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

The market for NFT Token he remains very young if you consider him mainly since his explosion last year. A real frenzy of collections with random rarities, of which very few will survive over the years. And whose speculative excitement left very little room respect for copyright and intellectual property. A situation that has seen the appearance of legal actions against some projects. And a legal vacuum to which the structure a16z wishes to provide a solution in the form of licenses grouped under the name Can’t Be Evil. Explanations …

It is not in the midst of a growing market that the important foundations are being built. Because you have to be able take the time to figure things out in order to determine the main directions for the future. And very often it collides with violence decisions made quickly to take advantage of a favorable trend. Especially when it comes to the cryptocurrency sector, whose projects are often caught between obvious innovation and an escape with sometimes disastrous consequences.

That’s why the NFT market’s descent into hell isn’t necessarily just bad. Because first it allows identify the actors who will manage to survive the vacuum cleaner in progress. But also to lay the legal foundations of an economy that is still chaotic 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.

It can’t be evil – Licensing for NFT

The approach of the a16z structure has the merit of filling an important void in relation to the NFT token industry. All this in the context of issues related to intellectual property and respect for copyright. An applicable necessity to protect the NFT collections, but also to impose limits on their creators that should not be exceeded. With a clear desire for simplicity and accessibility, whose goal is “to encourage standardization web sector3“.

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

Jennings Milesgeneral councilor and responsible for decentralization at a16z

All this according to the Creative Commons (CC) model launched two decades ago, with the aim of defining the very first free public licenses. The latter are 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 – both for adaptations, derivatives, commercial use, etc. Features that the range of licenses cannot be evil seeks to reproduce for NFTs, within the framework of the emergence of Web3. Because these innovations “test the limits of traditional legal frameworks” …

It can’t be evil – it harmonizes ownership of NFTs

The purpose of this license suite is to take into consideration the “new IT paradigm” imposed by blockchain technology and its decentralization principle. A “new ‘trustless’ version of the Internet” which assumes that, “thanks to the code”, no one can be truly harmful. That’s why – and perhaps a little optimistically – it’s called “Can’t Be Evil”. Because we must not forget that the a16z structure has often been identified inside DeFi for the excessive community weight in some protocols that should be decentralized.


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

Jennings Miles

Can’t Be Evil: 6 different license types

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

– Exclusive commercial rights,
– Non-exclusive commercial rights
– Non-exclusive commercial rights and hate termination
– Personal use license
– License for personal use with cessation of hate speech
– CCO 1.0 universal

These six licenses are available on the GitHub a16z cryptographic site. And the a16z framework also provides a legal introduction (PDF) to help you understand the subtleties and make the right choice. These are placed under the Creative Common principle, “so that the community can use, fork, iterate and improve licenses with the greatest possible freedom”. Because, as Miles Jennings acknowledges, there is no doubt that all of this will evolve (very) rapidly.

The cryptocurrency market is filled with exciting initiatives and unprecedented opportunities. For this reason, the FTX platform is taken for granted, to enter this digital adventure in complete safety. This benefiting from a lifetime reduction on trading fees (trade link).

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