Blockchain & NFTs

Ownership Rights of NFT Images

March 18, 2022

Copyright ownership dictates enforcement rights. If you own the copyright, you can enforce against copyright infringement.

Unless provided for in writing by the copyright holder, if you are licensing the copyright, you cannot enforce against copyright infringement. This article breaks down who is the copyright owner and who is the copyright licensee when there is a sale of an NFT image.

The copyright holder can enforce against copyright infringement of NFT images.

There is a huge lack of insight into what a purchaser is getting when they buy an NFT image. It is critical to know what is being purchased, because ownership of the copyright dictates who can enforce against copyright infringement and/or who can authorize others to enforce against copyright infringement on the owner's behalf. Only the copyright owner (aka "copyright holder") or someone that is authorized by the copyright owner can enforce against an NFT that is infringing upon copyrights.

Unless there is an assignment in writing, the NFT creator, not theNFT purchaser, is the copyright holder of the NFT image.

When a purchase of an NFT occurs, two things are happening: (i) there is a sale of the non-fungible token, which is the asset recorded on the blockchain, and (ii) there is a license of the image that is minted to that non-fungible token. The purchaser owns the non-fungible token. But, the purchaser does not own the creative content. The purchaser has only bought a license to use the creative content.The content creator owns all right, title and interest to the image associated with the NFT.

Generally, the NFT purchaser only has the right to use the NFT image for personal, non-commercial use.

Unless the NFT creator explicitly states otherwise in written form, the rights the NFT purchaser has in and to the image are limited to their own personal, non-commercial use. Any rights the purchaser has to the image applies only to the extent that the purchaser continues to own the NFT. If at any time the purchaser sells, trades, donates, gives away, transfers, or otherwise disposes of the NFT, the purchasers rights to the content immediately expire and they have no further rights in or to the image of that NFT.

March 18, 2022