Can you sue someone for using your NFT commercially?

The answer is, “it depends.”If you buy an NFT, you don’t purchase the artwork itself, but the token that represents it.

Can you sue someone for using your NFT commercially?



The answer is, “it depends.”
If you buy an NFT, you don’t purchase the artwork itself, but the token that represents it.

Owning the token isn’t the same thing as owning the copyrights of the underlying asset, unless it was specified in the underlying contract.

Copyright specifies what’s allowed and what isn’t, like reproducing and distributing copies of the work. Minting an NFT doesn’t transfer these rights to you automatically, unless some agreement is made between the artist and you.

Agreements used for transferring copyright must be coded in the smart contract or expressed in written terms elsewhere.

The only way you can retain IP (intellectual property) rights is through an explicit agreement signed by the creator of the original artwork. Usually the standard license agreements for owning an NFT are; the rights to use, copy, display, resale, and gift.

Some NFT projects allow commercial use and some not. Like CryptoKitties, owners can use the artwork to commercialize, given they don’t earn more than 100k per year.
Or, like BAYC, owners have commercial usage rights. They can make and sell prints, T-shirts, coffee mugs etc.

In open marketplaces like Opensea and Rarible, artists license the NFTs to you and not to the marketplace. But in marketplaces where only exclusive NFT collections are sold, the marketplace usually owns the NFTs and the IP rights.

In those marketplaces, artists are expected to grant licenses for display, distribution, and for promotional activities.

When an NFT is resold it terminates the former owner’s rights and the current owner of that NFT becomes the new license holder.

Generally, if you own an NFT you have the copyrights to resale and gift the NFT. Don’t assume you can create some artwork and sell them for commercial use. But if your intentions are beyond reselling the NFT, research the platform's license terms and conditions.

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