Can NFT be copyrighted? Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that have an owner and a set of attributes. These attributes can include the name of the token, its rarity, an image or video of the token, and more. In essence, NFTs are like any other kind of digital asset—they can be owned and traded digitally.
Can NFT be copyrighted?
Yes, they can be. But only if they’re original, and that’s a pretty high bar to meet.
In order to be copyrighted, a work must be “original” in that it was independently created by the author (i.e., it didn’t rely on other people’s ideas), and it must possess at least some amount of creativity. So if you copy someone else’s work, or use an idea from another person as the basis for your own work, then you can’t copyright it because they are not “original” or “creative.”
So if you create a new video game with your own characters and story line, then you can copyright that game because it is original (you made it up yourself) and creative (it has a story line). However, if you make a new video game that has similar characters or similar gameplay mechanics as another game that already exists out there in the world (like Mario Brothers), then you cannot copyright your new game because those elements came from another source—another game—and therefore are not original enough to be copyrighted themselves.
Can NFT be copyrighted in the United States?
It depends. The short answer is that, no, NFTs cannot be copyrighted in the United States. However, the longer answer is that there are some caveats to this claim and it’s possible for NFTs to be copyrighted in other countries.
This is due to a concept called “derivative works.” A derivative work is something new that takes elements from a preexisting work and adds its own creative work to it. For example, if I wrote a book about dragons and you wrote a song about dragons that used my book as source material, your song would be a derivative work of my book.
The issue with NFTs is that they cannot be treated as preexisting works because they’re not fixed in any way—they exist only through their use on the blockchain network and can’t be copied or duplicated. So if you were to create an entirely original piece of art using NFTs as source material, it would not be considered a derivative work of the original source material because there was no preexisting work from which to derive inspiration from (or copy).
However, copyrights are typically granted to works that are more than just unique. They’re also creative and original and offer some kind of insight into the author’s mind. So even though an NFT can’t be copied or modified without changing its identifier, it still might not be eligible for copyright protection.