17/06/2021 No, NFTs aren’t copyrights

For contemporary artists, attaching work to the blockchain in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) may seem like a secure and verifiable way to sell art online.

In some ways, it is. Blockchain inherently records time-stamped data on all transactions, with a permanent indication of ownership across a distributed ledger. A look inside a blockchain’s transactions will provide all the information needed about when an NFT was traded, who was involved in the transaction and how much was spent.

But the reality of NFT ownership is much more complicated than one might imagine. As a new crypto asset class, NFTs appear to exist almost unbound by current regulatory systems. But when combined with art, there are overlaps to consider. Understanding the legal pitfalls of the contemporary NFT ecosystem is the first step in unlocking its potential.

Does copyright exist on the blockchain?

High hopes abound for the potential of NFTs to serve as copyright alternatives, with many believing them to be copyrights themselves. When viewed at face value, it’s easy to understand the confusion.

The NFT purchaser owns nothing more than a unique hash on the blockchain with a transactional record and a hyperlink to the file of the artwork.
The truth is, NFTs are just tokens that represent an asset, completely separate from the assets themselves. Because every NFT represents a unique asset, a single NFT can’t be duplicated while maintaining the same value as the original. Many equate this exclusive form of ownership with ownership of the work itself, but the distinction must be emphasized.

This misconception goes further. The range of possibilities for what can be an NFT coincides surprisingly well with works eligible for copyright. While every jurisdiction defines “works” in different ways, none stray too far from the essentials. In Canada, for example, copyright protection extends to literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works in addition to performances, recordings and other related works. Creators need not apply for these protections — the state provides them inherently upon the creation of the work.

Naturally, this protection is guaranteed for the original work that an NFT represents. When artwork is created and auctioned on an NFT marketplace, the copyright functions almost exactly as it would in an in-person scenario, with the copyright retained by the artist. But a lack of copyright trading infrastructure that complies with international law makes the exchange of NFT copyrights impossible on current platforms.

So unless an external agreement is made between the artist and the buyer, the bundle of copyrights to an NFT still belong to the original artist. The NFT purchaser owns nothing more than a unique hash on the blockchain with a transactional record and a hyperlink to the file of the artwork.

Without legal parameters, fraud is inevitable

The issue of NFT copyright tracking gets even trickier when considering the potential for theft and fraud. In order to be added to the blockchain, NFTs must be “signed” by the uploader in a process known as “minting.” Similar to a painter’s signature on their painting, this feature is intended to link the NFT to its creator. Things can go wrong when minters lie about their identity, which is not uncommon across many NFT platforms.

The issue stems from the lack of a strong legal framework in the NFT market. One can mint a tweet, art piece or even a gif of Nyan Cat without being the actual creator on some platforms. As a result, many artists have reported seeing their art being stolen and sold in NFT form without their consent in what would clearly be a copyright violation in the traditional art marketplace.

This issue is particularly pervasive among NFT tweet exchanges. A Twitter bot known as @tokenizedtweets went on a minting spree earlier this year, sending shockwaves throughout Twitter and the NFT community. Its policy of creating NFTs from viral tweets without the author’s consent or even notification caused an outcry from several actors, artists and other creators, provoking responses from names as big as William Shatner, who expressed concern about “these @tokenizedtweets stealing content, images I upload and my tweets which are all under my copyright being tokenized and sold without permission.”

Theft and fraud are natural results of platforms that lack a strong legal infrastructure. The actions of @tokenizedtweets, now banned from Twitter, demonstrates this issue well.

What’s missing? International compliance

So far, no NFT platforms have ventured into internationally compliant territory for the copyright of art that an NFT sale represents. Doing so would be a tremendous leap for the NFT ecosystem. In addition to minimizing fraud through stronger copyright enforcement, international compliance would allow for tokenized copyright exchange within the blockchain itself.

The groundwork has already been laid thanks to the 1886 Berne Convention, an international agreement that guarantees standardized copyright protection at the moment a work is created in any of its 179 signatory countries. The treaty was tested in 2014, for example, when Tom Petty sued Sam Smith for copyright infringement over Smith’s hit song, “Stay With Me,” which is almost melodically identical to Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” The suit and settlement, which includes royalties to Petty’s estate, demonstrated the continuing functionality of the Berne Convention.

The 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty formally brought Berne principles into the digital art realm, but many Berne Convention signatories didn’t sign it. With no new treaties on the horizon, the private sector may have to pick up the slack left behind by world governments.

The NFT world still fails to comply with the diversity of copyright law around the world despite the uniformity imposed by international treaties. To move the industry away from speculation and into global functionality, international copyright compliance must be incorporated into this emerging ecosystem.
Arts

https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/16/no-nfts-arent-copyrights/

Interesting NFTs
Mars House
Mars House is the first NFT digital house in the world. Upon purchase of Mars House NFT, 3D files will be sent to the new owner by Krista Kim Studio Inc. for file upload to the owner’s Metaverse. Technical support for Mars House integration on Metaverse is provided. (Architectural Digest, March 14, 2021) “Kim ventured into NFTs while exploring meditative design during quarantine; her hope was to use the influx of digital life as an opportunity to promote wellbeing. Comprised entirely of light, the visual effects of her crypto-home are meant to omit a zen, healing atmosphere. The artist also partnered with musician Jeff Schroeder of The Smashing Pumpkins to create a calming musical accompaniment. So what makes the file a compelling purchase? Beyond the promise of buying into the lucrative NFT market, the home and all of the furniture in it can be built in real life by glass furniture-makers in Italy, as well as through MicroLED screen technology. Kim also has a strong visions the art being projected, as well. “Everyone should install an LED wall in their house for NFT art.” says the artist. “ This is the future, and Mars House demonstrates the beauty of that possibility.” The owner is in agreement to the following terms and conditions upon purchase of Mars House (hereby referred to as Mars House NFT): The collector agrees to own one copy of Mars House NFT on a single Metaverse platform. The collector is required to register Mars House NFT ownership with Krista Kim Studio Inc. Krista Kim Studio Inc. will provide technical support to upload and integrate Mars House NFT on a Metaverse platform. If/when Mars House is resold, the collector is required to delete all Mars House NFT 3D file(s) from his/her Metaverse, and provide verification of deletion to Krista Kim Studio Inc. before new 3D files are transferred to the new owner by the artist. The new owner is required to register Mars House NFT ownership with Krista Kim Studio Inc. Krista Kim Studio will send Mars House NFT 3D files directly to the new owner and provide support for Metaverse integration. This verified ownership transfer system will be appointed to Krista Kim Studio Inc. trusteeship, after 40 years of the date of the sale. Krista Kim Studio Inc. retains ownership of Mars House NFT copyright. All rights reserved. All reproductions of Mars House (NFT) in both digital and physical formats, are restricted. Mars House NFT physical furniture pieces, made of tempered printed glass in Italy, may be commissioned by the collector as NFT physical pieces.
Lichtminer #4/4
Lichtenstein inspired wall art for the miners of ETH 5208, 4/4.
MENTGREEN_RAGdoll
Mahalo! I'm MENTGREEN_RAGdoll. My friends describe me as ridiculous and seductive. When I'm not summoning ghosts, I'm jump-roping! I think you'll love me beclaws I have cattitude.
Noodle Rock
soft body spline & hair simulations in cinema 4d
Crossroad
LIMITED EDITION 1/1 | includes signed limited edition prints of all 3 states (pre-election, Trump win, Biden win) This piece is a first for Nifty, a token that will change based on the outcome of the election. If anything is constant about the times we now live in, it's uncertainty. This uncertainty is perfectly encapsulated in this piece of artwork as the person buying the piece will not know the final artwork. The artwork will be one state at auction before the election, and after the results of the election are known, will forever change to reflect a Trump or Biden win. PLEASE FUCKING NOTE: If trump wins, this token will change to that video of sexy boi king trump stomping through hell FOREVER. I don’t want you coming back to me bitching that you spent $2M* on this and now it’s a video of orangeman going HAM and it’s keeping u up at night popping mad boners. should have voted bruh. *and stfu that this isn’t gonna be worth a fuckton more when I hit 30 years of everydays and have a permanent collection in the MOMA. smh.