Yuga Labs co-founder, Greg Solano, seemingly dismissed the revelations as “claims” despite the logo looking identical to the drawing in the guide by Rauno Tolonen. Yuga Labs also filed to trademark its BAKC logo in July 2021, a month after launching the collection.
Many BAYC holders don’t seem to mind this glaring plagiarism. Indeed, many replied to the revelatory Twitter post with comments such as “haters gonna hate,” and “Bro wtf this sounds like it came right out of your ass.”
This response is to be expected. Bored Ape Yacht Club members have been fiercely defensive of Yuga Labs’ collection, specifically when plagiarism is alleged. The project was previously accused of stealing the BAYC logo from the Waffen-SS — the Nazi paramilitary group under the direct control of Adolf Hitler.
For their part, the project’s founders have also gone to great lengths to deny these claims of far-right links and sympathies. Earlier this month, in a lengthy CoinDesk article, titled Setting the Record Straight, Wylie Aronow called out the “absurd allegations,” “bogus claims,” and “conspiracy.”
“Give me a f**king break,” he says, “I’m an Ashkenazi Jew by heritage … my co-founders are all children of immigrants.”
NFTs have never gotten to grips with IP issues
Despite Yuga Labs’ apparent penchant for lifting the work of others, it’s pretty hot when it comes to defending what it sees as its own copyrighted material. The company recently sued artist Ryder Ripps for using the BAYC artwork in his derivatives and profiting from it. On its website, Yuga Labs claims that owners of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs also own their commercial rights, meaning that the artwork can be used to make money.
The concepts and law of IP have been widely misunderstood in the NFT space. Owning or buying an NFT doesn’t necessarily mean you own its rights. Moreover, just because an artwork is stored on the blockchain, nothing makes it fundamentally different in the eyes of the law from other works in terms of its IP rights.
By law, rights and IP can only be transferred from one person to another by writing. So, technically, one can buy an NFT without any rights to it other than to hold it or sell it again.