The developer says that GameStop sold NFT games without “consent.”
GameStop’s NFT antics have shown once again that a free market based on technology that destroys the world is not a great idea. This might shock you. Ars Technica did a thorough investigation of the GameStop NFT marketplace after an NFT minter on the platform was found to be selling NFT-ified copies of HTML 5 games that he didn’t make and wasn’t allowed to sell. This has brought the GameStop NFT marketplace back into the spotlight. Oh, and the best part is that these games will probably stay on the blockchain for the rest of time!
GameStop has been facing a number of problems as it tries to stay competitive and important. In a recent attempt to stand out in the NFT market, it opened a market for digital assets, which was terrible. There have been some problems with the market. For example, a recent NFT had art that looked like a picture of a person falling to their death during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. But Nathan Ello and his NiFTy Arcade NFTs, which are made to be interactive and fun for an NFT, are to blame for the most recent wave of stupidity that has come out of the shop. But he didn’t seem to stop to think about whether or not he had the right to use games made by other people for this project or even to make money off of them.
NFTs have been a target of theft and questions about who owns them for a long time. If someone isn’t stealing a celebrity’s NFT, which creates a huge gray area in intellectual property, then someone is making NFTs with stolen artwork. The claim that NFTs are safe has also been disproven by phishing scams and smart hackers. In the future of trade that is safe and easy to track through the blockchain, it has been very hard to find dishonest people. And the latest fight between GameStop and the NiFTy Arcade is just one more example of how crazy things are. Even though there is a lot of opposition and embarrassing failures, the industry keeps selling, using, and promoting NFTs.
As Ars Technica first reported, Ello’s “NiFTy Arcade” NFTs were meant to be “fully playable from an owner’s crypto wallet” or on the GameStop marketplace itself. This makes more sense than a simple JPEG in some ways. At least you get to play a cute little HTML 5 game while destroying the earth, instead of just paying for a “link” to a picture that you “own” some part of.
The NiFTy Arcade was even more fun because it had games that were entirely made by other people who had never given permission for their work to be used in this way or gotten anything in return. In reality, many of these games, including Worm Nom Nom, are available on Itchi.io under Creative Commons licenses that make it clear that they can’t be used for commercial purposes.
Many developers thought that NiFTy Arcade had taken advantage of them and said so in their angry responses. Krystian Majewski, who made the game Breakout Hero, told Ars Technica that his work was “sold for money without my permission.”
Ello said on Twitter that there were paradoxes in the licenses for other games that meant he didn’t break the law when he stole them. Ars Technica’s research showed that the NFTs in question have been taken off the GameStop market, and Ello’s minting rights have been stopped.
Also, thanks to the amazing magic of NFTs and the power of the blockchain, these newly made games may be able to exist forever and be bought and sold on other cryptocurrency exchanges. The “Interplanetary File System” (IPFS) that GameStop’s NFTs use might sound interesting if it didn’t let people keep buying and selling NFTs without any way to check what’s in them or deal with any legal issues. Even though GameStop’s terms of service say that the buyer, not GameStop, is responsible for figuring out if the NFT is real, it is not clear how the company verifies or spot checks the NFTs that come on its marketplace:
Before you decide to buy or sell an NFT, it is your sole decision to do your research on the instrument and understand the terms and conditions of the seller. This kind of investigation includes, but is not limited to, making sure the seller’s claims and descriptions about ownership, originality, intellectual property, licensing, scarcity, rarity, value, and how the NFT works are true. No GameStop Entity (see below) supports any NFT or makes any claims about the NFT’s authenticity, ownership, uniqueness, intellectual property, licensing, scarcity, rarity, value, functionality, or other properties.
Even though GameStop has a strict verification system in place, IPFS file hashes can still be read on any active node across multiple servers thanks to the blockchain. Theft of art is like opening the box of Pandora.
Even though this is how the NFT beast is, GameStop isn’t completely blameless in this situation. Ars Technica found that the illegal NiFTy Arcade games can still be played on the servers of GameStop. You can still get to these NFTs if you have the right connection, which is all you need. Joseph White, who made the PICO-8 game engine that powers the pixel games that Ello used for his NiFTy Arcade games, has criticized GameStop. He told Ars Technica that the video game store doesn’t make it clear how to take down an NFT that violates someone else’s copyrights. He has sent in DMCA demands, but they don’t seem to have led anywhere.