Conceptual Artist Ryder Ripps Files Counterclaim Against Yuga Labs in Ongoing Lawsuit

Yuga Labs sued Ryder Ripps in June for misleading potential Bored Ape buyers into buying copycat versions of BAYC NFTs.
Image source: Greg Mionske / Red Bull Content Pool

Quick take:

  • The defendants Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen claim that their version of the BAYC collection does not infringe on Yuga Labs’ copyright.
  • They also claim to have “used conceptual art to critique hateful imagery.”
  • Ripps accused Yuga Labs of using neo-nazi imagery in the BAYC collection.

Conceptual artist Ryder Ripps has filed a counterclaim against Bored Ape Yacht Club parent company, Yuga Labs, in an ongoing lawsuit. 

On June 25 June, Yuga Labs took Ripps and his business partner Jeremy Cahen, the founder of NFT marketplace Not Larva Labs, for infringing on Yuga Labs’ copyright and misleading potential BAYC buyers into purchasing an NFT from Ripps’ RR/BAYC project, and devaluing the authentic Bored Ape collectibles.

The lawsuit was filed shortly after YouTuber Philion published a video titled ‘Bored Ape Nazi Club’ on June 20. Based on Ripps’ research, the video accuses Bored Ape founders Greg Solano, Wylie Aronow, Zeshan Ali, and Kerem Atalay of promoting neo-nazi and alt-right imagery, which the founders have since denied. 

In a Medium post published on June 24, Yuga Labs and BAYC founders called out Ripps for “spreading ridiculous conspiracy theories online and using them to sell knockoff NFTs.”

However, Yuga Labs did not sue Ripps for slander or libel. The company however brought claims against Ripps and Cahen for the unauthorized use of the BAYC Marks for commercial purposes. The pair have also denied Yuga Labs’ allegations of copyright infringement.

Ripps and Cahen also claimed to have “used conceptual art to critique hateful imagery.” The RR/BAYC website claims that the project “uses satire and appropriation to protest and educate people regarding The Bored Ape Yacht Club and the framework of NFTs.”

“Each of these NFTs is an entry on a decentralized digital ledger and entirely unique by design, making them both non-fungible and impossible to copy,” the counterclaim from Dec 27 states. 

The ongoing lawsuit is not Ripps’ first brush with the law when it comes to re-minting NFTs. In June 2021, he re-minted CryptoPunk #3100. The original NFT art sold for a record $7.58 million in March last year. 

After the re-mint, Ripps received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice from Larva Lab and the NFT was subsequently de-listed from NFT platform, Foundation. Ripps successfully countered the DMCA and his re-mint of CryptoPunk #3100 was subsequently re-listed.



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