GameStop has once again proven with its NFT shenanigans that an unregulated market built on planet-destroying technology is, and it may shock you, not a very good idea. In a thorough way report of Ars-Technica, the GameStop NFT Marketplace is once again the subject of controversy as an NFT maker on the platform has been caught selling NFT-ified versions of HTML 5 games which it has not made itself and had no authorization whatsoever to sell them. Oh, and here comes the fun part, these games will probably live forever on the blockchain now!
GameStop had a number of struggles in these last years as it tried to stay competitive and relevant. His recent experience has been trying to make waves in the NFT space, launch of a marketplace for digital assets while being horrible. The market has not been without controversy, including a recent NFT that featured art similar to an image of a person falling to his death during the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The latest round of nonsense to come out of the store, however, involves a man named Nathan Ello and his NiFTy Arcade NFTs, which aim to deliver interactive fun to an NFT …but he didn’t seem to stop and ask if he had permission to use games developed by other people for this project, let alone if he even had the right to make money from them. ‘silver.
Talk to KotakuNathan Ello declined to comment for this story.
Kotaku has contacted GameStop for comment.
NFTs have been the subject of theft and questionable ownership for some time. if it’s not a previously owned celebrity NFT stolenthereby throwing intellectual property into a giant gray area, then it’s someone who hits NFTs with art that isn’t their own. The alleged security of NFTs has also been undermined by phishing schemes and clever hackers. The safe and traceable future of commerce via blockchain has been very insecure and it has been very difficult to identify bad actors. And this latest controversy over GameStop and NiFTy Arcade is just another example of that mess. During this time, the industry insist on sale, usingand praise NFTs despite overwhelming negative reaction and humiliating failures.
As Ars-Technica First reported today, Ello’s “NiFTy Arcade” NFTs were supposed to be “fully playable from an owner’s crypto wallet” or on the GameStop marketplace itself. At least it seems to make a little more sense than just a JPEG. Instead of just buying a “link” to an image that you apparently “own” a part of, you can at least play a fun little HTML 5 game while you burn the planet.
That fun, however, comes with the added bonus that NiFTy Arcade featured games developed entirely by other people who never gave permission to use or profit from their work in this way. In fact, many of these games, such as Ver Name Name can be found on Itchi.io with a very clear Creative Commons license that does not allow commercial uses.
The backlash has been fierce, with several developers saying they felt ripped off by NiFTy Arcade. Krystian Majewski, developer of escape herosaid in a statement to Ars-Technicathat his work was “sold for a profit without my consent”.
Ello said on Twitter that in some cases, inconsistencies with licensing language for other titles surely meant he wasn’t wrong to take them.
As Ars-Technica detailed in their report, Ello had its GameStop marketplace typing privileges suspended and the NFTs in question removed from the platform.
On top of that, thanks to the wondrous magic of NFTs and the powerful blockchain, these minted games may well live forever, where they can be bought and sold on other crypto markets. GameStop’s NFTs use an “Interplanetary File System” (IPFS) which would seem cool if this technology didn’t allow others to continue buying and selling NFTs without a device to check and verify content or any legal issues surrounding them . It’s not entirely clear how GameStop vets or vets NFTs that come to its marketplace on a case-by-case basis, however. their terms of service indicate that the buyer is responsible for verifying the authenticity of the NFT, and not GameStop:
You are solely responsible for researching an NFT, as well as understanding the seller’s terms and conditions regarding the potential purchase or sale of the NFT, prior to purchase or sale. These searches include, but are not limited to, verifying the authenticity and veracity of the seller’s claims and description of the NFT, such as ownership, uniqueness, intellectual property, licenses, rarity , value and functionality. None of the GameStop Entities (defined below) endorse any NFT or make any representations regarding authenticity, ownership, uniqueness, intellectual property, licenses, rarity, value, functionality and/or other attributes or rights relating thereto.
But even though there is a thorough verification process on GameStop’s side, via blockchain, IPFS file hashes can be accessed on any active node across multiple servers. It’s a Pandora’s box of art theft.
That may be the nature of the NFT beast, but GameStop isn’t totally off the hook here. As Ars-Technica discovered, you can still access unlicensed NiFTy Arcade games on GameStop’s servers. All you need is the correct link to and you can continue to access those NFTs anyway. Joseph White, creator of the PICO-8 game engine that powers the pixel games that Ello has appropriated for its NiFTy Arcade games, spoke out against GameStop, telling Ars-Technica that the video game retailer offers no clear way to remove an NFT that infringes another’s copyright. He filed DMCA requests, but they seem to have hit a dead end.
Kotaku contacted Joseph White for comment.
I guess you have to be a bit richer for a DMCA takedown request to have any effect; what a fair system! Maybe if I hit Metallica songs, Lars Ulrich will intervene to put an end to all this nonsense.