NFTs *are* copyright

budding note • Feb 11, 2022 •

While many argue whether NFTs are a violation of copyright, I describe the similarities between a copyright registry and NFTs. And the potential of NFTs to be a worldwide standard registry for copyright.



A copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy and distribute a creative work, usually for a limited time. [ from Wikipedia ]

How are they related?

Both seem to be doing the same thing - establishing a connection between the asset and the creator, providing them with ownership over their work, and enabling uniqueness. The only difference being that NFTs are not (yet) recognized by law.

When someone copies and tries to profit off someone else’s work, the creator can file a suit. The connection between NFTs and reality is held up by the community - the community decides which smart contract on the blockchain represents the off-chain asset.

Example: There are hundreds of CryptoPunk clones but they are still considered unique.

  1. The clones don’t have the same contract address, thus on-chain uniqueness is preserved.
  2. The community chooses to value the original tokens - the original contract is the CryptoPunk.

Maybe governments should recognize blockchains as neutral grounds for registering copyrights.

Summarizing Balaji's DeFi Matrix

Bootstrapping a Rollup

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