The first NFT was created in 2015, and since then, the popularity of this new type of blockchain asset has only grown to reach a fever pitch in 2021.
If you have spent any amount of time online and especially on social media forums, you have probably come across the acronym.
NFT means non-fungible token, and it is a blockchain-based asset storing data on another asset. For instance, the most common NFTs currently represent art pieces such as digital images.
They help describe the art and hold ownership information and other crucial information.
However, with the growing popularity of NFTs, there has also been a growing concern for copyright infringement cases perpetrated by most NFT creators.
This article will look into NFT copyright issues, whether these tokens can be copied, and how to create your first non-fungible token.
Can NFT art be copied?
Yes, NFT art, like almost any other piece of art, can be copied and distributed unlimited times over the internet. It’s worth noting that non-fungible tokens cannot protect any asset from duplication or copyright infringement. Instead, they can only help identify ownership rights over an asset.
NFTs can be used to represent a broad array of assets, including:
- Video files;
- Audio files;
- Virtual gaming merchandise; and
- Virtual property, including pieces of land and housing structures, etc.
A common trait among these items is that they all exist as digital media, which lends them to virtually limitless duplication.
Any image on the internet can easily be duplicated and downloaded without permission from the copyright owner.
Even physical pieces of art have been susceptible to duplication. Artists can easily recreate a famous painting if their art is good enough, and sometimes, clients are duped into buying the fake art.
Digital art is much easier to duplicate since no special skills are needed to recreate a replica of the original file. All anyone needs is an internet connection and storage device to hold the file after downloading it.
It is an oversight for some NFT critics to claim that non-fungibles lead to copyright infringement when this phenomenon has existed for several decades.
NFTs are only a new application of something that has always existed, making it easier and efficient.
Anyone can create a non-fungible token of anything they wish, even a tweet or a webpage. You do not require permission from the copyright holder, just as long as you can pay the NFT creation fees on the host platform.
Can you make an NFT of someone else’s art?
Yes, you can create a non-fungible token representing someone else’s artwork, including digital art, music file, or video on YouTube.
It is why most artists are concerned about the impact of NFTs on their work, given that anyone can create an NFT of the same and sell it without requesting permission from the original creator.
Copyright infringement cases have been rising as more artists jump aboard the NFT bandwagon and start to interact with their fans on the blockchain space.
Most are running into their art pieces being sold by unknown individuals without the copyright owner’s express permission.
Given that NFTs can be created to represent anything, some individuals are creating non-fungible tokens of web pages from websites they do not manage or own.
A good example is the Twitter bot @tokenizedtweets which automatically converts any tweet into an NFT, which can then be sold off on NFT marketplaces.
Most people who tweet their work have no idea that their art pieces have been stolen and sold by nefarious followers.
What can you do with an NFT?
NFTs have several uses, and the innovative blockchain community is constantly coming up with new use cases for applying the trending technology.
Here are some of the more common ways to use NFT:
Using NFT to represent digital is perhaps the most common way to use NFT. Digital art can be anything from images, photographs, videos, and audio files.
The process of creating a digital art NFT involves creating the art, then tokenizing it to the blockchain, whereby you provide a detailed description of the art and prescribe ownership properties to the token.
Gaming is another popular application for NFT. Since the early days of Bitcoin, gaming has become a great use case for blockchain allowing game developers to design thriving in-game economies.
With the launch of NFTs, gaming merchandise can easily be tokenized and sold within or without the host game environment.
It is not uncommon to see valuable gaming merchandise such as fighting shields, swords, or even game characters being auctioned in NFT marketplaces.
The ticketing industry is an excellent NFT use case, given the need for authentication and ease of verification of tickets. Digital tickets are susceptible to duplication, making them less effective than physical tickets.
However, with the advent of NFT, these tickets can be tokenized and sold to fans.
Event organizers can more accurately control ticketing, and fans can be assured that they are buying genuine tickets to support their favorite teams or artists.
You may or may not be familiar with this, but there are new online platforms that support the use of virtual parcels of land, such as Decentraland.
To own a piece of this land, you need to purchase an NFT title which is similar to the physical property title except that it is tokenized on the blockchain.
Even physical land can now be tokenized and sold on the blockchain as NFT.
Is NFT copyright?
No non-fungible tokens are not copyrights. They are pieces of data existing on the blockchain, and given that anyone can create a transaction on a public blockchain such as Ethereum, anyone can create an NFT to represent any asset they wish.
The fact that anyone can create NFTs to represent anything creates a copyright concern.
Some artists report that their work is getting stolen, and NFTs are created out of this work without their permission.
Is NFT bad for artists?
Non-fungible tokens are not necessarily bad for artists. Most artists have found a great way to monetize their work through NFTs, something that was difficult to do previously.
In the past, artists could create and sell their work on some marketplaces, and the work could be resold without artists getting any kind of royalties.
Often, their art could be stolen and sold through duplication or used for commercial purposes without any kind of compensation.
Now, with NFTs, artists can include royalty clauses when creating the tokens, which give them a cut of any future sales of the work of art.
NFTs also give artists a way to correctly attribute and describe their work in an immutable platform, i.e., the blockchain.
How do artists feel about NFTs?
Artists have mixed feelings about NFTs due to the benefits and drawbacks of the new asset class.
On the positive side, NFTs make it easier for artists to be compensated for their work. NFTs are easier to sell, and the artists have access to the global marketplace.
On the negative side, NFTs do not protect the artists’ work, and given that anyone can create an NFT, most have opted to steal art and tokenize it as their own, sell it, and pocket all the proceeds. Artists are yet to find a long-lasting solution to this problem.
Can you sell anything as an NFT?
Yes, you can sell almost anything as a non-fungible token. NFTs represent anything from digital art to virtual land and in-game merchandise, including images, music, and video files.
Some artists are even converting their offline creations into digital versions then recording them to the blockchain as NFTs.
Can you create your own NFT? How?
Anyone can create a non-fungible token, and the process may be technical, but it is simple to follow. Here is the rundown of how to create your first NFT:
Step 1 – Get a digital wallet, preferably a web wallet such as Metamask, Coinbase web wallet, or use a web3-compatible browser such as Opera or Brave with inbuilt crypto wallets.
Step 2 – Load your wallet with some Ether (ETH) coins assuming that you prefer to create your NFT on the Ethereum platform. There are other options for a blockchain, such as Binance Smart Chain, Tezos, or Flow, among others.
Whichever blockchain you pick, make sure to load the native currency of that blockchain in your wallet to enable you to pay the minting fees.
Step 3 – Create an account in an NFT marketplace that allows users to mint non-fungible tokens such as OpenSea, Rarible, or Binance NFT Marketplace.
There are different procedures to create accounts, but on OpenSea, all you need is to connect your digital wallet.
Visit the OpenSea homepage and click the wallet icon on the top right side of the main navigation bar.
This action will reveal a dropdown menu with a list of supported wallet providers. Choose a wallet provider of your choice and follow the procedure to connect it to OpenSea.
Step 4 – Create your NFT. You can see a big button labeled [Create] on the homepage, as shown in the above image. Click on it after you successfully connect your digital wallet and provide the description of your art.
You can provide information such as the size of the art in terms of physical dimensions, some background data, and the owner/creator.
Once you are done, you will be prompted to mint the token onto the Ethereum blockchain by paying the minting fees, which will be deducted from your wallet after authorizing the transaction.
OpenSea will deposit your NFT in your wallet once the transaction is successfully processed onto the blockchain, and you can now sell the NFT on the OpenSea marketplace or any other NFT marketplace that supports Ethereum-hosted NFTs.
Can you make NFT art for free?
Yes, you can create NFT for free but you cannot sell your NFT art for free. Because the action of minting or creating the token needs to be recorded on a blockchain, which means paying a transaction fee to the validators to include your transaction on the blockchain.
However, depending on which blockchain you are minting, that cost could be highly affordable.
How much does it cost to sell an NFT?
NFT minting costs vary from one blockchain to another, with Ethereum being the most expensive platform to sell a non-fungible token. Typically, costs on Ethereum range between $50 and $200.
Most other smart contract platforms that rival Ethereum are much more pocket-friendly, with minting charges as low as $0.30.
NFTs may be an innovative use case for the novel blockchain technology, bringing several benefits and drawbacks. It is a better way for artists to get paid and have recognition for their work.
On the other hand, NFTs make it easier for other people to steal these artists’ work.
For other users, NFTs represent a new asset class that can be used as an investment vehicle or a way to support their favorite artists, sports teams, or musicians by purchasing officially minted tickets and virtual merchandise.
A lot needs to be done to address the drawbacks, and hopefully, with time, some of these kinks will be sorted out.