The NFT marketplace OpenSea is removing the on-chain copyright enforcement tool called Operator Filters, which allows blacklisting of NFT marketplaces that do not enforce content creators’ rights. OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer stated that they made this decision to improve user experience, as other NFT marketplaces were not paying attention to this issue.
According to an announcement made by OpenSea founder and CEO Devin Finzer on August 17th, the change will take effect on August 31st. The Operator Filters feature was first introduced in November 2022 and was described as a “simple code snippet” that could restrict NFT sales to marketplaces that only apply creator fees.
However, Finzer stated that they did not receive the necessary support from the NFT ecosystem, and as a result, the tool did not achieve the success they had hoped for. Finzer also claimed that NFT marketplaces such as Blur, Dew, and LooksRare bypassed OpenSea’s blacklist and evaded Operator Filters by integrating the Seaport Protocol to avoid creator fees. Finzer mentioned that they also received backlash from content creators who believed that the tool limited their control over the places where their collections were sold.
“We heard from some content creators that Operator Filters limited their sense of control over the places where their collections are sold and could conflict with a collector’s expectation of full ownership. The restrictions of Operator Filters come at the cost of decentralized ownership.”
Finzer finally stated that while creator fees might be beneficial for certain business models, it is only one of many revenue streams available to content creators, and there are several other use cases of NFT technology that should be considered.
“We have allocated a significant portion of our roadmap to strengthening new use cases, starting with convertibles products that can be turned into digital and physical money, and selling these use cases more effectively between primary and secondary experiences.”
Starting from August 31st, Operator Filters will no longer block any marketplace. However, for all collections using the tool and existing collections on non-Ethereum blockchain networks, the preferred fees of collection owners will be enforced until February 29th, 2024. Finzer added, “To be clear, creator fees are not going awayâ€”they are simply being applied ineffectively and unilaterally.”
This move is seen as a potential blow for NFT artists who seek passive income. Some members of the NFT community expressed their disappointment with OpenSea’s decision on August 17th, stating that collectors should support NFT content creators on platforms that enforce their copyright:
However, a Reddit avatar artist believes that this could be a right move and claims that the business model aims to generate more profit rather than hype trading.