Donald Trump is facing a potential copyright infringement lawsuit over the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring his image. NFTs are digital assets that use blockchain technology to authenticate ownership and provenance. They have gained popularity in recent years as a way to sell and collect unique digital items, such as artwork and collectibles.
Trump’s NFTs feature images of him with quotes from his speeches and statements, and were being sold through the website OpenSea. However, the copyright for the images used in the NFTs is owned by the Associated Press (AP), a news agency that licenses its content for use. The AP has now sent a cease and desist letter to Trump, demanding that he stop selling the NFTs and destroy all remaining copies.
The AP claims that Trump does not have the right to sell the NFTs without its permission, and that the sale of the NFTs constitutes copyright infringement. The AP also argues that the use of the images in the NFTs could mislead the public into believing that the AP endorses Trump or his actions.
This is not the first time Trump has faced legal issues over the use of his image. In 2018, he was sued by artist Peter Morris for using one of Morris’s paintings in a campaign ad without permission. In that case, a judge ruled that Trump’s use of the image was protected under the fair use doctrine, which allows for the use of copyrighted material for certain purposes, such as commentary or criticism.
It is unclear how the case with the AP will play out, but it highlights the potential legal pitfalls of NFTs and their use of copyrighted material. As the market for NFTs continues to grow, it is likely that more disputes over copyright and intellectual property will arise.
Trump has not yet commented on the lawsuit, and it is not known if he plans to fight the AP’s demands or comply with them. The sale of his NFTs has been suspended while the legal issue is resolved.
In a symbolic move to transfer a valuable digital collectible from Ethereum to Bitcoin, the owner of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) #1626 burned the NFT, effectively removing it from circulation. Despite Yuga Labs deeming the Ape illegitimate, it remains a highly prized NFT, having sold for almost $432,000 in November 2021. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent unique digital assets, including digital art, and are linked to a digital token recorded on a particular blockchain network, in this case Ethereum.