Someone found the missing page from the Gateway Experience and now they're selling it as an NFT

Originally published at: Someone found the missing page from the Gateway Experience and now they're selling it as an NFT | Boing Boing


Ah yes, making an NFT (and money) from something that tax payers funded for all intents and purposes.


An NFT, yeah, of course. Everything is an NFT now.

I just saw something about real estate locations being sold as NFTs. (Not anything to do with the actual land, just a “virtual real estate” pointer to the address.) It’s like those “Moon plot” scams except on Earth, only not pretending it’s anything real. (But I can foresee a future time when some confused/scamming soul tries to claim the actual land because they “own” the NFT.)

Someone needs to make a “Thobey Campion” NFT, I guess.


Yeah, that’s the thing. Nothing, no computer file or physical object or anything, is an NFT, other than an NFT. At best, all an NFT can do is gesture vaguely at (or link to, or whatever) another object. If you own an NFT of an object, congratulations: you own… an NFT of an object. This doesn’t stop anyone from doing anything with the object itself.

Unless there’s some legal ownership or licensure associated with possession of the NFT, the NFT gets you exactly nothing, except the NFT and a bunch of unnecessary atmospheric CO2.


I keep thinking of the “buy a plot on the Moon”/“name a star” scams in relation to NFTs in general - people who understand what’s going on realize they’re just buying a certificate that’s worth the paper it’s printed on (doubly true with NFTs), but for people who don’t quite understand what’s going on… whoo boy.


I’m amazed (or maybe it’s happening and I’m in the dark) that people haven’t been selling NFTs of celebrities. Not the celebrities selling them, just some random Joe selling an NFT of Brittney Spears. Perhaps simply the string her name.

You’d better own the rights to any such likeness free and clear, if you want to make an NFT. Otherwise, you’re begging for legal travail.

I hadn’t thought of this, but that’s exactly it. This is precisely the amount that the one thing has to do with the other.

Do you really?

That was the basis of my question, actually, why I suggested a celebrity. As @wazroth was saying, an NFT isn’t really the thing itself, in any way. I guess it may be generated from the thing itself - in this case, from the string “Britney Spears” - but it does not purport to be the thing, or to involve any rights to it.

I guess at best it’s a reference to the thing, a pointer. But this blog comment is also a reference to Britney Spears.

I don’t know, and I don’t think the case history has been settled. Have people made NFTs of famous works of art who weren’t the artist? (If they haven’t, I assume it relates more to the worthlessness of someone else’s NFT of the piece, much like how a holiday snapshot of the Mona Lisa is worthless.)

I meant in that, if you DON’T own/have the rights to the likeness, then you’re opening yourself up to pretty likely lawsuits, if it can’t be classified as “public domain” and/or in a public space.

Similarly, if someone wants to make money from your likeness in any other way, they have to get permission from you to do so to be free from liability. So pictures of a crowd wouldn’t be an issue, but just, say, an actor’s face? That’s likely to be a problem; the circumstances of how it was taken would matter a great deal. Even a drawing of a photo of a celebrity may very well be a problem.

The laws around this are NOT simple and I certainly may be wrong, but again, this seems like a fraught legal issue.

Edit → IANAL =) .

1 Like

Yeah, IANAL either, so could be way off base here, but I think the question is trickier than it seems, due to the facts that the NFT isn’t the thing itself, that it has no intrinsic value, and that anyone can create as many of them as they wish based on the same original input.

If David Hockney makes an NFT of one of his paintings, and I make an NFT of the exact same image, only one of those should have any value. The whole point of an NFT is that the provenance is always perfectly known, so mine isn’t even a forgery. It’s nothing.

The only way it could be worth anything is if someone explicitly wants to pay money for my version. And the only reason they would do that is if they thought that the act of my creating the NFT itself was an act of creative work worth something. At that point, that act itself was a piece of art – what they’d be buying is my art, completely transformative from the original – indeed, bearing no resemblance to it. Warhol wasn’t violating Campbell Soup’s copyright.

So, in a sense, I think an NFT of someone else’s likeness, or someone else’s art, either has exactly zero value, and is as worthless as copying an image from your browser, or it has value only if it itself is transformative art. In either case, I don’t think there ought to be grounds for a copyright claim.

(For the record, I think NFTs are a competing silly fad and are all worthless, but that’s outside this discussion.)

1 Like



NFTs are so fucking stupid. There, I said it.


I’m afraid that your post has already been turned into an NFT and is now being sold for enough money for a family of 4 to survive on for 3 years…

1 Like

As an NFT, I am deeply offended by this.

<gestures vaguely>

1 Like

I daresay that most of us are nonfungible. I’m pretty sure we’d find getting funged rather unpleasant. And messy.

1 Like

Hi, can we please not kinkshame on this forum?

1 Like

Is that a kink? Uh, asking for a friend.

Is anybody even implying that buying the NFT gets the buyer rights to the real-world documents?

It’s literally paying money to “own” a link to a JPEG

1 Like

Warhol used the Campbell’s Soup logo without permission from the company for dozens of silkscreen prints. Eventually, Campbell’s Soup tacitly approved of his use because of the free marketing they were receiving, but Warhol’s use of their logo without initial permission was still appropriation.

Warhol was sued at least three times by photographers who filed copyright infringement claims against him for using their photographs in his work. Patricia Caufield sued him for using her photograph of hibiscus flowers as the subject of his Flowers series, which is part of the exhibition at The Whitney. Civil rights photographer Charles Moore sued Warhol for using photographs that Moore published in Life Magazine as the basis for his Race Riot painting. Finally, Fred Ward sued Warhol after his photograph of a grieving Jacqueline Kennedy appeared on the cover of Life Magazine and Warhol used it in one of his many prints of Jacqueline Kennedy.

Andy The Appropriator: The Copyright Battles You Won’t Hear About at The Whitney’s Warhol Exhibit | The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts