Internet Archive Submits Comments in Copyright Office Study of NFTs

Nouns are NFT avatars generated by the Nouns protocol, all released into the public domain; all Nouns are equally rare because the project enforces “no explicit rules for attribute scarcity.”

Last week, Internet Archive filed comments in response to the United States Copyright Office’s Non-Fungible Token Study. The study was launched by the Copyright Office, in partnership with the Patent and Trademark Office, in response to a letter from Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis. In their letter, the senators described their “interest in the continued development and use of emerging technologies [which] includes considering how best to secure intellectual property rights for emerging technologies and how to assess what impact these technologies might have on intellectual property rights.” They “urge[d]” the Copyright Office to “consult with the private sector” in undertaking the study, “drawing from the technological, creative, and academic sectors.”

While the Senators did not expressly invite the Office to consult with libraries or the public interest community, the Office opened the study to comments from the public at large. This was a welcome development. As digital rights group Public Knowledge has documented, participation by civil society and other public-interest-minded actors in Copyright Office matters can play an important role in ensuring the public interest is taken into account. With that role in mind, we were pleased to submit our comments in response to this latest study.

As mentioned in our comments, Internet Archive has been in active engagement with the Decentralized Web community for many years now, including convening and stewarding the development of DWeb Principles, sponsoring DWeb Camp, and participating in a variety of other projects and events. We recognize that NFTs have sparked debate within the DWeb community. Nevertheless, as policymakers are beginning to look at regulating decentralized technologies, we felt it important to weigh in with our perspective.

In particular, our comments encourage the Copyright Office to consider impacts on libraries—in particular the ways in which NFTs could help libraries develop long term, permanent digital collections. Our comments also encourage the Copyright Office to respect the choice of NFT artists who wish to release their underlying work under open licenses, as these build our common culture. You can read our full submission here.

3 thoughts on “Internet Archive Submits Comments in Copyright Office Study of NFTs

  1. vaidy bala

    Archives hould be authenticated by giving accurate description of Truth. This is the Gold Standard. Why the middle man, Broker is involved should be crystal clear. Acknowledge should be is not a plicy but requirement. This should promote creativity than extinguish it.
    I hope these comments are doable.

  2. Isabella Smith

    Why are you supporting NFT work and Dweb? A lot of people agree that they are nothing but scams. I respect your work to archive the internet but getting involved with this stuff almost always leads to disaster. Please reconsider these activities.

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