The NFT space is booming, however; amidst the hype, we’ve seen a lot of questions come up regarding what ownership on the blockchain really gets you. We’ve also seen high-profile legal battles emerge which challenge the extent that trademark laws can be applied to the digital metaverse. From Nike vs. StockX to Quentin Tarantino vs. Miramax to Hermes vs MetaBirkin, the outcome of these cases will set a precedent for brands and creators as they bring their work into the Web 3.0 arena.
In the meantime, here are a few things you need to know before you buy an NFT.
1. What types of NFT rights do you need to know about?
There are three main types of rights to be aware of when navigating your NFT purchase or listing:
- Intellectual Property (IP) law relates to the establishment and protection of intellectual creations such as inventions, designs, brands, artwork and music.
- Copyright law assigns a set of exclusive rights to authors: to make and sell copies of their works, to create derivative works, and to perform or display their works publicly.
- Commercial Use is any reproduction or purpose that is marketed, promoted, or sold and incorporates a financial transaction.
2. What rights do you get when you buy a NFT?
Each platform and artist will have different terms, so be sure to check them out ahead of time.
Here’s a couple examples:
Mike Shinoda’s NFT (cofounder of Linkin Park)
His website outlines explicit terms for his NFT collection:
“Only limited personal non-commercial use and resale rights in the NFT are granted and you have no right to license, commercially exploit, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform, or publicly display the NFT or the music or the artwork therein. All copyright and other rights are reserved and not granted.”
Meskullz is a community of 10,000+ 3D voxel figures created by a custom generative algorithm, and mintable as a NFT. To make things easy for visitors and community members, they have a section called “what you will be getting” when you buy their NFT.
In addition, they have a section called “Endless possibilities” that goes beyond what they are providing that essentially says when you own your NFT, you can essentially do what you would like with it.
Not all sites have such clear definitions of what rights you get with your NFT, so check each purchase carefully.
3. Before you list your NFT:
Each marketplace will have its own page on certifying rights. For example, our partner Mintable outlines the following guidelines on rights prior to listing your NFT, and also to inform buyers prior to purchasing and NFT. See Mintable’s page on certifying rights here.
We’ve also made this checklist for you to consider ahead of listing your NFT:
- Is the artwork you want to mint original, unique, and created by you?
- Have you created the artwork underlying the NFT yourself, or in collaboration with other artists?
- If you want to mint collaborative artwork, make sure you get authorization from the other contributing artists.
- Are you the owner of the artwork’s intellectual property rights?
- If your work includes, incorporates or is inspired by other artists’ work, make sure you have the right to use them!
If you can check all of the above, then you’re probably good to go! If you’re not sure, it’s always best to speak with a lawyer.
4. Ready to make your first NFT with WebAR?
Here is blogpost covering how to make NFT and list directly on the Mintable Marketplace with GeeneeAR today.
Disclaimer: this is not legal advice, simply a few insights into the NFT Commercial Rights space