Remember the news from a few days ago about one of the Bored Ape Yacht Club founders addressing claims of racism within the collection? Not only did the founder clarify things like the origins of the Bored Ape name and the inspiration behind its imagery but also called out a man named Ryder Ripps specifically.
Beyond Gordon Goner calling out Ryder Ripps for spreading what he called disinformation but he also referred to Ripps as a ‘demented troll’. Now, it seems this dispute goes far beyond internet rumours and blog posts. Yuga Labs, the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club has sued Ryder.
Details About the Suit
This lawsuit being brought against Ripps is not for spreading disinformation but rather for selling ‘fake’ versions of the iconic Bored Ape NFTs. As per the lawsuit that was filed with a Los Angeles court, Ryder is deliberately creating NFTs that are very similar to the Bored Ape to confuse customers and get money out of them.
Apparently, he has made quite a bit of money from them to the tune of millions, according to court documents. These are also allegedly connected to his claims of the Bored Apes having Nazi imagery, which Yuga Labs has called ‘slanderous’.
Ripps, on his part, has claimed that his NFTs, titled RR/BAYC are parodies of the Bored Ape NFTs and that he “uses satire and appropriation to protest and educate people regarding The Bored Ape Yacht Club and the framework of NFTs.”
But Yuga Labs isn’t having it, insisting that everything from the naming of the collection to its design is to trick users into buying them thinking they are purchasing Bored Ape tokens.
“This is no mere monkey business… These actions are calculated, intentional, and willful with the stated purpose of causing actual and monetary harm to Yuga Labs and to the holders of authentic Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs,” the lawsuit says.
In response to the lawsuit, Ripps tweeted, “are they going to sue dame dash and ethan klein too?”. This implied that there are other people who have released NFT collections that are similar to the Bored Ape Club.
Whatever the outcome of this lawsuit, it is clear that the dispute between the Bored Ape Club and Ripps is just heating up.
What Rights Do NFT Creators Have?
Because NFTs are relatively new, the limits of their intellectual property protection are not entirely defined. As in the case of the Bored Ape Collection, while a federal trademark is still pending, common-law rights are already in existence.
So, does that make Ripps in violation of any laws? And what about the people he mentioned in his tweet? Could they be found in violation as well? Between this and the recent debacle with Seth Green, NFTs are likely to make more appearances in the courtroom.
Either way, this lawsuit will likely be a case study in intellectual property laws as they apply to NFTs and where parody ends and theft begins.