Can the “cultural relics” in the collection be sent to NFT and sold?

Cultural relics NFT is a special NFT that uses the collection of cultural relics as material, casts and distributes it. As a material carrier that carries Chinese history, culture and national spirit, this type of NFT is significantly different from other NFTs. How to exert its artistic value and cultural value on the basis of protecting cultural relics is an issue that needs to be carefully considered by my country’s digital collection industry.

However, recently, there have been many NFT digital collection platforms competing to “divide” cultural relics from major museums across the country, and the NFT digital collections of cultural relics have been “indiscriminately distributed” without restraint, and there are even cases where platforms are not authorized by cultural relics management agencies. Under the situation of unauthorized issuance of cultural relic prototype NFT .

In order to regulate the casting and distribution of NFT digital collections of cultural relics and protect the cultural value of cultural relics, since April, the China Cultural Relics Exchange Center has held an enlarged meeting of the Party Committee and a special meeting on the authorization of digital collections. Symposium on collections. In the future, the casting and distribution of cultural relics NFT may usher in new rules and new changes.

Today, Sister Sa’s team will take this opportunity to talk to you about how to correctly cast and distribute cultural relics NFT.

First, legality is the premise

At the moment when concepts such as Metaverse and NFT are hot, using my country’s rich cultural relics to cast NFT and produce “national tide” cultural products that meet the public’s aesthetics has become the wealth code of the current major NFT digital collection platforms. Since a certain treasure Dunhuang NFT skin was fired for a sky-high price, a number of national treasures and cultural relics have been divided up by major platforms. Cultural relics such as Fuhao Owl Zun, Yue Wang Goujian Sword, Siyang Bronze Fang Zun and other cultural relics have been made into NFTs one after another. The market has used huge enthusiasm again and again. Once verified the success and effectiveness of the “cultural relic + NFT” business model. But behind the passion for commercialization, we must notice that cultural relics themselves are fragile and non-renewable cultural resources, carrying the rich cultural history of our country and nation. Using cultural relics to cast NFT is a prerequisite for legality .

When casting cultural relics NFTs, in addition to avoiding the six situations that may lead to the financialization of NFTs, which are prohibited by the “Proposal on Preventing Financial Risks Related to NFTs” issued by the China Internet Finance Association, etc., additional attention should be paid to the issuance of cultural relics NFTs:

Correct use of cultural relics resources shall not maliciously distort, tamper, or vilify cultural relics

Article 7 of my country’s Cultural Relics Protection Law stipulates that all organs, organizations and individuals have the obligation to protect cultural relics in accordance with the law. This requires that in the process of casting and distributing cultural relics NFT, the platform must recognize the special cultural value and spiritual connotation contained in cultural relics, and the NFT digital collections produced cannot maliciously distort, tamper, spoof cultural relics, or use cultural relics for improper purposes. , so as not to hurt public sentiment and violate laws and regulations .

For some cultural relics and architectural digital collection platforms with special historical significance and sustenance of special national feelings, we need to be vigilant. According to the second paragraph of Article 2 of the Cultural Relics Protection Law: important historical sites, real objects, representative buildings, etc. Cultural relics are protected by the state.

The use of such cultural relics to issue NFT should not only pay attention to the objective authenticity of the content of the NFT itself, but also conduct a comprehensive and detailed review of the NFT’s copywriting introduction, marketing promotion and other content to avoid the 3.15 incident of a digital collection platform this year.

To photograph the cultural relics in the collection to make NFT, the consent of the cultural relics collection unit should be obtained.

According to Article 35 of the Regulations on the Implementation of the Cultural Relics Protection Law: For the production of publications, audio-visual products, etc., the cultural relics in the collection shall be photographed, the consent of the cultural relics collection unit shall be obtained, and a photographing agreement shall be signed to clarify the cultural relics protection measures and responsibilities. The cultural relics collection unit shall report the shooting situation to the cultural relics administrative department within 10 working days after the completion of the shooting.

After the platform has reached an agreement with management agencies such as museums to make NFTs for cultural relics, there are generally two ways to obtain materials for making NFTs. One is to use pictures, audio and video files, etc. provided by the IP party (that is, cultural relics management agencies) to make NFTs. , which is also the current cooperation method between most platforms and cultural relics management agencies, saving time and effort; while the other is for special purposes (such as the need to produce ultra-high-quality NFT, 3D scanning of cultural relics, etc. ) With the consent of the cultural relics management unit, obtain the materials for making NFT by yourself .

When the platform uses the second method to obtain the cultural relics NFT materials, it should be noted that: (1) the cultural relics must not be damaged; (2) the consent of the cultural relics collection unit should be obtained ; (3) a shooting agreement should be signed to clarify the cultural relics protection measures and responsibilities .

It should be noted that there are currently no relevant legal provisions on the legal nature of NFTs, and there is a certain controversy as to whether it belongs to the “publication” stipulated in Article 35 of the Regulations on the Implementation of the Cultural Relics Protection Law. At present , there is no unified standard for each region as to whether the casting and distribution of NFT requires an “Online Publishing Service License”, and there are currently different opinions . Sister Sa’s team believes that casting and distributing NFT is in line with the characteristics of online publishing and distribution to a certain extent, but due to the high threshold for obtaining this qualification, the specific operation needs to be investigated for a long time.

2. Avoiding infringement is the key

On April 20, 2022, the Management Office of the Yuanmingyuan Site in Haidian District, Beijing issued the “Statement on the Issuance of Virtual Digital Collections” (hereinafter referred to as the “Statement”) at 12:00 noon. In the “Declaration”, the Yuanmingyuan Management Office publicly stated: Up to now, the Yuanmingyuan Management Office has never authorized any third party to develop the business related to the virtual digital collection of the Yuanmingyuan, and the sales, publicity, Promotion of products and other behaviors have nothing to do with Yuanmingyuan.

It is not difficult to see from the “Statement” that the Yuanmingyuan Management Office is helpless to the chaos in the digital collection market. Sister Sa’s team found through online searches that several digital collection platforms are currently selling or planning to sell digital collections related to the Yuanmingyuan, or the restoration of traditional buildings such as the Haiyan Hall in the Yuanmingyuan, or the replicas of the zodiac animal heads in the Yuanmingyuan Museum. and a series of NFT digital collections. So, does this kind of behavior without the authorization of the management agency violate the rights of the cultural relic management agency? If infringed, what rights are violated?

In fact this is a very controversial issue. China’s current laws and regulations on cultural relics are mainly found in the “Cultural Relics Protection Law” and its implementing regulations. The rights of any cultural relics-related intellectual property rights of management institutions such as museums have not been stipulated on the intellectual property rights of cultural relics.

Sister Sa’s team believes that although the law does not stipulate the intellectual property rights of cultural relics, we cannot take it for granted that there is no risk of infringement if cultural relics are made into NFT.

Pay attention to whether the cultural relics in the collection are within the copyright protection period

First, according to whether the cultural relics in the collection are within the copyright protection period, they can be divided into cultural relics protected by copyright and cultural relics whose copyright has expired. At present, the copyright of most of the cultural relics in the collection has expired, but it cannot be ruled out that there are still a small number of works in the collection that are still within the copyright protection period . According to the provisions of Article 21 of China’s “Copyright Law”: the rights of publication and property rights of citizens’ works are protected for theauthor’s life and fifty years after his death , ending on December 31 of the fiftieth year after the author’s death. ; in the case of a collaborative work, by December 31 of the fiftieth year after the death of the last deceased author. For works of legal persons or other organizations, the term of protection of rights is fifty years, ending on December 31 of the fiftieth year after the work was first published. In addition, it should be noted that the protection period of the authorship right, the right to modify and the right to protect the integrity of the work in the personal rights of the copyright is not limited, and permanent protection can be obtained.

For the cultural relics in the collection that are still in the copyright protection period, the copyright status should be carefully examined when casting as an NFT digital collection: Does the museum enjoy the copyright property rights of the work? Can it be re-licensed to a third party? The platform can only be minted and developed under the premise of legal authorization.

Avoid casting NFTs with relic prototypes

On April 11 this year, the expansion of the party committee and the special meeting on the authorization of standardized digital collections held by the China Cultural Relics Exchange Center, Tan Ping, director of the China Cultural Relics Exchange Center, made it clear: “We must say ‘no’ to the prototype digital reproductions of cultural relics and encourage creation. Based on the connotation of cultural relics, the author designs and develops digital collections of cultural and exposition with artistry, uniqueness and scarcity, and uses new technologies to tell Chinese stories well.”

Subsequently, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage also released a clear signal at the symposium on the situation of digital collections organized by Beijing: “Encourage social forces to use cultural relics resources to carry out reasonable and innovative creations through formal authorization, and use information technology to stimulate the interpretation and dissemination of cultural relics value. Cultural and cultural institutions should not directly sell the original data of cultural relics as limited products .”

In other words, the current attitude of China’s regulatory agencies towards NFT digital collections is basically:encouragement + guidance . After realizing the great value of NFTs and digital collections as cultural and creative products in the new era, the regulators’ thinking gradually changed to strengthen their cultural attributes and suppress their financial attributes. The way to strengthen cultural attributes is to generate NFT digital collections with new artistic value by encouraging the use of cultural relic resources for secondary creation . Directly using cultural relic prototypes to issue NFT and digital collections is not only discouraged, but may even be restricted.

Sister Sa’s team has recently inspected many digital collection platforms. At present, there are still many NFTs that are selling prototypes of cultural relics, including platforms that sell horse heads, dragon heads and other cultural relics collected by Yuanmingyuan without the authorization of Yuanmingyuan. Taking the horse head NFT just sold out as an example, the platform sells the original copy of the horse head of the Yuanmingyuan, not only the head of the animal, but also the human body in the lower half. This is a typical direct use of cultural relic prototypes. The case of NFTs . In order to avoid getting into unnecessary trouble, platforms should gradually avoid reduction and avoid directly using cultural relic prototypes to cast and issue NFTs.

Pay attention to NFT material copyright issues

Copyright is a common issue in the NFT digital collection industry. The first NFT case decided by the Hangzhou Internet Court, which is well-known recently, is a dispute caused by infringement of the copyright of works on other platforms. But things get complicated when museum collections are linked to NFTs.

As mentioned above, according to my country’s “Copyright Law”, once the copyright expires, the work will enter the public domain, and anyone can use and sell the work on the premise of not infringing on the personal rights of the author of the work. Of course, they can also Make NFTs. However, this involves the collection of the original data of cultural relics (two methods have been mentioned above). At present, after the museum has digitized the collection, it has become a common practice to authorize others or social legal entities to use the cultural relic resources for compensation. It should be noted here that although the cultural relics themselves have entered the public domain beyond the copyright protection period, the cultural relics data materials (such as 3D images of cultural relics, paintings of cultural relics, reproductions of cultural relics, etc.) produced and collected by museums may belong to “works” subject to the Copyright Law “protection .

Of course, it is also controversial whether museums have copyrights on cultural relics that have entered the public domain.According to the provisions of Article 2 of the Regulations for the Implementation of the Copyright Law, the term “works” as mentioned in the Copyright Law refers to intellectual achievements that are original in the fields of literature, art and science and can be reproduced in some tangible form. It can be seen that originality is the core element of a work.According to Article 46 of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Relics: “Restored cultural relics shall not be changed in their original state.” This leads to museums not enjoying copyright for restored cultural relics that are “repaired as old” but not original .

However, museums may enjoy copyright for high-definition photos, secondary paintings, holographic imaging data, etc.,depending on whether they are original or not . The Palace Museum once issued a statement: “The Palace Museum owns the copyright of the resources on its digital cultural relics library website, including but not limited to information, text, pictures, links, etc.”.

In the Yuanmingyuan incident, the platform for casting and distributing the prototype NFT of cultural relics without authorization, the source of the material is more suspicious. If the official resources of Yuanmingyuan are used (it is difficult to prove in practice), on the premise that Yuanmingyuan has clearly stated that “it has never authorized any third party to develop business related to virtual digital collections”, the platform will use the materials authorized by the third party to cast NFT, Then: (1) If the third-party subject is a cultural relic material legally obtained by the museum, the act of sub-authorizing others to cast NFT may constitute a breach of contract or infringement , and the platform for issuing and casting NFT is an infringement ; Authorizing illegally obtained material, both are infringing acts .

write at the end

Due to its inherent high artistic and cultural value, cultural relics NFTs have a natural fit with NFT digital collections. In the current digital collection market in China, the issuance of cultural relics NFTs is almost a sure-fire business. The reason is that such NFTs With high hype space, large and small platforms will also express or imply that there is huge room for appreciation when they are released.

However, cultural relics NFTs are different from other NFTs. Improper hype and shoddy mass distribution will degrade the cultural value of the cultural relics themselves and affect the reputation of the museum, which we must pay attention to. With the recent changes in the regulatory trend of the digital collection industry, the platform must be vigilant in directly sending NFT to cultural relic prototypes to avoid becoming the target of regulatory agencies.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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