Today’s technology is constantly evolving and changing our world. With every change, a new concept is added to our lives. One of the most talked about these concepts lately is NFT. In this article, we will try to briefly touch on what NFT is and evaluate it in terms of intellectual property rights.

NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token”, which is one of the concepts that the blockchain system adds to the world of technology. As the name suggests, NFTs, which can be defined as unique tokens, are digital assets that cannot be exchanged. NFTs do not have a blockchain of their own. They maintain their existence dependent on the blockchain of an existing cryptocurrency. Since each NFT produced is unique, it cannot be changed or copied when it enters the blockchain registry system. This unchangeability and non-replicability provide many advantages. The extremely powerful proof opportunity it provides to its owner is only one of these advantages.

The quality and protection of works of art in Turkish law are regulated by Law No. 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works (“Law”). Pursuant to the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works, the owner of a work is the person who created it, and the owner of the work has the right and authority to benefit from his/her work economically and to protect its spiritual existence. Since NFT is still a developing system, its relationship with copyright is also a controversial issue. In the article 1/B of the Law, the Work is defined as “any kind of intellectual and artistic products that have the characteristics of the owner and are considered as works of science and literature, music, fine arts or cinema”. In this context, it can be concluded that NFT works of art are also “works”. therefore, the right to save on NFT works of art is in the hands of the owner of the work and it is widely accepted that the copyright on them can also be protected. The importance of NFTs in terms of copyright is that they will act as a kind of digital or crypto banner for works. This is important in terms of preventing the violation of the financial rights or moral rights of the copyright holder on the NFT work. Ownership of each new work is digitally recorded, and the software owned by the NFT work is a kind of signature. In this way, it has been tried to prevent conflicts that may arise and to facilitate their proof. Another issue that should be mentioned is that the purchase of an NFT work does not mean a transfer in terms of copyright ownership. In such a case, only the physical existence of the work is transferred, and the financial and moral rights of the owner remain.

As a result, NFTs, which are immutable assets that document the originality of the work, are becoming more common, as digital works can be easily copied and the rights of the owners are easily violated. Although NFT works of art promise reliability to the owner and buyers in the determination and follow-up of the originality of the work, they also have disadvantages such as systemic risks and the fact that the legal basis has not yet been formed. It is obvious that developments and discussions on this subject will increase in the future.

Legal Intern, Sıla ATİLLA



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