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NFTs and the Law – Ryan Su Art Lawyer

NFTs and the Law – Ryan Su Art Lawyer

Floor is Rising NFT Podcast

Published on:September 30, 2021

NFTs and the Law – Ryan Su Art Lawyer

Ryan Su is a well known international art lawyer based in Singapore –

Special counsel at OC Queen Street

[01:19-03:22]Was a young law student and fell into art law by accident on exchange to Europe. A lot of pro-bono work on behalf of artists.

[03:22-09:45] Beeple’s $69million sale was the moment that Trad art took notice. Decided to write a contract for Artists getting into NFTs, and make if available on the latest issue of Art Asia Pacific, a ton of the traditional art artists that wanted to get into NFTs were very worried about IP issues and how to protect IP if they were to do a NFT. In Trad art world, usually the gallery makes every collector sign a contract, and usually that contract is to protect against flipping. And not the collector side, they want protection against fakes. However these issues are not really present in NFTs.

[09:45-15:46] Sabretooth argues that these concerns that are primary to trad art artists, are not actually that relevant in NFTs because you want a lot of reproduction and derivatives, and that resale royalties are a better way of capturing value than IP enforcements. Ryan explains the history of the artist resale right comes from artists like Robert Rauschenberg that affords artists resale royalties in some countries even if there was no explicit contract stating so.

[15:46-21:15] Discussion occurs on how sales contracts that are signed in meatspace will be enforced in NFTs since buyers and sellers are anonymous. Delve into the history of the how resale rights came about from the Siegelaub contract, which really relies on an honour system and many people just ignore it. Still feels there is a barrier for traditional artists to embrace NFTs because ownership data, legal contracts are in different places. Sabretooth explains that enforcement of resale rights work much better on the blockchain. And that because transactions are so transparent, artists will attempt to use whitelists and blacklists to encourage compliance with people who might want to circumvent the royalty.

[21:15-27:49] Ryan sees a clear segmentation of NFT buyers and Trad art buyers and very little overlap currently. Also sees the possibility of new norms being established int he NFT world that is different than the Art world, especially one to do with copyright and copyleft, where ownership of the original is more important than the IP. Ryan’s favourite artist is Andy Warhol.