Sackboy NFT Project Violates Sony's IP Rights: Here's Why
Updated: Mar 14, 2022
LBP Union is a fan-made community that has no relationship with Sony Group Corporation (Sony).
A storm began in the community early last month on Twitter. Images of numerous variations of a character very closely resembling Sackboy were making their rounds around the platform. In most cases, this might be fanart. Instead, these were in fact images representing NFT's distributed on the ecommerce market OpenSea. LittleBigPlanet fans on Twitter came together and collectively condemned 'Beanbag Frens' for their shameless profiteering of Sony's IP. Let's talk about the Beanbag Frens scandal and why it's important for the future of LittleBigPlanet and Project Lighthouse custom servers.
Stick around until the end of the article to get some nice 'funged' tokens.
What is an NFT?
If only there was a good Stephen Fry tutorial for this one. The full scope of this topic can't quite fit into this article, but the term stands for non-fungible token.
Non-fungible: Cannot be replaced with another identical item.
Token: Similar to a software license but stored on a secure network called the blockchain.
NFT's are, at their core, little licenses. When you own an NFT, a network called the blockchain is used to verify your ownership of the token. The blockchain is composed of a large network of computers that perform very complex cryptographic computations. This ensures that the network remains secure, but all transactions are visible to the public.
NFT's and Art
When defined like this, NFT's have nothing to do with art. However, as in the case of Beanbag Frens, they are often sold associated with images. Users will buy the NFT while also receiving 'ownership' over a profile picture or other image. However, the user does not own the image. They own the token. The best way I can describe it is that they own a cell on a spreadsheet.
This is a simplified version of the topic but it will help us understand what the heck Beanbag Frens is doing illegally making money off Sackboy.
Beanbag Frens and Sackboy
The Twitter account used by Beanbag Frens was created in December 2021, around three to four months before this article was published. One of the earliest tweets recognizing the resemblance in the art associated with the NFT's is by Dangerisinu,
If the images in that tweet don't convince you of the resemblance, here's another side-by-side with an official sticker created by Sony for use on iMessage:
Let's do a quick art analysis just to drive this home. Both Sackboy and this 'Beanbag Fren' are stitched characters. They both have the same round eyes and smiles. Notice also the eye shine is characteristic of both images. Note the small neck as well, and the proportions of the body and arms. It's undeniable that there is a striking resemblance between these two characters.
In fact, that resemblance proved to be too much for Sony, as we'll discuss next.
Sony Takes Action
After dozens of twe