NFT License 2.0: Why a NFT can do what no other creative IP can do

Your feedback creates a new class of owner and creator rights

Dapper Labs
Dapper Labs
Published in
5 min readJan 22, 2019

The non-fungible token (NFT) is an immutable digital asset, currently being created by all types of digital artists, programmers, and visionaries.

When we created the proposal for the ERC-721 token, the open-source standard that enabled NFTs (like CryptoKitties!), we knew the community would have tons of questions and suggestions about digital ownership. With the NFT we’ve helped create an entirely new class of asset, and existing licenses simply didn’t cover true digital ownership adequately.

So we created the NFT License: a public license, available to anyone, that defines what people can and can’t do with their NFT and its associated art.

A clearer license

The first iteration of the NFT License was released in June 2018. We wrote it with CryptoKitties in mind — it’s an NFT we’re familiar with — but what about other use cases? In what ways did creators and owners need to be protected that we hadn’t thought of? We wanted to know.

The initial NFT License (1.0) needed feedback, and the response was incredible. That version of the license didn’t make a clear enough distinction about when owners could or couldn’t profit off of their NFTs. And so, our new license sets a concrete monetary threshold for NFTs (spoiler: it’s $100,000), and clearly defines the circumstances in which you can use your NFT’s art.

The NFT License 2.0 lets you commercialize your NFT’s art

Let’s imagine that you bought a Mickey Mouse plush toy for your child. If someone asked you if you own that plush toy, your answer would be an unequivocal “yes!” But what if you wanted to take the Mickey Mouse design from the plush toy, put it on a t-shirt, and then sell that shirt? Well, you aren’t allowed to do that. Why? Because the design is Disney’s intellectual property, and they guard it carefully. You may own the plush toy, but Disney still owns the design.

With NFTs, that traditional model of copyright enforcement goes out the window. We can do better than mimicking the standards set by physical goods.

Take as an example the digital world of CryptoKitties. You actually get more rights to use your art than you would in the real world. In the Disney example, you can’t make money off the plush toy you bought.

With the NFT License 2.0, you can absolutely commercialize your Kitty art.

You can do with your Kitty art what you could never do with Mickey Mouse: you can take the art and design associated with the NFT, and make a living by using that art in creative ways. Put it on a shirt. Make your own comic book, featuring your Kitty. Buy 52 Kitties, and put the art on a deck of playing cards. The possibilities are endless.

Welcome to the NFT License 2.0

The NFT License, at its core, is a user agreement. Any NFT creator can literally copy and paste this license into their terms of service, and it will govern what users can and can’t do with their NFTs. Overall:

  • It allows for digital portability.
  • It gives NFT owners the rights to commercialize the art for their digital assets. No other creative IP/ art allows that.

If you include the NFT License in your terms of use, your NFT owners can:

  • Commercialize their NFT art up to USD $100,000.
  • Take their NFT to any wallet, game, ecosystem, or marketplace that cryptographically verifies the owner.

And to protect creators, the NFT License disallows inappropriate uses of NFT art. There is no:

  • Modifying the art of the NFT. NFTs are unique, and if the art can be altered, that would no longer be the case.
  • Using the art of the NFT in connection with images of hatred, violence, or other inappropriate behavior.

Finally, the license stipulates that experiences that use NFTs must cryptographically verify that the person using the asset truly owns it. If anyone could use any NFT, we wouldn’t need ownership at all!

More protection for content creators

Before the age of NFTs, digital items were protected by locks, like copyright laws, that prevented us from easily making copies of movies or reading e-books in places they don’t belong. Sometimes digital locks are good — they have the capacity to better allow creatives to profit from their work and prevent piracy.

But locks also take away freedom from owners by limiting what can and can’t be done with the items you own. Can you imagine buying a CryptoKitty and not being able to give it to a friend? Or having a Gods Unchained deck that you could only access when your IP was in Europe, because it was region-locked?

So instead of embracing that old model, we’re trying to offer real ownership… without cutting the knees out from under NFT creators.

So why do we need the NFT License? Why not just modify Creative Commons or something like that?

When we created the proposal for ERC-721, we knew there would be all kind of uses for these new assets: collectible items, plots of land in video games, even digital (and physical!) characters in worlds that don’t yet exist.

Creating new technology means taking responsibility to help shape best practices for exercising ownership of these items. Not just for ourselves, but in a way the entire community can benefit from.

We use the NFT License for CryptoKitties because we want our players to be protected, and we encourage everyone in this burgeoning space to bring that same protection to their own users.

We would also love your feedback on how we can make it better — or show us how it’s working for you.

The new NFT License is available for you to use, today

Head over to to review the license. Include it in your terms of use and VOILA! Just like that, you’re using the NFT License as well, and your users have the freedom to control their assets in ways they never could have imagined with a Pokemon card or an iTunes song.

Not a creator? Make sure to read the terms of use for NFTs before you buy. Are you getting a digital asset — or a virtual good? If you don’t have ownership over your asset, ask yourself why. And push for better rights from the creators you love.

The NFT License is open-source — and it’s under constant review

We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what ownership on the blockchain should look like, and we received a lot of feedback from the community.

The license is constantly under review, and we’re eager for any feedback on improving it. If you have any feedback, questions, or suggested changes, get in touch with our team:

We hope you’ll get in touch. Until then, enjoying NFTing.

>> Read the full NFT License <<



Dapper Labs
Dapper Labs

The serious business of fun and games on the blockchain