When the sales terms of the NFT say nothing about commercial use rights of the NFT, does that mean that as an owner I can do whatever I want with it?

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An asset representing or containing a creation protected by copyright has 2 layers:
Layer 1 is the physical or in the present case for NFTs: digital asset. Layer 2 are the
intellectual property rights, which means the right to use and monetize the creation.
The default setting when buying such an asset (layer 1) is that it comes with NO use
rights. Owning the creation and looking at it is pretty much it. In other words. And that is
exactly what you can do when you buy an NFT with no specification regarding how to
use the art it refers to.

Oliver Scherenberg

IP and licensing


No, unless provided otherwise. Article 109 of the Italian Copyright Law expressly states that “The
transfer of one or more copies of the work does not imply, unless otherwise agreed, the transfer
of the rights of use, regulated by this law”.
It is important to understand that not even the smart contract with which the NFT is transferred
can be 100% reliable on the transfer of the use rights. Actually the NFT may have been minted and
sold by someone who did not have the copyrights under the artwork embedded in the NFT. The
purchaser is then in charge of verifying which rights are object of the transfer by verifying (at least)
also the chain of previous transactions.

Riccardo Traina Chiarini

Intellectual Property


In order to exercise any property right of the creator, you need creator’s written
consent. So, unless not otherwise stated, you cannot “do whatever you want with it”.

Vaia Papathanasiou

Private Law


No – this would imply the opposite. This implies that the rights to the NFT or the content of the
NFT lie with the creators/artists of the NFT collection in question. This scenario showcases the
importance of a well-drafted T&C.

Eugen Faraj

Lawyer - IP, crypto, tax, finance, blockchain, commerce


See above answer. As a principle, if the sales terms of the NFT say nothing about
commercial use rights of the NFT, the owner will not be licensed/assigned any
intellectual property rights on the underlying work.
This means that the owner of the NFT will only be able to exploit the underlying artwork
for limited and private uses, which notably excludes all commercial uses.

Laetitia Nicolazzi

Intellectual Property


No. First of all, the transfer of commercial usage rights of a work must be made with a written
contract. In Turkish law, the validity of such contracts is dependent on the condition of being
in writing, and at this point, it can be mentioned that the written form alone will not be
sufficient, since such contracts should state clearly and individually which rights are being

Zeynep Öztürk

Information Technology Law


Derek Hawkins


No. If the terms do not say anything about copyright, the buyer only has rights over the token and not over the art, since according to the Copyright Law, article 4, legal transactions concerning copyright are interpreted in a different way. restrictive. If there is no express stipulation, the works cannot be used for any other purpose.

Fabio Cendão

Intellectual Property and Innovation


When in doubt, never assume something. In this specific situation, the fact that sales terms are
silent on commercial use rights most likely means that no commercial use rights were granted.

Bianca Lessard

Web 3, Intellectual Property

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