NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored

 Content overview

  • NFT has caused new infringement issues, which will make artists feel frustrated;

  • From a larger perspective, although there are problems, NFT has not been paid attention to because it has brought new sources of income to artists.

If you want to pick a key word for 2021, then "NFT" will be selected in all likelihood.

NFT, or non-homogeneous token, is a non-replicable virtual asset that cannot be divided and there is no need to worry about theft. Since the blockchain is a decentralized, publicly viewable and tamper-proof ledger, the virtual goods you have can verify the scarcity. These virtual goods can be part or all of digital art, or they can be in popular culture. Some classic moment.

Although many people are still a little confused and puzzled by the NFT boom and the technology behind it, no one denies one thing: NFT is really profitable! In recent weeks, buyers have invested heavily in NFT works. For example, a series of NFT collections by the musician and visual artist Grimes were sold for more than $6 million; the famous crypto artist Beeple’s NFT work "Everydays: The First 5000" "Days" was bought by the founder of NFT fund Metapurse Metakovan at Christie's at a "sky price" of US$69.34 million.

However, with the rise of "hype" a little bit, the NFT craze has also triggered a debate about the original meaning of digital assets and Internet copyright. Some people believe that NFT can ease the long-standing tension between creators and technology platforms; but some people feel that , NFT has triggered new forms of piracy and infringement.

What are people buying?

NFT is not a new concept. It has appeared in the crypto market since 2017. At that time, a company called Dapper Labs launched a unique digital cat cartoon decentralized application called "cryptocat" CryptoKitties, which quickly triggered The market is frantic, and some crypto cat NFTs can even be sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Although the market has been silent for a while, when we enter 2021, NFT has made a comeback, and the product range has been further expanded, and it is no longer limited to those cute kittens that year.

Nowadays, the scope of NFT can cover almost all digital file content, such as:

  • American rock band Kings of Leon and cryptocurrency startup Yellowheart recently launched the "NFT Yourself" series to celebrate the release of its new album "When You See Yourself". It is reported that Kings of Leon was the first band to release an album in the form of NFT. The NFT auction of the new album at Opensea, the NFT trading platform, finally sold 766.4 ETH, or about 1.4 million U.S. dollars. Currently the most expensive NFT in the series is "Golden Ticket: Bandit #2 Wave", which sells for 89 ETH.

  • Banksy, the most iconic street artist in the UK, destroyed a £70,000 artwork "Morons" (idiot) in a secret location in Brooklyn, New York. The destruction process was broadcast live to a global audience, and then he made this work. NFT because he believes that digital art forms will be the future of the industry. The connotation of this £70,000 work is intended to mock collectors for buying expensive artists. The new "Morons" will become an NFT on the SuperFarm market, and the auction will soon start. The winning bidder will receive a unique digital code to identify the work and a certificate of authenticity. Part of the funds from this auction transaction will be donated to charity mechanism.

  • And Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (Jack Dorsey), his first tweet NFT bid for more than 2 million US dollars. Tesla founder Elon Musk also announced that he would make a song about NFT into an NFT for sale. Crypto artist Beeple quickly responded that he was willing to pay a high price of $69 million.

NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored

Then, under the hot "appearance", the crypto community also questioned NFT: What are people buying? After all, anyone can easily copy these NFT "crafts" (legal or illegal) as long as they can connect to the Internet and have a basic understanding of software knowledge. If you can print Jack Dorsey’s tweet directly or embed it on your website, why bother to "own" the tweet?

NFT supporters may tell you that although the “art” they bought looks (or sounds) exactly the same as the copy on the Internet, they have a version with a unique ownership certificate (which can be regarded as a serial number) Or the original creator's signature), this certificate is "engraved" on the blockchain to create a tamper-proof transaction record and show the world who the owner of the work is. For NFT believers, this means that they have at least the "uniqueness" of one piece of work, and NFT owners also claim that their digital art is "authentic." In the past, an original painting signed by an artist might be worth millions of dollars, but now, in the digital world, this painting might be broken into "tens of thousands" and then pasted in college students' dormitories.

However, these NFT owners may be surprised to find that what they "own" is actually very limited.

Law professors like to tell students one thing: property is like a bundle of sticks, each stick in the bundle represents the right to do something, for example, you have the right to sell property, harvest property, or destroy property, and so on. Copyright is also a kind of property, and it is true in reality, and copyright contains more "sticks", such as the right to broadcast audio and video, and image sales, which is more than many people realize.

In terms of sports competitions and music performances, lawyers are doing their best to ensure that their clients—sports, film, and song stars—will own most of their ownership. For fans, buying NFT is just a license. This license allows fans to display or transfer related works almost without being affected by legal issues. However, there are exceptions. For example, the NFT issued by the NBA-known as "Highlights" "Moments", buyers cannot modify these "high-light moments" videos, nor can they display them in a way that the NBA league considers annoying or offensive.

Certain restrictions imposed by NFT on content have exceeded the restrictions imposed by physical cards. Also take the NBA’s NFT as an example. On the opposite physical star card, collectors can adjust the content of the card at will, such as drawing a beard on the player’s face, or attaching some interesting pictures, which NFT cannot do. . Of course, physical star cards also have some restrictions. Major sports leagues will protect intellectual property rights. Therefore, you cannot print the pictures on the star card on a T-shirt for the first time. These rights are definitely broader than those attached to the NFT.

NFT is a new form of property, but it also brings a new form of piracy

Tonya Evans, an intellectual property scholar at Penn State University Dickinson, also recently studied blockchain and NFT, and wrote a paper analyzing the "CryptoKitties Phenomenon in 2018". She believes that NFT provides an important new way for creators , Enabling them to connect with fans and make money from them.

Tonya Evans found that many black artists are at the forefront of the NFT boom. These trendy artists will use channels such as the new social media audio application Clubhouse to promote and sell their works. Because NFT technology provides a way to go online The above method will not be "infinitely copied", so artists can easily prove that a certain digital work is unique. She further explained:

"You can code for the integrity of your work. High technology has begun to'threat' the music industry. Anyone can perfectly copy original music. Now NFT may be the best technology to solve this problem."

Tonya Evans believes that NFT technology does provide creators with new opportunities. We have seen artists such as Grimes and Beeple sell their works at high prices through NFT, but at the same time, other "less well-known" artists can also use NFT to make money. They are using platforms like Nifty Gateway and OpenSea to sell limited edition sneakers and trendy shoe boxes. In this sense, NFT tokens are an unprecedented "new currency"!

However, can NFT effectively prevent piracy? The answer is not entirely true.

Just like other profitable things on the Internet, the NFT boom has attracted some "bad guys" who want to profit from other people's work. For example, there was an artist recently who released a number of digital paintings under the name "Weird Undead", but soon the artist discovered that someone had stolen her work and produced it for NFT sale.

NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored

Last week, Weird Undead submitted a series of legal notices to OpenSea (currently the largest NFT trading market), and her fans also submitted legal notices to OpenSea, requiring the platform to be able to block relevant NFT transactions. In Weird Undead’s words, this is A "crazy and meaningless copyright infringement." It is reported that the imitators of Weird Undead have been using the "Tokenized Tweets" ID to sell their works.

Not only that, but the tweets of some of the big names in the crypto industry have also been used to make NFT auctions, including CoinShares' Meltem Demirors and Coin Center's Neeraj Agrawal:

NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored

In fact, the issuance of unauthorized NFTs is just the tip of the iceberg surrounding the issue of NFT piracy. There is a more serious potential problem, namely: the emergence of competitive blockchain services, each blockchain can guarantee that the NFT they provide is the only authoritative record. This situation is similar to that in a small town where there are two competing service agencies to register land deeds, or two auction houses each claim the legal ownership of the artwork. For the emerging NFT industry, this problem may be an unavoidable display problem. The market must have a final conclusion, namely: who can prove the uniqueness of a given token.

So far, some large-scale NFT trading platforms in the market have begun to cooperate, and they basically agree to identify "a token" as unique, even if the token is passed from one forum to another The uniqueness of the forum will not be affected when it is transferred from one platform to another. But this did not prevent Binance blockchain users from hosting "rogue tokens" on the network. They directly imitated the existing NFT works on Ethereum. For example, "Binance Punks" imitated "Crypto Punks" and "Bashmasks" imitated " Hashmasks", even the title of the work is very similar.

Although trademark law and copyright law provide some remedies, because the nature of blockchain is borderless and decentralized, it is difficult for artists to find pirates or infringers and sue them. This can explain why the Binance network has recently Some of the behaviors are disturbing, and the crypto community can only express their dissatisfaction through some non-legal measures, such as disclosing such unethical behavior on social media such as Twitter.

For those creators who make a living from artistic work, the issue of NFT copyright is indeed a headache. However, although NFT may cause a lot of trouble, many people are still optimistic that compared to these problems, the compensation that artists get under this new form of income is still very attractive, and this may reshape us Views on copyright and the Internet.

How to seek a breakthrough in NFT copyright issues?

Since the mid-1990s, consumers have begun to use the Internet on a large scale, but even during the Internet dividend period, it has been mixed for artists, writers, and other content creators. On the one hand, the Internet provides a huge new platform that can quickly attract fans and find new audiences; on the other hand, there are also a large number of pirates on the Internet, copying and selling artists' works. At the same time, large-scale technology platforms such as Amazon and Spotify have enjoyed virtual monopoly privileges when selling digital works, resulting in very little share for artists in the end.

In the past 20 years, there have been many debates surrounding the issue of Internet copyright policy, especially in the entertainment industry. Some people accuse technology enthusiasts of supporting piracy and robbery of artists, and some people (mainly opponents) believe that the Internet industry should lobby Congress to amend the copyright law, because the copyright law is too strict and easy to be abused-Cardoso Law School Block Chain expert Aaron Wright believes that the rise of NFT will help end this debate.

Aaron Wright explained: "I think the Internet has provided mass distribution services for the media for a long time, but there has not been a monetization solution that works well. NFT can help make up for this shortcoming." Aaron Wright specifically pointed out, NFT provides artists with a way to sell scarce and unique digital versions of their works. This scarcity means that they can not only enjoy new sources of income, but also get additional income when reselling NFTs. With such a Nifty Gateway The emergence of NFT trading platforms has provided convenience for more people to access NFT. Aaron Wright further stated that, from a broader perspective, after artists have the ability to sell NFTs independently, they may eliminate some long-standing resentment over copyright issues. In the past, the online distribution business model was to sell as much as possible to loyal fans More copies, so that you can get more profits in exchange for fewer products, but now, NFT can directly benefit creators.

Of course, Aaron Wright is not the only one who has seen the "creator economic paradigm" have changed. The founding editor of Wired, Kevin Kelly, wrote a classic article "1000 loyal fans" in 2008. "(1000 True Fans), which predicts that the Internet will change the economics of creative activities, this article has gone viral among venture capitalists and technology observers in recent weeks. Kevin Kelly’s ultimate vision is to make the Internet the ultimate matchmaker and to promote mutual benefit for everyone in the 21st century. Creators-no matter how large the niche market is-can more easily find their true fans, who are willing to show their enthusiasm through real money. If you are a craftsman, photographer, musician, designer, writer, animator, app maker, entrepreneur or inventor, you don’t need a "million-level customer", you only need 1,000 loyal fans . Although "1000 loyal fans" was ten years ago, with the advent of NFT, Kevin Kelly's prediction seems to be becoming a reality.

Technology blogger Will Oremus believes that more and more Internet users are tired of large platforms like Facebook, which use algorithms to push content to users and output "emotions", so many users are gradually moving to smaller forums, such as SubStack or Clubhouse, these platforms can establish closer community connections. If Will Oremus is correct, these "small communities" will bring new opportunities for creators to make money more easily on the Internet (including NFT).

Of course, the above analysis all expressed optimism about the prospects of NFT, but in fact, some people expressed doubts about NFT, including Litecoin founder Charlie Lee, who poured cold water on NFT on Twitter:

NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored

Li Qiwei believes that the true value of the artwork has not been transferred to the NFT. If everyone can perfectly copy the "Mona Lisa" on their own walls, it means that most people don't really care whether they need to have a so-called "reality". Sex certificate". For example, the biggest difference between the traditional star card and NBA TopShot is that even if the star card manufacturer and the NBA league go bankrupt, the physical card can still retain its value. For example, if the star card company Fleer goes bankrupt, the value of their Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card issued in 1986 will not be affected at all, and it can still sell for more than $500,000 today.

NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored

Li Qiwei showed the above painting on Twitter. He thinks this painting is very vivid because it reflects the real situation. Everyone in the world can download a song for 1 dollar, and then enjoy the beautiful music, but a song What is the value of the NFT?

Nearly a quarter of 2021 has passed, and NFT seems to surprise us every day. In addition to Christie’s, the well-known auction platform Sotheby’s has also begun to pay attention to the development of the NFT field. Charles Stewart, the CEO of the auction house, announced on March 17 that it will auction the NFT works of the well-known artist PAK next month. This at least shows that it is still Many people recognize the value of NFT and are willing to pay a lot of money for it.

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NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored NFT generates income for artists, but the problem of infringement caused by it cannot be ignored Reviewed by Nischal Lal Shrestha on November 26, 2021 Rating: 5

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