UK Government Urged to Regulate NFTs in a Nuanced Manner, Says Mintable CEO
The UK government is at risk of implementing regulations for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that fail to recognize the true nature and potential of this emerging technology, warns Mintable CEO and founder Zach Burks. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Burks expressed his concerns about a recent report from a UK parliamentary committee that exaggerates the role of NFTs in copyright infringement without acknowledging their broader applications beyond digital artwork.
“NFTs are in a transition phase where they’re moving away from the speculative boom of PFPs, and now it’s going into utilities of brands implementing NFTs across a whole range of different things,” Burks explained.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report, released on October 11, calls for government action to protect artists and content creators from copyright infringement associated with NFTs. However, Burks argues that while copyright protections and intellectual property rights are crucial, these issues are not exclusive to NFTs.
“These are problems inherent to the internet, not to NFTs,” Burks emphasized. He pointed out that platforms like WordPress, YouTube, and Spotify also face challenges related to copyrighted material, and the responsibility to combat these issues lies with major tech companies like Google.
“They’ve got hundreds of billions of dollars, and they can’t solve the problem of combating copyrighted material on YouTube. It’s not like this problem just came up out of thin air because NFTs were created,” Burks highlighted.
Burks, who frequently communicates with UK government officials on NFTs, stressed the importance of regulators adopting a more nuanced view of NFTs. He believes that NFTs have a wide range of applications, from car and property records to supply chain systems, and should not be solely categorized as pieces of artwork or financial instruments.
“If my website is used to sell books, I’m governed by the laws that are used to sell books. If I sell drugs on my website, then you don’t need new laws. I’m still just selling drugs, right?” Burks humorously explained.
According to the committee’s report, the most pressing issue regarding NFTs is the risk to artists’ intellectual property rights due to the ease and speed of token minting. The committee suggests regulating NFTs under Article 17 of the European Union Directive on Copyright. However, Burks believes that such broad regulatory frameworks may hinder the true potential of NFT technology.
“We have to be very careful when it comes to these kinds of overarching regulatory frameworks that we apply to NFTs as a system, as opposed to looking at NFTs for what they really are,” Burks cautioned.
Burks also mentioned that regulators in Singapore evaluate NFTs based on their specific use cases, highlighting the importance of considering the intended purpose of an NFT when crafting regulations.
Ultimately, Burks advises the UK government to take inspiration from Singapore’s approach and consider implementing a more nuanced regulatory framework that understands and accommodates NFTs’ diverse applications.
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