A16z Crypto Launches Creative Commons Licenses for NFTs

Leading web3 investment firm A16z Crypto has launched “The Can’t Be Evil NFT Licenses” to bring some order to NFT licensing and sublicensing.
Image source: a16zcrypto.com

Quick take:

  • A16z has launched six Creative Commons licenses for NFTs.
  • The leading web3 venture capital firm wants to bring order to the market that has been dubbed a ‘wild west’ due to a lack of proper regulations.
  • The company thinks the licenses will be beneficial to creators, collectors, and secondary buyers of NFTs.

A16z Crypto, the Web3 investment arm of the Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm has launched Creative Commons (CC) Licensing for NFTs. The company announced “The Can’t Be Evil NFT Licenses” on Wednesday, which it believes could help bring order in the NFT market.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have attracted several lawsuits pitting mainstream brands and digital creators. And while some brands have jumped on the trademark train to try to protect their intellectual property rights from their web3 counterparts, the legal framework still remains foggy.

Some legal experts have dubbed the NFT space the wild west of web3 due to lack of proper regulation.

A16z’s Can’t Be Evil (CBE) licensing framework is comprised of six licenses, which creators, collectors and secondary buyers of NFTs will be able to use to gain certain privileges of reusing, remixing and distributing NFTs.

The licenses can be viewed on a16z’s GitHub page as follows: 

  1. CC0 (“CBE-CC0”) – All copyrights are waived under the terms of CC0 1.0 Universal developed by Creative Commons.
  2. Exclusive Commercial Rights with No Creator Retention (“CBE-ECR”) – Full exclusive commercial rights granted, with no hate speech termination. Creator does not retain any exploitation rights.
  3. Non-Exclusive Commercial Rights (“CBE-NECR”) – Full non-exclusive commercial rights granted, with no hate speech termination. Creator retains exploitation rights.
  4. Non-Exclusive Commercial Rights with Creator Retention & Hate Speech Termination (“CBE-NECR-HS”) – Full non-exclusive commercial rights granted, with hate speech termination. Creator retains exploitation rights.
  5. Personal License (“CBE-PR”) – Personal rights granted, without hate speech termination.
  6. Personal License with Hate Speech Termination (“CBE-PR-HS”) – Personal rights granted, with hate speech termination.

According to the document blog post on the A16z Crypto website, the licenses grant holders between three and five different types of rights, with the “CBE-NECR” abbreviated license the only one granting full access to the five rights.

Intellectual property rights have generated huge debate in the NFT space with some NFT collections like Cryptopunk limiting what buyers can do with their acquired NFTs, whereas others like the Bored Ape yacht Club allow holders of the NFTs to do with their Apes whatever pleases, including using their characters in merchandise and branding.

According to a16z, Can’t Be Evil NFT licenses have a clearly defined framework, which eliminates confusion as to how and where the holders could use their NFTs.

“Can’t Be Evil” licenses explicitly outline the buyer’s rights regarding the artwork for their NFTs, including whether these rights are exclusive and whether they include commercial rights,” among other options, Miles Jennings and Chris Dixon of A16z Crypto wrote in the blog post.

There is also a provision that grants creators the power to terminate the license if the buyer breaches the terms of the license or uses the NFT artwork in hate speech.

The licences have been deployed in the Blockweave-based Arweave to ensure they remain public, permanent and immutable.

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