11 February 2022CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Anti-piracy group launches NFT takedown service

Music anti-piracy group Digital Content Protection (DcP) has launched new services to protect IP owners from infringement and fraud in the burgeoning non-fungible tokens (NFTs) space.

The Italian company, which works with Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music and Universal Music, aims to help brands combat unauthorised use of their IP in NFT markets.

In a conversation with TorrentFreak, DcP’s CEO Luca Vespignani explained that the service scours “web 3.0 resources such as NFT markets, VR platforms and in-game platforms” to identify “unauthorised NFTs, bad actors, rug-pulls”.

The group then serves a takedown request and compiles evidence to support legal action, Vespignani explained.

In a press release announcing the launch, Vespignani said: “These new technologies—such as NFT and metaverse—are developing with enormous speed and also moving large financial interests, but companies need to know that there are very relevant legal aspects and violations are on the agenda.

“To approach this new market in a healthy and safe way, high-profile technological safeguards become indispensable.”

NFT infringement

Coming to prevalence as a promising web 3.0 technology last year, NFTs so far have posed significant challenges for trademark, brand and copyright owners who have had their IP adopted by bad actors without their consent to lend credibility to money-making schemes.

Even the legal rights attributed to NFTs themselves are currently undefined. While generally described as a “digital property right”, they do not give buyers legal ownership over the media associated with the token.

Over the past few months, we have seen several brand owners sue NFT projects over the unauthorised usage of their IP. In January, Hermès sued artist Mason Rothschild for developing NFTs of the brand’s iconic ‘Birkin’ bags.

The lawsuit, filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, claims Rothschild’s “Metabirkins” rip off Hermès’ trademark by simply attaching the prefix “meta”.

At the start of February, US rapper Lil Yachty sued music NFT start-up Opulous for trademark infringement, alleging that the company was using his likeness in media materials without his consent.

This unauthorised usage, Yachty claimed, was to give the guise of legitimacy and attract funding. The complaint alleged that Opulous managed to raise $6.5 million “due in large part” to feigning the rapper’s involvement with the project.

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More on this story

17 February 2022   The luxury brand’s lawsuit over non-fungible tokens heralds important questions for brand owners and artists over their IP rights in the metaverse, Joseph Barber of Howard & Howard Attorneys explains.
24 March 2022   Businesses and IP owners need to be clued into the complicated world of NFTs in order to arm themselves against the looming threat of infringement in the industry, says Rola Daaboul is special counsel at Akerman
31 May 2022   Visits to online piracy sites increased by almost 30% in a year, with the US, Russia and India accounting for the highest consumption of pirated content.