As copyright vulnerabilities have led to significant confusion around NFT licenses and various other legal problems, the crypto arm of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (known as a16z) now thinks it’s time for a new set of licenses, designed specifically for NFTs.
Many people buy NFTs to own an avatar, artwork, or any number of other creative outputs. When they buy an NFT today, they’re usually purchasing a tokenID, along with metadata that “points” or refers to some other content file. This causes confusion regarding the rights of NFT buyers in the vast majority of cases.
As explained in a blog post on August 31, a16z crypto is releasing a set of free, public “Can’t Be Evil” licenses, designed specifically for NFTs and inspired by the work of Creative Commons.
“Can’t Be Evil” is a guiding principle in Web3 (and a riff on the “don’t be evil” slogan popularized by Google) arising from a new computational paradigm: blockchains are computers that can make strong commitments and that are not controlled by people.
The Can’t Be Evil licenses extend this principle to NFTs by transparently codifying the rights of NFT creators, buyers, and sellers, so that every party has a common understanding of the rights associated with NFT ownership. Projects using Can’t Be Evil licenses can make NFT ecosystems more trustless, providing holders with a minimum baseline of standard real-world rights, thereby harmonizing real-world ownership with on-chain ownership.
Can’t Be Evil licenses explicitly outline the buyer’s rights regarding the artwork for their NFTs, including whether these rights are exclusive, whether they include commercial rights, and whether they allow the buyer to modify, adapt, and create derivatives from their purchased artwork.
The licenses are freely available for use by the community. The company hired lawyers to help outline six levels of licensing, and the language is provided on GitHub for those who want to adopt it.