Blockchain & NFTs

Tips & tricks to identify ownership or license rights of the NFT image.

March 9, 2022

The following tips & tricks help to identify what additional rights to the image, if any, are granted to the purchaser of the NFT. If the below yields nothing in terms of rights to the NFT image, then the purchaser should assume that the only rights granted are a limited license to the image for personal, non-commercial use. If the purchaser used the image beyond what is granted, they could be sued for copyright infringement.

Step 1: Check the terms and conditions.

Identify the NFT creator and visit their website that manages the NFT collection. Scroll to the bottom of the page, which usually has a hyperlink in the footer titled “Terms and Conditions” or something similar. Typically, the terms and conditions will describe the rights an NFT purchaser has to the image.

Step 2: Check the details on the marketplace listing.

If the NFT image is listed for sale on a marketplace, such as Opensea, the rights to the image may be listed in the “Details” section of the NFT’s listing. If there are no rights in the listing, there will likely be a website linked in the listing. If there is a website linked to the listing, follow the guidance in Step 1 above.

Step 3: Check the NFT's metadata.

Sometimes the rights being transferred are embedded inside the NFTs metadata. The metadata can be checked either manually or automatically. The methods for both are provided below:  

Automatically review the metadata:

1.    Visit the NFT's listing page on the marketplace. Locate the Contract Address and Token ID.
2.    Copy the Contract Address and Token ID, and paste it into the search field of https://checkmynft.com/.
3.    Scroll down the search results page until you locate the “Asset Storage” section and click on the “URI” link. The link will redirect you to visit the address and see the metadata.
Manually review the metadata:
1.    Visit the NFT's listing page on the marketplace. Locate the Contract Address and Token ID.
2.    Copy the Contract Address and paste it into the search field of https://etherscan.io/.
3.    Scroll down the search results page until you locate “Contract” in a tab section and click on it.
4.    Then locate and click on the tab titled “Read Contract”.
5.    Scroll down to the dropdown titled “tokenURI” and click on it.
6.    Paste the Token ID(found on the NFT's listing page on the marketplace) into the form field and click “Query”.
7.    The "String"result will either come back with an address that starts with https:// oripfs://. If the "String" result comes back with an address that starts with https://, then copy the string result and paste it into your web browser to visit the address and see the meta data. If the "String"result comes back with an address that starts with ipfs://, replace ipfs://from the query string result with ipfs.io/ipfs/ and then paste the modified string into your web browser to visit the address and see the meta data.

Step 4: Contact the NFT creator.

Identify the creator of the NFT and ask them what additional rights, if any, they are granting to the image. Often, NFT creators use Discord and Twitter. They might even be placing the terms and conditions for their NFT content on these channels too. For example, CryptoPunks uses Discord, which is where they announced their terms and conditions, rather than placing it on their website.

Step 5: Read the marketplace terms.

If the initial sale of the NFT image occurred on the marketplace, then the terms of the marketplace may govern the rights granted to the NFT’s content. For example, Jack Dorsey’s NFT Tweet was initially sold on the Valuable marketplace and is governed by this marketplace's terms.

March 9, 2022

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