The topic of NFTs and how they relate to intellectual property rights is an iffy one. There are some NFTs that grant intellectual property rights to their holders, such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club. So far, we’ve seen a restaurant pop up that leverages the image and likeness of the apes and Seth Green is working on an animated series that features one of his Bored Apes.
But on the other hand, the intellectual property rights of those who create NFTs are still unclear, as can be seen with Nike’s current lawsuit against a reseller. Needless to say, NFTs and IP are complicated.
However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the United States Copyright office have announced an incoming study that will delve into the issue.
The Incoming Study
If you’ve been keeping up with the blockchain space, you’re likely aware of the growing issue of NFTs and how they affect intellectual property rights. Well, it seems US Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis thought so as well. The two previously filed a request for NFTs to be looked into by the US government.
This request has been successful as the two offices will be carrying out the study and will consult with Leahy and Tillis in its initial stages. In the later stages of the study, those who are considered stakeholders and knowledgeable in the NFT space will be consulted as well.
Among the topics to be explored are the IP challenges that might affect the NFT sector in the future, protection for creators, the transfer of IP rights via NFTs, the application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to NFTs, and so on.
All of these are pressing matters, especially as NFTs are being more widely used. Apart from those who are launching ventures with their own NFTs, the image and likeness of others are being intertwined with new collections, and NFTs are even being commercially licensed to others.
This will, naturally, cause some complications and we are already seeing lawsuits challenging where the rights of NFT holders start and stop. But if this study is successful, a better understanding can be had by the Trademark and Copyright offices of how NFTs work in relation to IP rights.
The result of that will be regulations that will protect the creators, buyers, and users of NFTs.
The Rights of NFTs
This study by the two offices is clearly a step in the right direction for the NFT community. It means, first, that regulators are paying attention to the space and everything happening within it. It also means that we might be getting new regulations soon that will protect the rights of those within the community.
It is like that in the future, there will be less confusion about what rights NFT holders have and what can be done with NFTs without violating any intellectual property laws. Overall, this should spell fewer lawsuits and a clearer understanding across the NFT world.