Austin Powers supporting actor Seth Green has sparked a debate over who owns the commercial rights to use a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, after his Apes were stolen and sold to another party
Green tweeted on May 18 that four of his nonfungible tokens (NFT) including BAYC #8398, Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) #9964 and #19182, and Doodle #7546 were stolen from him after he visited a phishing site.
Green, the creator of Robot Chicken and co-star on Family Guy, noted that someone with the pseudonym DarkWing84 had already bought the BAYC NFT. Now, legal experts and community members are weighing in about the implications of theft on BAYC intellectual property (IP) rights.
Well frens it happened to me. Got phished and had 4NFT stolen. @BoredApeYC @opensea @doodles @yugalabs please don’t buy or trade these while I work to resolve:@DarkWing84 looks like you bought my stolen ape- hit me up so we can fix it pic.twitter.com/VL1OVnd44m
— Seth Green (@SethGreen) May 17, 2022
BAYC’s license does not stipulate instances of theft. It merely says that “When you purchase an NFT, you own the underlying Bored Ape, the Art, completely.” Some believe this means that even if the NFT is bought from a thief, the usage rights transfer to the new owner.
Green has a TV show called White Horse Tavern in development which features the Bored Ape in question so if this interpretation is correct he may not be able to move forward with the show because he’s lost the commercial usage rights. A trailer for the show debuted on May 21 at the VeeCon NFT conference in Minneapolis, but the launch date is unknown.
IP and tech law professor at Santa Clara University Eric Goldman told Buzzfeed News on May 25 that buyers are usually legally protected if they unwittingly buy a stolen item and Coin Center communications director Neeraj K. Agrawal suggested that Green could get sued if he still uses the BAYC in his show.
i’m hardly an IP expert but my understanding of the ape system is yes this is within the new holder’s rights
— Neeraj K. Agrawal…..