Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one of the defining trends of 2021, and every entrepreneur and company seems excited to plunge into this new world. Unfortunately, business ventures related to NFTs can often be very controversial and even borderline illegal. 

Hit piece, which is a website showing auctions for NFTs tied to the songs and albums of artists, has been slammed with legal action for theft of intellectual property. Artists on social media have a backlash against the company and accused Hitpiece of using their music for profit without their knowledge or permission. 

This is far from a minor scandal as the website contained hundred of auctions and songs and albums from artists like Taylor Swift, Kanye West, The Beatles, The Weekend, and Bob Dylan. The scandal has prompted the recording Industry Association Of America to contact Hitpiece on behalf of significant labels, which are very upset with the way their intellectual property was used.

Jared Freedman, the RIAA senior vice president of litigation, wrote a letter to HitPiece’s legal defense team accusing them of exploiting the music industry for their gain. 

“As you are no doubt aware, your clients, through the HitPiece website, have been engaged in the systematic and flagrant infringement of the intellectual property rights of the record companies and their recording artists on a massive scale,” claims Jared. 

The Hitpiece site has been taken down. A spokesperson for the company has claimed that “the ability of artists or owners to be paid is a functionality that HitPiece is developing.” The spokesperson further excused the company’s actions by focusing on the goals of the company, which have to do with the creation of “a fun experience in the metaverse for music fans and a new revenue stream for artists and owners.”

No matter what Hitpiece says in their defense, many are outraged. The letter written by Jared Freedman not only accuses them of exploiting the music industry for profit but reminds them that the artwork they touched is owned or exclusively controlled by the record companies”. It goes further to state that even if the site has been taken down, they are “liable to the record companies and their artists for damages for the time that it was live.”