NFTs and Intellectual Property

  • Infringement of the reproduction right (i.e., the restriction against reproducing or copying copyright works). If the NFT includes a digital copy of the asset, there is potential for this to create an unauthorized reproduction that may result in infringement of copyright.
  • Infringement of the communication right (i.e., the restriction against communicating copyright works to a new public or channel not originally planned by the copyright owner). The minting of an NFT linked to an underlying asset is different from making the asset available in a new forum. However, if the NFT does include a digital copy of the asset, minting the asset as an NFT may well amount to a communication to a new public that was not planned by the copyright holder. If you are minting an NFT for a digital asset that includes content or trademarks that you do not own or have a valid license to use, then you could be liable for infringing third-party intellectual property. Moreover, this means that if you do not have the necessary rights to the intellectual property that is used in your NFT, you do not have the right to grant these rights to the purchaser of your NFT either. If you misstate the rights that are being conveyed in connection with the sale of your NFT, you may be subject to added claims. Even unintentionally, exchanges or platforms that sell or display digital assets that incorporate third-party copyrights or trademarks may be subject to IP lawsuits.

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