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The Stardust NFT project’s artist Coco came under fire for allegedly stealing others’ artwork. Accordingly, the founder used professional photographs and public people’s photos to create her own collectibles.
Now, the NFT community is debating whether Coco’s image references are actually a theft. Meanwhile, the artist said every reference was copyright-free “to her knowledge”.
On June 29th, the Twitter account @NFTtheft spotlighted Coco – the founding artist behind Stardust’s new NFT project. In essence, the group accused Coco of stealing other people’s work. Allegedly, the artist had used photos belonging to models, photographers, stylists, and more,
In the same tweet, NFT Theft also included several examples of Coco’s references. Examples include entrepreneur Rashmi Bhanja and model Millie Hannah among others.
“Reference is a valuable tool for many artists. However surfing the net for photos and tracing over them without permission isn’t the same as a reference,” NFT Theft wrote. “It’s taking the work of others and calling it your own. These photographers & models should be paid for their work.”
At first, the discovery spread like wildfire. Some people defended Coco, writing that her action was “completely legit”.  Meanwhile, others have been blaming the artist for not mentioning her NFT references.
Surprisingly, Coco even addressed the controversy one day before the @NFTtheft post! On June 28th, a user asked Coco whether the Stardust NFTs’ reference photos were copyrighted. Here’s the reply:
All in all, the NFT community is still debating whether Coco made a huge mistake or not. Meanwhile, the Stardust NFT collection is enjoying its successful debut on the market. the project already surpassed 14 ETH in trading volume on OpenSea.
Recently, Coco revealed Stardust project’s dedication to support other women-led projects. For example, the project recently purchased an NFT  by COWGIRL. The initiative is actively making a real-life difference by supporting women’s reproductive rights in the US.
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All investment/financial opinions expressed by are not recommendations.
This article is educational material.
As always, make your own research prior to making any kind of investment.
Adele Ioana is a writer with a deep interest in digital visual arts. Between covering two news stories, she enjoys drawing portraits and studying photo manipulation.

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