can you screenshot an nft

Can You Screenshot an NFT? What Happens if You Do?

As a new NFT buyer, you might wonder if paying a considerable amount for NFTs is necessary, seeing that they are just images. It is little wonder that the question, “Can you screenshot an NFT?” is now common. Nevertheless, screenshotting and buying are not the same.

Taking a picture of a valuable painting, like Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, does not make you the owner. You must purchase it to claim ownership of the expensive and rare artwork from one of the world’s foremost artists. The same applies to non-fungible tokens, as screenshotting them, although possible, does not automatically make you the owner.

While it will be simple if you can screenshot an NFT, the concept has a fatal flaw. To clarify the subject, we will discuss the following:

  • What happens after screenshotting an NFT.
  • The problem with screenshotting and why it does not work.
  • The legal implications of screenshotting an NFT.
  • What you should do if someone screenshots your NFT.

With that in mind, let us explore this concept of screenshotting an NFT to see what it entails.

What Happens When You Screenshot an NFT?

a screenshot from the GHNFTees collection

Screenshotting doesn’t mean you own it!

New buyers in the digital artwork space often wonder if they can screenshot and NFT. With a forecasted market increase of $147.24 billion by 2026, we understand why you might think this way. It would be a quick way to profit or save money. 

Screenshotting an NFT is the same as screenshotting any other information on your screen. You get a picture format of the item, but it is just a picture. There is no value attached to it other than your ability to view it on your screen.

On a laptop, taking a screenshot is as simple as pressing a few keys simultaneously. The simplicity carries on to smartphones, with some requiring only a three-finger swipe down the screen. With such ease, it is little wonder that you feel you can screenshot an NFT rather than buy it.

Let us make a simple illustration. Screenshot this page now on your laptop or smartphone and look at it. Does that mean you now own this blog post or all the values that come with it?

What you have is just a picture and nothing more. So, for those who wonder if they can screenshot an NFT, our answer is yes; you can screenshot the artwork. The inherent value of the original work is where all the difference lies between it and the screenshot.

A closely similar concept to screenshotting is the right-click save method. Of course, you can effortlessly right-click an image and save it. However, that does not give you ownership of the picture. 

Right-clicking and saving an NFT makes it available offline, but it does not come with the blockchain contract. Doing that is okay if you want a quick reminder. However, it offers no value if you want to call it yours or sell it for profit. 

Why Screenshotting NFT Doesn’t Work

a screenshot from the moonbirds collection on Opensea
Can You Screenshot an NFT? What Happens if You Do? 6

Becoming a successful NFT artist is not a day’s journey. Those who have achieved prominence in the space put in the work in minting.  Although they can take an NFT screenshot rather than mint it, they know that is not the way. 

NFTs are pictures, without a doubt, but they have a smart contract underneath. That blockchain contract gives them their inherent value. So, screenshotting an NFT while giving you a picture has no contract, meaning no worth.

One thing about the blockchain is the confirmation of ownership. An NFT creator is the first owner of the artwork once it is minted. However, subsequent owners leave a trace on the network, making it easy for anyone to confirm who owned the piece at any time.

Such functionality is absent on a screenshot. There is no link whatsoever to the blockchain through a contract. As a result, you can screenshot an NFT but can’t lay claim to owning or creating the art.

On the surface, you might think that NFTs are just mindless pictures, but they aren’t; at least, the market says so. Everyday: The First 5000 Days from Beeple went on sale for $69.3 million, making it the most expensive NFT. Why would anyone pay such an amount if they can screenshot the NFT?

What’s Wrong with Screenshotting NFTs

For those who believe they can screenshot an NFT and call it theirs, let us point out its major flaw. In the previous sections, we have mentioned contracts and blockchain.

NFT artists mint their artworks on a blockchain, whether Ethereum or Cardano. Doing that creates a smart contract, including the address and other proprietary information about the work. The non-fungible token then becomes the key to that piece.

Having the token makes you the owner of the image or picture and its inherent value. Remember that the value of an NFT depends on many factors, including hype. You can’t speak of promotion without involving a community.

Screenshots have no address on the blockchain. As a result, confirming ownership and other copyright details is impossible. People rarely buy what they can’t prove, especially in today’s digital age.

Thanks to blockchain, potential buyers can effortlessly view the ownership history of the art. It takes only a few clicks, and all the information concerning the art, from the creator to the address, will be laid bare on the screen.

If you want an easy way, don’t think you can screenshot an NFT and profit from it. Instead, you could learn how to flip NFTs without going through the hassles of creating one.

While screenshotting allows you to view an NFT, even offline, you can’t make money off it. There is no blockchain contract backing the creation of such an image, and let us not mention the legal issues you may run into.

What’s the Difference Between an NFT and a Screenshot

goblintown nft

Screenshotting it doesn’t mean you own it

Looking at a screenshot and an NFT, we completely understand if you are wondering about their differences. They are both images with no visible difference. However, it is not what you see that makes the difference, but the value attached.

The presence of a blockchain smart contract is the primary difference between a screenshot and an NFT. A screenshot is a picture with no history or metadata on the blockchain.

The table below outlines the differences even more:

Has a blockchain smart contractHas no link to the blockchain
There is proof of ownershipThere is no proof of ownership
Has a record of past ownersHas no record of previous owners
Origin can be traced back to the creatorYou can’t trace the origin
Comes with utilities attached most timesNo extra utility as it’s a random copy
Difference between an NFT and a screenshot

Is it Illegal to Screenshot an NFT and Sell it?

Screenshots, for the most part, are yours to keep. You can screenshot a crucial piece of information on the internet for easy access when you need it.

With that in mind, screenshotting an NFT is perfectly legal, provided you have no intentions of using it commercially. As long as it is for your private use, you are well within the boundaries of the law.

Screenshotting does not make you the owner. For that reason, you can’t make any changes to the NFTs’ metadata or art without crossing the line. Let’s talk briefly about the lines you can’t cross.

Most artists define the copyright rules for their digital art. On that account, reading through the metadata of any token is crucial before you screenshot it. Screenshotting might be legal, but some owners might ban reproducing the art.

You can screenshot an NFT, but refrain from posting it online as yours. Adhering to that will keep you away from the arms of the law.

What to Do If Someone Screenshots Your NFT

Provided there is no flaunting of the art as theirs, you have nothing to worry about if someone screenshots your NFT. Screenshotting in itself is no crime.

However, your actions will depend on the information you laid out in the copyright section. If you prohibit screenshots, you can take legal action against anyone who falters and posts your work online.

Also, you can sue whoever claims your work for personal profit. Contact your lawyer and carefully review your copyright claims to build a solid infringement case.


can you screenshot an nft
Can You Screenshot an NFT? What Happens if You Do? 7

It is unsurprising when new enthusiasts ask, “Can you screenshot an NFT?” Visually, both the screenshot and the art look alike. While that is true, NFTs have more monetary value than the screenshot.

NFTs have a digital fingerprint once created on a blockchain. That includes information on the owner, description, and any other detail the creator would like to add. Once sold, the record is established, and you can easily trace an NFT back to the creator, even with 100 owners.

You can screenshot an NFT, but you can’t use it for profit or claim it as yours. There is no digital footprint establishing you as the artist, and you could be in serious violation if you post it as yours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make an NFT From a Screenshot?

You can use an NFT screenshot as inspiration to create your piece of digital art. However, you can’t create an exact copy of the NFT, as that would violate the copyrights of the work.

Can You Sell a Screenshot?

Screenshots are pictures without monetary value, and they have no proof of ownership. Hence, you can’t sell an NFT screenshot in the digital space, and doing that will be illegal if the art is not yours.

Is Uploading an NFT Screenshot Legal?

The legality of uploading an NFT screenshot depends on the owner’s copyrights. You might do it for non-profit reasons and still be in the wrong if the owner prohibits such a practice.

Is a Screenshot Valuable?

An NFT screenshot has no monetary value other than staying on your desktop or mobile device as a picture. Nevertheless, you can use it as inspiration to create your art.

Can I Stop People from Screenshotting My NFT?

You can prohibit people from screenshotting your NFT and using it for commercial gains, among other uses. However, you can’t stop people from screenshotting your NFT on their devices for personal use. 

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