NFT artist and his business partner are being sued by Yuga Labs. They are the makers of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, for allegedly forging “copycat” versions of their NFT collection.
Yuga Labs filed suit in June
In June, Yuga filed a lawsuit against Not Larva Labs founder Jeremy Cahen and artist Ryder Ripps. However, claims that they copied their NFT collections and undercut the value of the original Bored Ape products. The two responded to the complaint, disputing many of the charges.
Yuga Labs claims in its December 27 court filing,
“Each of these NFTs is an entry on a decentralized digital ledger and completely unique by design, making them both non-fliptable and impossible to copy,”
According to Ripps and Cahen, their version of the BAYC collection, dubbed RR/BAYC, does not infringe Yuga Labs’ copyright. Additionally, they claim to have “used conceptual art to critique hateful imagery” that Yuga Labs used.
Earlier in December, the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied the NFT maker’s motion to dismiss.
NFT manufacturers are also being sued
On another front, BAYC is also being sued. A class action lawsuit was filed by California law firm Scott + Scott against Yuga. But nearly 40 other people and businesses on the grounds that they participated in “a grand scheme” involving secret celebrity endorsements for merchandise like BAYC. A representative for Yuga denied this.
Why this matter is important
In cases involving NFTs, the Labs case highlights the importance of understanding the technology that supports IP claims. The court was able to determine that the digital assets referenced by Ripps’ RR/BAYC NFTs and Yuga Labs’ BAYC NFTs were identical by looking under the hood. Because of this subtlety, the court correctly concluded that Ripps’ NFTs were merely a collection of forgeries and were not eligible for consideration as an artistic medium under the Rogers test.
Also read: What is NFT Strike? Pros and Cons of NFT Staking.
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