The RIAA Calls NFT Website HitPiece a ‘Scam Operation’
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sent a demand letter yesterday (Feb. 4) to the attorney representing HitPiece.The RIAA demands the site stop infringing on musicians' intellectual property rights.
The website, which is now offline, has been selling music-related NFTs. Since its creation, several artists have spoken up about their work being used without their permission. The RIAA is asking for the site to provide a list of all NFTs and artwork that's been auctioned off, as well as a list of site activities.
The demand letter was written by RIAA Senior Vice President Jared Freedman. It explains, "Your clients' operations have been variously described in recent days as a 'scam,' a 'complete sham,' 'immoral,' 'unethical,' and a 'fraud.' All of these criticisms are of course accurate. Although it appears that your clients now contend that they did not actually include any sound recordings with their NFTs (which, if true, likely amounts to yet another form of fraud), it is undeniable that, to promote and sell their NFTs, your clients used the names and images of the Record Companies' recording artists, along with copyrighted album art and other protected images, the rights to which belong to the Record Companies and their artists. Your clients' outright theft of these valuable intellectual property rights is as outrageous as it is brazen."
RIAA's Chief Legal Officer Ken Doroshow called the site "little more than a scam operation." He accused the site of capitalizing off of fan's love for music and their desire to connect more closely with artists to fail to obtain necessary rights.
"Fans were led to believe they were purchasing an NFT genuinely associated with an artist and their work when that was not at all the case," he says. "While the operators appear to have taken the main HitPiece site offline for now, this move was necessary to ensure a fair accounting for the harm HitPiece and its operators have already done and to ensure that this site or copycats don't simply resume their scams under another name."