decades are what gave the boost this technology needed.

How are fashion and Metaverse related?

The fashion industry is becoming more and more entrenched in the metaverse. Today it is totally possible to buy even a “virtual” Gucci bag, being even more expensive in the metaverse than, this brings us closer to a future in which fashion will be even more digital and we will even spend more on virtual clothes than on real ones.

Roblox designer Rook Vanguard, who partnered with Gucci, founded a creative studio called Outstanding Move, which works in collaboration with several brands on various projects ranging from accessory collaboration to full game development.

Influencer Daniella Loftus of @thisoutfitdoesnotexist, defines digital fashion in three distinct ways:

  • The first, is digital fashion designed with the goal of producing physical garments.
  • The second, combined physical and digital form, which is digital fashion that can be worn with augmented or virtual reality.
  • And the third, fully digital, which is digital fashion that is sold directly to an avatar.

In the metaverse we find the last two: physical and digital combined, and digital only.

How can fashion brands protect their rights in the Metaverse?

For any brand that wants to enter the world of the metaverse, it is crucial that they establish clear IP licensing agreements with the providers of each metaverse platform in which they are going to establish themselves, paying special attention to the scope of the license.

Undoubtedly, the metaverse presents new opportunities for companies and designers who want to innovate, and the future is getting closer and closer. Moreover, problems that arise in the real world in terms of industrial property and legal aspects in general can also arise in the digital world. It should be noted that there are precedents that point to the fact that, in addition, Virtual Commerce can have a great impact on the creation, registration and protection of trademarks in the same way as it happens in real life.

One of the fundamental pieces in the fashion world is the right of image, in which the image associated with the trademark symbolizes a lifestyle. 

To make a first approach to image rights we must be clear that we are facing a very personal, inalienable, unrenounceable and imprescriptible right, besides being a fundamental right recognized in the constitution. 

According to the Spanish courts and jurisprudence, the right to one’s own image derives from the dignity of the person and guarantees a private sphere alien to any external inference that is always accompanied by the necessary prior authorization by the holder for its possible use by third parties regardless of the purpose for which it is intended.  

In the fashion industry, one of the most popular ways of bringing products or services closer to consumers is to use photos or videos of models or “influencers” in advertisements or fashion shows, in which their image is used to obtain benefits from the relevant persons. Therefore, it is important to establish mechanisms for the management and exercise of image rights and to control the chain of rights, enforce their application and minimize the legal and reputational risks that may arise from inadequate management of these relationships, including, among others, image rights collection and disclosure rules to ensure compliance with such rules.

It should be recalled that case law has been recognizing that those who pose in a photograph consent to the capture of their image. 

The digital future of Fashion Law

Every year new designers enter the fashion world of virtual reality, creating clothing exclusively for use on the Internet. An important question that arises is how to establish, and then protect, a virtual brand. Both real-life and virtual brands face difficulties in registering and protecting their brands in virtual worlds.

And the fact is that, to talk about the future of fashion, it must be said that digital fashion has gone from being a niche market to a very lucrative business in a very short period of time and this is also due to the change of name from Facebook to Meta, according to data from the consulting firm Bain & Co. in 2020, products to customize avatars in video games were sold for 50 billion euros. The figure is expected to triple by 2022. Considering that these products do not require raw materials, the profit margin is much higher.

Within the sector, Adidas and H&M have opened virtual stores on platforms such as Creek and Roblox. And another of the great advances that characterize this future of fashion is that there are already fashion weeks hosted in the Metaverse in which the best known is the Decentraland, this is a virtual universe that works by plots that are purchased with cryptocurrencies and in which brands will sell their digital products.

Fashion in the Metaverse

The fashion world is evolving quite a bit in the way it advertises and reaches potential consumers. Formerly focused solely on print media such as posters, but today, thanks to digitization, is in a constant evolution focusing on the image as the center and therefore it is essential to control the right of image for which it is necessary to collect all the contractual conditions in advance and expressly before the advertising actions.

Letslaw is a law firm specialized in new technologies law and data protection. We will be happy to answer all your questions about Fashion Law and Metaverse.

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