A16z Creates NFT Licensing Framework to Standardize Collectors’ Rights

Venture capital firm claims NFTs are testing the limits of traditional legal system and proposes a potential solution inspired by Creative Commons

article-image

Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel

share

key takeaways

  • Licenses provide open source codified versions of intellectual property rights
  • Murky IP licensing has recently caused confusion regarding rights of NFT buyers

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’ crypto arm, a16z, released six NFT-specific copyright licensing frameworks on Wednesday as part of a free and public set of “Can’t Be Evil” Licenses, in the style of Creative Commons.

A blog post from Miles Jennings, general counsel at a16z, and Chris Dixon, a managing partner who founded a16z, stated that the firm is addressing the existing ambiguity and confusion around NFT licensing.

Their aim is to clarify an NFT creator, buyer or seller’s rights regarding the artwork of digital assets in order to “democratize access to high quality licenses and encourage standardization across the web3 industry.” 

The “Can’t Be Evil” set is meant to serve as a template for NFT projects to consider when creating and selling NFTs, according to its Terms and Conditions. 

The slate of open source licenses are based on US law and relate to copyright only, excluding other forms of intellectual property, including personality rights, stated the document. US copyright laws do not automatically grant buyers of both traditional and digital assets the right to reproduce, adapt or publicly display the artwork without a license.

The six options each outline different degrees of freedom intended to help creators protect or release their intellectual property (IP) rights, especially those enabling buyers to modify the artwork or create derivative works.

Source: a16zcrypto

The Licenses were developed in partnership between a16z Crypto and the law firms Latham & Watkins LLP and DLA Piper LLP. Available on GitHub, NFT projects are able to add a reference to a specific license directly into a smart contract.  

The “Can’t Be Evil” title was inspired by Google’s “don’t be evil” slogan and puts the trust in the code, according to a16z

“Instead of trusting people or corporations to not be evil, we can ensure through code that they “can’t be evil,” the company stated. 

Loading Tweet..

Creative Commons licenses have lately been put in the spotlight by NFT projects such as Moonbirds, whose founders recently moved to a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license and rescinded its holders’ commercial art rights without warning. 

Yuga Labs-owned CryptoPunks and Meebits have also updated their terms and conditions to allow NFT holders to use the image of their NFT however they want, without permission from Yuga Labs, which legally still owns the rights and title of the art.

NFTs are, at their core, a piece of software code. It is quite common for the actual image or artwork to be stored off-chain on a remote server, while only the metadata is on-chain. 

When an NFT is bought and transferred to a crypto address, the purchaser is only acquiring the metadata associated with the remote image, and not the actual content file. That’s why intellectual property rights are a murky subject.


Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Top Icon.png

Research

Osmosis thrived in H2 2023 on the back of increased DeFi activity deriving from recently launched Cosmos-related projects and better market conditions. With new value accrual mechanisms for the native token, Osmosis is well-positioned to continue its strong performance in 2024.

/

article-image

Though the opposing flow trend is likely to slow over time, industry watchers note, bitcoin fund assets could one day eclipse the $90 billion gold ETF space

article-image

Celestia had the first mover advantage. EigenDA has staked ether. What sets Avail apart?

article-image

Bitcoin moved 1% higher Monday morning in New York, Matrixport analysts say $62,000 could happen next month

article-image

It’s hard to believe right now that crypto — even with all of its flexibility and massive capabilities — could ever be like cash on the internet

article-image

Michael Saylor announced Monday morning that MicroStrategy bought 3k more bitcoin after the X account was compromised over the weekend

article-image

Plus, Pudgy Penguins grows its brand and a group of Autoglyphs sell for $14.5 million