Donald Trump has been accused of using copyrighted images in his NFT collection, with social media users calling his money-making business 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 trying to be taken seriously as the 2024 presidential candidate – bizarrely simulated 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 chairman could benefit from a short-term boost to his bank balance – in the long term he could find the company leaving him strapped for cash.
Eagle-eyed social media users have taken to Twitter to point out that many of the images look oddly familiar.
Some of the designs appear to be little more than Mr. Trump’s head edited out of images found on small clothing company websites, stock images or even outfits sold on Amazon and Walmart.
Matthew Sheffield, a reporter for The Young Turks, said Mr Trump’s cowboy NFT appeared to be a doctored image of Amazon selling a “Scully Men’s Duster” jacket.
“It appears Donald Trump’s NFT image of himself as a cowboy is from an image from Amazon that has been slightly edited,” he tweeted.
Another social media user asked if Mr Trump got permission from Reuters to use a photo one of his photographers took of the former president playing golf.
“The Trump golf NFT is a simplified and retouched version of a David Moir/Reuters file photo from 2011 when Trump was playing at his Scottish club,” they tweeted.
“Even the creases in his pants are the same, lolz! Did Reuters give the green light to this? Ouch.
Another drawing, where Mr Trump is dressed as a fighter pilot, is said to have been taken from a Shutterstock image.
Cryptocurrency account WhaleChart zeroed 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 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 will see if the owners of the images will sue Trump. He never pays for his mistakes.
Another person said it was just the former president’s latest “scam”.
“NFTs are digital files that must be ORIGINAL to create value. Trump NFT has copied existing artwork and photos for his #MajorAnnouncement Trading Card Grift,” they tweeted.
“It’s copyright infringement and it’s illegal. With Trump, it’s still a scam.
Trading cards aren’t the only things potentially causing Mr. Trump a headache.
The alleged scandal comes as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol prepares to hold its final public meeting on Monday — a meeting where it is expected to refer criminal charges against the former President.