Is it possible to “pirate” an NFT with the right mouse button? Not That Simple – Technoblog

Mosaic by @nicodotgay featuring 10,000 NFTs from the popular “Lazy Lions” series (Image: Playback/Twitter)

As the market booms NFT In 2021, there is a lot of talk about the technology behind them, what is registered as a digital asset, and the (sometimes millionaire) price paid for “simple” non-fungible tokens. Recently, we’ve seen an encouragement on social media”pirate” NFTs save a copy of the file with the right mouse button (right-click).

However, is it possible to steal or hack NFTs in this way? The answer to this question may not be what you expect. Yes, for example, anyone can copy and save a file attached to an NFT on their desktop and claim to “own” a piece of digital art.However, this image file is not no value It also does not configure digital assets whose authenticity is guaranteed by records on the blockchain network.

A recent practical example was the creation of the so-called “The NFT Bay” in mid-November, in reference to the well-known torrent and pirated file platform “The Pirate bay”. The platform’s creator, Australian Geoffrey Huntley, has collected all the documents related to NFTs for the Ethereum and Solana networks in a seed called the “Billion Dollar Seed.”

According to the project’s creators, “NFT Bay” will be a major criticism of the non-fungible token market and its use to buy wealth represented by “useless” numbers. The entire platform is based on downloading files linked to NFTs from the two major blockchains hosting these assets.

“Did you know that an NFT is just a hyperlink to an image typically stored on Google Drive or another web host?” Huntley asked on the project description page.

NFT Bay allows downloading of 'pirated' NFTs (Pic: Playback)
NFT Bay allows downloading of ‘pirated’ NFTs (Pic: Playback)

“People spend millions of dollars on instructions to download pictures. So you can download them with a second mouse click because they are just images. The images themselves are not stored in the blockchain contract…due to the known network The host goes offline (404 error), here’s a very useful seed with all the NFTs so posterity can study the current generation’s “Tulip Mania” (a reference to the first speculative bubble in history) and “Maria Walks With Others” “.

Well, Huntley isn’t technically wrong, but his vision is limited. complicated? Don’t worry, I’ll explain all this in more detail. However, we need to revisit the definition of non-fungible tokens and why this form of digital asset has value.

Why are NFTs valuable?

As a reminder, NFTs or non-fungible tokens are tool It allows anyone to record anything over the web blockchain. This is the same technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) and is considered very secure.

These networks are usually decentralized, which means there is no company or institution to manage them. Therefore, data processing and decisions about important updates are in the hands of the user.

With that explained, let’s go back to “pirate NFTs”.Actually it is Unable to copy or crack the token in itself. These assets are unique, registered on the blockchain, and have the same security and authenticity as cryptocurrencies. But that’s not what the creators of “The NFT Bay” said. For example, he criticized image files such as JPG, PNG, GIF, and MP4 for being pegged to these non-fungible tokens, which can even sell for millions of dollars.

The case of digital artists will inevitably make people nostalgic beetleHis work Everydays — The First 5000 Days was auctioned at Christie’s for over $69 million in early March and is still considered the The most expensive NFT ever. So we can understand that with non-fungible tokens, digital art follows the same pattern of reasoning that has always been applied to traditional art.

Beeple's NFT work:
Beeple’s NFT work: “Everydays: The first 5000 days” (Image: Copy)

Is there anyone more authoritative to talk about it.Brazilian digital artist working for him Daisha TJ and Tech Blog About the topic:

“If someone sees my work and offers 0.5 ETH for it, then it’s worth it. If another collector offers 1 ETH, the value of the NFT goes up. One person believes and price is enough.”

And she is very correct. In today’s NFT market, even if the product itself is not a piece of digital art, but a collectible card or 3D model of a Metaverse platform, the value of these assets is mainly determined by personal attribution.However, this is only possible because anyone who buys these tokens knows that they will have a Certificate of Authenticity and that NFT will be single forever.

Furthermore, as a digital asset, a non-fungible token Can be resold Subsequently, capital market investors were attracted, who saw excellent opportunities to profit in the medium and long term.

Even so, this attribution of value is questioned from other angles.For example, Huntley, the creator of “The NFT Bay”, repeatedly backtracked the fact that the image file was Not efficiently stored on the blockchain.

What exactly is recorded in the blockchain?

Well, a lot depends on the blockchain we’re dealing with. In general, as Huntley pointed out, the smart contracts signed during the creation of the NFT do not actually store the image files.In fact, for example, these photos, illustrations, GIFs or videos go into the database to generate Hyperlink It is then linked to a non-fungible token contract and made permanent on the blockchain network.

NFTs are unregulated in most countries (Image: Executium/Unsplash)
NFTs are unregulated in most countries (Image: Executium/Unsplash)

Huntley’s biggest criticism of this mechanism is that these virtual hosts could eventually disappear, along with the files associated with the NFT. So, in his view, these tokens are just “instructions to download the image”.

However, Daisa offers an interesting rebuttal. The Brazilian digital artist, who has been selling her work as NFTs for months, stressed that the mechanism also bothers her, but varies from network to network. “All of this depends on the platform contract, and contracts that specifically allow these images to be stored more securely. So there are more secure ‘chains’ than others to create NFTs.”

In addition, the artist remembers something extremely important that we often forget in the face of the frenetic pace of news in the tech world: “We need to understand that, like NFTs as a technology, it’s been around for a few years and these generations The use of coins in the art market lasted only one year.”

According to Daisa, this period of time is too short for the platform, the network and the technology itself to address all of these issues. “Many problems have occurred and many will still occur, the industry is evolving. Every technology has flaws…”

How do image rights enter the equation?

Another very important point about the NFT copy issue that was highlighted in our talk is that copyright registered object. After all, a very real problem in this crypto world is that the blockchain world is still out of touch with the laws of most countries. The concepts of NFTs, cryptography, digital currencies and everything else are still hard to absorb justice.

NFTs CryptoPunks Avatar Collection (Photo: Playback/Christie's)
The collection NFT of CryptoPunks avatars is constantly being copied (Image: Playback/Christie’s)

So what about the copyright, image and usage rights of each file registered as an NFT? Well, Daisa reiterates that copyright will always belong to the author, and that non-fungible tokens provide more resources to prove the authenticity and ownership of related objects.It is worth remembering that the sale of NFTs almost never contains any rights to imagesGIF or video you are buying.

So if a case like this goes to trial, no matter how confusing, the author will have a better chance of proving the ownership and authorship of the document, which won’t change with the click of a mouse.

“Once the work is registered on the blockchain, the tokens will always be mine and I will always receive royalties on the sale…even though the person is essentially buying the link, we are validating the registration and that’s what has value” .

However, there is a very complicated legal discussion here. Since the token is linked to a hyperlink, is it a reasonable argument to say that the owner of this token is not necessarily the owner of the associated image, since it does not exist directly in the blockchain contract? I don’t know the future implications of this, but I choose to leave it to the experts.

In any case, this whole story finally draws some conclusions.

What happens when you right click

“What do they get when they ‘right-click’ on an NFT and download the image?” I asked Daisa. “you will get a new wallpaper“, she replied. That’s it.

Pirated product (Photo: Peter Dutton/Flickr)
Piracy (Credit: Peter Dutton/Flickr)

after all, “Piracy” NFTs are impossible. Of course, you can download an image file to your desktop and discover that you own a piece of digital art, a collectible, or anything else. However, what represents the image is a token registered on the blockchain. An NFT is a proof of ownership and authenticity, which is why it has value.

Suppose, if you download a work that is already registered as an NFT, and create another NFT for it, your tokens will have no value. Blockchain doesn’t lie It’s open to everyone. No collector will buy copied digital assets. Also, Daisa assured me that the digital artist community around the world is very united and engaged.

“I see a lot of justice in the community. After finding out that someone is plagiarizing someone else’s work, a very strong community makes sure that person is no longer successful,” explains Daisa. In practice, be careful if you plan to copy someone else’s work and sell it as an NFT, as you will definitely run into a lot of problems.

In the end, I understand that it seems absurd to sell digital works for millions of dollars and still be virtually invisible to many. Even so, we need to remember that these cases went viral on the internet and into the media around the world. But the reality is quite different.

It is NFTs that provide an opportunity for digital artists of any nationality to safely and consistently evaluate and sell their work to the world.Furthermore, the same technology manages to guarantee Authenticity and scarcity of workswhich reproduces the logic of the traditional physical art market for hundreds of years.

Of course, the current NFT world also has its “enemies”. It’s easy to get outraged when we see someone making millions by selling “easy” (I’m quoting a lot of quotes here) made by Photoshop. However, Daisa said something very important, and I’ll end this post with this quote:

“When you ‘pirate’ a work on an NFT, you’re not belittling a millionaire’s work, you’re hitting us, most of the little artists who now find the opportunity to change their lives…but I get it, I don’t understand” I don’t like millionaires either, but it doesn’t affect them, it affects who has been looking for the opportunity of a lifetime and now has the opportunity to work with NFTs. “

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