Verification, Copyright, and Plagiarism

Singular verification and plagiarism

The primary purpose of our verification system is to ensure that only original works (I.e. works that have not been copied from another artist) are verified. Naturally, this means we need to care about plagiarism. But we also realize that we can’t police creativity and so we have to find a good balance. Hence, we discussed amongst ourselves and came up with what we deem our official stance on plagiarism.

RMRK’s official stance on plagiarism—using percentage share of composition as a metric

There are three main ways to use third-party IP in an original work:
As a subject—IP takes up over 45% of the composition: this is copying another artists work and making it the focus of your new creation.
As major support—IP takes up 10-45% of the composition
As minor support—IP takes up less than 5% of the composition
Using this analysis method, we come up with the concept of degrees of originality.

Degrees of originality

Purely original - a work that is created without any third-party IP (intellectual property) copyright.
Supported original - an original work that is created with the help of other third-party IP. For a work to be a supported original, all third-party IP must come with the right permissions. Sometimes third-party IP can be in the public domain (meaning that no one needs to give permission for certain uses). The term “public domain” refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. As a result, the public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it. Another type of supported original is created when a third-party IP is considerably altered to create a new art that is inspired by, but not a copy of the original IP.
Faux-original - any supported original without the proper permissions is a false original. It seems original but is not. Thus, to the artist it is a supported original, but to the court of public opinion, it is a false original. A false original can be fixed (turned into a supported original) by getting the proper permissions.
Unoriginal - an unimaginative copy of the original IP with little to negligible alterations.
Thus, RMRK’s verification process seeks to reject all unoriginal and faux-original art. For better detail, let’s talk separately about verification and unverification.

When we will verify

If the account requesting verification has at least 10 RMRK (subject to change through community governance).
If the collection has over 5 minted artworks that don’t infringe on any third-party IP. The easiest way to avoid infringement is to avoid using third-party IP in creations you want to sell (unless it’s an IP in the public domain). Naturally, we need proof that all works have been originally created by the artist. The easiest way to do this is for the artist to share their behind-the-scenes (proof of creating the work—sketches, photoshop/blender/Lightroom workstation with the different layers).
Or should the collection have any third-party IP, the proper permissions have been acquired (by sale or copyright holder’s consent). To verify this, we need receipts (contract, sale receipt with permission stated)

When we will deny verification (or unverify)

If we can’t verify that the work is original
If the work is a false original - meaning that the artist may believe his work is original, but based on our opinion, it is not.
If new NFTs that plagiarize are added to the collection after it’s been verified


We fully understand that plagiarism and copyright are complex topics, but we believe they are also very simple to navigate. To avoid ever having plagiarism issues, you can adopt the following commandments: 1. Thou shalt not use any third-party IP 2. If one uses third-party IP, one should get the right permissions or use only third-party IP in the public domain
And that is really all there is to it.

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