Andreessen Horowitz Launches ‘Can’t Be Evil’ Licenses to Help Plug NFT Copyright Confusion


Venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz’s (a16z) newly launched “Can’t Be Evil” licenses aim to help non-fungible token (NFT) creators and collectors finally skip the legal literacy required to plan what they hope to do with their newly created or acquired NFTs. Inspired by the licenses offered by Creative Commons, the new licensing terms by a16z are available for any project creators to freely use and provide an array of different approaches for NFT projects, ranging from limited personal use terms to broader licenses that let anyone use the artwork for any purpose.

This is not only intended to make the NFT project’s copyright license more explicit but remove potential copyright vulnerabilities that can potentially lead to legal consequences.

“Whereas currently many NFT holders have to trust creators and previous owners to make ‘not-evil’ decisions regarding their NFTs, projects using ‘Can’t Be Evil’ licenses can make NFT ecosystems more trustless, providing holders with a minimum baseline of standard real-world rights, thereby harmonizing real-world ownership with on-chain ownership,” the company’s General Counsel, Miles Jennings and Chris Dixon, Founder, wrote in a blog post.

“By making the licenses easy (and free) to incorporate, we hope to democratize access to high-quality licenses and encourage standardization across the Web3 industry,” the authors wrote. “Greater adoption could lead to incredible benefits for creators, owners, and the NFT ecosystem as a whole.”

While the idea of a massive VC firm guiding NFT licensing terms might not sit well with everyone in the room, it is worth noting that Andreessen Horowitz has tapped pseudonymous crypto influencer ‘Punk6529’ known for his valuable collection and insightful Twitter threads to help shape the licenses. It has also worked with law firms Latham & Watkins LLP and DLA Piper, as well as unspecified portfolio companies.

Copyright has been a topic of much discussion within the NFT space over the past few years, with quite a few instances of outcomes that have involved long, expensive lawsuits. NFT project founders like Yuga Labs and Larva Labs have been seen issuing cease-and-desist letters for derivative projects that bore a resemblance to their IP, including in June when Yuga filed suit against conceptual artist Ryder Ripps for founding a project too similar to its Bored Ape Yacht Club.


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