Current Copyright Laws Sufficient for NFTs, No Need for New Legislation: US Govt Study

A recent US government study found that existing intellectual property laws are sufficient to handle infringement related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Consequently, there is no requirement for new legislation in tackling this issue, it says.

The study was carried out following a June 2022 letter from Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis. They urged the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Copyright Office to study various aspects of NFTs, including methods to protect and handle intellectual property rights.

In response, the offices sought input from stakeholders and the public through notices of inquiry and roundtables. The report outlines that feedback, integrates research findings, and analyzes key issues identified during the study.

Today, @USPTO and @CopyrightOffice published the results of our joint study on the intellectual property law and policy implications of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Learn more and read the report: https://t.co/HBy2tNB7Qk pic.twitter.com/IrhynPLWo6

— USPTO (@uspto) March 12, 2024

NFT-Specific Legislation Could Be Hindrance to Innovation, Study Suggests

Stakeholders did express worries about NFT-related copyright and trademark violations. Yet most felt that existing intellectual property laws were sufficient.

The study noted that many were also worried about creating new NFT-specific laws. These could hinder the progress of new NFT innovations due to the technology’s ongoing evolution, it said.

“The Offices agree with these assessments and do not believe that changes to intellectual property laws, or to the Offices’ registration and recordation practices, are necessary or advisable at this time,” the study said.

One commenter suggested that Congress should let the NFT industry regulate itself. While most commenters didn’t propose new laws, some felt clarifying existing ones could be beneficial. Additionally, some believed international agreements might need updating to accommodate NFT technology in the future.

Industry Efforts in NFT Regulation

NFT trading became popular in 2021, reaching about $24.7b in trading volume across various platforms by the following year.

Related regulations are now a top concern as governments globally seek to strike a balance between innovation and consumer safeguards.

Andrew Rossow, CEO of AR Media Consulting, recently told Cryptonews that there is no specific federal legislation in the US currently that addresses NFTs, their regulation, or their categorization.

In light of this absence of laws, industry experts and organizations are engaged in shaping regulatory frameworks surrounding NFTs.

For instance, the Chamber of Digital Commerce NFT impact report says that “NFTs are by and large consumer products that should not be regulated in the same manner as the early, financial applications of blockchain such as cryptocurrencies.”

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