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What just happened? In what is the latest in a series of stories illustrating why so many people hate NFTs—both those of the gaming and non-gaming variety—it’s been reported that YouTube gaming channel presenters have had their likeness stolen and turned into non-fungible tokens, which are being sold on OpenSea.
TheGamer reports that an OpenSea user called StakeTheWeb is selling NFTs consisting of images showing influencers and YouTubers from across the internet. Popular YouTube gaming stars Jim Sterling and Caddicarus were some of those included in the collection. While that set of NFTs appear to have been removed by OpenSea, some items featuring less-popular influencers remain. Strangely, the cards include a unique URL that’s nothing more than the featured presenter’s YouTube channel address.
“At least, AT LEAST, if you stole my shit and tried selling it off, make it a t shirt. A mug. A clock. A thing. That you can use. And enjoy. Shilling off a profile picture for a collection you can just make yourself on a Facebook photo album is honestly a new level of pathetic lol,” tweeted Caddicarus.
Frankly not surprised that some freeloading leech turned my channel into an NFT.— Commander Stephanie Sterling (@JimSterling) January 16, 2022
As gross as it is, I find it justifying - I did not consent to this, I do not want this, and it demonstrates everything I’ve said about how disrespectful and exploitative this market is.
“As gross as it is, I find it justifying - I did not consent to this, I do not want this, and it demonstrates everything I've said about how disrespectful and exploitative this market is,” Sterling said, before adding the word “Scum.”
Some users are doing more than turning an influencer’s image into an NFT and selling it. Santa Monica Studios' Alanah Pearce tweeted that her face has been photoshopped onto the cover of a porn magazine to be sold as a non-fungible token. The account, Adult Erotic Arts (now deleted), is reported to have offered several NFTs featuring photoshopped celebrities. “I cannot wait for the lawsuits,” said Pearce.
In extremely predictable news I’ve just been informed that somebody has taken an image of me, that *I* own, added a trademarked porn logo to it, and “minted” it to sell for profit as an NFT. Naturally, I was not asked for permission.— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) January 16, 2022
I cannot wait for the lawsuits 😂🤡. pic.twitter.com/7993J1e6YA
It appears that OpenSea has acted against both accounts in question. “OpenSea supports an open and creative ecosystem in which people have greater freedom and ownership over digital items of all kinds. One of our operating principles is to support creators and their audiences by deterring theft and plagiarism on our platform,” it said in a statement.
Experiencing a loss of taste? You may have COVID or NFTs.— Sahil Lavingia (@shl) January 9, 2022
“To that end, it is against our policy to sell NFTs using plagiarized content, which we regularly enforce in various ways, including delisting and in some instances, banning accounts (as was the case in this instance). We are actively expanding our efforts across customer support, trust and safety, and site integrity so we can move faster to protect and empower our community and creators.”
The incident is doubtlessly going to amplify the anger many feel toward NFTs. Troy Baker, best known for BioShock Infinite's Booker DeWitt and The Last of Us’ Joel, went from being one of gamers’ favorite celebs to one of their most hated following his decision to jump on the NFT gravy train, a move that wasn’t helped by his tweet that read: "You can hate. Or you can create." But with the likes of Konami’s NFTs making over $162,000, and GameStop, Square Enix, and others getting into the business, expect more companies to ignore the outcry and continue pumping out non-fungible tokens.
I’m partnering with @VoiceverseNFT to explore ways where together we might bring new tools to new creators to make new things, and allow everyone a chance to own & invest in the IP’s they create.— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) January 14, 2022
We all have a story to tell.
You can hate.
Or you can create.
What’ll it be? pic.twitter.com/cfDGi4q0AZ
Update: An OpenSea spokesperson responded to the story with the following statement: "It is against our policy to sell NFTs that violate the publicity rights of others. We regularly enforce this in multiple ways, including delisting and banning accounts when we are notified that usage of a likeness is not authorized. Furthermore, we have a zero tolerance policy for NCII (non consensual intimate imagery). NFTs using NCII or similar images (including images doctored to look like someone that they are not) are prohibited, and we move quickly to ban accounts that post this material. We are actively expanding our efforts across customer support, trust and safety, and site integrity so we can move faster to protect and empower our community and creators."