Is It Possible to Get Copyright Protection For an NFT?

Everyone has seen the NFT news reports. A signed tweet by Twitter’s creator, Jack Dorsey, sold for over $3 million as an NFT. A JPG of Beeple’s ‘every day,’ a famous work by the artist, sold for $69 million at an NFT auction. Exactly what’s going on right now?

Owning an NFT is equivalent to purchasing an original work of art at an auction. This implies that the buyer acknowledges the digital art in the same manner as they would own an actual painting regarding legal ownership. The copyright, on the other hand, will not be theirs. Things may become a little muddy on the internet, as they can with everything.

To begin, I should point out that I am not a lawyer. Make an appointment with a lawyer to discuss your concerns. This is a digital art and poster design blog, after all. However, I believe you’ll agree that I make some valid arguments.

What is an NFT?

For example, an NFT token is one that can’t be traded for another token.

Bitcoin and the dollar are both fungible tokens. Every bitcoin and every dollar is fungible, implying that they all have the same worth. It wouldn’t matter if I swapped your dollars for mine. Each would be worth exactly one dollar.

Non-fungible means each object is unique. Original art is non-fungible and unmatched. It cannot be exchanged for another piece of art since dollars are interchangeable.

This article on becoming an NFT artist is a great resource to make a career selling your digital artwork.

To make money selling digital artwork, you should check out this article on How NFTs can change the future for artists?

How do NFTs work?

For the most part, NFTs are a component of the Ethereum ledger. Ethereum, like dogecoin and bitcoin, is digital money. Ethereum’s blockchains and ETH support NFTs. NFTs are starting to appear on several other blockchains.

Signature and proof of sale, both contained in NFT’s code.

Why do you think this is? As long as the NFT is part of the artwork, there is no way to forge, duplicate, or copy it. Digital art is becoming more collectible because of its distinctiveness, which has fueled the current surge in the market.

NFTs may made by duplicating an image or taking a photo. In this article, Can NFTs Be Copied? We explore these and other issues—7 Facts to Consider.

NFT’s and Art

An NFT is a digital certificate that certifies the buyer owns the work of art.

It is considerably easier to verify ownership with NFTs since they demonstrate that a particular person is the rightful owner of a digital item. Therefore, digital art is more readily available for purchase and sale.

With the success of NFTs like Beeple, the digital art market is now expanding, with individuals like Beeple selling individual digital assets for record sums. Nonetheless, it’s not only emerging artists who are getting engaged; large corporations and organizations are as well. For example, licensed digital collections of the NBA are available as NFTs for purchase.

If you’re starting with NFTs, you should read this article first:

What the hell is NFT? How does it work?

Copyright law and art

As a tangible or digital item, the work of art does not fall within the purview of copyright. It took it out of context.

By default, a US artist owns a piece of art (work for hire is a separate story). Artwork copyright is generated during creation. Oil paintings, records, digital art, and anything in between are all fair game.

When it comes to copyright, there are several “rights” to consider. The following are among the things they have to offer:

When it comes to copyright, there are several “rights” to consider. The following are among the things they have to offer:

  • Control over the production of identical duplicates of the original work.
  • Control over the copyright’s sale, license, or transfer.
  • Derivatives producers have a right to know who can make them (new works based on the original).

The work’s copyright does not transfer with the purchase of a tangible piece of art, such as an original painting. The artist or whoever owns them retains ownership of them (like an estate).

When you own a tangible thing, you have the right to exhibit, sell, lend, but not copy it. Even selling prints would be out of the question. The copyright holder retains the ability to do so.

Even if you were successful, you’d still have to deal directly with the original owner to get those rights.

It’s not only in the NFT art world that copyright matters, but in the world of fan art. That’s why we’ve come across this piece, which may be helpful in these two contexts.

Making NFTs subject to copyright

Digital art is no different from traditional, non-digital art in any way. Theoretically, the same copyright and property ownership restrictions apply here, as well. However, the lack of oversight over NFTs creates a hazy and confusing situation.

Because of this, artists have been dealing with copyright infringement issues long before NFTs (look at the point of digital piracy in the film, music, and ebook industry).

The vast majority of the time, you’ll be purchasing your digital art NFT through an auction house or eBay-like marketplace. An individual oil painting or statue may be sold via auction houses and eBay, linking sellers with buyers interested in tangible goods.

NFT markets, on the other hand, use digital assets to perform the same thing.

Buyers and sellers agree on the conditions of the transaction in both circumstances. In the case of a first-time purchase from an artist, the artist sets the terms and conditions for the transaction. The selling of copyright is rarely part of this deal.

Purchasing an NFT of original digital art from the artist is the same as buying tangible artwork from its owner. In other words, unless stated otherwise, you are not buying copyright but rather the right to use a digital item.

When purchasing, selling, or minting (producing) an NFT, read the conditions of sale thoroughly to ensure that you understand precisely what you’re getting yourself into. NFT artwork is assumed to be yours if you do not get a copyright assignment from your purchase, even if the vendor does not explicitly state this.

In other words, you would be able to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of the NFT (the digital asset) to someone else. It would not share the copyright of the digital item with you, and you would not be able to produce copies or derivatives of it.

Copies in a Digital Age: Your Legal Right to Make Them

Things become a little messy and challenging to enforce at this point.

Buying an NFT and posting a digital artwork to your social media account creates a digital copy of the original painting.

Unless the conditions of sale specifically say that you hold the copyright, this constitutes copyright infringement. If the artist or copyright holder files a takedown notice, you are expected to remove the offending content.

But there are still numerous concerns to be worked out between digital art NFTs and copyright law. Is it a crime, for example, to mint or sell artwork that you don’t own?

The phenomenon is becoming increasingly common. Fortunately, copyright law provides artists with legal recourse if this occurs.

An NFT might profit from using smart contracts in the future, but how?

A smart contract enables NFT owners describe transferred rights. Beeple’s NFTs allow him to get a 10% royalty on resold digital artworks, for example.

This article goes into much more depth on How Does NFT Prove Ownership?


You should be aware of your legal rights regardless of whether you are an artist, a collector, or a financial investment.

Make sure that only the rights you want to transfer are included in the conditions of sale for your NFT if you are the inventor. If you are a buyer, read the conditions of purchase thoroughly so that you know exactly what you’re getting into.

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