As NFTs Heat Up, Artists Question Their Legitimacy

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are the hottest thing to hit the art world since the advent of photography. There were over 11 million NFT sales in 2021, and 2022 is shaping up to be even hotter, with over two million sales in January alone. 

However, these sales numbers don’t tell the whole story. NFTs poses unique challenges, including questionable copyright laws and moral implications. 

Not all artists have jumped aboard the NFT train. Many are concerned about copyright infringement, sustainability, and the morality of the NFT marketplace. 

Gwenn Seemel, a professional artist specializing in polka dot cubist portraits, is one of these. Seemel places her work directly on the public domain because she believes “humans need imitation. It shapes us as a species, and it continues to help us evolve”. 

She has concerns about the environmental impact of minting NFTs. “Minting, selling, and re-selling a single NFT has a stupid big carbon footprint.” 

Unfortunately, artists don’t have much recourse for moral objections. Marc Misthal, a copyright attorney with Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C out of Manhattan, says that being morally against an NFT isn’t going to give artists much standing under copyright law. “ 

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