A curator allegedly created unauthorized art NFTs by Anish Kapoor and others. Now he can get slapped with legal action

Will artists wage war on Art Wars over unauthorized NFT sales?

Ben Moore, a London-based curator, is the founder of Art Wars, a long-term project consisting of an ongoing exhibition of life-size works Star wars stormtrooper helmets which have been custom painted by artists including Anish Kapoor, David Bailey, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Mr. Brainwash. Now Moore has angered many of these artists by selling NFTs derived from photographs of these originals on OpenSea, allegedly without their permission.

“For the first and only time, these iconic images, along with a new set of interpretations of famous digital artists and our own in-house artists, will be available as a collection of 1,138 unique and individual NFT ArtWars. . These will be randomly awarded to buyers of the initial mint, ”according to a statement posted on the Art Wars website.

Moore did not immediately respond to Artnet News’ request for comment. A dozen artists are considering legal action against the project, according to the Financial Time.

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 the NFTs took the art world by storm in early 2020, they have also opened the floodgates to potential – and so far difficult to control – wrongdoing regarding issues of authenticity, legal rights. author and outright theft.

More than 1,600 ETH (nearly $ 7 million) had been transferred since the collection of 1,138 images went on sale on November 22, FT reports. An NFT assigned to Kapoor was offered for 1,000 ETH ($ 4.3 million) but has since been removed from the site. Another work attributed to Bailey was priced at 120 ETH ($ 517,000).

OpenSea could not be reached for comment, but said it received and complied with a notice of copyright infringement. The Art Wars NFT page on OpenSea was deleted yesterday.

Asked for comment, Kapoor’s studio referred the query to the UK’s Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS), which is handling media inquiries on the matter.

“DACS is investigating on behalf of a number of our member artists to ensure their rights are respected and protected,” Representative Kate Rosser-Frost wrote in an email to Artnet News.

The DACS statement continued, “As the art market evolves with new and emerging technologies such as NFTs, we must ensure that we protect both the creative, intellectual and moral rights of artists. Striking NFT without the artists’ permission has the potential to destroy the way we, as a society, value creativity and, as part of that, ensure that artists are protected by existing intellectual property laws and mechanisms such as the artist’s resale right.

However, the same blockchain technology that makes NFTs possible could also provide a solution. DACS noted that the resale rights could be used to support artists making DTV or who have given permission to make DTV of their work. “Crucially, the artist’s resale right not only protects the creativity of the artist or his work, but it helps support the continued practice and livelihoods of artists, as well as ensuring that ‘they have a continuing interest in the growing value of their work. As art market players seek to make use of the new technologies available, we must ask ourselves: “How in the era of NFT can we ensure that artists’ rights in works of art are maintained?” ? “”

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