A man walks into an art gallery and snaps a photo of a $20,000,000 painting; does it give ownership of the painting to the man, or does it devalue the artwork? It will take you a few minutes of this read to relate to this analogy concerning NFT screenshots. Most NFT newbies always have this question about NFTs, “what is the point of buying a costly NFT when you can just screenshot it?” In this article, we will look into this.
What are NFT screenshots?
NFT screenshot is an NFT concern that arose after the widespread adoption of NFTs in early 2020. Many skeptics claim that NFTs are worthless and absurd because anyone can simply screenshot and save the image. This skepticism came from people who do not understand how NFTs work, the underlying technology of NFTs, and how impossible it is to counterfeit NFTs minted on the blockchain.
Can you screenshot an NFT?
Not really, you can only take a screenshot of NFT's digital visible creation, perhaps just for aesthetic reasons, but that doesn't give you ownership or your screenshot value. Every NFT art minted on the blockchain has a value, a unique identifier, and metadata describing the digital art.
These NFT attributes and other utilities that come with ownership of an NFT are not accessible through a screenshot. Some may ask, “Is it illegal to screenshot someone’s NFT art”? It depends. There is no law prohibiting taking a screenshot of an NFT, and doing so is not illegal either. Screenshotting an NFT is not a threat to the owner because authenticity and ownership are verified on the blockchain.
Having a picture or snapping a Mona Lisa portrait isn't illegal as it's not a threat to the owner of the original Mona Lisa portrait nor does it devalue the original art, this applies to NFTs as well. However, you risk being held liable for copyright infringement if you post the screenshot online, make a physical copy or decide to mint the screenshotted NFT and sell it under your own name. The same copyright regulations apply to NFTs as they do to other conventional physical and digital art forms.
What happens if you screenshot an NFT art?
When you screenshot an NFT, you are just capturing the digital aesthetics of the NFT with no real value. Screenshotting an NFT is just like snapping an artwork or taking a picture of an asset. Having a picture of an asset doesn’t give you ownership of the asset nor does it reduce its value of the asset.
The visual appearance of NFTs confuses many individuals. One might not comprehend the utility and economy of NFTs until they are involved in them. Most NFTs come with utilities, and screenshotting the NFT doesn’t give you access to these utilities. The owner of the NFT can prove ownership and gain the utilities that come with owning the NFT.
Screenshotting an NFT doesn’t give the screenshot value due to the unique identifier (contract id) which lives immutably on the blockchain permanently matched to the NFT and is transparent to everyone. The owner of the screenshot (pirated NFT) doesn’t have proof of ownership thereby making the screenshot useless. The only thing the screenshot can provide is a stunning work of art that they can admire but do not actually own. For them, it would essentially be the same as taking screenshots of another artist's work.
Do screenshots devalue the digital art NFT?
The authenticity of art in physical artworks is protected by laws, patents, copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property rights, reproduction rights, originality, etc. The value of original and licensed artworks has never been reduced by piracy, forgery, or screenshotting. Digital art differs from physical art, it’s easy to steal or pirate digital art simply by screenshotting the art. NFTs are not just digital art, NFTs are digital arts minted on the blockchain.
The value of NFT lies in its authenticity, NFTs leverage the immutable and transparent feature of the blockchain which makes unique minted art authentic and impossible to pirate. Minted digital arts (NFTs) that live on the blockchain have a unique identifier that cannot be copied, this identifier is used to certify the authenticity and ownership of the digital art.
Although screenshotting NFT art can’t be avoided, the original copy of the screenshotted art can’t be stolen since it lives on the blockchain as an identifier and it is impossible to “screenshot” the NFT unique identifier. The value of NFT is always preserved, anytime an NFT is sent to someone else, the transaction is tracked on the blockchain.
Another of the features of blockchain which is the framework of NFT is transparency, everyone can access this record. This enables the owner of an NFT to confirm that he actually owns the original work of art that the blockchain has certified.
NFT screenshot has long been a topic of contention between NFT enthusiasts and critics since early 2020. Most critics don't really understand how NFT works and the problem NFT is solving. It is important for newbies in the NFT ecosystem to understand the underlying technology of NFTs, and how impossible it is to counterfeit NFTs minted on the blockchain.
The visual appearance of NFTs confuses many individuals. NFT isn't just mere digital art with aesthetics, it comes with utilities and economy. Screenshotting NFTs doesn’t give you access to these utilities, this is similar to taking screenshots of another artist's work. The value of an NFT lies in its authenticity, there is only one owner of an NFT, and the ownership is recorded immutably and transparently on the blockchain making it impossible to counterfeit.