BAYC NFT legal case could clarify law on digital ownership


A legal case brought to court by Yuga Labs, the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT project, will challenge the “Ryder Ripps Bored Apes Yacht Club”, which is said to be an exact copy of the BAYC NFT collection


Yuga Labs says the copycat project created by Ryder Ripps has generated “ill-gotten profit. The case will seek damages for copyright infringement, false advertising, unfair competition and cybersquatting

What next

In the filed lawsuit, Yuga Labs lawyers stressed that the case was “no mere monkey business” and that Ripps was causing confusion for NFT buyers 

The story

Advocates have argued that NFTs allow users to prove ownership of a digital asset using immutable blockchain data. However what this case highlights is that although ownership can be proved, fake or copycat NFT projects cannot be easily disproved, especially when projects are copied over verbatim and catch the attention of unsuspecting buyers.

A notable point is the charges did not include claims of copyright infringement. Central to Ripps’ defence is the claim that his project is a “re-minting” of the original project, potentially leading to minting being assigned a legal definition. Ripps also alleges that Yuga Labs did not properly follow copyright law when creating the project. 

Yuga Labs had initially issued Ripps with a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice but soon backtracked once Ripps contested it. 

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