Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become a hot topic over the past weeks, especially with the reported selling of some of the most iconic digital creations such as Nyan Cat, Cryptopunks, works by digital artists Beeple, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s very first tweet.
With more and more NFTs sold by digital creators, you have probably taken interest in what the crypto art scene has to offer.
One thing you should understand is that it has enabled digital creators to shed off the starving artist stereotype and actually earn money through their art. In fact, artists who have sold the NFTs of their work were able to earn millions.
There is only one problem, one that the creative industry has been battling for decades: some people continue to steal creators’ work and sell them as their own. Just take a look at the case of Corbin Rainbolt. The artist found that someone has minted NFTs for two of his works without his consent and put it up for sale.
While NFTs provide an opportunity for artists to earn, it also opens the up for intellectual property violations, especially those who share their works online. Anyone can simply grab photos of these outputs and tokenize them.
Well, if this is the case, they can sue these thieves for infringement, right? This is where more problems come in. The main feature of NFT selling is it exists in the blockchain, a decentralized virtual ledger that records all transactions within that system.
You might think that this offers an advantage but the thing is, the blockchain is built to help users maintain their anonymity. So, even if creators find out that their works were or are being sold as NFTs, they may have trouble finding the culprit.
Intellectual property laws may help, but as experts, we can say that it may be difficult. Why? The reason is enforcing any type of law requires knowing who the perpetrator is.
So, the question now is, how can creators protect their intellectual rights to their digital assets. Experts say platforms like OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, and Zora should create a reliable method to verify the ownership during the minting process. However, even this is challenging as blockchain allows users to create tokens without supervision, thanks to its decentralized nature.
For creators like Rainbolt, though, one solution is to upload their works with a watermark. This may take away from the artist’s goals of keeping their art accessible, but it is necessary to protect their intellectual property.
Now, let’s say that a buyer successfully transfers the ownership of an NFT to himself after purchasing it. This transaction will be permanently on the blockchain. This is a good thing, right? Well, considering that there have been reports of NFT accounts being hacked, this creates a not-so-favorable situation for buyers and sellers alike.
It is also sad to say that the transfer of ownership, even under theft, is still permanent. The good news is minting websites can do something about this by improving their cybersecurity systems.
So, what do think about the intellectual property issues surrounding NFTs? Let me know by clicking this link.