DeviantArt is expanding its system for flagging stolen NFT art

    DeviantArt is making its tool for spotting plagiarised crypto art available to artists outside of the network. DeviantArt Protect, which was released last year for work that was hosted on the site, will soon be available for material that isn’t. Users can contribute artwork to Protect and have it matched against images of non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) generated on one of the multiple public blockchains. They’ll get a warning if an identical or nearly the same match is found, and they’ll be able to issue takedown requests to big NFT markets like OpenSea.

    DevianArt protecting people’s art

    Users can post up to 10 photographs (totaling up to 2GB) for free and have them watched, or they can sign up for DeviantArt’s $3.95 monthly “Core” service and have up to 1,000 images totaling 50GB monitored. Protect examines photos minted on the Ethereum, Klaytn, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Palm, Tezos, and Flow blockchains for matches. If one is found, artists can choose to send a pre-filled Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notification to marketplaces asking them to delete the infringing NFT.

    Unfortunately for artists, there is no easy method to remove an image from a blockchain, regardless of whether the image is encoded directly into the chain or added as a link to another server. “Once anything gets minted to the blockchain, even if it is later recognized as an infringement, getting it deleted from the blockchain is pretty unlikely,” explains DeviantArt CMO Liat Gurwicz. Associating a crypto token with a work of art isn’t standard copyright infringement, and the copyright status of NFTs is tricky and mostly unresolved in court.

    Will DevianArt’s aspirations work in the real world?

    However, NFT markets usually display an image of the artwork in question, providing the rightsholder the opportunity to request a takedown. Furthermore, most NFT sales pass through OpenSea and a few other exchanges, causing a severe bottleneck in the ostensibly decentralized system. “It is exceedingly improbable that anyone will ever notice or seek to purchase that NFT if it is not reflected in any of the marketplaces,” Gurwicz explains.

    Marketplaces have become more interested in stolen or “copyminted” NFTs, which is a well-known issue in space. OpenSea just released its own mechanism for detecting copycats, which scans the platform for duplicates of existing NFTs. However, many artists are opposed to their work being put on a blockchain for various reasons, including the Ethereum blockchain’s environmental impact.

    DevianArt and Protect

    Protect was offered to DeviantArt members in September of last year. The technology automatically monitors all photographs on DeviantArt for three months, while Core subscribers’ work is tracked eternally. (Anyone who purchases Core for the off-platform Protect tool will also receive access to other DeviantArt Core capabilities.) DeviantArt claims to have indexed 345 million NFTs from eight blockchains and sent 245,000 notifications regarding allegedly stolen work; the company did not indicate how many of those alerts resulted in a takedown request against a marketplace.

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