Home > 4th Industrial Revolution, Blockchain, business model, Content Protection, Copyright, Digital, Intellectual Property, Music, Publishing > Are NFTs the future of digital IP and the creative world, or just a remix of DRM and all its woes? (Part 4)

Are NFTs the future of digital IP and the creative world, or just a remix of DRM and all its woes? (Part 4)

This is fourth in a series of posts to share some observations, opinions and conclusions from playing with this intriguing technology that sits squarely at the intersection of: digital technology, creative content and intellectual property. The topic is broken down into the following parts:

  1. What are NFTs (and the non-fungibility superpower)?
  2. What has this got to do with Intellectual Property (and content protection)?
  3. Does it mean that NFTs are like DRM remixed?
  4. How does it affect the creative industry today and in the future?
  5. Summary observations and conclusions.
Blogpost NFT
Blogpost NFT

In part 3, we discussed how NFTs are different from content protection mechanisms such as DRM, so the question remains…

4 – How does it affect the creative industry today and in the future?

It’s still a little early to tell, but from all indications, the train has already left the station and there’s no going back to how things used to be for the creative, content, media and entertainment industries. According to 3lau, (musician and founder of web3 music royalty disruptor, Royal) the use of web3 technologies such as NFTs and smart contracts are helping creatives in altogether new ways by “…packaging entertainment, community and economics into a single thing.” – this means that creators can take direct ownership and control of their returns through decentralisation.

It is mind blowing to imagine what this could mean for multi-format digital publishing, (e.g. here’s my early take on the topic from a few years ago). In a similar vein, the Creative Commons (CC), which offers a standardized way for creators to grant permission to use their works under copyright law, may even be complementary to NFTs according to their blog post, and I quote: “In our view, there’s nothing contradictory about a creator offering their work to the public under a CC license as well as minting it as a limited edition NFT. It seems no different to us than someone publishing their work under CC while also selling limited edition prints of it.”

Of course the application for NFTs go far beyond art, music, domain names, or blogposts for that matter! It can become a real force multiplier in conjunction with other emerging technologies. For example, the designs used in 3D printing and manufacturing could leverage NFTs for protection, tracking, royalty and provenance.

Suffice to say I think the future is pregnant with promise unimaginable, and at so many levels. However, the immediate reality is somewhat less glitzy, as people start getting to grips with the #FOMO and #FUD surrounding this particular technology and its myriad use cases. It certainly reminds me of the first wave of the web, during the ‘dot com bubble‘ era, and we all know how that ended.

In the final part, I’ll outline some key observations and conclusions about NFTs and Intellectual property .


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are mine alone, and do not reflect those of my employer or professional affiliations in any way, shape or form. Secondly, it does not constitute any legal, financial, spiritual or otherwise professional advice, and I do not claim any specific expertise on these topics. Furthermore, I believe, we’re still very early into these particular digital technologies and their fast emerging use cases, therefore it is always advisable to proceed with caution. 

Pls. Note: As part of my education, research, and experimentation, I purchased a couple of NFTs and even minted a few pieces on OpenSea, (the above NFT image is based on an early draft of this article). It is used here for illustration and critique purposes only.

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