Innovation and Tech at Miami Law: First Law School in U.S. with NFTs Course

Innovation and Tech at Miami Law: First Law School in U.S. with NFTs Course
Students participating in the NFTs course

The University of Miami School of Law is the first law school in the country to offer a course in non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, through its Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law postgraduate program.

NFTs are unique, blockchain-based digital tokens that have been inextricably associated with a piece of content – most often digital. NFTs can be bought, sold, and traded, and when NFTs are minted in limited editions, that rarity can help drive value in the marketplace.

"NFTs are a hotly discussed topic and bring rise to many compelling legal concerns," said Greg Levy, director of EASL. "At a time when very few are even aware of the existence of NFTs, it is a rapidly changing corner of the collectible market. Our EASL program continues to endeavor to lead the country in educating our students on cutting-edge developments and arming them with the practical skillset to have a leg-up and practice in this space.

“There is no one better suited to teach this inaugural class than Steve Krause, who was able to lean on his deep background in the industry with Dapper Labs to deliver an incredibly practical and engaging course," Levy said.

Students in the course negotiated four components of a contract between a game developer and a large IP licensor for the development of an NFT-based game, including the license scope, intellectual property ownership issues, users' rights in their purchased NFTs, and ways to establish the deal value.

"The course not only introduced us to NFTs and the legal issues affecting the industry but challenged students to apply that knowledge to a complex Tier 1 licensing negotiation,” said 3L JD/LL.M. EASL Catherine Perez. “In preparation for the negotiation, our class also received an introduction to negotiation techniques which helped frame our approach to the final negotiation. We learned how to negotiate through complex issues and opposing goals to work across the table to create a revolutionary relationship between an IP licensor and an NFT developer."

"It was particularly exciting to learn about NFTs from Steve Krause,” Perez said. “The revolutionary nature of NFTs and the legal issues arising from these licensing agreements are difficult to convey, but his enthusiasm for the topic and his willingness to teach truly bridge the gap. His reputation in the industry and knowledge of Tier 1 NFT licensing agreements made him the perfect professor to create such a unique and forward-thinking course."

The groundbreaking class on the business and legal aspects of NFTs, held during the fall 2021 semester, was taught by Krause, vice president and head of commercial legal at Dapper Labs, the creators of NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, and CryptoKitties.

"NFTs have captured the imaginations of collectors, investors, developers, and innovators alike, and for good reason: NFTs make the internet ownable,” said Krause. “I had the pleasure of working with a small group of University of Miami law students to explore the unique legal implications and opportunities presented by NFTs. The class was fantastic, and our ‘final exam’ – a mock negotiation between an IP licensor and a game developer – proved how well the students synthesized this challenging material. I can't wait to come back!"

See the video explainer of NFTs by Krause here.

Read more about Miami Law's Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Program
More on technology law at Miami Law