• The ‘Can’t Be Evil’ licenses from a16z crypto aim to clear up NFT copyright confusion

  • a16z crypto is demystifying the world of non-fungible token (NFT) copyright licensing.

    Andreessen Horowitz’s web3-focused investment arm has created free “Can’t Be Evil” licenses specific to NFTs to help creators protect or release their intellectual property (IP), create an irrevocable baseline of IP rights for NFT holders, and outline exactly what IP rights they have, the company’s Miles Jennings, general counsel, and Chris Dixon, founder, wrote in a blog post today.

    The project’s goal is to not only make the NFT project’s copyright license more explicit, but also to eliminate potential copyright weaknesses that could lead to legal ramifications.

    “Whereas currently many NFT holders have to trust creators and previous owners to make ‘not-evil’ decisions regarding their NFTs, projects using ‘Can’t Be Evil’ licenses can make NFT ecosystems more trustless, providing holders with a minimum baseline of standard real-world rights, thereby harmonizing real-world ownership with on-chain ownership,” Jennings and Dixon stated in the release.

    Copyright has long been poorly defined in the NFT space, leading to contentious decisions. NFT project creators such as Yuga Labs and Larva Labs have issued cease-and-desist letters for derivative projects that have a resemblance to their IP, such as when Yuga sued conceptual artist Ryder Ripps in June for launching a project that was too similar to its Bored Ape Yacht Club.

    What IP rights an NFT holder has over their asset is frequently unclear, prompting one former CryptoPunk owner to sell his NFT and launch Nouns, a copyright-free initiative.

    NFT project founders can amend or delete their copyright overnight without specific copyright licensing at the commencement of a collection, as was the case with Proof Collective’s blue-chip NFT collections Moonbirds and Oddities, much to the chagrin of its NFT holders. These collections are now in the public domain and free to use.

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