Intellectual property and copyright are complex concepts with lengthy and tangled histories. Copyright laws have changed and been applied in various ways across nearly as many legal countries since the 18th century. The methods firms use to enforce perceived violations of their intellectual property are just as diverse.
Games Workshop, the board game company behind the massively successful Warhammer 40,000 IP, for example, has long disenchanted its own following by actively clamping down on fan-made content on the internet. In 2019, #Disney opted to play the villain in its real-life movie when it refused to carve an image of Spiderman on the gravestone of his slain kid.
However, breaking free from old, hierarchical systems like these and empowering grassroots groups are significant pillars of #Web3’s power-to-the-people basis. So, when #NFTs began trading for hundreds of thousands of dollars, no one was surprised to witness the resurgence of arguments about project and collection IP rights, as they had with #CryptoPunks, for example.
Before being acquired by #Yuga Labs, CryptoPunks permitted collectors to use their #NFT as a profile picture, but that was it. #Bored Apes, on the other hand, allowed buyers to monetize their #Ape as long as they did not attempt to monetize the #BAYC brand itself. This spawned some fascinating ventures, such as Bored Wine Co., where you could email your Ape in to be changed into a unique label on a vintage wine.
As members in the NFT ecosystem sought a method to avoid complicated copyright conflicts while legally empowering their collectors, several initiatives began employing a #CC0 copyright license, a legal tool that some regard as a solution to these issues.
If you’ve ever wondered why so many people are thrilled about NFTs and what they signify for the empowerment of the Web3 #community, one of the actual processes propelling that forward is CC0 copyrights.
What exactly is a CC0 license?
#CC0, often known as Creative Commons, indicates “no rights reserved” regarding intellectual property. It is a type of copyright that permits authors to waive legal interest in their work and shift it as far into the public domain as feasible.
In the case of NFTs, collectors can build on or remix the art in their NFT for any purpose, including duplication, #branding, and #marketing.
With this license, you are not limited to using your NFT – you could use any NFT in the collection, even as the logo for a new firm if you choose.
This may appear counterintuitive at first. If intellectual property is so valuable, wouldn’t surrendering these rights be financial suicide? Not exactly.
Why should you utilize CC0?
The most obvious advantage of using a CC0 license is that it is more likely to increase brand awareness for your NFT project.
NFTs that are out in the world and unrestricted by copyright are free to raise awareness of your project, which plays a vital part in evaluating its value. Using a CC0 license also saves you time and money in dealing with IP theft because there is nothing to steal in the first place.
CC0 copyright is being used in an increasing number of NFT applications. Take, for example, #Goblintown, one of 2022’s most endearingly irreverent NFT initiatives. Because of the project’s CC0 license, imitations spread like wildfire.
Goblintown derivatives took over OpenSea’s volume chart in a few days, accounting for an insane 43.7 percent of overall transaction volume on the platform on June 2, 2022. Achieving cultural importance is critical to success in the NFT ecosystem, and a CC0 license is one of the most excellent methods to accomplish so.
Look at the Nouns NFT project to see how nicely a CC0 license may work. The collection was among the first to use Creative Commons. Members approved several projects that saw them collaborate with Budweiser, release a documentary, create a Nouns coffee brand, and donate money to benefit Ukrainian refugees after voting on various suggestions in the Nouns DAO addressing the usage of the NFTs in the community. The final result? The Nouns DAO Treasury presently has 26,269 ETH (nearly $43 million as of our most recent update).
Punk4156, one of the Nouns’ founders, has long been an outspoken supporter of CC0.
The project’s tremendous success is a compelling argument for the advantages of the CC0 license.
Notable Creative Commons projects
Nouns is far from the only successful project using this type of license. Chain Runners, Mfers, CrypToadz, and others have all profited from incorporating CC0 into their foundations.
This type of legal solution is a shining illustration of Web3 principles in action, and its acceptance by the NFT #community has contributed to creating something resembling the #decentralized society that many hope to see eventually.
However, like everything else in the NFT arena, CC0 is not a one-size-fits-all application, and each project will have unique requirements.
The CC0 ownership controversy
While CC0 licenses appear to be a great representation of Web3’s decentralized nature, the NFT community is divided on their value, function, and implementation.
For example, roughly five months after the project’s inception, Moonbirds’ major statement that they would move to a CC0 license created a fascinating discussion among artists and collectors in the sector.
“So, what’s the sense of owning a #NFT under a CC0 license versus, say, right-clicking and saving it on your PC?”
In response to the announcement, well-known collector and NFT thought leader #Pranksy posed in a tweet. “I want my ownership to be recognized, whether through commercial or personal use rights. I don’t want radical groups to use it and have no reason to fight.“
Pranksy’s argument is based on the concept of exclusivity and the symbolic significance of owning digital art.
Yes, the #blockchain provides an indelible record of that #ownership, but does letting everyone utilize that work for personal and commercial purposes detract from the fact that it was owned in the first place?
Cath Simard, a wilderness photographer and NFT artist disagrees. Simard noted how releasing the rights to digital art only serves to improve the value of the original, independent of what people do with the piece, using her #freehawaiiphoto as an example of an artwork licensed under CC0.
Pranksy makes an essential distinction between a project that goes CC0 from the start and one that changes its mind after the fact like Moonbirds did. Is it a wrong move on behalf of the project if an owner bought into a project is suddenly taking away the CC0 license? Furthermore, what duties should developers accept in such instances in relation to collectors who feel this way?
It will be interesting to watch how this division manifests itself in project #DAOs. If there is enough dissatisfaction in a community with a decision to make a previously protected #IP CC0, for example, projects may see members presenting suggestions to change or influence the decision.
This dispute is part of a broader and continuing debate in the Web3 world over how #centralized the #space is and should be. Despite the lip respect paid to the principle of #decentralization by community members and #project #developers, it is evident that it is not a broad brushstrokes solution to #Web2 problems that should be implemented in all instances.
The CC0 argument demonstrates that no one truly knows how to weigh the benefits and cons of decentralization that come with both its implementation and absence.
As early contributors to the next version of the web and the creative economy that has sprung from it, it has been a delight to see the healthy and novel dialogues that have arisen as a result of the possibilities that Web3 entails.