ProfessorDanny Friedmannco-authored with Chen Jun the article 'Jumping from mother monkey to bored ape: the value of NFTs from an artist’s and intellectual property perspective', which was published as an advance article by Asia Pacific Law Review.
In Imperial China, owners of paintings often put a seal or stamp on their collections, signifying that they own the work. Child and Mother Monkey is a case in point. Over time, this work gathered many seals and stamps of the owners, which included emperors and established collectors, even obstructing the work itself, creating a historical chain of ownership.
Fast forward to 2021, theannus mirabilisof Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), where the emphasis was moved away from proof of ownership of works to the self-referential proof of ownership. Certificates of ownership of NFTs that live on the blockchain, are detached from but often point to the original works. Just as the Chinese emperors are connected in a chain of ownership on the paper, the consecutive NFT owners are linked in their connection to the work on the blockchain.
This article provides a dispassionate analysis of the value of NFTs from an artist’s and intellectual property (IP) perspective. In the longer term, NFTs could improve the fate of artists to authenticate their works, set their conditions and get a resale compensation per transaction. This could happen, once their underlying works can be minted too, so that an NFT entails more than just a self-referential certificate.
Jun Chen & Danny Friedmann (2022) Jumping from mother monkey to bored ape: the value of NFTs from an artist’s and intellectual property perspective, Asia Pacific Law Review. Read the pre-publication version of the article here.