NFT Theft & Copyright

NFT theft and copyright concern: here’s what to do

NFT theft is becoming a major concern ever since the commodity rose to popularity. But to understand the gravity of the situation, it is important to realize why NFT theft is becoming very common.

What is NFT theft and why is it so common?

NFTs use blockchain technology. While the technology is quite secure on its own, the applications built around it are not. This is not only worrying but the reason why NFT theft is becoming so common. And the bad news is that as the value of NFTs is increasing so is the number of thefts.

“I dealt with having my art stolen for years. And I’m sort of numb to that. But when somebody is claiming to be you … that pisses me off.”

Those were the words of Laufman, in an interview with Verge. This was after an alleged impersonation of the artist’s identity and theft of one of his arts.

Another affected artist, Devin Elle Kurtz tweeted. “I searched my name to make sure my art was there and not turned into NFTs. And sure thing, an obscure old piece from my DeviantArt is on the front page of the marble cards NFT website? How is this allowed? “unregulated, Devin added in a follow-up tweet: “This sucks as an artist who relies on posting my work online for income”

Artists are in panic and flight mode

With the sudden rise of NFT arts, the NFT space has become a gold rush. This of course has attracted the attention of many bad actors. They are out to make money from the messy innovation.

Some artists are optimistic about the future of NFTs. They are not concerned about the storage, how it’s sold and valued on the internet. But other artists are fearful and withdrawing into their shells. This is after following the reported theft cases. Several artists are locking up their social media accounts from public access. 

The cold truth with NFTs every artist must know

Whatever artists may think about these situations, it is clear that NFTs will be around. The protection of their works from NFT thrift should be a top priority. With conventional art sales, the situation is unavoidable. The laws around copyrights need to be set up with the way the art market works. Currently, for the US there is only the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

What happens with NFT thefts

To understand what happens with NFT theft, one must first understand how NFTs operate. NFT are basically a cryptographical representation of the artwork in the form of a cryptocurrency token. 

Think of NFTs as a cryptocurrency that acts as proof of ownership to artworks. This is especially easy with digital arts since it’s easy to attach a digital property to a unique cryptographic token on a blockchain. 

Since works of art are essentially unique, like fingerprints, it is easy to attach a cryptographic token to a work of art, since cryptographic tokens are functionally unique too, like fingerprints. 

Also, all transfers involving cryptographic tokens are irreversible. This makes the creation of an NFT on a shared blockchain database like Ethereum or the Binance smart chain irreversible. 

Hence, for artists whose works are stolen and minted by another person on a public blockchain, it is technically impossible to have that cryptographic ownership on a blockchain reversed; especially when the bad actor is from a different location with separate laws or is outrightly inaccessible.

The only solution is that these NFTs, once confirmed stolen, will not be allowed for trade on NFT marketplaces, like Orica. However, the puzzle of knowing what NFTs are minted by the real owners, is still unsolved, since there isn’t a central point of verification for these arts before and after they are minted. 

This problem of regulation cited by the artist, Devin, in the tweet we mentioned earlier is called “the oracle problem.” There still isn’t a practical solution for this problem in the NFT space. 

That being said, the oracle problem is the problem that arises as a result of different blockchains with different information and procedure for authenticating information, due to their isolatedness. Since blockchain networks are autonomous and operate in isolation from traditional intermediaries and some other blockchains, it is difficult to verify information like the history of art before it was registered as an NFT. this problem is what is called an Oracle problem

This leaves every artist with the problem of protecting their work, from theft, and every collector with the responsibility of not buying stolen works. This type of protection for every artist, whether you believe in NFTs or not, is what Orica is about, for the most part.

How not to be a victim of stolen arts

Protect your work before its stolen

Getting your work stolen is every artist’s worst nightmare. This is even more severe with NFTs because NFT mints are indestructible. This gets complicated for an artist who is looking to publish and sell their work when it’s already stolen.

One way to avoid this will be to mint your art before it’s stolen. Considering the high minting cost, Orica is one of the markets offering a free minting fee. This is until the sales come. With this offer, artists can go ahead with minting their work without worrying about the fees.

Keep a look out

Also, it will be a good practice to do a routine search across all markets. This is to see if you will find your work published in an NFT market. For Devin Elle Kur, searching for NFTs was a discovery of both impersonation and art theft of his work.

Use NFT marketplaces that have a verification protocol 

It’s impossible to stop an individual from minting an NFT. Especially on a platform like Ethereum or Binance smart chain. What you can do is opt for NFT marketplaces that verify every user that mints and lists NFTs for sale on their site.

A few NFT marketplaces out there take thorough user verification. Also at Orica, there is a standard proof of art (PoA) verification protocol. This is to verify every user on the marketplace before minting, listing, or selling an NFT.

A proof of art (PoA) is the standard onboarding procedure for every signup on Orica. This involves every user linking their social media account to their Orica account. They are also required to give their real-life government-issued ID verification. With this, the verification of every NFT creator in Orica is authentic.

ORICA NFT Marketplace

Only buy NFTs from verified collectors. If you find an NFT outside a reputable marketplace, you can do your verification. You should do this before proceeding with making payments for that particular NFT.

This could be by checking the published identity of the buyer. You can do this on social media channels, art stations, and every media platform. Since this is where art creators share their work and identity.

ORICA NFT Marketplace

Only buy NFTs from verified collectors 

If perhaps you find an NFT outside a reputable marketplace, you can take the pain of doing your verification due diligence before proceeding with making payments for that particular NFT. 

This could be by checking the published identity of the buyer, on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Art stations, and every media platform where art creators share their work and identity.

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