HitPiece may have already shut down its website after several artists spoke up about their work being used without their permission, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) isn’t letting it off the hook. The organization has sent the attorney representing HitPiece a letter demanding the website and its founders to stop infringing on music IPs, to provide a complete list of site activities and to account for all NFTs that had been auctioned off. It also wants to know how much the website earned. HitPiece founder Rory Felton previously said that artists will get paid for sold digital goods that are associated with them, but the artists who spoke up are skeptical that they’ll get anything.
In the letter, the group repeatedly called HitPiece a scam operation designed to exploit fans. RIAA’s Chief Legal Officer Ken Doroshow said it used “buzzwords and jargon” to hide the fact that it didn’t obtain the rights it needs and to make fans believe they were purchasing an article genuinely associated with an artist. Doroshow added: “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.”
Although HitPiece branded itself as a platform for music NFTs, its founders claimed that it didn’t actually sell any sound files. The RIAA argues, however, that it still used artists’ name, images and copyrighted album art. Further, if it truly didn’t sell any sound files, the RIAA says that “likely amounts to yet another form of fraud.”