Green’s Bored Ape Was Scammed Out of His Account for $200,000
Seth Green was duped out of four NFTs earlier this month, including a $200,000 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT. Green’s money isn’t the only thing on the line. The cartoon ape was supposed to star in a sitcom Green is producing, but because IP rights to the cartoon ape are conditional on owning the NFT, it’s unclear whether Green will be able to go ahead with the sitcom.
Green remarked on Saturday at VeeCon, an NFT conference, “I bought an ape in 2021 of July and have spent the last several months cultivating and exploiting the IP to make it the headliner of this show,” minutes after releasing the first video for an upcoming show starring NFTs from diverse collections. “Then, just days before he’s supposed to make his international debut, he’s kidnapped.”
According to records on the NFT marketplace OpenSea, Green’s Bored Ape was scammed out of his account on May 8. The fraudster then sold the NFT two hours later for $268,000 to a user named DarkWing84. Green, who was phished while trying to buy NFTs from a phony website, has tried unsuccessfully to garner DarkWing84’s attention on Twitter.
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed published a report suggesting that Green may no longer be able to operate the show as is, with litigation attorney Daniel Dubin warning the site that the current owner of the stolen NFT might “create trouble” for Green if he so desired. Green, on the other hand, seemed at ease during the conference, joking about the situation with VeeCon host Gary Vaynerchuk. He vehemently denied reports made on Twitter that the show would be canceled. He wrote, “Not true considering the art was taken.” “A customer who paid real money for stolen art and refused to return it has no legal right to utilize the underlying IP for commercial purposes.”
Three Major IP Models for NFTs
There are three major IP models for NFTs. On the one hand, there are collections in which the creators retain all rights, and on the other, there are “CC0” NFTs in which the art and brand are in the public domain and can be used in any form by anybody.
Then there’s the Bored Ape Yacht Club model, in which the brand is owned by Yuga Labs, but NFT holders can utilize their own apes for whatever commercial purposes they like. Owners of the Bored Ape NFT have created a coffee business, a band, and one is even getting a novel written by best-selling author Neil Strauss based on their characters.
What occurs in Green’s case could set a legal or another precedent for how similar cases are handled in the future. “Having spent 18 years studying copyright and industry laws, I’m looking forward to precedent-setting arguments on IP ownership & exploitation,” he tweeted Tuesday in reaction to BuzzFeed’s story. “I’d rather see DarkWing84 in-person to work out a settlement than go to court.”
The two hours between the NFT being taken from Green’s wallet and being sold on OpenSea could be essential in determining whether DarkWing84 purchased the NFT, knowing it had been gained fraudulently from Green. “Neither the thief nor anyone who buys it from said criminal with notice gets proper title to Seth Green’s IP,” Preston Byrne, a partner, and IP specialist at law firm Anderson Krill, tweeted. “Under the facts, I don’t see how somebody could bring a lawsuit against Seth Green for infringement and win,” he added.
Green was a victim of a phishing fraud that cost him not only his BAYC but also two Mutant Ape Club NFTs (of $40,000 each) and a Doodle (worth $24,000).
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Never Post Confidential Information on Social Media Accounts!
If you find yourself in Seth Green’s shoes, the first thing you should definitely do is not post on social media or tweet about how much you’re “looking forward to precedent-setting arguments on IP ownership & exploitation.”
Green, best known for his pouty portrayal of archvillain Dr. Evil’s disappointing son in the Austin Powers franchise, has been the brunt of cryptocurrency’s latest prank. Green lost his beloved Bored Ape earlier this month after falling for fraud and exposing himself to burglars by interacting with a clone of another NFT project’s website. Clone sites are often nearly indistinguishable from the originals, with the exception of a letter or two in their domain names. Green isn’t the first player to lose an NFT in this manner, and he certainly won’t be the last. In the mystical world of Gutter Cats and Happy Hippos, hacking and old-fashioned con artistry are commonplace.
Green stood out among the other members of the Yacht Club since he had a lot more riding on his Ape than the majority of the other members. Unlike many NFTs, Bored Apes comes with a license that allows you to utilize your new monkey companion for personal or business purposes. When you buy an Ape, you get the right to copy its picture and do derivative works with it. Green had intended to do precisely that. He’s been working on a series called White Horse Tavern for months, which adds live-action and animation and showcases an Ape with a halo and lovable intimacy issues as the bartender of the titular watering establishment.
However, without the star, the show is unlikely to continue. The right to exploit an Ape’s picture follows the NFT, according to the terms and conditions of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). “Not true, considering the art was stolen,” Green tweeted in response to a BuzzFeed post claiming that the White Horse Tavern was doomed. A buyer who paid real money for stolen art and refused to return it has no legal right to use the underlying IP for exploitation.”
Incorrect. This recent Ape incident exemplifies the limitations of the free, frictionless society promised by cryptocurrency, as well as the myriad misunderstandings surrounding ownership.
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