Can’t Be Evil – NFT licenses aim to simplify their legal status

The market for NFT Tokens remains very young considering him mainly since his explosion last year. A veritable frenzy of collections of accidental rarities, very few of which will survive the years. And whose speculative excitement left very little room respect for copyright and intellectual property. A situation that has seen the emergence of lawsuits against certain projects. And a legal void, like the structure a16z want to provide a solution in the form of licenses grouped under the name Can’t Be Evil. Explanations…

It is not in the middle of a rising market that the important bases are built. Because you have to be able to take time to figure things out to determine the most important directions for the future. And very often it comes across violently decisions taken in haste to take advantage of a favorable trend. Especially when it comes to the cryptocurrency sector, whose projects are often caught between obvious innovation and a runaway with sometimes disastrous consequences.

This is why the descent into hell recorded by the NFT market is not necessarily all negative. Because it allows it first to identify the players who will succeed in surviving the ongoing vacuuming. But also to lay the legal basis for a still chaotic economy in the face of certain legal obligations. An exercise to which the venture capital structure ofAndreessen Horowitz (a16z), with an initiative called cannot be evil.

Can’t Be Evil – Licenses for NFTs

The a16z structure approach has the advantage of filling an important void in the NFT token sector. All this within the framework of the problems related to intellectual property rights and the respect for copyrights. A relevant necessity to protect the collections of NFTs, but also to impose limits on their creators that must not be exceeded. With a clear desire for simplicity and accessibility, whose purpose is to “encourage standardization in web3 industry“.

“There is currently significant uncertainty and legal risk in the NFT ecosystem, a lack of standardization makes it difficult for NFT buyers to know what rights they are getting, and it is expensive to create custom licenses. All of this acts as a deterrent to the industry”

Miles Jenningsparalegal and head of decentralization at a16z

All this following the Creative Commons (CC) model that was initiated two decades ago with the aim of defining the very first free public licenses. The latter is currently used to protect more than two billion works around the world. And as Miles Jennings explains, “levels of permissions granted by the original creators or copyright holders – whether for adaptations, derivatives, commercial use, etc. Features that range of licenses cannot be evil trying to reproduce for the NFTs within the framework of the emergence of Web3. Because these innovations “test the limits of traditional legal frameworks”…

Can’t Be Evil – Harmonize ownership of NFTs

The purpose of this suite of licenses is to take into account the “new computing paradigm” imposed by blockchain technology and its principle of decentralization. A “new ‘trustless’ version of the Internet” that assumes that “thanks to code” no one can be truly malicious. That’s why – and perhaps a little optimistically – it’s all called “Can’t Be Evil”. Because we must not forget that the a16z structure has often been designated within DeFi for its excessive community weight in certain protocols that are supposed to be decentralized.


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The “Can’t Be Evil” licenses (…) transparently codify the rights of creators, buyers and sellers of NFTs so that each party has a common understanding of the rights associated with their property. (…) Projects using “Can’t Be Evil” licenses can make NFT ecosystems more credible, providing licensees with a minimum of default values, thus harmonizing real-world ownership with on-chain ownership.. »

Miles Jennings

Can’t Be Evil – 6 different license types

However, this initiative is based on implementation of 6 different licenses. These are distributed according to the desire to claim specific rights:

– Exclusive commercial rights,
– Non-exclusive commercial rights
– Non-exclusive commercial rights and termination for hate speech
– Personal use license
– Personal Use License with Hate Speech Termination
– CCO 1.0 Universal

These six licenses are available on the crypto site GitHub a16z. And a legal introduction (PDF) is also provided by the a16z structure to help you understand the nuances and make the right choice. These are placed under the Creative Commons principle “so that the community can use, distribute, replicate and improve the licenses with the greatest possible freedom”. Because, as Miles Jennings acknowledges, there’s no doubt that all of this will evolve (very) quickly.

The cryptocurrency market is full of exciting initiatives and unparalleled opportunities. Therefore, the FTX platform is the obvious choice to enter this digital adventure in complete safety. This while enjoying a lifetime reduction on your trading fees (commercial link).

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