DeviantArt Will Detect Your Stolen Artwork on the Blockchain

DeviantArt Protect can alert users when their art has been re-uploaded to DeviantArt or a public blockchain.

DeviantArt Protect can alert users when their art has been re-uploaded to DeviantArt or a public blockchain.
Illustration: DeviantArt

DeviantArt, the online art gallery, is expanding the reach of DeviantArt Protect, which is a tool they developed to detect stolen art posted to their website. The new update will now allow artists to detect if their work has been posted as a counterfeit NFT.

DeviantArt Protect is an image detection software by the namesake company that debuted in July 2021. The software scans uploads to DeviantArt and will notify participating artists of potential copyright infringement by users that are uploading identical or manipulated versions of the artist’s work. Now, DeviantArt Protect has expanded its oversight to monitor public blockchains to detect art that has been re-uploaded as an NFT. The Verge writes that this updated version of DeviantArt Protect will monitor 10 images per user for free. Users can also sign up for DeviantArt’s Core membership, which is $3.95 per month, and receive protection on 1,000 of their images.

While users can now seek comfort in getting an alert if their art has been ripped off, the tricky part is getting infringed artwork removed from the blockchain, because that’s not really possible. Deleting an NFT goes against the entire point of an NFT, which is to be immutable, and permanently placed onto the blockchain. NFTs can be burned, however, where they are sent to an inaccessible web address, effectively removing them from circulation.

Counterfeit NFTs are incredibly common in an already iffy market. In one instance, a single artist received notification that her art was turned into almost 86,000 NFTs. These are prime examples of how an unregulated NFT market is the wild west, and how one of the main appeals of NFTs—giving artists more control over their own pieces—can backfire in spectacular fashion. Tools like DeviantArt Protect could be a major step in the right detection of maintaining the integrity of the blockchain.

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