U.K. Court Recognizes NFTs as ‘Property’ in Boss Beauties Theft Case

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Two digital works from the Boss Beauties NFT collection were ruled by the UK’s High Court to be “property” after allegations of theft, marking the first time NFTs have been recognized as “property” in the United Kingdom.

Back in March, Women in Blockchain Talks founder, Lavinia Osbourne, claimed that two digital works from the Boss Beauties NFT collection were stolen from her online wallet. The NFT project is well known throughout the industry for “creating opportunities” and helping raise funds for females.

According to the judgment, the judge held that the stolen assets were considered “property” and therefore entitled to access to legal protections. In the case at bar, an injunction was placed on the accounts on Ozone Networks, freezing the assets, as well as compelling OpenSea to send any and all information available on the two account holders, who are believed to currently hold the stolen NFTs.

For England and Wales, this ruling is landmark in removing any uncertainty that NFTs are property that can also be frozen by means of an injunction.

“It is of the utmost significance as, for the first time in the world (as far as we are aware), a court of law has recognised that an NFT is property capable of being frozen by way of an injunction,” said Racheal Muldoon, a counsel on the case, according to the Art Newspaper. “This ruling, therefore, removes any uncertainty that NFTs (as tokens consisting of code) are property in and of themselves, distinct from the thing they represent (e.g., a digital artwork), under the law of England and Wales.”

OpenSea has since blocked the sale of the NFTs on the platform, but has been fairly silent with respect to the recent ruling. The legal landscape currently has its hands full with the first round of cases that are exploring how intellectual property law can be applied to NFTs, with a recent update in the Hermes v. Mason Rothschild lawsuit.

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Andrew Rossow is a News Editor at BeInCrypto. He is a licensed attorney and journalist with over 7 years of experience from the online media and television industries, focusing on law, technology, and privacy. He covers the cross-section of law and fintech with an emphasis on NFTs, Web3, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and the Metaverse. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and Hofstra University.

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