NFTs often become punchlines, with countless “right-click and save” memes being born as a result of the same. On the flip side, however, traditional artists are speaking out about the pain of seeing their work stolen and minted as NFTs without their permission.
Thou “Art” a thief
On 18 December, Liam Sharp, a British comic artist who has worked on both Marvel and DC Comics, claimed that someone had stolen his art and minted it as an NFT on OpenSea. Naturally, he had some feedback for the NFT marketplace.
@opensea – this is not the first, there have been many now. The process to report is not intuitive, and the onus is on me to prove I am the artist/owner/creator – which seems wrong – that’s IF I even learn about it. The NFT creation side should be more rigorous.
— Liam ‘Sharpy’ Sharp (@LiamRSharp) December 17, 2021
The piece in question was a Minotaur which had been put on OpenSea by a user called 7D03E7. Minted two days earlier and based on the Polygon blockchain, the art work was priced at 0.0008 ETH [$3.14 at press time]. Users pointed out that other NFTs in the creator’s collection were also stolen pieces with other artists’ names still on them.
As many called for OpenSea to address what was happening, the founder and lead developer of ENS, Nick Johnson replied,
“This feels like a massive overreaction. The entire collection has zero sales. This is the equivalent of someone posting your work to their Facebook without attribution: shitty, and probably illegal, but not an actual threat of any kind.”
Another “paint” of view
Simply put, this isn’t easy to ignore.
More than crypto and crayons
Going forward, artist protection will undoubtedly be a major winning point for the next ruling NFT marketplace. What’s more, if NFT marketplaces want to draw in more traditional artists, these are problems that will need to be addressed quickly.