No, it’s not falling behind

The latest stupid lawsuit claims that the plaintiff bought a ‘rare NFT’ but it wasn’t rare enough or something. So he’s suing to get back the 500k he spent for the ‘rare NFT’.

An attorney on the other side says:

“We are in a world where copyright is many years behind the art world and the movie world and the media world in general. But now that world is accelerating into this technological space where it’s moving at an exponentially faster rate. As a result, copyright law and trademark law and publicity law and contract law falls further and further behind.”

No. Copyrights and licensing can handle this situation easily.

Copyrights are just what the word says. You can see or hold an artwork for your own purposes without paying for a copyright. If you want to make copies of the artwork FOR MONEY, you need to pay for permission. Licensing can get complex, with specific permissions to do specific things in specific circumstances, but the basic principle is the same. You’re paying for permission to make money off the idea or artwork.

An NFT is not an entity or an artwork or a copyright. It’s not a thing or a function or a contract. When you pay for an NFT you aren’t gaining permission to make copies. You aren’t gaining permission to look at the artwork, because it’s already there on the web, lookable and printable for your own enjoyment. YOU ARE PAYING FOR NOTHING AT ALL. There’s no fraud because NFTs are advertised correctly. You know upfront that you are PAYING FOR NOTHING. No Fucking Thing = NFT.

The NFT is only a number that refers to the artwork. I could make up my own number if I enjoyed such activities. “I own 3278, which is my way of referring to the Mona Lisa.” Okay, fine. So I attach a number to the Mona Lisa when I think about her. Numbering might be useful to keep track of a large museum-style collection, but it has absolutely no legal or commercial function, and no sane person would pay me for permission to connect a DIFFERENT NUMBER to the Mona Lisa. Anyone can perform this weird mental trick without paying.

Real artists should be protesting loudly. The NFT sellers are diverting billions of dollars that could otherwise be supporting real work by real artists.

Look through Etsy. You can buy a nice original painting for $100. So this idiot’s $500k would buy a whole museum of real original physical paintings, and it would help real artists to survive and continue producing. The buyer would then have a reason to attach catalog numbers to his museum of 5000 real physical artworks!

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