Existing laws sufficient to handle NFT copyright concerns, say US authorities

• March 13, 2024, 1:52AM EDT

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The intellectual property authorities in the U.S. noted the current laws are sufficient to address infringement concerns related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and there’s no need to change the existing IP laws.

The U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a joint study on NFTs on Tuesday, concluding that while changes to IP laws are not necessary or advisable at the moment, public education initiatives should be in place to ensure greater awareness.

“NFT technology is currently changing rapidly, and new laws unique to NFT issues would likely be premature,” the study said.

“NFTs offer unique opportunities for creators to leverage their IP rights, but also present new challenges in keeping their work secure,” said Kathi Vidal, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO, in a statement

In the report, the offices noted that although NFT technology is novel, the copyright issues it raises generally are not. 

“To the extent an NFT contains or links to an unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work, the creation or marketing of that NFT will implicate copyright law the same way as any unauthorized reproduction or display,” the report added.

The two offices conducted the study on NFTs in response to a June 2022 request from the Senate committee on the judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property.

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