Unauthorized NFTs of Anish Kapoor and Others' Artwork Reportedly Listed Illegally by Curator

Unauthorized NFTs of Anish Kapoor and Others' Artwork Reportedly Listed Illegally by Curator

NICOLAS SARAZIN | Nov 25, 2021 3 minutes read
 

Unauthorized NFTs of Art by Anish Kapoor and Others were allegedly printed by a curator. Lawsuits may now be filed against him. Moore has now enraged several of these artists by allegedly selling NFTs based on images of their originals on OpenSea without their consent.

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Will artists join Art Wars in their fight against unlawful NFT sales?
Ben Moore, a curator based in London, is the creator of Art Wars, a long-running project that features a permanent exhibition of life-size Star Wars stormtrooper helmets custom-painted by artists such as Anish Kapoor, David Bailey, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Mr. Brainwash. Moore has now enraged several of these artists by allegedly selling NFTs based on images of their originals on OpenSea without their consent.

"For the first and only time, these legendary images will be made available as a collection of 1,138 distinct and individual ArtWar NFTs, alongside fresh interpretations from notable digital artists and our own in-house artists." According to a post on the Art Wars website, "they will be randomly awarded to buyers of the original mint."According to the Financial Times, about a dozen artists are exploring legal action against the idea.

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A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a one-of-a-kind digital token that is encrypted with an artist's signature and uniquely identifiable on a blockchain, essentially proving the rightful owner and authenticity of the work. Since NFTs swept the art world in early 2020, they've also opened the floodgates for potential—and so far, difficult-to-police—wrongdoing involving questions of legitimacy, copyright, and outright theft.

Since the collection of 1,138 photographs were on sale on November 22, more than 1,600 ETH (about $7 million) has been exchanged, according to the Financial Times. One NFT ascribed to Kapoor was listed on the site for 1,000 ETH ($4.3 million), but it has since been removed. A work credited to Bailey was valued at 120 ETH ($517,000) in another auction. Although OpenSea could not be reached for comment, it did confirm that it had received a copyright infringement notice and that it had dealt with it. On OpenSea, the Art Wars NFT page was taken down yesterday.

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When asked for a response, Kapoor's studio referred the inquiry to the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in the United Kingdom, which is handling the matter's media demands. DACS representative Kate Rosser-Frost stated, "DACS is making inquiries on behalf of a number of our artist members to ensure that their rights are upheld and protected."

"As the art market advances with new and developing technology like as NFTs, we must ensure that we preserve both the creative, intellectual, and moral rights of artists," the DACS statement stated. The minting of NFTs without the approval of artists has the potential to damage how we value creativity as a society and, as a result, ensure that artists are protected by current intellectual property laws and processes, such as the Artist's Resale Right." However, the same blockchain technology that allows for NFTs might also be used to solve the problem. Resale rights, according to DACS, could be utilized to help artists who are creating NFTs or have given permission for NFTs of their work. "Crucially, the Artist's Resale Right helps support artists' continuous practice and lives, as well as ensuring that they have a continuing share in the increasing value of their work." As the art industry seeks to make use of new technologies, we must question ourselves, "How can we ensure that artists' rights for artworks are protected in an age of NFTs?"



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