LO 11

NFTs, non-fungible tokens, are digital art pieces bought with crypto. Although these digital tokens can be copied, the ownership of the token is marked in the Ethereum blockchain,so the owner has a record that they own that token. The issue with copyright is that those who don’t own the NFT can still view it and the owner can provide and sell it: “Other than purchasing the token, buying an NFT doesn’t confer copyright ownership. Owning an NFT, by itself, doesn’t grant the right to print or distribute the work without the copyright holder’s permission.” Although artists can used NFTs as proof of copyright ownership, the concern is that that’s not how its being currently handled. NFTs are currently being used to create and sell copies of work, and the original artists aren’t benefiting.


For this week’s looking outwards, I decided to talk a bit about why NFTs suck. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been gaining a lot of steam recently with the boom of equally stupid cryptocurrencies. The entire idea of an NFT breaks a lot of artistic integrity, as it exists purely to be able to be sold. Owning an NFT doesn’t give you anything other than the ability to resell it. What is it you may ask? A piece of digital art, that one could just as easily right-click and download. Because of this NFT has devolved away from decent-looking art and into photos of toilet paper and tungsten cubes. They exist entirely as a tool for rich tech bros to make money. On top of that, the processing power necessary to load the blockchain NFTs run on has a massive environmental toll, amounting to over 30 million tonnes of CO2 a year. The idiocy of this all came crashing down two weeks ago when the blockchain was hacked, forcing NFT owners to overwrite their own blockchain, which defeats the whole “non-fungible” thing they seem to love and reverts you back to the system NFTs owners claim to hate. All in all, it’s time to end NFTs (and crypto for that matter) and move on to make art that’s more meaningful than its monetary value as a clipart.


LO: Societal Impacts of Digital Art

From https://www.coindesk.com/markets/2021/08/02/nft-markets-post-record-breaking-week/

NFTs have always felt like an infringement on artists’ work in general, but “NFTs and Copyright” has given me a better understanding of why I feel that way. A good quote from the article to understand the initial hope for NFTs is “NFTs are an attempt for digital creators to try and capture some of the uniqueness and scarcity that producers of physical works have naturally”, although where an NFT fails is returning value to its original creator: the artist. I assumed that NFTs had to be created by the original seller, but that isn’t even the case: they can be sold by a buyer of the original artwork. This means that an artist can put their hardest work into a piece of artwork, just to have it resold by another person at minimal effort for potentially very high reward. Photographs can be made into NFTs, making even the likeness of another person something to capitalize off of. Although the artist is still noted with the original copyright, copyright is a tricky thing for artists in the NFT space. Maybe someone would buy an original work after having seen the NFT, but a copyright doesn’t pay for groceries.

“NFTs and Copyright”, https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2021/03/16/nfts-and-copyright/, 2021

Looking Outwards 11

This week I decided to look into the article “NFTs and Copyright”.

What I found most interesting is that basically NFTs don’t give the “owner” copywriter ownership so they cannot print or distribute the work without permission. It is basically making digital work collectors items.

What’s even more interesting is that you can make an NFT for anything. So spammers are grabbing URLs and releasing NFTS upon them. However, this is also a big copyright infringement, and that’s where the problem is created.

Overall, it could help creators prove their copyright, and it does give digital creators a way to give out unique copies of their work, the problem is there is no system or governing for NFTs to prevent bots.

I think NFTs shows how a virtually useless thing can be abused, which really shows how our society works and how easily the internet makes it to abuse things. Overall, I think it’s very scary that loads of money can be passed around and rules can be broken so easily if there isn’t laws in place to stop them.

Link to article: https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2021/03/16/nfts-and-copyright/

Looking Outwards 11: Societal Impacts of Digital Art


This week’s looking out is very interesting. Reading about how NFT have a positive impact onto bridging digital divides was a new way to see them. Originally, I thought NFTs had a rather negative impact: influencing careless spending and money onto temporary “tangible” things. The article I read about speaks about how artists bridge the digital divide and reimagined humanity. New digital artists can solve digital divide: the gap between those who benefit from the digital age and those who do not. These artists would appeal to digital capacity-building:harnessing wonder, digital public goods: creating shareable resources, digital inclusion: using the STEMarts Model, etc. The model highlights creating an equitable and a sustainable digital society is essential to the process of digital cooperation. People are brought together from diverse disciplines and cultural perspectives in order to create alternative futures. In a contemporary world of complexity, most approaches are insufficient while the problem is urgent. The experimentation with technologies could foster literacies and bridge social divides.

LO: Social Impacts of Digital Art

Clearview AI is an app currently being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US, including the FBI. It can compare a photo of someone’s face to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview has access to from Facebook, Venmo, YouTube, and other sites. This database includes the FBI’s own database, which contains passport and driver’s license photos. It totals more than 640 million images of US citizens. Clearview AI then returns with matches, along with links to the sites where the database photos were from; it can easily return a name, and possibly a home address as well. What if the general public had access to this app? Police officers and Clearview investors think it’s a possibility for the future. Hopefully this never happens. Personally, I’d never feel safe again. And even in the hands of law enforcement, this technology is controversial. Privacy advocates warn that the app could still return false matches to the police and result in the incarceration of innocent people, and mass implementation and abuse of this technology could be a slippery slope to a surveillance state.



I chose to take a look at the article “Art Project Shows Racial Biases in Artificial Intelligence System” written by Meilan Solly. The article talks about an artificial intelligence classification tool called ImageNet created by artist Trevor Paglen and A.I. researcher Kate Crawford. However, the artificial intelligence may be racist. While the program identified white individuals largely in terms of occupation or other functional descriptors, it often classified those with darker skin solely by race. ImageNet is an object lesson, if you will, in what happens when people are categorized like objects. A man who uploaded multiple snapshots of himself in varying attire and settings was consistently labeled “black.” The tool will remain accessible as a physical art installation at Milan’s Fondazione Prada Osservatorio through February 2020.

Looking Outwards – 11: Societal Impacts of Digital Art

This week I took a look at the topic of NFTs and the issues of copyright and privacy that come with this new digital phenomenon. NFTs have been around since 2017 but have recently made a huge surge to the mainstream media. Originally, there wasn’t much of an issue to consider because buyers were aware of there wasn’t much utility or usage from these digital creations. However, now that artists are making upwards of millions from these digital images, copyright infringement and abuse of the NFT system have skyrocketed. According to many, the blockchain is actually the perfect tool for resolving copyright ownership and proof of creation; however, blockchain has never been intended for this purpose. The bottom line of NFTs is a way for artists to create some sort of scarcity and uniqueness that physical products intrinsically have. It’s very interesting to see how the space develops and how the system adapts the ever-present issue of copyright and piracy. As of now, the system is not built to sustain this market and it will not be changing anytime soon.


LO-11: Societal Impacts of Digital Art

Cryptopunks – a NFT series made by LarvaLabs

For this Week’s LO, I chose to read into NFTs and the issues that are connected to them. I read the articles from Time and PlagiarismToday. As for the topic, NFTs are also called Non-Fungible Tokens. They are blockchained based digital files. This means that they are not easily messed with (as blockchain makes them public ledgers on the net). This makes ownership very concrete and clear. Furthermore, because they are non-fungible, the price of said tokens/files vary and are decided by producer and consumer.

This has led to a market boom where NFTs (whether they are art, videos, music, etc.) are being sold for big bucks.

However, while it is intended for a way for online copyright for all, problems have arisen. These include bots taking all and any online files and making them NFTs to sell – very bad. Another problem is that NFTs have a considerable starting gap to overcome, thereby keeping many from participating, such as the Times article said, artists of color. A final problem is that the whole market is not that beneficial to the environment, as it requires massive amounts of energy to continue – energy that comes from fossil fuels.

Overall, NFTs are causing big issues, but issues that can be solved relatively fast as it is a growing market that everyone wants to get a slice of.

Articles I read from Time and PlagiarismToday.

LO 11: Societal Impacts of Digital Art

In the article, “Beeple’s digital ‘artwork’ sold for more than any painting by Titian or Raphael. But as art, it’s a great big zero.“, Sebastian Smee talks about a “major shake-up” in the art industry with latest revolt towards the NFT (Non-fungible Token), which is a unique digital item stored on a database technology called blockchains, allowing users to secure ownership of their digital works. As time goes by, art, in many forms, constantly evolves over time with several influences like advances in technology and society by instilling values and changing experiences throughout time. Especially today, technology has become a prevalent influence in our art world in the way people create and access art. For instance, many artists now use digital applications like Photoshop on computer and “paint” on their iPad canvas to generate art. Smee further criticizes how the artistic value of NFT has been replaced by generating monetary value from the market by mentioning graphic designer Beeple, who sold his digital product “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for a crazy amount of $69.3 million. Although I am a fan of digital art collection, I totally understand Smee’s criticism towards Beeple’s work in comparison to the worth of past valuable traditional paintings sold in previous auctions. I think there should be some differentiations in terms of auction standards between traditional and digital work because they not only use different mediums, but also bring creative approaches as well as different value to art.  

Beeple’s digital artwork, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” which was sold for an insane amount of $69.3 million.

Reference: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/beeple-digital-artwork-sale-perspective/2021/03/15/6afc1540-8369-11eb-81db-b02f0398f49a_story.html