To celebrate pioneers in information security, an unlawful NFT drop has been deluged with takedown notices and pirated content.
ItsBlockchain, a group that released the “Cipher Punks” NFT bundle on Christmas Day, including images of 46 different individuals with ten copies of each token. The group dubbed “ItsBlockchain.” The drop’s total value was around $4,100 at their opening price. However, almost immediately, the infosec community began to express concerns – including some from the subjects of the portraits.
WHAT IS AN NFT?
The blockchain is used to track the ownership of NFTs, making it possible to trade in and sell them. “Non-fungible token” (also known as a “NFT”) is a type of digital asset that can include everything from images, videos, audio files, and even video game items. It’s possible for an NFT to be one of one, like a genuine painting, or one of many, like a deck of cards, but the blockchain records who owns the file.
With high-profile memes such as Nyan Cat and “deal with it” sunglasses going up for auction, NFTs have been making news recently. Many people are concerned about NFTs’ enormous energy consumption and environmental impact. If you’re still unsure about anything, feel free to check out our NFT FAQ.
Several people’s names were misspelt in the portraits, including EFF speech activist Jillian York and OpenPGP developer Jon Callas, and a design was based on a copyright-protected photograph at least once. Jacob Appelbaum and Richard Stallman, two personalities who have been ostracised for their personal behaviour, were included on the list.
York tweeted a link to her own image and wrote, “I don’t approve of this at all and would like it taken down,” in response to the controversy. As a result of outrage, the ItsBlockchain team declared in a Medium post that they would be “shutting down” the collection and refunding any customers, as well as paying for any gas prices associated with the transfer.
There is no regulation of NFT markets, therefore “we were not aware of likeness restrictions in NFTs,” the post reads. “It was a blunder on our part. “We have to take responsibility for our actions.” According to OpenSea’s actions, the collection is no longer viewable on their site following the post.
Legal difficulties surrounding NFTs can be difficult to navigate, and this occurrence serves as a reminder of the potential legal pitfalls. It is unknown how a lawsuit like this would play out in practise if it were used to non-financial entities like NFTs, which often don’t have the same legal protections as other people.