NFT scammers tried selling songs from John Lennon, Disney, and Nintendo

HitPiece has learned the hard way that, no, you can't sell someone else’s copyrighted art. Not even as an NFT.

British musician and composer John Lennon at Germany, circa 1966. (Photo by Helmut Reiss/United Arch...
United Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

All HitPiece is saying is “Give NFTs a chance.” More specifically, give NFTs that steal intellectual property directly from some of the biggest names and companies in the entertainment industry a chance. Billed via their Twitter as offering, “One of One NFTs of all your favorite songs,” HitPiece didn’t seem to be selling actual digital music files, per se, but they were offering up images for individual songs by major artists alongside recognizable themes from shows like Pokémon and Star Wars Rebels.

Spoiler alert: this did not go over well. Presumably after their email inbox crashed under the weight of thousands of “Cease and Desist” letters, HitPiece posted a (rather shade-laden) message to social media yesterday and scrubbed their website of all content. “Clearly we have struck a nerve and are very eager to create the ideal experience for music fans,” begins the tweet. “To be clear, artists get paid when digital good are sold on HitPiece.”

We’re not exactly sure which artists they are referencing here, but it’s difficult to imagine The Beatles estate green-lighting anything remotely resembling this blatant scam.

This has gotten out of hand — It’s long been evident that an environment as simultaneously deregulated and buzzworthy as the NFT market lends itself to all manner of sketchy cash grabs and opportunistic, ethically questionable projects. That said, the HitPiece attempt is so blatantly illegal that it somewhat boggles the mind. In all likelihood, the company’s owners — which apparently counts Michael Berrin, aka the old-school hip-hop artist MC Serch, as its Chief Creative Office — knew HitPiece wasn’t tenable, but went ahead with it anyway to sell as many music NFTs as possible. Given the relative anonymity of blockchain-based cryptocurrency transactions, they probably wouldn’t need to refund any money in the process.

Then again, who knows? Maybe in the haste to hop on the NFT bandwagon, HitPiece forgot to, like, check with a single lawyer beforehand.