Artists: Your smart contract name could cost you

NFT Artists-

Your smart contract name could cost you the rights to all of your work.

Here’s how.

Say someone uses Manifold to quickly create a smart contract.

They’re thinking ahead and want to truly own their work.

A huge fan of a particular mouse franchise, friends have fondly nicknamed them Disney.

So they name the smart contract Disney Art and start minting.

Immediately they realize Disney Art wasn’t a great choice, so they head to OpenSea, find their collection, and rename it.

They decide, from here on out, they’ll instead go by Dissey and their collection will be called Dissey Art.

With the name changed, they continue minting, selling and building their community of collectors.

In a few years, Dissey’s really made a name for themselves.

And, surprisingly, enough money that the side hustle is about to become their full time career.

Now it’s 2026 and Disney legal is performing their quarterly sweep of the blockchain.

They find countless smart contracts using their trademark, too many to make a dent.

But they always review those with the most money transacted.

And there’s Dissey…

To uphold a trademark, a company is required to defend their mark against unauthorized use.

So Disney legal reaches out to Dissey.

Dissey’s flustered, yet thankful the collection name was changed many years ago on OpenSea.

But what about the immutably named smart contract?

There was no confusion, Dissey thinks. All buyers knew who’s art they were buying.

But Disney argues that the tag placed on a product by a retailer (OpenSea) is irrelevant.

If a store puts a Nike tag in front of a shelf of Adidas sneakers what brand are those sneakers?

It will be argued that all tokens (NFTs) sold from Dissey’s smart contract were purchased, in part, because of the Disney name.

Whether that’s true will be heavily contested.

But it remains that a smart contract contains the one and only record that backs an NFT. Its name matters.

Now, will a dispute like this ever happen? Who knows.

But brands must continue to defend their trademarks.

And the blockchain is still broadly misunderstood by most.

But it’s also immutable for eternity.

So I’d guess that the question is less if, but when.

This is just one extremely specific scenario to consider when building in web3.

Details matter when you’re building any brand or business.

But just consider that the stakes may be even higher in web3 where every move is public record from now until the end of time.