November 25, 2021
Star Wars Stormtrooper helmets by artists including Sir Anish Kapoor and David Bailey have been photographed and turned into non-fungible tokens and marketed for millions of pounds without their consent.
Curator Ben Moore took photographs of some of the helmets from a project called Art Wars, created by more than 300 artists since 2013, and put them up for sale for cryptocurrency as NFTs on the trading platform OpenSea yesterday
Some of the artists involved are now pursuing legal action against Art Wars. (Hirst’s Art Wars Stormtrooper helmet was not included in the NFT sale, however.) Because of the involvement of big-name artists like Kapoor and David Bailey, this case will be closely watched by those in the NFT space, since its outcome may decide who owns the rights to images of an artwork when it comes to minting NFTs.
Moore did not immediately respond to Artnet News’s request for comment. Approximately a dozen artists are considering legal action against the project, according to the Financial Times.
An NFT, or non-fungible token, is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and individually identified on a blockchain, effectively verifying the rightful owner and authenticity of the creation. Since NFTs took the art world by strom in early 2020, they have also opened the floodgates for potential-and so far, hard-to-police-wrongdoing around issues of authentiity, copyright, and outright, and outright theft.
After receiving a copyright infringement notice, OpenSea, the online platform on which Art Wars NFTs were traded, shut down the Art Wars page yesterday so no further trading can take place. According to the Finanical Times, 12 artists are currently considering taking further legal action.
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