As a creator, can I retain the right to grant licenses under the underlying IP of the NFT to third parties irrespective of the ownership of the NFT?
The short answer is: Yes, you can. Ownership of the NFT and ownership of the IP are
two separate rights layers. However, there are some things to consider. First of all, if you
would like to decide that by yourself, it does require that you are the only creator, i.e. that
you are the only person holding the IP rights in the respective asset. If there are more
people involved in the creative process, they might have co-ownership of the IP,
especially also be copyright owners, so you won’t be able to make decisions about the
IP without them.
In the event that you would like to grant IP rights to any new NFT owner, but want to
reserve the right to retain the right to grant licenses to third parties, there are basically
two ways to do that. The first option is to grant non-exclusive rights, the second option is
to grant exclusive rights with exceptions. You would have to define the exception such
that you can make use of the respective rights and license them to third parties.
Yes. The transfer of the NFT itself does not imply any transfer of the intellectual
property rights protecting the underlying work. Hence, a creator can transfer an NFT
but retain all IP rights in the underlying work and still be able to grant licences under
the underlying work to third parties.