On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

Just when the domestic #brand+NFT=NFT# model was in full swing, on the evening of April 24, China Lining’s official Weibo announced: [China Lining Boring Ape Trend Sports Club] Raid on sale! And with the text: From the famous Web3.0 family Bored Ape Yacht Club, member of the boring ape yacht club #4102#, take over the #boringnotboring# flash manager. A few days later, on April 29, Greenland Group announced the purchase of BAYC#8302, and said that it would be launched as the NFT image of Greenland Group’s digital strategy. This combination of #NFT+brand# has played out a new paradigm of brand marketing. Of course, as a legal person, the author is more concerned about intellectual property issues related to NFT. Why can BAYC co-brand with the brand? Can other NFTs do the same?

We must first point out: owning the ownership of NFT does not necessarily own the intellectual property rights of the works it points to. At this stage, the vast majority of domestic NFTs based on #brand+NFT# do not contain intellectual property rights, as do many foreign NFT projects, such as NBA Top Shot.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is an exception!

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights


The “Ownership” section of the terms disclosed on the BAYC official website is expressed as follows (summary):

I. You own the ownership of the NFT. Every Boring Ape is an NFT on the Ethereum chain. When you buy an NFT, you completely own the underlying work of the NFT, Boring Ape. The ownership of NFTs is completely regulated by smart contracts and the Ethereum network, and at no time can we change the ownership of any Boring Ape by seizing, freezing, or otherwise.

II. Personal Use. Subject to your continued compliance with these Terms, Yuga Labs LLC authorizes you to use, reproduce and display purchased artwork and any extensions you choose to create or use worldwide (with limitations) free of charge.

III. Commercial Use. Subject to your continued compliance with these Terms, Yuga Labs LLC grants you an unrestricted, worldwide license to use, reproduce, and display your purchases for the purpose of creating derivative works based on the Artwork (“Commercial Use”). of artwork. Examples of such commercial uses include the use of art for the production and sale of commercial products (t-shirts, etc.) that display reproductions of the art.

It should be noted that BAYC does not authorize holders of BAYC NFTs to use their brand names and logos.Copyright authorization and brand authorization are two concepts.

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

From a legal point of view, the above clauses grant BAYC NFT holders the right to personal and commercial use in a licensed manner. It is precisely based on these rights that after purchasing BAYC NFT, buyers can sell their products in the form of joint names. (Some people in the industry pointed out that Li Ning directly purchased the marketing activities after BAYC#4102.)

“Law” bridges the gap between traditional brands and Web3.0 celebrities. The copyright terms of BAYC NFC have injected vitality and vitality into the top stream and commercial darling of the NFT track.

About CC0

In addition to BAYC, CC0 is another inevitable topic regarding the distribution of intellectual property rights between project parties and holders of NFTs.

CC0, that is, Creative Commons 0 (creative commons–no rights reserved), also known as “shared intellectual property without any rights reserved”, is an intellectual property standard that emphasizes that intellectual property belongs to the public domain and can be used by anyone.

CC (“Creative Commons”) is a non-profit creative commons organization in the United States that has released the licensing standard CC0, which allows creators to declare that their works belong to the public domain.

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

(CC0 General Agreement Template)

In the past, the laws of most jurisdictions around the world automatically granted creators and artists copyright and other rights to their creations, and protected them legally, regardless of whether the creators and artists wanted these rights.

For many years, the famous slogan information wants to be free has been circulating on the Internet, that is, information desires freedom. With the development of information technology, more and more information is spread to more and more people at an increasingly fast speed. From personal computers in 1980 to today’s blockchain and Web3.0 networks, The free flow of information has grown exponentially.

The copyright legislation of various jurisdictions ensures that in the context of the ever-accelerating flow of information, the rights of creators can be protected by the coercive force of the law, and the creators can obtain remuneration through their creations, creating a friendly environment for creators to create.

At the same time, the legal system not only guarantees the creators to automatically obtain the copyright, but also allows them to allow others to exercise the copyright in a permissive manner and obtain remuneration, which is the basis of the modern copyright system.

Under the CC0 model, the creators give up most of the copyrights in the form of written commitments, and the creators declare that their works belong to the public domain (public domain), which allows the world to adapt their works, even for commercial purposes.

CC0 is a social experiment of knowledge sharing under the perfect intellectual property legal system in the world today. In the field of Web3.0 and blockchain, the combination of CC0 and NFT is setting off another new wave of intellectual property experiments.

Although Yuga Labs (the parent company of BAYC NFT) has granted BAYC NFT holders greater copyright freedom (rights for personal use and commercial use), for example, they can produce and sell derivatives with the BAYC NFT they hold, but as emphasized above In that case, the holder cannot use BAYC’s brand name and logo (such as trademark rights) when using the BAYC NFT purchased by him.

Another top-notch CryptoPunks on the NFT track (CryptoPunk #5822 was sold for 8000ETH, worth about $23.7 million at the time of sale), Larva Labs (the parent company of CryptoPunks) even restricted CryptoPunks holders from making derivatives or use its brand.

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

(CryptoPunks series NFT)

Larva Labs itself retains the relevant intellectual property rights to the CryptoPunks series of NFTs. Its holders may only hold CryptoPunks themselves. (On March 12 this year, Yuga Labs, the publisher of NFT brand BAYC, and Larva Labs, the publisher of CryptoPunks, jointly issued a statement on Twitter. Yuga Labs acquired the collection of CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs, the copyright of CryptoPunks, etc. Rights may be granted to holders like BAYC.)

Maybe everyone is tired of such intellectual property restrictions, and some CC0+NFT projects have appeared.

CC0 NFT projects such as Cryptoadz, Nouns, etc., represented by Mfers, were born. They give their holders completely open and fully shared intellectual property freedom. You don’t even need to buy their NFTs, but they can also be used for personal and commercial use.

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

(Mfers at Opensea)

As of the date of publication (May 7, 2022), Mfers is ranked 43rd in the Opensea historical sales version, with a total sales of 35,788.94 ETH, and the current floor price is $5,000.

Experimenting with intellectual property seems to be insufficient to explain and understand Mfers, because you don’t even know, when you spend $5,000 to buy an Mfers, what are you buying?

Whether you are the project party or the holder, you do not even own any copyright or trademark rights of Mfers.Whether you simply copy Mfers in web2.0, or adapt Mfers to make derivatives in blockchain-based Web3.0, you are completely free.

Of course, maybe the question we’re talking about doesn’t hold in the first place, because the “holders” of Mfers probably don’t care about it at all.

According to media reports, the chief designer of BAYC explained in an interview with a Rolling Stone reporter that the model design of the boring ape is closely related to her own aesthetics. Tired ape.

On legal issues related to NFT intellectual property rights

(Mfers creator twitter screenshot)

Coincidentally, the creator of Mfers stated in his Mirror article “what are mfers” that he resonated emotionally with the image of Mfers he painted. The stickman who was smoking a cigarette, wearing headphones, and lazily spread out on the chair to control the keyboard, made him realize that this image prototype was himself in web3.0.

Therefore, looking at Mfers directly from a commercial or legal perspective may be one-sided. Whether it is BAYC or Mfers, they all have the universal nature of the value core of Web3.0 social and cultural trend, which may be “laying down”, “mourning”, or yearning for a new generation of Internet.

Turning the field of vision back to China, the author also mentioned in the previous article that China is developing localized NFTs in the model of #brand+NFT=NFT#, which corresponds to the “should have valuable support” required by domestic regulatory policies.

In addition, the domestic orientation of NFT supervision is just like the name of its “digital collection”, which emphasizes the “collection” attribute more than as an investment, or speculation as the supervision calls it.

Today, domestic digital collections include the following types:

One is museum NFTs. In the context of promoting traditional culture in China, the natural attributes and rich diversity of museum collection resources have made this type of NFT a major mainstream of domestic NFT. Under this model, the museum usually cooperates with the digital collection platform, the museum provides IP (cultural relics, etc.), and the NFT is issued on the digital collection platform.

Under normal circumstances, to make NFTs based on physical artworks, the copyright authorization of the works is mainly the information network dissemination right in the copyright property rights.

This also involves the copyright, brand, and trademark authorization of the collection resources. It also includes differences depending on whether the copyright protection period of the collection resources has reached 50 years. Due to space limitations, we will discuss issues related to intellectual property rights of museum collection resources in future articles.

The second is artist NFT. There are two main types. One is that artists authorize digital collection platforms based on their physical works (such as art works) to make NFTs. The second is the NFT of digital art, that is, art works are not real objects, but are themselves presented in digital (electronic) form. These two categories also need to obtain the authorization of the information network dissemination right of art works.

The third is IP peripheral NFT. IP here refers specifically to commercially realizable property. For example, NFTs related to movies and TV series, NFTs related to comics and games, NFTs related to music MVs, etc. Most of the earliest digital collections in China belong to this category. The production of this type of NFT also requires corresponding authorization from the IP party.

There is a popular saying before that “everything can be NFT”. This expression is not rigorous. Referring to the initiative of the three associations, financial products, insurance, gold, etc. cannot be NFT.

For the above types of domestic digital collections, as a buyer, none of them can obtain the copyright of the content or works associated with the NFT or pointed to by the NFT.

The reason is that NFTs in this mode are produced after obtaining authorization, and most of them are created in batches in the form of “copying”. Such NFTs are difficult to become the carrier of copyright.

The copyright issues surrounding NFTs are flexible and complex, and because of their more flexible models, they face different legal issues. And because it is a completely new kind of thing, coupled with the legal lag, it also makes the corresponding legal issues complicated.

The legal infrastructure of blockchain operation is as complex as the technical basic design. For NFTs, when we talk about the ownership of NFTs, the provable rarity and the immutability of relevant information are all provided by smart contracts. Constrained, smart contracts are like legal documents in the blockchain world, clarifying to users what all NFT-related rules are, how to operate, what rights users have, and so on. And in such rules, thinking about legal issues should be an important part of the NFT design process.

Reference article:

Vincent II Vincent222: Talking about NFT and Metaverse as I understand it

mfers Chinese community, alittle.bit, CC0 fog of NFT: When we hold NFT, what rights do we actually have?

Medium, original author: James Grimmelmann & Yan Ji & Tyler Kell, NFT, still frantically testing the edge of copyright law, translated by Katie, Planet Daily

PANews Feng Feng: CC0 NFT: A Large Experiment on Shared Intellectual Property and Benefits

Mingzin DeFieye: mfers: mourning culture, a new tribe of web3.0 in post-subculture

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/on-legal-issues-related-to-nft-intellectual-property-rights/
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