Mark Getty had it spot on when he said that intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century.
Intellectual property rights (IPR) confers legal exclusivity to a creator over his creatives. These creatives are everything that humans create, from literary work to innovations, symbols, music, and artistic works among others.
This way, no one uses any of these creatives without explicit permission from the owner. This serves to promote innovation and creativity as well as enables intellectual property owners to earn from their creatives.
There are various forms of IPRs but, the most common forms are trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights. In this age of NFTs, which are a form of digital assets that are stored on the blockchain.
There is no IPR but, there is proof of ownership often embedded in the asset, this way there is no unauthorized access or use of the creative. And when sales occur, they get royalties off the creative.
While this serves to a reasonable extent to moderate the use of creatives in the NFT, it does not confer the exclusive right to the owner.
Therefore, others can make derivatives of the original and get credit for it as well. In recent times, technology has made it easier for NFT creators.
Using artificial intelligence they can create anything as long as it can be imagined. With simple commands and prompts, this artificial intelligence comes up with sophisticated works.
The emergence of these AI-generated NFTs, therefore, presents new challenges to IPR as the line between originality, creativity, and derivatives are blurred.
Questions like who gets ownership rights, arises is the person who developed the algorithm or the person who entered the prompts?
Another impact is on originality, there are concerns that AI-generated NFTs are simply mimics of existing work or a fusion of different bodies of art. And if datasets used to train the algorithm are biased, then AI-generated content will perpetuate these biases.
Other questions around attribution, credits, licensing, and usage rights. No doubt, the technology has enhanced creativity but if there are no clear guidelines on how AI-generated content is managed, things might spiral out of control.
The truth is none of the measures available can effectively help with the situation, new tools and techniques that are equally enabled by AI are the nearest possible means of salvaging the situation.
Also, to navigate the ownership issue, a guideline on the type of AI-generated content that can be put up as NFT should be established.
Possibly, the algorithm provider and the user who entered the prompts can have certain allotted ownership percentages as none would get the content without the other.
Additionally, the use of other technologies like smart contracts which run on blockchain technology can be useful too.
They can be used to enforce these guidelines, and usage rights and generally coordinate IPR in the NFT world.
In conclusion, AI can be a great addition to enhancing IPR if properly harnessed, therefore careful considerations should be made regarding how it is used for NFTs.
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