Is It Illegal to Screenshot an NFT and Could You Get Sued?

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A man is holding up a painting on a wall, questioning the legality of screenshotting NFTs.
Table of Contents
A man is holding up a painting on a wall, questioning the legality of screenshotting NFTs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Screenshotting an NFT for personal use is generally acceptable and not illegal
  • Selling or monetizing a screenshot of an NFT without the creator’s permission can lead to legal issues and potential lawsuits for copyright infringement
  • Copyright laws apply to NFTs, and unauthorized commercial use of screenshots can result in legal consequences

Is It Illegal to Screenshot an NFT and Can You Get Sued for It?

It’s not illegal to copy or screenshot an NFT, but you could get sued for copyright infringement if you tried to sell it. 

If you screenshot it, then you can do it for your personal usage. 

If you screenshot it to sell it without having the original NFT image, then the creator could sue you for copyright infringement. They could even take legal action because you have distributed their work without permission to earn money. 

If you create a Non-Fungible Token you automatically get the copyright for it. This grants you as the rightful owner of the artwork protection from unauthorized use of your work. 

If you would get permission from the creator and owner for the reproduction in the form of a screenshot, then you wouldn’t have any problems. You should always check your local laws and regulations

You should always be cautious if you want to screenshot NFTs. For personal usage, this won’t get you problems, but the commercial use could get you problems.

Is Screenshotting an NFT Theft of Intellectual Property?

Screenshotting an NFT is not theft. 

It could be viewed as theft if you would sell it. 

Here, you would steal the intellectual property of the creator or owner of the NFT. You would not physically steal it, but you would earn money from their work, which would be seen as similar to theft. 

Taking screenshots is not exactly the same as owning the original piece of art. You copy an NFT but you don’t own it. Here, you don’t steal it physically, you just copy it.

This is not theft of the original digital art but the theft of the intellectual property meaning you try to monetize something someone else has created without their permission. 

If you want to buy a piece from a collection of NFTs like from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, you can protect yourself by buying it from an NFT marketplace. They are connected to the blockchain and it won’t be possible that they sell you copies of the NFT. 

NFT screenshotters and scammers couldn’t use the official platforms because there you have to prove your ownership of the original data.

Can Screenshots Threaten an NFT Image as the Original Work?

No, as an NFT screenshot will never come close to the original NFT created in the blockchain. 

People won’t generate any money from.

Remember, they just took a screenshot. If they now want to sell it to you, then they will need to show it to you before you buy. Now, you could just simply check the authenticity on the blockchain. 

If we try to be exact, then you really can’t copy NFTs. This is because you never copy the underlying data, only the image itself. You further will see on NFT marketplaces always just image files representing the original copy. 

So practically the creator uses a screenshot, or just a direct copy of the image file, to upload it onto the marketplace. This way, this image can be displayed so buyers or collectors can see what NFT they will get. 

Remember that the NFT was also just an image file before it was recorded on the blockchain. The data attached to the image gives you ownership, which can be proved. It is a virtual replication of possessing physical art. 

The owner is the only one who can prove that he has the original. Copying NFTs is an interesting topic. The blockchain finally allowed us to own digital assets with a proof of authenticity without worrying about copyright infringements. 

Before it, ownership and authenticity were not possible for any kind of digital data. Screenshot or direct copies of the image file can even help to distribute and promote NFT artwork across the internet. 

The purchase of an NFT will make you the rightful owner of it.

Is It Okay to Take a Screenshot of an NFT or Digital Art?

Taking a screenshot of an NFT is not wrong. 

Especially if you just do it for yourself to have a pleasant picture. 

It is fine and won’t cause any problems. Consequences for screenshotting an NFT could always come up if you start to sell or to promote it or post it somewhere on the internet. Here, you use the work of someone else. 

At the moment you use it in a place which is publicly accessible, then legal issues must be considered. If you share it with friends just to show them the artwork, it is also fine. You share it, but only for personal purposes. 

You should never use them as a substitute for purchasing NFTs for digital artwork. Here, you would violate copyright laws and could be sued. Copyright laws are always automatically applied to any kind of artwork. 

The same concept can be applied to NFTs as digital artwork. If you would take a picture of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, this would be ok. If you print the picture and sell it, you could get legal issues. 

Overall, as long as you use these things for personal reasons, it will be perfectly fine. As long as some sort of commercial usage begins then legal matters should also be considered.

How Do Copyright Laws Affect NFTS?

Copyright laws affect NFTs in the same way as any other piece of art

The moment you save an NFT as a screenshot on your computer or phone, you have a copy of the creator’s original NFT art without their knowledge. 

While you can share it or post it online to show it to friends and family, you should always think of any copyright infringement you could violate if you try to monetize it, no matter in which form. The owner of the NFT could sue you for commercial use. 

What you should keep in mind is that even if any form of art automatically gets a copyright, in most cases the creator needs to further register it, too. Only then the original creator also gets the ability to sue others for infringement damage. 

In the NFT world, the blockchain technology provides an easier proof of ownership than any other original artwork. The reason for this is the digital fingerprint on an NFT giving it specific metadata which enables it to prove authenticity. 

This makes the authentication process easy and fast. When it comes to physical art like a piece from Leonardo da Vinci, then an excellent painter could just make a physical copy. It would need to be checked for authenticity by professionals. 

By screenshotting NFTs, everyone can just check in the blockchain if the screenshotted NFT was minted there which won’t be the case.


Will a Smart Contract Protect Your Minted NFTS?

NFTs are minted through smart contracts, so they are protected by them. 

They allow NFTs to get their authenticity. 

A smart contract makes sure that all parties involved in it are following the terms of their agreement. The underlying blockchain technologies provide the possibility for authentication without the parties needing to trust each other. 

Because of this advantage, the smart contract can protect NFTs. You basically agree with the seller that you buy the NFT from him and he gives you the ownership of it. 

This is all recorded in the blockchain so the buyer can now, as the new owner, prove his ownership and the authenticity of the NFT. This is the reason the blockchain was invented. We now have a digital possibility to prove ownership of digital assets clearly.

Is It a Crime to Screenshot a Non-Fungible Token?

When you screenshot NFT art or anything else, it isn’t a crime. 

What you will further do with it will determine if it can be classified as criminal activity. 

This will mostly depend on the specific country’s laws and regulations you live in. If you take a screenshot it is not a direct copy of the NFT so you cannot steal it this way, which immediately would be considered a crime. 

A screenshot is not the original itself and therefore it is no problem for personal use. Depending on your country, maybe screenshotting without permission couldn’t be allowed. 

This depends on your personal situation, so you should inform yourself about the regulations. 

Can You Save an NFT From the Original Creator?

You can’t save an NFT from someone else. 

What could be done is that an NFT could be stolen. 

For this, access to the owner’s wallet should be needed. Hackers do this through different scams. This way, it would be possible to steal an NFT and save it in their own wallet. 

Because this would be an illegal activity, this, of course, is not recommended and should never be done. Stealing an NFT can be illegal the same as if the hacker sells a copycatted NFT without the owner’s permission. 

Overall, the only way to get an NFT is to buy it. For NFTs’ security, it was invented exactly this way. Preventing that someone just copies or steals your NFT is why it was built on top of the blockchain technology. 

The ownership of the NFT can be proved so that the creators of NFTs can prevent copying their work.

Is It Possible to Steal NFT Art?

Technically, it is possible to steal an NFT. 

It is illegal to sell or pass off assets which were stolen or sold without the knowledge of the NFT creators. 

This is the same as with any other stolen goods. It is a crime. If you then would try selling the stolen art, you would even perform further illegal activities. Even if it is possible to steal NFTs, it is not as easy to do so. 

Preventing this scenario is one reason the blockchain was invented. It gives you a maximum security which prevents someone from stealing data from you which is based on this technology. Overall, the blockchain provides a virtual proof of ownership. 

This leads to the effect that someone else can’t prove ownership without all the necessary data, which is hard to get. Your private key is one part of this necessary data. It is your access to your NFT. 

As long as only you have this information, then no one can steal an NFT from you. The keys are always necessary to prove the ownership of this digital asset.

Conclusion: Is Screenshotting NFTs Illegal?

Screenshotting an NFT for personal use is generally acceptable and not considered illegal or a form of theft. However, problems may arise if you attempt to sell or monetize the screenshot without the permission of the NFT creator.

Copyright laws apply to NFTs, and unauthorized commercial use can lead to legal issues and potential lawsuits for copyright infringement. It is always recommended to consult a qualified attorney for specific legal advice regarding NFTs and any related actions.


It is always recommended to consult a qualified attorney regarding any legal issues you may face. While we strive to provide helpful tips and advice, nothing on our website should be taken as legal advice. 

An attorney can provide you with more informed advice tailored to your specific circumstances and needs.



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About the Author:
Jordan Adams, with a rich background in Finance and Economics and specialized knowledge in blockchain, is a distinguished voice in the cryptocurrency community. Their journey in fintech and digital currency trading has equipped them to offer unique insights into digital finance. Jordan's writing demystifies cryptocurrency concepts with well-researched, practical advice. Engaged in the crypto community, Jordan shares timely market insights, fostering understanding of complex technologies and their practical applications in the evolving digital currency landscape.