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Florida Intellectual Property Attorney > Blog > Copyright Registration > Key NFT Copyright Case Making Its Way Through Legal System—Counterclaim Filed

Key NFT Copyright Case Making Its Way Through Legal System—Counterclaim Filed


According to reporting from Blockworks, Yuga Labs is at the center of a copyright dispute involving non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It is an important legal battle because it could set the terms for how NFTs are handled under U.S. copyright law. Artist Ryder Ripps—who is being sued by Yuga Labs for copyright infringement—has filed a counterclaim against the company. Here, our Florida copyright registration attorney highlights the key things to know about the dispute and about NFTs/copyright more generally.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs): Understanding the Basics 

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that represent ownership of a unique item or asset. They are built on blockchain technology and use smart contracts to verify and enforce the ownership of the item they represent. NFTs can represent a wide range of items, including digital art, collectibles, in-game items, and even physical assets such as real estate or fine art.

 NFTs Pose New and Still-Developing Copyright Law Questions

 Copyright law can protect the creative works that are represented by Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs. NFTs themselves do not receive copyright protection, as they are simply digital tokens that represent ownership or authenticity of a unique item or asset. However, the creative work or content that is associated with an NFT, such as a digital artwork or photograph, can be protected by copyright law. That being said, NFTs pose some unique copyright law questions. The intellectual property laws surrounding NFTs are still developing. There are many unanswered questions.

 The Yuga Labs Dispute Could Set the Terms for NFTs and Copyright Law 

Yuga Labs is a company that is one of the primary players in the NFT industry. The company created the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC)—which is not only one of the most prominent NFT collections, it is the collection at the center of this copyright infringement dispute. Ryder Ripps—an artist—wants a federal court to rule that the BAYC NFTs are not entitled to any copyright protection.

Mr. Ripps has used the images for the BAYC NFTs to create art-related projects. Yuga Labs filed a copyright infringement claim on the grounds that Mr. Ripps’ project was commercial in nature. As part of the counterclaim, Mr. Ripps contends that the BAYC NFT images are not entitled to any copyright protection at all on the count that they are computer-generated images.

Among other things, the federal court will need to determine whether computer-generated NFTs are entitled to any copyright protection at all. The Yuga Labs case is just one of several current NFTrelated cases that are making their way through the court system. The decision could have major implications for the future of NFTs and copyright law.

 Call South Florida Copyright Lawyer Today

At Perkins Law, our South Florida copyright law attorneys are devoted to protecting the rights and interests of our clients. If you have any specific questions or concerns about your rights, we are here to help. Contact us now to set up a fully confidential review and evaluation of your case. Our firm provides IP law representation in Boca Raton, Broward County, and throughout the wider South Florida area.



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