As a lawyer implied would happen, a prominent law firm sent a cease-and-desist letter to the alleged creator of the new, fast-turned-controversial, blockchain-based social network BitClout.
Major US-based law firm Anderson Kill has sent a letter to Nader Al-Naji, who they understand launched the site, representing Brandon Curtis, the product lead for decentralized token exchange Radar Relay - demanding that the site cease and desists from the use Curtis's information and likeness and from further violating his privacy rights.
The letter continues by explaining the premise behind BitClout. As Cryptonews.com reported, the users are buying and selling tokens tied to the identities of a number of prominent individuals, and 15,000 have been preloaded already.
Curtis found his name and Twitter profile, which includes his likeness and the profile's content, on BitClout on March 19 - created without his consent.
"In short, BitClout is directly profiting from the likeness of others and did not obtain permission to put these profiles on its platform or profit from them," the letter argues. While the owner of the Twitter profile can claim the associated BitClout profile and the reserved coins, BitClout still profits from their purchase, it said.
"In order for Mr. Curtis to exercise any sort of control over his name and likeness on your Site, he would need to put his own money into your project or provide you with even more personal information," the letter says, adding: "Even messaging BitClout’s support team costs BitClout tokens."
The lawyers cited California’s Civil Code section 3344, which protects one's right to profit from the commercial value of their identity, as well as section 1798, which protects one's right to privacy, while BitClout was required to afford Curtis the statutory protection under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). "Your efforts to conceal your management and ownership of the Site reveal these violations of the CCPA are intentional," they claimed.
The deadline given by lawyers - signed as Stephen Palley, Preston Byme, and Hailey Lennon - is today 5pm, EST.
The letter comes after Byrne said that "a good chunk of legal cryptotwitter is looking at the issue" of BitClout.
As reported, the project is backed by a number of major companies, including Coinbase, Sequoia, a16z, Social Capital, DCG, Pantera, Huobi, Winklevoss Capital, and North Island Ventures.
"Adopting Bitcoin's aesthetic to raise VC funding to carry out unethical and blatantly illegal schemes like [Al-Naji's] Bitclout: not cool," commented Curtis, adding that it's "amazing that Bitclout investors like these couldn't give [Al-Naji] better advice. Or did he ignore it?"
Al-Naji was also the co-founder of the popular stablecoin project Basis that closed in 2018.
Cryptonews.com contacted Nader Al-Naji for comment.
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