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Hermes swings its handbag at digital artist in NFT copyright row

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By John Glenday | Reporter

January 25, 2022 | 3 min read

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French fashion house Hermes is suing a digital artist for reproducing its in-demand Birkin handbags as a non-fungible token (NFT).

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Los Angeles-based artist Mason Rothschild sold ‘MetaBirkins’ online via his website

The legal tussle opens up a new front in the burgeoning market for electronic artworks as brand owners seek to prevent likenesses of their wares from being peddled online without their consent.

Los Angeles-based artist Mason Rothschild is the subject of the suit after he was caught flogging ‘MetaBirkins’ online via his website for those unwilling or unable to splash out on the real thing.

NFTs have emerged as the next big craze to sweep the collectors market, with artists queuing up to cash in while the going is good.

Illustrating the extent of NFT fever, Rothschild is understood to have sold one handbag image in December for $42,000, attracting the attention of Hermes – which accuses the artist of being nothing more than a “digital speculator who is seeking to get rich quick.”

NFTs can be exchanged for exorbitant sums, with their value accruing from a digital certificate, which acts as proof of ownership and ensures that every piece of art cannot simply be copied and pasted.

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