In recent court filings, the NFT behemoth Yuga Labs confesses that it does not have “copyright registrations” for the 10,000 photographs that are included in the collection that is held by the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).
The new information was uncovered during the course of a legal battle between Yuga Labs and Ryder Ripps. According to the paper submitted to the court, “Counts 2 and 3 urge the Court to declare that Yuga Labs does not own a copyright in the Bored Ape photographs.” When copyrightable work is fixed in any physical medium of expression, an intellectual property right comes into existence.
Yuga Labs filed a lawsuit against Ryder Ripps in June 2022, accusing him of “trying to devalue” original BAYC NFTs with a counterfeit collection branded RR/BAYC NFTs. The action was filed for trademark infringement, false advertising, trademark infringement, and other related offenses.
After that, Ryder Ripps filed a counterclaim against Yuga Labs, accusing Yuga of employing neo-nazi images in the BAYC collection. He did this by filing a lawsuit. In the claim, it was argued that the RR/BAYC NFT’s use of the BAYC trademarks constitutes fair use of those trademarks.
According to Yuga, it is not necessary to be registered as the owner of a copyright in order to own and possess the copyright. It is only necessary for a user to register a copyright if they want to pursue legal action against another individual.
“The Court should not wade into whether Yuga Labs has a copyright in its Bored Ape images because such an opinion would be merely advisory; Yuga Labs does not have a registered copyright, and there is therefore no imminent threat of a lawsuit for copyright infringement,” Yuga added. “The Court should not wade into whether Yuga Labs has a copyright in its Bored Ape images because such an opinion would be merely advisory.”
The early success of Yuga Labs and its NFT collections may be attributed to the company’s decision to transfer ownership of its NFTs together with its intellectual property rights. Yuga Labs is self-assured that it has copyright over BAYC NFTs, despite the fact that it has not registered its copyright claims.
“Just because an entity is not registered with the federal copyright agency does not indicate that it does not hold copyright. When provenance is established, such as with BAYC NFTs, copyright protection is applied automatically,” a spokeswoman for Yuga Labs noted.
In addition, Yuga said that there is “no uncertainty” about the rights of its NFT holders.
Delaney Simmons, vice president of communications at Yuga Labs, moved to Twitter to clear up any doubt on the matter. She said, “The U.S. Copyright Office’s website says: Your work is under copyright protection the minute it is made and fixed in a physical form…”
In his complaint, Ryder Ripps asked the court to rule that Yuga Labs lacked any copyrights and to declare that Yuga Labs did not hold any copyrights. Yuga Labs later filed a motion to have the counterclaim thrown out of court.
“We brought an action for trademark infringement, not for copyright infringement, so it is not right for the court to reach out and determine whether or not we have copyright rights or not,’” Yuga explained.
Compiled by Coinbold