Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

“There’s value in the original。”

“Original has value.”

A lot of people are talking about cc0 lately, and keep saying “the era of cc0 is coming. So what exactly is cc0? Recently, I did a poll:

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

It turns out that a lot of people don’t know what cc0 is, or why it might be important, or why it’s been talked about more and more lately. So I think we need to have a good chat.

what is cc0

The full name of cc0 is “Creative Commons Zero (Free Creative Commons)”. In layman’s terms, it basically means that the creator of a piece of art/content does not retain any intellectual property rights. This situation generally occurs after a period of creation, and the intellectual property rights are tacitly given up. But this can also happen if the creator decides to give up their intellectual property right away. You’ve probably heard that some things are automatically inducted into the “public domain”, which means that anyone is free to use that intellectual property to create content. These things or content are another way of cc0.

For example, all of Shakespeare’s original works are in the public domain, as are paintings by Sherlock Holmes and Vincent van Gogh. That means I can go to any website and download the image below, print it, frame it, sell it, all within my purview. I don’t even need to give the original artist the proceeds of my actions if I don’t want to. This is the typical cc0, the freedom to commercialize content within this law.

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

At the same time, some very non-cc0 cases, such as Elsa in Frozen, Eminem’s Lose Yourself, or any monkey in The Boring Ape Club. While these series have different types of intellectual property licenses at different levels, they actually have additional restrictions on what is allowed and what is cc0. For example, you may be permitted to use the content for non-commercial purposes. Or you might be able to commercialize the content, but only up to a certain amount of dollars per year, or as long as you’re not commercializing it by creating illegal content, it doesn’t matter, etc. So, no matter how “free” the project looks, there are more or less intellectual property restrictions.

OK, but what does this have to do with NFTs?

For most of us, intellectual property is not in mind when we buy NFTs. Because we feel like we’re having fun buying NFTs, buying a jpeg we like, joining a community, or making some money, etc. At the same time we feel that we have full ownership of what we buy, including intellectual property. In fact, it’s a more complex and delicate situation, and each project is different. However, this topic is indeed an inescapable discussion in the NFT field. A few weeks ago, Yuga Labs (the entity behind BAYC) acquired the rights to the NFT series CryptoPunks and Meebit from Larva Labs, so you can see that intellectual property has become an increasingly hot topic in the field, even reaching new heights.

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

The first thing Yuga Labs did after the acquisition was to announce that they intended to grant full commercial rights to all CryptoPunk and Meebit holders. As of now, though, anyone owning a punk or Meebit NFT has only limited commercial rights. And there are limits on how far holders can create derivatives, as well as limits on the amount ($100,000/year) that can be earned from IP each year. That might seem like a lot, but if you’re trying to create a brand out of your punk, or license it to a movie studio and then create a hit cartoon, that’s pretty limited.

Furthermore, its principles seem to run counter to NFTs. Isn’t the emergence of NFT just for real ownership? If you’re still tied to a centralized entity, what percentage of you actually own an NFT?

That’s the problem.

The rights of holders/owners of punk/Meebit NFTs changed when Larva Labs sold the IP to Yuga Labs. In this case, the rights are increased, which seems to be a good thing for the holder. However, we must consider the precedent this event constitutes and the possibility of similar occurrences in the future, because it is these thoughts that scare some people. For example, what if Yuga Labs was acquired by Disney someday? Then, if Disney says “Hey, we don’t want to give everyone full commercial rights anymore, we’re going to give limited commercial rights.” This will most likely cause uproar and anger in the community, but if by then, the Yuga ecosystem will There are millions of NFTs, and only 50,000 OGs really care about these NFTs? Even most OGs don’t care if we get paid handsomely for it. But all of a sudden, we were thrown back into the web2 world.

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

The confessional poem of the German priest Martin Nimora reads:

“In Germany, at first they hunted down the communists, and I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a communist;

Then they hunted down the Jews, and I didn’t speak because I wasn’t a Jew;

Later, when they hunted down the union members, I didn’t say anything because I was not a union member;

After that, they hunted down Catholics, and I didn’t speak because I was a Protestant;

Finally, they came to me, but no one stood up and spoke for me again. “

While it might be a bit of an exaggeration to put the poem here, I really think it’s really important to discuss the whole thing and everyone should have a better idea of ​​what’s going on.

Of course I don’t think Yuga Labs is going to sell to Disney, or anyone who wants to limit the rights of the holder. And I really believe that what they want to build is pretty much Disney in web3, a global brand. It’s always been “from the people and back to the people”, so I’m still very grateful to them. And price-wise, they’ve also made investors grateful, at least in part. However, I still want to say: sometimes the road to hell can also have good intentions.

Back to the ccO discussion again

We are seeing more and more creators deciding to release the IP behind NFT projects into the public domain right from the start. You might ask why, and if this is a good thing for founders and token owners. In my opinion, the answer, like all good answers in life, is “it depends”.

On the plus side (support for cc0)

There are pros and cons to making something cc0. In my opinion, the biggest advantage is that if I own a cc0 NFT, I own everything. It’s not that I own the IP, on the contrary, nobody owns the IP. Not me, not the founder of the project, not the artist, nobody. Neither I nor anyone else can buy or sell it. The rest is the original token/asset.

… But where is the value of this, many people may ask? Isn’t IP a value? Well, yes and no. The value of intellectual property itself is unquestionable. Disney makes a lot of money selling toys and games based on their cartoon characters. If it’s cc0, they can still do that, but they can’t stop other people from selling toys using these characters too, which could hurt their bottom line. It doesn’t make much sense for Disney to make their content cc0 because people are lining up willing to pay them to license their IP.

We are currently in the early stages of brand building in the web3/NFT space. One of the great things about cc0 is that it offers creative and commercial freedom to anyone who wants to use content to build a brand. This is a double-edged sword in itself – creators can use it to create something cool and valuable, adding value to the universe; it can also be used by bad actors to tarnish the brand image. It’s basically free for everyone.

But this is not the original intention of web3! A free, decentralized web for everyone. We don’t want to see these huge centralized entities have so much power and so much ownership over our IP. Because they may end up buying and selling our IP the same way the web2 giants buy and sell our data. The appearance of cc0 “fixes” this problem to a certain extent. There is no longer any IP for them to buy or sell. Only our ERC tokens are transacted, so we have true ownership of those tokens.

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

As for the value – when the Blitmap project decided to put their original collection in the public domain and go to cc0, there was an excellent post to illustrate their rationale, here I’ll quote a part to illustrate what this means about value:

“We also considered a list of works of fiction already in the public domain:

  • King Arthur
  • Shakespeare
  • Dracula
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Jane Eyre
  • little woman
  • Moby Dick
  • Peter Pan

The interesting thing about these examples is that many of their derivative works are not in the public domain. In other words, the basis of the story in King Arthur and the constructed universe are in the public domain, which does not mean that adaptations such as “The Green Knight” and “Sword in the Stone” are in the public domain. And nonetheless, these adaptations help to heighten the overall importance of the original. Let’s imagine a world where the Arthurian myth started on a blockchain, with components represented as tokens. There is no doubt that anyone can prove valuable as the creator or owner of Excalibur. “

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

The downside (rebuttal to cc0)

I have no objection to NFT projects retaining IP and granting full commercial rights to holders, and I think there are very valid reasons for this approach. Because keeping the IP instead of cc0 can incentivize the team and NFT holders to build the brand together, and urge them to work together to increase the value of the IP they own, not just the underlying/original token. It allows token holders to sublicense their NFTs to third parties who wish to use their IP to create things and share the profits.

It also helps teams and NFT owners protect their brand and IP, which is very important and should not be underestimated. For example, if someone were to launch a collection of some great art with cc0 tomorrow, it probably wouldn’t get much attention and hardly anyone minted it. That’s when a bad team or individual might show up, “steal” the art and copy the idea, release it under a new name, market it, and profit from all the original work. Because it’s cc0, the original creator will have no (legal) recourse. Maybe they can appeal to the court of public opinion, but it could be an uphill battle. Retaining intellectual property would (legally) protect their rights in a sense.

And building a brand is difficult without a core team at the helm. Not impossible, but the process is often very difficult. It takes a creative director who is responsible for planning the franchise, and a team who is responsible for producing and executing the roadmap, to work together to complete their project vision. Note that this is not mutually exclusive with the cc0 project. There are many projects that have released their content into the public domain but continue to work towards the unique future they envision for the project. But it may be easier to motivate teams if they know they have ownership over what they are building and cannot be stolen by malicious actors at any point.

Well-known cc0 projects

What many people don’t know is that in fact, many well-known projects on the market are actually cc0. The following are examples for you:


The founder is Dom Hoffman, one of the smartest and most innovative builders in the entire space. The community is top-notch, and the goals are lofty: “a sci-fi universe crafted by a community”. They have been flawless in everything so far and I have no doubt they will continue to fire on all fronts.


Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

Mfers was created by Sartoshi, who has long been creating art and memes in the space. They create 10k mfers, publish them, and then fiddle around for a while and let the community do whatever they want. No discord was established by the project until some holders established an “unofficial” discord. Finally, Sartoshi published this wonderful article: What are mfers.

“I tweeted recently: ‘You can have a roadmap of where you’re going, but you can also plant seeds and see where they grow’ – seeds are everywhere now, we’ll see where do they grow.”

The mfer community is booming. Dozens of spinoff projects have been created. They are taking over their own little corner of Twitter. More and more “large” accounts are adopting mfer as their PFP (eg DCinvestor and David Hoffman). They own their mfer, but no one owns the IP.


Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

Project created by Gremplin. These were posted last year during some crazy bull cycle, and the floor price was once up to 17 ether (from a mint price of 0.069). They are adopted by many “OGs” in the NFT space, and people are excited about their cc0 narrative and the possibilities of derivatives, etc. Of course, projects that typically go from 0.069 to 17 ether in a few weeks are likely to face a crash, which happened to CrypToadz. It’s been between 2-4eth for a few months now, but with the recent narrative shift to cc0, we’re seeing the project start ramping up again. A lot of punks who feel “disdain” for selling Larva to Yuga seem to have moved on to CrypToadz or Mfers.


Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

One of the most interesting projects in existence. Every day 1 Noun NFT is auctioned to the highest bidder, and all funds raised from these auctions go into a community treasury managed by all Noun holders. They have now reached their 255th day and the treasury holds 21,791 ether (equivalent to $73,754,081).

One of the founders of the punk4156 project, a staunch believer in cc0, made some very loud public statements a few months ago basically disapproving of the way Larva Labs handled their IP, which eventually led him to sell all his punks.

A photo of a Hawaiian landscape

Finally, I would like to sum up my point with a Hawaiian landscape photo, which is: “Originality is valuable in itself.”

This photo is a great example of how an original image with almost no rights reserved can have real value. I strongly encourage everyone to read the full story on this site, but in short, this incredible shot by photographer Cath Simard in 2017:

Small talk about cc0, intellectual property and NFT

It then went viral online, and people and publications around the world started using the image, often without attribution, and the photographers themselves didn’t get a share of the financial benefits. Instead Cath decided to mint the original image as an NFT, sell it, and then release the rights to it so that anyone can use the image. It was sold to gmoney six months ago for 100 ETH (~$300,000).

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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