a16z Launches Free NFT-Specific Licensing Contracts

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A16z, the crypto arm of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, just published free, public “Can’t Be Evil” licenses to encourage standardization throughout Web3.

The licenses were inspired by Creative Commons and aim to provide non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with copyright licensing to address some of the ambiguity surrounding NFT’s legal status.

With the move, the company hopes to put NFT ownership and copyright issues into a framework that is comprehensible to everyone. The General Counsel and Head of Decentralization at a16z, Miles Jennings, said currently there is a lot of “ambiguity and legal risk across the NFT ecosystem.” This makes it more complicated for buyers to know what they’re getting when they purchase an NFT.

The Can’t Be Evil licenses address this issue by offering creators of NFTs and NFT projects six types of licenses to choose from: Exclusive Commercial Rights, Non-Exclusive Commercial Rights, Non-Exclusive Commercial Rights & Termination for Hate Speech, Personal Use License, Personal Use License with Termination for Hate Speech, and CCO 1.0 Universal.

The licenses have three goals according to a16z, including 1) to protect or release IP rights for NFT creators 2) to provide NFT holders with rights that are enforceable, irrevocable, and comprehensible, and 3) to empower holders, creators, and communities to let loose the creative and economic potential of projects through a clear IP framework.

The open source licenses are based in U.S. copyright law. Some of the licenses may be changed or modified for particular projects, but once issued they are “irrevocable by creators.” The licenses are available on GitHub and can be reference directly into a smart contract.

Bored Ape Yacht Club Members Make Full Use of IP Rights

A16z certainly isn’t the only Web3 platform concerned about IP rights for NFT creators and holders. Because crypto art and NFTs were born out of the ethos of decentralization and open-source knowledge sharing, many NFT creators believe strongly that holders should have full commercial and personal rights of their NFTs to use however they choose.

Perhaps no one feels this as strongly as Yuga Labs, the creators of blue-chip NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and owners of CryptoPunks and Meebits — two collections the studio recently bought and released full IP rights to holders. And so far, members of BAYC have been taking full advantage of their IP rights.

Here are a few headlines from Rarity Sniper about BAYC holders using their IP rights for creative and commercial projects:

And while BAYC members may be the most active when it comes to exercising their NFT’s IP rights, it certainly isn’t the only community innovating in the space.

Now with the launch of this free, standardized licensing from a16z, smaller projects who may not have as much funds will be able to create easy-to-understand, irrevocable licensing agreements for future NFT projects. To us, this looks like it could be a win-win for creators and holders alike.