Today, DC Comics affirmed their previous announcement protecting their intellectual properties that include Batman and Wonder Woman by suppressing the Nifty Gateway release of NFT art by Boss Logic and Zack Snyder. The timing of this announcement comes as more and more artists embrace the growing hype and sentiment around NFT Culture.
The situation with this apparent cease and desist will have massive implications for future NFT artists and marketplaces, as many NFTs just point to an address that ultimately houses the works created by artists. If DC comics wins, there could be massive fallout from the art that has been previously created and released on platforms and marketplaces.
Additionally, If marketplaces like Nifty Gateway and Makersplace have profited from any infringement, they may be liable for damages against organizations like DC comics. Fortunately, NFT Culture staff believes this outcome isn’t very likely, due to the prevailing Derivative Works copyright doctrine. Our non-legal analysis shows that Derivative Works is a grey area, but the grey is likely to swing in favor of artists and platforms.
What is yet to be seen is how the artists may respond. This appears to be a massive slap in the face to DC’s freelance artists and creators who have historically had limited access to audiences and used art sales to help them make an independent living. As an example, artists like Jason Campbell have been allowed to sell prints of their work for profit, and many artists sell derivative works at trade shows like Comic-Con. It will be curious to see how this all plays out as the non-digital and digital realm continue their intersection.