Mintable CEO Zach Burks Raises Concerns About UK NFT Regulation

The CEO and founder of Mintable, Zach Burks, has expressed concerns about the United Kingdom’s regulatory stance on nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

Burks emphasised that the recent report from a U.K. parliamentary committee might be overstating the role of NFTs in copyright infringement while overlooking their wider potential beyond volatile digital images.

Zach Burks mentioned:

“They are not just volatile digital pictures; they have broader utilities,”

Burks’ comments come after a report by the U.K.’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee suggested the government clamp down on NFTs for their role in copyright infringement.

Copyright Protection

Burks underscored the evolving phase of NFTs, moving away from the speculative hype of profile picture NFTs (PFPs) towards more practical applications across various sectors.

He stressed the need for NFT platforms to prioritise copyright protections and intellectual property rights for artists, a goal reflected in Mintable’s proprietary IP protection algorithm.

He highlighted that these challenges are not unique to NFTs and are present across the broader internet landscape.

Actively engaging with U.K. government officials on NFT matters, Burks urged regulators to adopt a more nuanced understanding of NFTs and recognise their diverse applications beyond artwork and finance.

He described NFTs as a versatile technology capable of managing various records, including those related to cars, properties, bank settlements, and supply chains.

Tailored NFT Regulation Approach

Burks criticised the U.K. committee’s proposal to enforce the EU 17 copyright directive for NFTs, warning against the application of broad regulatory frameworks that do not consider the distinct characteristics of each NFT use case.

As quoted from the report:

DACS have gone further, arguing that the UK “should adopt measures similar to Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive63 to enable meaningful licensing on platforms and marketplaces”. Article 17 of the Directive, which came into force in 2019, requires platforms in scope to make best efforts to either obtain a license for or block unauthorised content and to use “best efforts” to prevent future uploads once notified by rightsholders (called “notice-and-staydown”).

Instead, he advocated for a tailored approach to regulation, citing Singapore as a model where regulators evaluate NFTs based on their specific functions and purposes.

Burks urged the U.K. government to embrace a more adaptable approach to NFT regulation, recognising the technology’s potential beyond digital art and emphasising the significance of safeguarding intellectual property rights while avoiding excessively broad regulations.

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