NFT marketplace Cent shuts down over "rampant" fakes and plagiarism, founder says "I think this is a pretty fundamental problem with Web3"

Cent, the NFT marketplace which sold Jack Dorsey's NFT of his first tweet for $2.9 million, stopped transactions on February 6. The founder explained that people selling NFTs of content they didn't own, copies of other NFT projects, and NFTs resembling securities were "rampant" problems on the platform. "We would ban offending accounts but it was like we're playing a game of whack-a-mole... Every time we would ban one, another one would come up, or three more would come up."

HitPiece catches heat for selling song and album NFTs without seeking consent from the artists

Two listings for sale on the HitPiece website: "Tokyo DisneySea Theme Song" and a German-language Star Wars song, "Die Belagerung von Lothal - Teil 2 - Kapitel 6"You have to admit they have guts for so prominently listing stolen IP from the notoriously-litigious Disney (attribution)
The industrial band Choke Chain tweeted, "Yo a bunch of industrial scene acts (including me) have NFTs for sale on the site hitpiece.com I did not put it online and I assume you probably didn't either, fucked up". A look through the site shows that it is chock full of almost certainly unauthorized NFTs of music not just from industrial bands, but from contemporary pop music artists, k-pop groups, Disney, and many others. The group appears to be simply scraping Spotify and publishing everything as NFT auctions.

The project's website writes, "Each time an artist's NFT is purchased or sold, a royalty from each transaction is accounted to the rights holders account." They do not write about how this is supposed to work when the artists have had zero involvement in the NFT being created to begin with, or have no cryptocurrency wallets at all. The FAQ also includes a hilariously handwavy answer to the question most people learning about NFTs have: "What utility does owning an NFT give me?" HitPiece writes, "Artists provide NFT owners access and experiences."

OpenSea announces limits on free NFT minting, then reverses the decision the same day, after revealing that more than 80% of the items created through the feature were plagiarized, fake collections, or spam

On January 27, OpenSea announced a limit of five collections and 50 items per collection, after discovering that "over 80% of the items created with [their free minting tool] tool were plagiarized works, fake collections, and spam". The decision came without warning to creators, some of whom were in the process of minting items for collections that had already promised more than 50 items, and suddenly unable to complete the collections. Later that day, OpenSea announced that they had reversed the decision, saying they "should have previewed this with you before rolling it out".

McDonald's steals an artist's work to present to Twitter as a proposed NFT profile picture

Screenshot of a tweet by Sarah Burssty, which has a pixel art version of the Twitter logo and says "you've come to the right place, one ponzi scheme coming up"The original tweet (attribution)
Shortly after rolling out their hexagonal NFT profile pictures, @twitter posted "gm, looking for an nft pfp". The next day, McDonald's German language communications account, @McDonaldsDENews, replied "Say no more!" with attached pixel art of the Twitter bird logo holding a McDonald's bag in its beak. After further investigation, the art was found to be nearly identical to an image from a tweet by @SarahBurssty, which ironically was created to criticize Twitter's support of NFTs.

Developer apparently rug pulls two NFT projects at once

A pixel art face wearing a red, white, and black cap, and smoking a pipeMadHasher #0051 (attribution)
Shortly after it was discovered that the images used for the NFT project "InvertedCulture" were nothing more than unauthorized flipped copies from a different NFT project, DNA Cultura, the creator deleted the project's Twitter account and transferred funds out of the project. Simultaneously, another project called "MadHashers" also deleted their Twitter account and drained funds. It didn't take long for people to realize that the money from both projects was going to the same account, suggesting that that the same person was behind both scams.

Voice actor Troy Baker announces his involvement in "voice NFT" project Voiceverse with an antagonistic tweet, shortly before it's revealed that the project stole work

Troy Baker, the voice actor behind video game characters in The Last of Us, Far Cry, and various Batman games, announced he would be partnering with "voice NFT" company Voiceverse. Voiceverse is pretty vague as to what it's actually offering, but it has something to do "provid[ing] you an ownership to a unique voice in the Metaverse". Baker's announcement tweet ended, "You can hate. Or you can create. What'll it be?", which didn't seem to help with the already-negative reaction to the idea. Things were further soured when it was revealed that Voiceverse had stolen work without crediting it from a computer-generated voice project called 15.ai. Voiceverse subsequently apologized for the theft, and Baker acknowledged that his initial tweet "might have been a bit antagonistic".

Artist discovers her work has been stolen and published as 86,000 NFTs

Tweet by Aja Trier: "86 thousand times people have stolen my art and listed them on opensea and they even had the gall to make a collection like a giant middle finger to my IP rights. Wtf?"Tweet by Aja Trier (attribution)
Artist Aja Trier was shocked to discover that her artwork depicting dogs painted in the style of Van Gogh's Starry Night has been stolen and turned into an NFT collection with 86,000 items. Although NFT theft is sadly nothing new, this was perhaps the largest-scale theft to date. @NFTtheft, a popular Twitter account that draws attention to art theft in NFTs, wrote, "This is absolutely shocking. We’ve never seen anything at this scale before."

Prominent comics artist says continuous theft of his work for use as NFTs may force him to close his DeviantArt gallery

Screenshot of DeviantArt Protect, software which detects similar artwork being used off-site. In the screenshot, artwork depicting a minotaur has been directly copied with no apparent modifications and posted on an NFT marketplace.DeviantArt Protect software detecting stolen artwork (attribution)
Comics artist Liam Sharp wrote on Twitter that he would likely need to close his DeviantArt gallery, which he has maintained for fourteen years, because his artwork keeps being minted as NFTs without his permission. He wrote, "I can't - and shouldn't have to - report each one and make a case, which is consistently ignored. Sad and frustrating."

Multiple artists report OpenSea automatically closing their support tickets reporting stolen artwork; OpenSea removes ability to report

Artists going through the greuling process of reporting individual NFTs created without permission from their work reported tickets being automatically rejected. Artists were also required to provide personal information to OpenSea, who in some cases forwarded the personal information to the scammer behind the theft, opening the artist up to doxing and other harassment. Eventually, OpenSea disabled their contact form that had previously allowed artists to report stolen work.

Artist Loish searches her name on OpenSea and finds 132 NFTs created from her artwork without permission

Digital artist Loish discovered more than one hundred instances where people had created NFTs from her art without her permission, and had to spend hours reporting each individual NFT as copyright violations. She wrote on Twitter, "NFTs are supposedly about authenticity but these platforms (that's you, @opensea) do less than the bare minimum when it comes to making sure that the images are being uploaded by their ORIGINAL CREATORS."

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