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Bored Ape Spinoff NFT Collection Leads to Legal Battles Over Copyright

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Caked Apes was launched as a spinoff of BAYC.
  • Taylor Whitley wants his cut of the profits.
  • Caked Apes creator claims he did not contribute to the project.
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There is no denying the popularity of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, so much so that a number of spinoffs have emerged sparking a legal battle between digital artists.

A spinoff series of BAYC called Caked Apes was launched in January on the back of the popularity of the cartoon primate NFTs.  

There are 49 of the colorful Caked Apes listed on NFT marketplace OpenSea with four owners, though there is no pricing info on the platform or on CryptoSlam.

According to Bloomberg, the team behind each collection is now suing each other over the designs of the caricatures and revenue shares.

Dueling primate artists

The report added that rival lawsuits have been filed in Los Angeles federal courts. Taylor Whitley, who owns 11 Bored Apes, filed a suit late last week claiming the Caked Ape team infringed on digital designs and ousted him from the project.

Jacob Nygard and three other CA collection owners retorted with their own lawsuit on March 20, accusing Whitley of trying to claim ownership of their joint venture. Whitley was also accused of misusing federal copyright law to get the collection taken off online marketplaces.

The Caked Apes team tweeted an update on March 21 stating:

“Once Taylor saw the sales of Caked Apes take off, he tried to renege on our agreed-upon deal and claim a bigger piece of the pie with no legal or ethical grounds to back up his claims.”

John Snow, Nygard’s attorney, commented that it was “one of the first cases dealing with the Bored Ape license and what’s allowed and not allowed.”

Those apes were mine

According to Whitley, any license he granted to his former partners at Caked Apes was revoked because his digital art agency never received the “agreed-upon portion of revenue,” the report added.

The suit claims that almost 9,000 Caked Apes NFTs sold out generating $1.9 million in direct sales and $225,000 in secondary sales royalties.

Whitley’s attorney, John Purcell, said that he was “instrumental to all stages of the founding, creation, and launch of Caked Apes and has been unlawfully alienated from his creations.”

However, the Caked Ape team of four claims that Whitley “contributed no original drawings to the Caked Apes creations.”

According to CryptoSlam, BAYC remains the most popular NFT collection over the past week with $113.8 million in sales volume for the past seven days. Earlier this month BeInCrypto reported that BAYC creator Yuga Labs acquired the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections.

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Martin Young
Martin Young is a seasoned cryptocurrency journalist and editor with over 7 years of experience covering the latest news and trends in the digital asset space. He is passionate about making complex blockchain, fintech, and macroeconomics concepts understandable for mainstream audiences.   Martin has been featured in top finance, technology, and crypto publications including BeInCrypto, CoinTelegraph, NewsBTC, FX Empire, and Asia Times. His articles provide an in-depth analysis of...
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