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Artists and labels hit out at unofficial NFTs site that allows people to “own a song”

By | Published on Wednesday 2 February 2022


There has been a flurry of social media posts overnight from artists and labels hitting out at a music NFTs website called HitPiece that is seemingly promoting non-fungible tokens linked to all kinds of music, but without the permission of the artists or labels who made and released that music. The band Eve 6 were among those to shout about it all on Twitter, delivering that common legal demand: “Cease and desist motherfuckers”.

It’s not 100% clear what HitPiece is selling and since the backlash began on social media its website has gone down. But the official pitch is that people can buy “one of one NFTs of all your favourite songs – own a song, build your unique playlist and join an artist’s community”.

It’s possible that what the buyer actually ‘owns’ is the right to say they own a song within the HitPiece community, so basically bragging rights, which is what quite a lot of music NFTs are really selling. That would mean no actual song or recording was being sold or distributed as part of the deal, which means technically no song or recording copyright would be infringed.

However, there might be a case for saying an artist’s trademarks had been exploiting without permission, and in some countries publicity or image rights would probably have been infringed too. Plus, before it went down, the HitPiece site had lots of album artwork on it – it seems those images and a load of track data had been scraped from Spotify – and all that artwork is also protected by copyright.

Also, the HitPiece website was apparently promising “real life value such as access and experiences with artists”, which obviously would only be possible with the involvement of artists, which doesn’t seem to have been secured.

As more artists and labels took to the socials to accuse HitPiece of one form of infringement or another, the NFTs set up posted its own statement on Twitter saying: “To be clear, artists get paid when digital goods are sold on HitPiece. Like all beta products, we are continuing to listen to all user feedback and are committed to evolving the product to fit the needs of the artists, labels, and fans alike”.

So yeah, I think we might soon need a standalone daily bulletin for all the NFT-related lawsuits that are surely incoming.