It is reported that on June 22, the NFT auction platform – Binance NFT in cooperation with TRON and APENFT Foundation announced that a “Genesis” themed NFT auction will be held on the June 24th. The auction items include NFT work generated by Andy Warhol’s “Three Self-Portraits” and many other masterpieces.
Once the news released, it draws attention by many aspects. Yang Ga, a well-known Crypto Art curator, posted a clear view on his Weibo (the following picture come from Yang Ga’s Weibo), questioned the NFT distribution rights and NFT value of Andy Warhol’s “Three Self-portraits”.
The picture shows the screenshot of the Weibo from Crypto Art Curator-Yang Ga
According to the attorney’s office engaged in copyright protection, the information regarding copyright protection period proposed by Yang Ga is accurate,The information indicates in the United States and Europe copyright protection period is the author’s lifetime plus 70 years afther death. (In China which is lifetime plus 50 years). Since the artist Andy Warhol died in 1987, his artworks copyright still under protection. Foundation for the Visual Arts. Justin Sun, who bought the “Three Self-Portraits” from Christie’s auction in March this year (2021), donated the paintings to the APENFT Foundation, there is no doubt that the foundation owns the real right of the artwork, the exhibition, and sales.
But whether the copyright of the work has been authorized transfer or sale, and whether has been authorized to generate digital works in the name of the creator of Andy Warhol participating in the auction? By the time of publication, the relevant authorization statement for the “Three Self-Portraits” issued by APENFT Foundation has not yet been found. The copyright issue of the work needs further verification.
The picture shows the details of “Three Self-portraits” on the Christie’s auction
Indeed Justin Sun hs bought “Three Self-Portraits” in the Christie’s auction, but the artwork he bought is the physical artwork which is created by canvas, acrylic, and screen printing. The copyright of “Three Self-Portraits” doesn’t belong to Justin Sun.What he transferred to APENFT foundation was just the property rights of this artwork. Unless getting the authorization of the Andy Warhol Foundation, no one has the right to cast Andy Warhol’s works into NFT for auction or sale.
Statement from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the visual arts website regarding the authorization of works
On June 16 this year, the famous Crypto Art curator Yang Ga published an article “Key Points: “Everything” About Crypto Art” in China Art News, clearly mentioning that non-native Crypto Artworks are cerated through non-digital technology tools ways by the original artist. The artworks created by non-digital technology tools are originally acquired by the original artist, received by the subject, authorized subject or other subjects with legal rights sources, etc., through digital technology conversion tools, the physical works are converted into digital files and stored in IPFS or Other distributed storage, and generate NFT through the smart contract on the chain, which involves the exercise of copyright rights such as the right to copy the work, the right to distribute, and the right to network communication.
The original source of Andy Warhol Foundation’s statement about NFT
In early June 2021, five NFT works of Andy Warhol were sold at Christie’s auction for a total of 3.38 million U.S. dollars, and the statement shows the works were selected by the ‘Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art’foundation and the NFT was generated by it. Corresponding to Andy Warhol’s “Three Self-portraits”, Only the authorization subject ‘Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art’ foundation has the right to generate NFT works from his non-native Crypto Artwork.
And if the ‘Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art’ foundation has a copy of “Three Self-Portraits”, it can generate NFT works for auction or sale under the name of Andy Warhol without Justin Sun’s authorization. Even if Justin Sun has the authorization, the copyright protection of Andy Warhol’s works will expire in more than two decades.
By the time, the work will enter the public domain, and anyone can use his artwork for free without permission. Just as NFT works, once enter the public domain anyone can use his works free of charge without permission. So in the future whether the works on the auction will keep today’s same value, for now we say benevolent see benevolence.
Company Name: Andy Warhol
Contact Person: Media Relations
Country: United States