In a significant legal triumph, Yuga Labs, the creative force behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, has secured a monumental victory in a copyright infringement case against artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cohen. The court has ordered Ripps and Cahen to pay a substantial sum of nearly $9 million in damages and penalties to Yuga Labs, underscoring the severity of their copyright violation.
Legal Precedent Upheld: Copyright Protection in the NFT Realm
This landmark ruling not only highlights the enforceability of copyright protections for NFTs but also serves as a critical precedent affirming the applicability of standard intellectual property laws in the burgeoning digital asset space. The decision underscores the seriousness with which such laws will be upheld, setting a strong foundation for safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.
The crux of the legal dispute revolves around Ripps and Cahen’s ‘RR/BAYC’ NFT collection, which bore striking resemblances to the esteemed Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, leveraging its brand value for personal gain. However, their project encroached upon trademarks and intellectual property exclusively owned by Yuga Labs, leading to legal action.
Yuga Labs initiated legal proceedings against the artists in May 2022, citing false designation of origin, cybersquatting, and copyright infringement under the US Federal Trademark Act. After months of legal deliberation, the court unequivocally ruled in favour of Yuga Labs, ordering Ripps and Cahen to pay significant damages and legal fees.
On a Saturday, The Federal Court has entered its final judgement against me in my case vs. YugaLabs.
Judgement Total: $9,112,496.50
(Note: My name is misspelled in the order)
We are appealing this outcome in the Ninth Circuit Court of California.
Case is ongoing. ✊ pic.twitter.com/fHcEsbBL6a
— PAULY (@Pauly0x) February 3, 2024
Appeal Looms: Legal Battle Continues Amidst NFT Price Volatility
Despite the court’s decisive verdict, the legal saga is far from over, as Cahen intends to appeal the staggering $9 million penalty in the Ninth Circuit Court in California. As the legal dispute persists, the economic landscape surrounding Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs reflects a stark irony. While Yuga Labs celebrates the protection of its brand integrity, the NFT’s floor price has plummeted to near all-time lows.
Once soaring to record highs amid fervent speculation, the current market value of BAYC NFTs languishes around 25 ETH, signalling broader challenges within the NFT market since the onset of the crypto winter in 2022. While the assertion of intellectual property rights marks a pivotal advancement, the economic viability of digital collectables faces scrutiny amidst market volatility.
In essence, while Yuga Labs secures legal retribution, the economic realities of the NFT landscape cast shadows of uncertainty over the long-term sustainability of even the most iconic collections. As Cahen’s appeal looms on the horizon, the legal wrangling between the artists and Yuga Labs shows no signs of abating, prolonging the saga of this high-stakes copyright dispute.
Also Read: PFP NFTs: What Are They?