In short, you cannot screenshot an NFT. Or at least not in the way you think you can.
You can absolutely screenshot the image that comes with an NFT, but that’s not actually what an NFT is; it’s only a feature that comes with it.
See, NFTs come in two parts. The image behind the NFT, which you’re probably familiar with, and the code or smart contract that makes an NFT an NFT.
NFTs stand for Non-Fungible Tokens. The key word here is “token”. When you own an NFT, you don’t own the image; you own the token that comes with the image.
This token is a by-product of a published smart contract, which is code minted on a Blockchain like Ethereum. These smart contracts are designed in a way to be immutable and unique to one another.
What makes Ethereum different to NFTs?
You may be familiar with Ethereum and how it can be split up into fractional pieces for consumers to buy and sell. In simple terms, Ethereum is a single contract and is not unique to each holder. If you and I both own one Ethereum, it’s the same thing.
What makes NFTs valuable is the fact that they’re all different – not one is the same.
Why is Something that isn’t Tangible Worth so Much?
You might still be scratching your head over why some NFTs have sold for millions and why people are even buying them to begin with.
New investors flock in when they see a rising opportunity. We’d be wrong to say that it’s all hype when there are underlying features that make NFTs so great. But in most instances, they really should not be worth what they are.
We’ve seen a lot of projects in the last year implement some sort of utility along with NFTs. This could be access to a private event, use for in-game items, earning rewards within the eco-system, and really anything else.
Some people even view NFTs as a community, and purchasing an NFT can grant you access to a group of like-minded people that you might not be able to find so quickly without them. And this goes beyond profile pictures with certain traits attached to them. DeveloperDAO is an excellent example of using NFTs to collaborate on a bigger scale, giving developers access to resources and people to want to grow and further develop within the Web3 space.
When it comes to this type of technology, the possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, people are willing to pay whatever they’re capable of to be a part of something new and potentially profitable.
Can you get Sued for Screenshotting an NFT?
Now we said that you don’t “own” the image behind the NFT, which is true, but in some cases, users who purchase these NFTs own the intellectual property or “IP” to the image. And this works the same way as IP does for most things like brand logos, artwork, and music.
If you just took a screenshot of the art being an NFT, then no, you will not get sued. However, if you then go on to minting your own NFT with that same art, or even using it in any commercial way, then best believe that a lawsuit may be heading your way.
Companies such as Yuga Labs, creators of the “Bored Ape Yacht Club”, have taken action on this very thing. Recently, Yuga Labs took Twitter user Ryder Ripps to court after selling a “copycat” parody collection of the infamous monkey NFTs to which they accused him of confusing buyers and making millions off the sales.
Owners of these NFTs can even sell the rights to their “IP” to be used in a commercial way by companies, fetching thousands of dollars in the process.
NFTs and Digital Ownership
There are, in fact, different types of NFTs, some of which don’t even come with an image attached to them. So why is that even a thing?
Well, NFTs are a form of digital ownership and provide undisputed proof of authenticity. This is a very valuable thing, and it’s what makes NFTs such a revolutionary product.
NFTs and blockchain technology can prevent theft because once something is on chain, it’s visible for the world to see and, if implemented correctly, cannot be changed. NFTs are and can be so much more than pictures of monkeys.
Take your passport for example; it’s a form of ID that is directly linked to you. However, in physical form, it can easily be replicated or duped. Now imagine if it was instead an NFT that could not be duplicated or altered in any way. In some cases, NFTs can even be locked to a single account, preventing the transfer over to someone else.
Identity theft solved! Right?
Well, we’ve got quite a long way till we see any success in that. There are still plenty of issues that come with doing this, such as adoption within the space and, of course, regulations.
This type of advancement isn’t going to happen overnight. The technology is new and is still being figured out.
Users in the space are continually improving and advancing with these new technologies, and it’ll take time till we see any actual adoption.
NFTs are changing the game of how we consume, collect, enhance communities, and take back ownership over our property.
For now, NFTs are simply called a “fad”, but what is to come will not be.