Months ago, DeviantArt announced an NFT theft AI system that would detect when artwork from the site is found on NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Axie Marketplace.
It’s a system that’s available to all DeviantArt Core members, the DeviantArt membership system available to artists. All levels of the membership system have unlimited NFT scanning across blockchain marketplaces, with an alert prompting the DeviantArt artist when a similar work has been spotted for sale as an NFT. It should also be noted that DeviantArt worked with OpenSea to develop this tool.
Back in September, when the system was initially being rolled out, Twitter user @_akreon_ called out OpenSea for hosting stolen artwork from their DeviantArt page. In case you’re wondering what the fuss is about, this treads the line of copyright infringement and art theft.
— akreon (@_akreon_) September 10, 2021
It’s not a perfect solution to DeviantArt NFT theft or internet art theft, as all it does for an artist is alert them to the theft – it doesn’t file a takedown notice on their behalf, it just informs the artist that the theft may have occurred and that they might want to do something about it.
While it’s a more proactive system than we often see and one that more companies should consider, we’ve now seen it in practice for three months without the ability to do much more than alert artists to art theft. DeviantArt is calling on all creator platforms to fight art theft and has achieved over 3.7 million scans per week, having sent over 50,000 alerts regarding potential art infringement.
Liam Sharp, an artist who has worked on Green Lantern and Wonder Woman comics, took to Twitter to air his frustrations about DeviantArt NFT theft and the detection tool.
Sadly I'm going to have to completely shut down my entire @DeviantArt gallery as people keep stealing my art and making NFTs. I can't – and shouldn't have to – report each one and make a case, which is consistently ignored. Sad and frustrating. pic.twitter.com/oNH6yXQtyU
— Liam 'Sharpy' Sharp (@LiamRSharp) December 17, 2021
“I’m going to have to completely shut down my entire @DeviantArt gallery as people keep stealing my art and making NFTs,” Sharp said.
“I can’t – and shouldn’t have to – report each one and make a case, which is consistently ignored. Sad and frustrating.”
Later Sharp would say that he loves DeviantArt, having been there for 14 years. “I don’t blame them, but I see no option at this point,” he added, before saying he didn’t want to stir animosity.
Responses to Sharp’s tweet varied, obviously leaning more into sympathy for a terrible situation. One Twitter user suggested the artist register his own art as NFTs, however a response to this shut it down as a move that shouldn’t be necessary for artists to avoid art theft.
Comments also highlighted OpenSea’s approach to copyright claims and that the NFT hosting site could also be doing a better job protecting artists.
OpenSea just stopped honouring regular takedown requests / messages / emails. Now they only accept legal documents with legally binding "artist gets prosecuted if they lied to OpenSea" clause (DMCA)https://t.co/MRj6ey2Hit
— Muffins & Stitches (@BlindHag) December 18, 2021
Just another day in this unhinged world where we see NFTs as a good and normal thing.
This article has been updated since it was first published with comments from DeviantArt.