NFT artist painting on a digital tablet

How NFTs can protect creators and fortify their legal rights

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The internet has altered the landscape of creativity and intellectual property forever. With the explosion of digital art, music and literature, creatives have been empowered to share work on a level never before seen. 

As emerging technologies like blockchain-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) expand further into the digital asset space, artists and other creators need to understand when and how to use these tools to protect and boost their works.

In a time when digital content is extremely easy to copy and distribute, creators must find a better way to harness the benefits of digital distribution. Relying on government laws on copyright will not be enough to ensure that value doesn’t get lost along the way.

Digital creativity and intellectual property 

Digital creativity, intellectual property and new technologies are rapidly changing how we interact with and consume media. Creating content digitally has enabled us to express ourselves in ways that have never before been possible. We now can easily create graphics, music, videos and text that can be shared across multiple platforms. This allows us to access a variety of creative works from around the world without having to physically visit the location where it was created.

It should be no surprise that copyright laws were established only in the 18th century after access to the printing machine became reasonably accessible. Similarly, copyright laws for digital content, such as DMCA, were not approved until 1998, when 147 million users were already “surfing the web.”

Even so, more than US$225 billion is lost every year in the U.S. alone due to intellectual property rights being violated, according to estimates by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.

Nowadays, with over 5.2 billion people online, this shift in sharing content has also changed how we think about intellectual property rights. Even if they have been poorly enforced, laws have been created to better protect digital creations and help ensure fair compensation for creators of original works. 

It has become increasingly difficult for creators to protect their works as they spread across multiple platforms and devices. This is incredibly challenging when it comes to digital piracy, where it is often impossible to track down who downloaded or shared a particular piece of content.

NFTs’ potential in intellectual property

A lot has been said about the general role of NFTs for creators can be summarized in the following categories:

  • Provenance: NFTs allow the creation of a digital record of ownership and origin for creative work. This can help establish authorship and prevent intellectual property theft.
  • Immutability: NFTs are stored on a blockchain, which is an immutable ledger. This means that once an NFT is created, it cannot be altered, providing a tamper-proof record of ownership and authenticity for the creative work.
  • Traceability: The use of blockchain technology in NFTs allows for traceability, which can be useful for creators to track the ownership and resales as well as better understand their customers.
  • Monetization: NFTs can be bought, sold, and traded on blockchain marketplaces. This allows creatives to monetize their work in new ways, such as through royalties, rentals, subscriptions and membership models.
  • Accessibility: NFTs can be bought, sold and traded globally, which allows creators to connect with new audiences and expand their reach.

In addition, transactions involving digital assets can be executed almost instantly, reducing costs and friction. Because digital assets can be easily stored and transferred globally, they are accessible to many people, regardless of their location. 

The programmability of digital assets enables the development of self-executing smart contracts that automate procedures and eliminate the need for middlemen, reducing costs and facilitating the development of innovative use cases for decentralized finance and NFTs. Overall, digital assets are a better technology for creatives than anything we’ve had at our fingertips so far. Digital assets also offer extra value to the owners of the creator’s work. 

Protecting creative works 

Digital assets offer an exciting solution during a time when scarcity can only be forced artificially.

NFTs can be used to create new business models and incentivize consumers to get their content from legitimate distribution channels rather than going for pirated or unofficial ones. Companies can offer special rewards for purchasing a digital asset, such as access to exclusive content or limited-edition products. This is because digital assets can “track” each real customer for the whole customer journey and deliver a personalized experience and extra rewards that can’t be done otherwise. Creators can reward their fans at any point of their journeys by setting specific criteria that are trackable on-chain or otherwise. NFTs offer access to unique experiences and can create a customized value proposition. 

In addition, digital assets create a common ground for partnerships and interconnectivity between IPs. The transparency of this technology makes it perfect for brands to collaborate with each other and scale the value proposition of their communities.

Finally, it is important to note that while cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has the potential to provide a secure and efficient way to protect creative works, it is still a relatively new field and the legal implications of digital assets are still unclear.

A tool for creative professionals

Digital piracy can’t be fought with laws alone, and NFTs offer an excellent solution for protecting creative works in the digital age.

Only by providing a superior experience can creators safeguard their work. Fans will be incentivized to pay for a premium experience that can be accessed only through ownership of a specific NFT. 

This technology also provides an easy way for creators to secure their assets and ensure they can get rewarded for their efforts. NFTs can lay the foundation for new business models for creators and many traditional businesses.

Digital assets are poised to revolutionize the creative industry as the digital asset space continues to expand. They provide a secure and profitable solution for creative professionals, allowing them to safeguard and monetize their digital works while offering fans exceptional and exclusive experiences. Through NFTs, creators have the ability to assert control over their creations and explore new business prospects, ultimately leading to a more stable and sustainable creative environment.

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