Why Can’t You Just Screenshot an NFT?

There are many NFTs out there that are highly valuable and expensive, and some people are known to have become wealthy from selling them. But why can’t you just screenshot an NFT that’s valuable and pretend that you own it?

You can’t just screenshot an NFT because the NFT itself cannot be copied. Each NFT is stored on the blockchain, and only the owner of the NFT has access to it. So, although it is possible to take a screenshot of an NFT, it is worthless and doesn’t give you any ownership of it.

The rest of this article will discuss why you can’t just screenshot an NFT in greater detail. Be sure to keep reading if you want to learn more!

Can You Screenshot an NFT?

You can screenshot an NFT, but it doesn’t give you any access or rights to it. Taking a screenshot of an NFT can be compared to taking a photo of a famous painting. Although you now possess a picture of a famous painting, you certainly don’t own it outright.

To fully understand why you can’t just screenshot an NFT, it’s essential to know how they work. 

How NFTs Work

NFTs are still a very new phenomenon, which is why many people still don’t understand what they are or how they work. The first important thing to remember is that each NFT can only ever have one owner.

But now, let’s break down how they work into small sections.

Someone Mints an NFT and Adds It to the Marketplace

First, someone will make the NFT and add it to a marketplace like OpenSea. When someone makes an NFT, they can make multiple NFTs of the same image or make a single one. Creating just one will increase the chance of it being valuable.

Even if multiple NFTs of the exact same content are made, each one is unique and will be in a different part of the blockchain. And each NFT can only ever have one rightful owner.

Someone Buys the NFT

When the NFT gets put on the marketplace, anyone with a crypto wallet and some crypto can buy it. If the seller is only selling one NFT, the person buying it will be the only one possessing an NFT of that particular content.

But if the seller is selling multiple NFTs that are all the same (as in, they’re all the same image), that means multiple people can buy the NFTs, but each one is still unique and only belongs to each owner.

Only the Owner Has Access to the NFT

Once you buy an NFT, you are now the owner of it. Even if someone buys the same NFT image from the same seller, your particular one is unique, and only you can resell it. 

If someone wants to take a screenshot of it, they can do that. But the screenshot they take will most likely be on their phone. This means it’s not on the blockchain in the way the original NFT is, so the person taking the screenshot can’t sell it or make any money from it.

So, a million different people could take a screenshot of your NFT, but not one of those people can use it or make any profit from it because they don’t hold the original. 

It can be hard to wrap your head around how this all works, so it’s normal to not fully understand it at first. The most important thing to remember is that owning the original NFT gives you full rights to it, whereas simply having a screenshot of an NFT means practically nothing (it’s like taking a photo of a painting in a museum, as I mentioned earlier).

For example, most people wouldn’t want to own a random copy of a Vincent van Gogh painting. They would want the original. A copy of such a valuable painting is essentially worthless and can be viewed in the same way as a screenshot of an NFT.

Smart Contracts Back NFTs

All NFTs are backed by smart contracts, meaning the terms of ownership are coded into the blockchain. This makes it impossible for someone else to steal the rights to your NFT by taking a screenshot of it. 

It also means that anytime an NFT is resold, the smart contract information is updated and secured on the blockchain.

Why Buy an NFT if You Can Just Screenshot It Instead?

You should buy an NFT if you want to do as you please with it. This includes holding and selling it for a profit in the future. Simply taking a screenshot won’t allow you to sell and make a profit from it, and that is the main reason people buy NFTs.

Humans naturally like to own things, so having a screenshot of an NFT doesn’t cut it for most people. Having ownership of something means you can decide what you want to do with it, and more importantly, it means there’s a chance of future profit by holding and selling when the price increases.

So if you want to have the ability to do this with an NFT, you’ll need to buy one. 

Is It Legal To Screenshot an NFT?

It is legal to screenshot an NFT, but it won’t hold any value compared to the original NFT. However, it is illegal to screenshot an NFT and make your own based on that screenshot. This could get you a copyright infringement lawsuit, so you should always avoid copying other NFTs.

So, it’s perfectly fine and legal to screenshot an NFT and keep it for personal use, but the second you make any money from it, you’re risking a lawsuit. Many NFTs are created by artists and other creators, so stealing their original work is a big no-no.

Screenshotting for Personal Use

As you now know, screenshotting an NFT for personal use is entirely legal. People do this mainly if they like how an NFT looks and want to use it as a profile picture. Since they wouldn’t be making any money from doing this, it wouldn’t be illegal. 

However, it would most likely be illegal to lie and say the artwork is yours. Again, this would be breaking copyright laws and could land you a lawsuit if the original NFT artist or someone else finds out about it.

Other reasons people might want to screenshot an NFT would include:

  • Saving it as a wallpaper on a phone or computer
  • Printing it and hanging it on the wall or in a frame
  • Screenshotting it to show it to someone else

So if you plan to take a screenshot of someone else’s NFT to make money from it, you’re out of luck. In that instance, you’ll need to buy one from the marketplace.

Conclusion

You can’t just take a screenshot of an NFT because this doesn’t give you ownership of it. Only the owner can access the NFT on the blockchain, meaning only the owner can sell it for a profit (or loss).

Although it’s legal to take a screenshot of an NFT, it is illegal to copy an NFT and make money from it. This falls under copyright infringement laws and could result in a lawsuit if the original artist finds out.

However, you can use a screenshot of an NFT for personal use. This includes using it as a profile picture.

Sources

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