Nearly 10 months after the Bored Ape Yacht Club creator, Yuga Labs, sued Ripps and his associates of copyright infringement, a US court has ruled on the case, granting Yuga Labs the legal victory. In a partial summary judgment, the court ruled that Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen made and sold NFTs copying BAYC’s trademarks in a “manner likely to cause confusion.”
Last year, Ryder Ripps created a satirical copy of the Bored Apes collection after accusing the authors of intentionally using racist references and Nazi Germany insignia. Leading an online crusade against the NFT collection, he alleged the Bored Ape Yacht Club is trying to ruin the internet by normalizing toxic imagery and racist ideas.
Who is Ryder Ripps?
Interestingly, Ryder Ripps has a notorious reputation for being a prankster that aims to depict the worst of the internet using art. He once fabricated an 18-karat gold medallion of Pepe the frog, sold an NFT audio of Azealia Banks and him having sex, turned online pictures of Adrianne Ho into warped paintings, and received a DMCA takedown notice from Larva Labs for selling near-identical NFTs of their creations, among other controversial escapades.
Despite his unbelievable online notoriety, his falling out with Yuga Labs over his RR/BAYC project is the first time he’ll be at the receiving end of a lawsuit over his controversial online activities.
Implications of the summary judgment
The court’s summary judgment over the BAYC copyright case has far-reaching implications for the entire web3 and NFT space, as it marks the first direct legal judgment against cybersquatting and false designation of origin, two significant roadblocks to online creators. In the judgment, the court clarified that NFTs are covered under the Lanham Act, protecting owners against infringement and unfair competition.
While the court ruled that the plaintiff is entitled to monetary damages and injunctive relief, it struck out their request for $200,000 in statutory damages. According to the court, the specificity of damages will only be determined during a formal trial.