Washington, D.C. (February 4, 2022) – The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today sent a demand letter to the attorney representing the notorious (and now offline) NFT scam site HitPiece.com and its founders demanding the site stop infringing music creator Intellectual Property (IP) rights, provide a complete listing of site activities and revenues to date, and account for all NFTs and artwork auctioned off.
RIAA’s Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Mitch Glazier explained the association’s decision to move so quickly: “As music lovers and artists embrace new technologies like NFTs, there’s always someone looking to exploit their excitement and energy. Given how fans were misled and defrauded by these unauthorized NFTs and the massive risk to both fans and artists posed by HitPiece and potential copycats, it was clear we had to move immediately and urgently to stand up for fairness and honesty in the market.”
RIAA’s Chief Legal Officer Ken Doroshow added: “HitPiece appears to be little more than a scam operation designed to trade on fans’ love of music and desire to connect more closely with artists, using buzzwords and jargon to gloss over their complete failure 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. 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.”
The letter authored by RIAA Senior Vice President, Litigation Jared Freedman further 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.
The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and commercial vitality of music labels in the United States, the most vibrant recorded music community in the world. Our membership – which includes several hundred companies, ranging from small-to-medium-sized enterprises to global businesses – creates, manufactures and/or distributes sound recordings. In support of its mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conducts consumer, industry, and technical research; and monitors and reviews state and federal laws, regulations, and policies. For more information please go to: www.RIAA.com.