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Do you become the copyright owner when you purchase an NFT on OpenSea?

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AttorneySteve

AttorneySteve

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Attorney Steve® Digital Asset Essentials - NFT and Smart Contracts on Etherium and Copyright Ownership

A lot of people are talking about NFT's being the next BIG THING technology-wise.  This may be true as we have seen some people generate some whopping sales prices (Twitter owners first tweet was minted and sold for 2.4 million) using cryptocurrency to purchase digital assets such as digital characters, artwork, landscape photos, .eth domains, land in the metaverse (ex. Superworld, Decentraland and the Sandbox) and much more.  But, many people do not know what "rights of ownership" you actually get.  By making a purchase on a web marketplace like OpenSea.io does one become the new owner of the digital art?  Generally speaking, they do not.  Instead, they are buying a "non-fungible token" (thus the term NFT), which is really just a way of saying you have purchased a unique, potentially rare, work of art represented as a token with the sale recorded on the blockchain (such as etherium).

If you want the rights to reproduct the digital art offline, or to make merchadise bearing the art, or even the right to make "derivatives" of the copyrighted work, you should consider having a SEPARATE CONTRACT with the creator that spells out exactly what you are getting when you make the purchase.  If not, the smart contract will control, and what you are typically purchasing is the right to list and resell the token (usually with the original creator having a right to a percentage of that sale).

This is a nuance some are aware of, but many I have talked to are not.  Heck, most people just look at me like I am crazy when I say NFT's are awesome.

At any rate, I hope you like this podcast, and if you a separe copyright assignment or transfer agreement, deed of license, or other IP legal assistance you know where to find us.

 

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