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NFT Artist Contests MetaBirkins Copyright Infringement Ruling

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Mason Rothschild contests Hermes MetaBirkin ruling.
  • The artists says copyright law does not include intangible art.
  • He says that a judge's recent ruling against NFT infringement was incorrect.
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MetaBirkins artist Mason Rothschild is disputing his Hermès non-fungible token (NFT) copyright infringement ruling by questioning an earlier ruling.

Rothschild’s lawyer argues that a California judge incorrectly ruled that artist Ryder Ripps violated the Bored Apes’ trademark.

Hermès Lawyers Dismiss Intangible Goods Argument

The artist maintains that the intangibility of his Hermès MetaBirkin bag NFT precludes it from falling under the Lanham Act, the piece of legislation governing copyright infringement.

He disputes the recent ruling that Ripps illegally copied Bored Ape NFTs, which, despite being intangible, are still goods with respect to the Lanham Act.

He argues that the ruling from a Dastar Corp vs. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp case in 2023 confirmed that the Lanham Act only applies to confusion about the origins of tangible goods, excluding art.

“Yuga Labs’ use of the ‘Bored Ape’ mark identifies the creators of the Bored Ape images; the NFTs convey unique ownership of the image. Nothing about the use of that mark conveys information about the NFT as a tangible thing, only its relation to an intangible artwork.”

Hermès lawyers said that Rothschild simply reiterates arguments a California court previously rejected regarding the Bored Ape case. The plaintiff noted that Rothschild’s view of the trademark would allow widespread infringement.

Hermès Design Compared to Mason Rothschild collection
BIRKIN Handbag and MetaBirkin NFTs | Source: Lexology

In February, the firm originally convinced a New York jury that Rothschild violated intellectual property laws.

MetaBirkins Case Makes Way for BAYC Ruling

Last Month, U.S. District Judge John Walter ruled that Ripps and Jeremy Cahen broke federal laws by appending the Bored Ape logo to sell copycat NFTS.

Yuga Labs accused the duo of earning $500 million through a pump-and-dump scheme selling fake Bored Ape tokens. The pair built social media confidence in the collection using Yuga Lab’s trademarks.

Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs are a high-profile collection of cartoon apes that became a status symbol during the 2021 crypto bull market.

BAYC Sales Volume
BAYC Sales Volume | Source: CryptoSlam

Though interest has since cooled, the collection has recorded $2.8 billion in sales volume since its inception.

For BeInCrypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...