How to License an NFT on Tezos and Why Should You Bother
Disclaimer: This material does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult a copyright lawyer if you plan to buy and use the NFT for commercial purposes.
For some reason, everyone assumes that buying the NFT means buying the full rights to it. Nobody forbids you to put a tezzard on your avatar, but what about selling mugs with tezzards, sewing plush lizards, and showing them in commercials or other commerce?
In the centralized world, such issues are handled by licenses. At Objkt.com and Radion.fm, you can already add a license to a token, and soon we’ll be able to license other NFTs on Tezos, too, using Tokenart.app.
What Can You License in the First Place?
The laws of most countries include the concept of copyright, i.e. the registration of ownership of intellectual or creative achievements.
A person can set forth copyright on anything they have made with their hands and mind, regardless of its artistic and practical value.
For example, one can make the source code of a program, a book and its characters, music and poetry, paintings and photographs, jewellery and furniture, a kitchen design sketch, or a topographical map of one’s city his or her own property.
To use someone else’s copyrighted work for commercial purposes, that is, to make money with it, you need to get the consent of the copyright owner. To do this, either negotiate directly with them or buy a license.
The license specifies what you can do with the work: keep it, make money with it, resell it or create a new intellectual property based on the purchase. The contract may contain additional information such as a prohibition on taking the artwork out of the country.
If a third party violates the license, the copyright owner can go to court and get compensation.
Licensing NFTs at Objkt.com
At Objkt.com, you can specify the license type for your object:
- No License / All Rights Reserved – the object cannot be used, but you can resell it;
- CC0 – public domain, you can do anything with it;
- CC-BY – you can do anything, but only if you add a reference to the source or the author;
- CC-BY-SA – you can do anything, but any derived objects must also be licensed under CC-BY-SA.
The type of license is displayed in the NFT’s characteristics. For example, MEK.txt indicates that buying the work does not give you the right to use it commercially.
Licensing is convenient for both parties. The author protects their interests with the right to unilaterally terminate the contract if it is violated, and the licensee receives confirmed access to the object of the contract.
Licensing Music at Radion.fm
The Radion.fm music marketplace invites musicians to release their tracks as NFTs as well as sell and license them for commercial use.
Most tracks are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND, so you need to link to the author and not modify the object. In theory, if you bought an NFT track on Radion.fm, you can download and incorporate it into commercial projects.
Licensing at Tokenart
Tokenart is a decentralized project for licensing and browsing NFT licenses. The platform originally started with collections on Ethereum but has now added Tezos and other blockchains. The platform is still in beta: it finds collections on Tezos by their name but does not display the objects themselves.
The licenses are better understood with an example, so we’ll use the famous BoredApeYachtClub. Every licensed token has the following:
- a detailed description of what can and cannot be done;
- permission or prohibition for commercial use;
- reference to the license terms and conditions.
To get a license for your tokens or to add an existing license to the Tokenart database, you need to go to their website and fill out a form.
Tokenart supports the following licenses:
- TA-DI – you can view, sell and rent a token;
- TA-DI-CU – can be used for commercial purposes;
- TA-DI-CU-A – can be used for commercial purposes, as well as to create and earn from NFTs based on the object;
- TA-DI-E – view, sell and rent, plus a guarantee of uniqueness, by which the author agrees not to mine more tokens with the same artwork;
- TA-DI-CU-E – commercial use plus the author guarantees the uniqueness of the token;
- TA-DI-CU-A-E – commercial use, a guarantee of uniqueness, the right to create and earn from other NFTs based on the object;
- R – mandatory royalties on the resale of NFTs.
In other words, theoretically, one can buy many TA-DI-CU-E tokens, print them on canvas, hang them over the mantlepiece, and charge people for seeing the picture.
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