Two NFT artists, Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, have been ordered by a US court to shell out $9 million (roughly Rs. 74 crore) from their pockets and pay the sum to Yuga Labs, the creator of Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs. The two parties have been embroiled in an intense legal battle since May 2022 after Yuga Labs accused Ripps and Cahen of copying the designs of its BAYC NFTs for their own separate line of digital collectibles named Ryder Ripps BAYC (RR/BAYC).
Earlier this week, a court filing ordered Ripps and Cahen to pay millions in damages to Yuga Labs. Prior to this filing, the court had mandated the artists to pay $1.57 million to BAYC and cover legal expenses.
The recent filing however, detailed that this penalty amount has been escalated after adding disgorgement, legal fees, and expert witness fees among some other charges within thirty days.
Cahen, who goes by the username @Pauly0x on X, reacted strongly to the refreshed court order. In a post, Cahen said that he along with Ripps will be “appealing this outcome in the Ninth Circuit Court of California”.
On a Saturday, The Federal Court has entered its final judgement against me in my case vs. YugaLabs.
Judgement Total: $9,112,496.50
(Note: My name is misspelled in the order)
We are appealing this outcome in the Ninth Circuit Court of California.
Case is ongoing. :fist: pic.twitter.com/fHcEsbBL6a
— PAULY (@Pauly0x) February 3, 2024
Back in May 2022, Yuga Labs filed a lawsuit against these two artists for copyright infringement. The company expressed concerns about these artists flooding the NFT market with copycat BAYC NFTs – labelling them as his RR/BAYC pieces – and devalued the original collection.
Ripps and Cahen entered into this legal battle with the intention of getting a payout worth $100 billion (roughly Rs. 8,30,484 crore), as per reports. For now, it’s just a matter of time before the next development in this case forges its future trajectory.
Last year, Yuga Labs itself had come under the scanner for copying the logo for its Bored Apes Kennel Club (BAKC) NFT series from Easy Drawing Guides, a platform that provides easy drawing tutorials for beginners. At the time, Greg Solano, the co-founder of Yuga Labs had claimed to have opened an internal investigation on the case.
Since NFTs are often seen as investment props, members of the community aim to ensure that buyers are not cheated by impersonators and scammers. Following back-to-back scams and volatility in the crypto market, the NFT sector failed to churn an impressive capital from sales last year.
NFTs peaked in September 2021 when sales of these digital collectibles managed to amass around $881 million (roughly Rs. 7,344 crore). However, as of November 2023, NFT sales reportedly only managed to bring-in $10.85 million (roughly Rs. 90 crore).