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OpenSea Faces RIAA Complaints Over ENS Domains

The news comes shortly after OpenSea's decision to lay off 20% of its workforce.

OpenSea Faces RIAA Complaints Over ENS Domains
Shutterstock photo by Ira Lichi

Key Takeaways

  • OpenSea has delisted several Ethereum Name Service domains after receiving trademark complaints from the RIAA.
  • The domain names in question refer to various major recording companies as well as individual executives.
  • Yesterday, OpenSea announced that it would lay off 20% of its workforce due to poor market conditions.

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NFT marketplace OpenSea received trademark complaints from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today and has delisted several offending tokens in response.

OpenSea Delists Offending NFTs

It’s been a rough week for OpenSea.

A letter from the RIAA asserts that OpenSea’s marketplace features several Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains with names that refer to the recording association and its members. OpenSea has now delisted the offending ENS domain names from its non-fungible token marketplace.

The RIAA said that the sale of the offending domains constitutes “dilution, confusion, and/or tarnishment” of trademarks. It added that selling such domains violates cybersquatting laws, common law rights of publicity, and unfair trading practices.

The letter lists 89 domain names including those referring to Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Capitol Records, Warner Music Group, Parlophone Records, and Virgin Records.

Several other domain names refer to individual music executives. Those domains refer to Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob String, Columbia Records CEO Ron Perry, Alamo Records CEO Todd Moscowitz, and UMG CEO Lucian Grainge.

One individual named in the letter was RIAA chairman Mitch Glazier. In March, Glazier addressed the issue of trademarks in the NFT industry. He noted that RIAA was taking action against the NFT platform HitPiece for its rights violations.

OpenSea Prepares for Downturn

Today’s news comes shortly after OpenSea announced that it will lay off 20% of its workforce in response to market conditions.

OpenSea CEO and co-founder Devin Finzer wrote on July 14 that the “unprecedented combination of crypto winter and broader macroeconomic instability” means that OpenSea needs to prepare for a possibly “prolonged downturn.”

Overall crypto market conditions have caused the value of the NFT market to drop dramatically this summer.

Compared to the massive market downturn, the RIAA’s complaints are unlikely to do considerable damage to OpenSea on their own. Still, the possibility of legal action and the compulsion to delist tokens will likely affect trading volumes to some extent.

This is not the first time that OpenSea has delisted items. It previously delisted ENS domains referring to fashion designer Calvin Klein, and it has also delisted a collection called Not Okay Bears, which imitated another NFT line called Okay Bears.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrencies.

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