It’s not much of a secret: When NFTs broke out as a coherent asset class in 2021, their value proposition was, chiefly, rampant speculation. Since then, NFT projects have spent untold millions attempting to pivot their brands towards more serious-sounding, sustainable futures; most opted to go all-in on the ephemeral, provocative concept of intellectual property, or IP. 

It has never been resolved, however, what exactly IP means in such a context, nor to what extent NFT projects can bestow IP rights onto their holders. Those unanswered questions bubbled back to the surface this week, when Yuga Labs—the multi-billion dollar company behind Bored Ape Yacht Clubannounced that it planned to bestow exclusive commercial rights onto holders of Moonbirds, an Ethereum NFT collection it acquired in February

There was just one snag with the plan: In 2022, Moonbirds’ original creators filed the collection under Creative Commons 0 (CC0), an extremely firm legal tool that relinquished…

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