Donald Trump has been accused of using copyrighted images in his NFT collection, with social media users branding his money-making venture a “scam”.
The former president became a source of mockery last week when what he hailed as a “major announcement” turned out to be the launch of a series of digital trading cards.
The NFTs feature the former president – who is attempting to be taken seriously as a 2024 presidential contender – bizarrely mocked up as several characters including a superhero, an astronaut and a cowboy.
Despite being priced at $99 each, all 45,000 images sold out by Friday afternoon, according to the promotional site.
But – while the former president might enjoy a short-term boost to his bank balance – in the long term, he may find the venture leaves him out of pocket.
Eagle-eyed social media users have taken to Twitter to point out that many of the images look curiously familiar.
Some of the designs appear to be little more than Mr Trump’s head edited onto images found on the websites of small apparel businesses, stock images or even outfits sold on Amazon and Walmart.
Matthew Sheffield, a journalist for The Young Turks, said that Mr Trump’s cowboy NFT appeared to be a doctored image from Amazon selling a “Scully Men’s Duster” jacket.
“It appears that Donald Trump’s NFT image of himself as a cowboy comes from an Amazon image that was slightly altered,” he tweeted.
Another social media user questioned whether Mr Trump had gained permission from Reuters for using a photo that one of its photographers had taken of the former president playing golf.
“The Trump golf NFT is a slimmed-down and photoshopped-up take from a David Moir/Reuters file photo from 2011, when Trump was playing at his Scotland club,” they tweeted.
“Even the folds in his pants are the same, lolz! Did Reuters greenlight this? Yikes.”
Another design, where Mr Trump is dressed like a fighter pilot, was allegedly taken from a Shutterstock image.
Cryptocurrency account WhaleChart homed in on what appears to be a watermark left on the outfit.
Several Twitter users have suggested that the former president could face legal action for copyright infringement over the digital trading cards.
“Using another company’s photos and unpaid stock images to create an image for profit is considered copyright infringement,” one person tweeted.
“We’ll see if the owners of the images will pursue Trump. He never pays for his mistakes.”
Another person said that this was just the latest “scam” from the former president.
“NFTs are digital files that must be ORIGINAL art to create value. Trump NFT copied existing art and photos for his #MajorAnnouncement Trading Card Grift,” they tweeted.
“This is a copyright infringement and illegal. With Trump it’s always a scam.”
The trading cards aren’t the only things to potentially cause Mr Trump a headache.
The alleged scandal comes as the House committee investigating the January 6 2021 attack on the US Capitol is preparing to hold its final public meeting on Monday – a meeting where it is expected to refer criminal charges against the former president.
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