Copyright is the law of art. As the premier fine digital art marketplace in the blockchain ecosystem, the SuperRare community benefits from protecting the legal interests of all creators. This means ensuring that Artists understand that only authorized and original content may be minted and listed for sale on the SuperRare marketplace. By respecting the rights of all creators, SuperRare Artists help ensure market confidence in the rarity and value of each SuperRare Item to the growing network of digital art collectors. These Copyright Guidelines and Policies provide an overview of acceptable marketplace minting conduct, a primer on some aspects of copyright law, and explain some of the unique copyright-related questions presented by NFTs and blockchain technology.
These Guidelines and Policies are not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Reliance on this guide does not form an attorney-client relationship. Copyright law varies depending on the jurisdiction, but these Guidelines and Policies primarily characterize and rely on United States law unless stated otherwise. There is no guarantee as to the accuracy of the information herein. If you have a legal question about your rights as an Artist or Collector, especially a right concerning your right to mint artworks, a “fair use defense,” or a claim of copyright infringement, you should contact an attorney and not any members of the SuperRare team. For more information on copyright law, you can visit the website of the U.S. Copyright Office or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
What is a “Copyright”?
A copyright is a legal right granted to authors and artists for “original works of authorship.” In general, copyrights can be obtained in all sorts of creations, such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, poems, lyrics, musical compositions, sound recordings, audiovisual works and – you guessed it – digital art. Copyright protection allows creators to market, exploit, and protect their creative efforts. A copyright owner has the right to prevent the unauthorized reproduction, display, distribution, and performance of original works of art. On the flip side, only the copyright owner can authorize such uses.
Obtaining Copyright Protection
Copyright registration is not necessarily required to obtain legal protection for digital work. Like magic out of thin air, copyright protection begins once the work is created. All that is required is that the work be “fixed” in some tangible medium to qualify for copyright protection. Generally, if you create an original digital work of art you have a copyright from the moment of creation so long as it is stored in some file format. Thus, you have the right to prevent the unauthorized use of your creation the moment it is complete.
Benefits of Copyright Registration
Although official copyright registration is not always required for legal protection, registering with your country’s copyright registration office may have very important benefits and can add value to your creative portfolio. For example, copyright registration is required before an infringement suit may be filed in federal court in the United States. Further, actual copyright registration opens up the door for statutory damages and attorneys’ fees if litigating an infringement lawsuit in the United States. For more information on copyright registration, visit the U.S. Copyright Office.
Copyright ownership in a work vests initially in the author or authors of the work. Absent an obligation to assign, convey, or transfer the copyright to someone else (i.e., a “work for hire” as discussed below), the Artist(s) enjoy sole copyright ownership for original digital creations.
Thanks for reading! In the next article you will learn more about copyright for artworks tokenized on SuperRare.