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Author Topic: NFTs and License Terms  (Read 530 times)

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« on: January 13, 2022, 03:52 »
0
Ive had a few people contact me recently trying to get me to partner with them on NFTs, even had some say they have already made NFTs of my work after buying a license from one of the sites. My answer has always been no as these people are, for the most part, spivs who bring zero to the table from their end.

Anyway where does this fit in with existing license terms? As far as I understand it an NFT is just a receipt with the artwork hosted on a webpage the receipt points to. They are kind of implying they own the copyright I guess? But again this isnt explicit in the sale usually (I dont think?) Where do/ would you point someone to in the Terms of any of the big sites to say it isnt allowed? Could it come under no redistribution clauses even though the original file isnt distributed with the NFT? I think agencies are bit behind the times not explicitly spelling it out to be honest.

If anyone can find somewhere in the Canva terms that would be especially of interest as that is where the most recent person downloaded my work from.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 04:01 by Justanotherphotographer »


« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2022, 08:24 »
+4
Unfortunately there's nothing to stop unscrupulous chancers from selling anyone's work as a NFT, even those that have already been sold as one before. All you're buying with an image NFT is a location on the block chain saying this bit with this image attached belongs to you. Buying an NFT confers no image rights to the buyer, either copyright or the right to distribute it further or any kind of licensing at all.

I imagine none of the agencies have specific legalese in place to try to prevent image licensees minting their download as a NFT yet, but I'm sure it'll be coming soon. Not that that will stop them of course...

« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2022, 08:52 »
0
So at the moment I can't say to someone with a standard RF license that they aren't allowed to sell an NFT of my work?

« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2022, 09:29 »
+3
So at the moment I can't say to someone with a standard RF license that they aren't allowed to sell an NFT of my work?

Of course you can.  An NFT implies that someone owns a digital photo, file or whatever and is transferring ownership to someone else.  These people dont own the work.  You do.  A license doesnt change that.

« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2022, 09:44 »
0
So at the moment I can't say to someone with a standard RF license that they aren't allowed to sell an NFT of my work?

Of course you can.  An NFT implies that someone owns a digital photo, file or whatever and is transferring ownership to someone else.  These people dont own the work.  You do.  A license doesnt change that.
That's what I was hoping as licenses usually have a clause prohibiting the buyer from claiming copyright, which was always what ownership has meant. But does an NFT explicitly state person who minted it owns the copyright or is this all just implied?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 10:08 by Justanotherphotographer »

« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2022, 11:16 »
+3
NFTs can be offered without any ownership implied or required. That's why it's such a useless fad.

The record of the transaction is "secure", but that's it. I could sell as many NFTs of the Brooklyn Bridge as there would be gullible buyers to take me up on the offer.

And if there were detailed promises or terms with a deal, who would enforce that if the seller later reneged?

Anyone who uses one of your images without a license (directly) from you or an agency representing you needs to get a license. Your costs to go after them may be more than you want to pay.


« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 11:40 by Jo Ann Snover »

« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2022, 11:23 »
0
NFTs can be offered without any ownership implied or required. That's why it's such a useless fad.

The record of the transaction is "secure", but that's it. I could sell as many NFTs of the Brooklyn Bridge as there would be gullible buyers to take me up on the offer.

And if there were detailed promises or terms with a deal, who would enforce that if the seller later reneged?

Anyone who uses one of your images without a license (directly) from you or an agency representing you needs to get a license. Your costs to go after them may be more than you want to pay.

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

Thanks Jo Ann. It's pretty straight forward if they don't have a license at all (I think? doesn't an NFT "point" people a version of the image which a seller would have no right to display without some kind of license?). It would also be good if I could tell the ones who do have a license to quit it by pointing to a clause in the license forbidding it.

« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2022, 11:39 »
+1
...It's pretty straight forward if they don't have a license at all (I think? doesn't an NFT "point" people a version of the image which a seller would have no right to display without some kind of license?). It would also be good if I could tell the ones who do have a license to quit it by pointing to a clause in the license forbidding it.

None of the agencies specifically forbid offering a licensed work as part of an NFT, but you see language like (from Adobe's license page) a standard license forbidding:  "Create merchandise, templates, or other products for resale or distribution where the primary value of the product is associated with the asset itself."  I can't imagine anyone paying for an extended license to sell an NFT - but that would be analogous to selling prints with an extended license, which is allowed.

If the NFT was offering a web page with a mix of content - like syndicated articles with an embedded licensed image - I'd think that would meet the license terms. The value would be in the whole collection of content, not just the image.

Have you been able to find any specific language for an NFT offer from any of the charlatans who have contacted you? That might help to pin down if they've violated any license terms.

Edited to add links to a couple of articles explaining just how little "there" there is in NFTs. You own the record, but that's about it.

https://www.theverge.com/22310188/nft-explainer-what-is-blockchain-crypto-art-faq

https://www.protocol.com/newsletters/protocol-fintech/nft-ip-rights?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

From the above, this quote:

"The NFT rights question comes amid a swirling debate over compensating creators.... Its a debate about whether creators should retain rights forever, or whether NFT owners should reap the rewards of participating in and promoting those NFTs for the creators. With NFTs seeping into more of the broader creator world, expect to see these issues heat up."

The article below mentions one instance of a DMCA take down notice being sent to a would-be NFT seller who had ripped off the original owner of a work. But as you'll see, this is a really messy area

https://www.reuters.com/legal/transactional/what-are-copyright-implications-nfts-2021-10-29/
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 12:24 by Jo Ann Snover »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2022, 11:42 »
+1
Opinion matches mine: "NFTs are a tired pump and dump scam wrapped in high tech clothing."

Plus some background on what they are and are not.

https://mcn.edu/mcn-insights-nfts-are-a-scam/#:~:text=In%20brief%2C%20they%E2%80%99re%20a%20scam.%20An%20NFT%20is,to%20secure%20digital%20certificates%20of%20ownership%20of%20artworks.

Source:
Museum Computer Network Inc.
228 Park Avenue South, #32991
New York, NY 10003
Disclosure

MCN is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation incorporated in the State of New York, U.S.A.

« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2022, 12:23 »
0
...It's pretty straight forward if they don't have a license at all (I think? doesn't an NFT "point" people a version of the image which a seller would have no right to display without some kind of license?). It would also be good if I could tell the ones who do have a license to quit it by pointing to a clause in the license forbidding it.

None of the agencies specifically forbid offering a licensed work as part of an NFT, but you see language like (from Adobe's license page) a standard license forbidding:  "Create merchandise, templates, or other products for resale or distribution where the primary value of the product is associated with the asset itself."  I can't imagine anyone paying for an extended license to sell an NFT - but that would be analogous to selling prints with an extended license, which is allowed.

If the NFT was offering a web page with a mix of content - like syndicated articles with an embedded licensed image - I'd think that would meet the license terms. The value would be in the whole collection of content, not just the image.

Have you been able to find any specific language for an NFT offer from any of the charlatans who have contacted you? That might help to pin down if they've violated any license terms.

Thanks Jo Ann, I think that an NFT would definitely fall into "primary value of the product is associated with the asset itself."

« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2022, 12:32 »
+1
... I think that an NFT would definitely fall into "primary value of the product is associated with the asset itself."

One would think so, but look at this law firm's view of these transactions, in particular this quote: "With respect to the reproduction right, if the NFT includes a digital copy of the asset, there is potential for this to amount to an unauthorised reproduction that may amount to infringement of copyright. However, in circumstances where there is no reproduction of the underlying asset in the creation of an NFT, there is arguably no infringement. "

https://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/en/knowledge/publications/1a1abb9f/nfts-and-intellectual-property-rights

On a separate note, given agencies' general lack of vigor in pursuing infringements of other kinds, I can't imagine them going after NFT abuse of license rights. More likely they'll open an NFT marketplace! Associated Press has done it...

« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2022, 12:41 »
+2
I'm sure all the agencies are figuring out ways to sell our work as NFTs with the minimum possible royalty to the artist.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2022, 12:53 »
0
I'm sure all the agencies are figuring out ways to sell our work as NFTs with the minimum possible royalty to the artist.

And you can bet that Getty is at the head of the list of those agencies and will give us 10% in the form of some useless crypto coin that costs $50 to redeem into real money.

Now I'm getting happy that Getty disabled my news images and the last one that went to an AP source, I specifically marked as not for re-distribution. For those who might some day come across that. I sell the rights to "The Local Newspaper" who is an AP member. I get paid for one use and AP distributes the image to 1,400 newspapers to use for free. That's how the system works.

Interesting find Jo Ann

« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2022, 13:31 »
0
..
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 14:05 by cascoly »

« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2022, 13:38 »
+1
...

 As far as I understand it an NFT is just a receipt with the artwork hosted on a webpage the receipt points to. They are kind of implying they own the copyright I guess? ...

a URL can be changed or deleted, so the NFT image needs to be part of the blockchain to have any long-term integrity

« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2022, 15:48 »
0
Hello,
Can we sell as NFTs our stock images that have been sold already many times on stocks sites?
Isn't the idea that when someone buys a NFT that the image is exclusive and never used before?
Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 15:55 by Belish »

« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2022, 15:52 »
0
Hello,
Can we sell as NFTs your stock images that have been sold already many times on stocks sites?
Isn't the idea that when someone buys a NFT that the image is exclusive and never used before?
Thanks!

No.  "Buying" an NFT does not confer any rights at all.  Just "ownership" of that digital file.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 15:56 by Sean Locke Photography »


« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2022, 15:54 »
0
Yes, you can sell any image as an NFT. If you wanted you could try to improve the offer by promising all kinds of bonus sweeteners like saying it hadnt been sold before, but its not necessary. There are no rules where NFTs are concerned.

« Reply #18 on: Yesterday at 14:42 »
+2
This is an interesting read about NFTs (and also about blockchain, the nature of platforms and the difficulties of change in decentralized systems). Search for NFT if you want to skip to that part. It's worth emphasizing a point at the end about how the intermediaries - in this case OpenSea - are gatekeepers to access your secure-in-the-blockchain item.

"All this means that if your NFT is removed from OpenSea, it also disappears from your wallet. It doesnt functionally matter that my NFT is indelibly on the blockchain somewhere, because the wallet (and increasingly everything else in the ecosystem) is just using the OpenSea API to display NFTs"

https://moxie.org/2022/01/07/web3-first-impressions.html

« Reply #19 on: Yesterday at 17:42 »
+1
That is interesting. Seems to make the whole image buying thing even more inexplicably stupid.

Still, if people want to buy them, we should be there. Caveat emptor and all that.


 

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