In the first part of our series on NFTs, we discussed what an NFT is and what “ownership” of an NFT provides. You’ll recall that a non-fungible token is a unique blockchain-based “token” that consists of a chain of digital references to a specific intangible asset (e.g., digital files encoding music, art, video, icons, etc.).
In this instalment, we consider what NFTs could mean for IP rights creators, owners, and users.
Part 2: NFTs and IP Law
As discussed in part 1, the purchaser of an NFT cannot automatically claim ownership over the underlying digital asset, or any rights to that asset. What is acquired is simply the ability to exclusively transfer the NFT’s ownership status. What, therefore, is the value of NFTs to creators, holders, or users of intellectual property (“IP”) rights in those digital assets? Surely the NFT’s owner is the only person who can display, download or access the digital work? Not surprisingly, the answer is not as simple as many would like.