A decade ago, ‘NFTs’ were rarely heard of or known to anyone, unless they worked in or kept up with the tech world. However, they are not new - they have been around for almost two decades. Their popularity has grown over the past few years. ‘NFT’ stands for ‘non-fungible token’. An NFT is a digital file with a unique identity that is verified on a blockchain and is therefore not interchangeable - i.e., a kind of crypto asset, like an authentication certificate for digital artifacts. In theory, NFTs can represent almost any real or intangible property. These days, it seems as though what can be an NFT is limited only by one’s imagination. Since NFTs were a relatively unheard-of phenomenon until late 2020, there was no real focus on regulating them. With their boost in popularity, that can no longer continue. Unfortunately, our current legal system does not have an adequate way of addressing the arising issues. The goal of this paper was to look at traditional intellectual property rights laws as they stand today and analyze whether they can be applied to NFTs in their current iterations, or whether (and how) these laws need to be adapted to adequately address the issues with NFTs. This paper looks at three different branches of IPR laws - copyright, trademark, and patent. This paper also discusses two experiments conducted by the author - buying An NFT and creating and attempting to sell an NFT of her own artwork.
Mariyah S. Wakhariya,
New Frontiers in Technology: Can Traditional Intellectual Property Rights Laws Be Adapted and Applied to NFTs?,
Cath. U. J. L. & Tech
Available at: https://scholarship.law.edu/jlt/vol31/iss2/9
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