Are you Exhausted with NFTs already?
NFTs Offer the Chance to Rethink the Tom Kabinet Case
Non-Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”) have become a buzzword: their applications in connection with transactions of several types of digital content, including famous artworks for exorbitant amounts, has brought them from the relative obscurity of only a few months ago to public awareness. Almost immediately, some members of the copyright community have started studying NFTs, because they are primarily used as digital, figurative, artistic creations. The result of such debate is still foggy: on one hand, many have argued that in most cases NFTs and copyright have little in common; on the other hand, some features of NFTs speak to the very core of copyright (notably, scarcity and means of rights management); in any case, lawyers and scholars have begun to witness the first legal clashes between rightsholder and third parties.
In this paper, after having analyzed the technological features of the NFTs, we have listed ourselves among those who find that NFTs do involve copyright. Notably, NFTs create a new layer in the bundle of rights granted to the copyright holder, called the meta-ownership right, which essentially is represented by a digital certificate that proves, in a public and unchangeable record, that a version of a given digital file belongs to a specific person. Unlike traditional ownership over physical copies of a work, meta-ownership does not restrict access to the original work.