In the latest twist of the ongoing NFT copyright saga, MetaBirkins artist Mason Rothschild is challenging his Hermès NFT copyright infringement ruling. Rothschild’s legal team is arguing that a precedent was erroneously set in a previous case involving artist Ryder Ripps and the Bored Apes’ trademark.
What is Mason Rotschild’s Argument?
Mason Rothschild contends that the intangible nature of his Hermès MetaBirkin bag NFT should exclude it from the Lanham Act’s purview. This is the legislation currently governing copyright infringement. This argument challenges a recent ruling that found Ripps guilty of illegally replicating Bored Ape NFTs. It suggested that even as intangible assets, these NFTs still constitute goods under the Lanham Act.
A cornerstone of Mason Rothschild’s case relies on a 2023 decision from the Dastar Corp vs. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. In this case, Rothschild claims that the Lanham Act only applies to tangible goods and potential confusion about their origins. Therefore, it argues, it excludes art.
He explains that “Yuga Labs’ use of the ‘Bored Ape’ mark identifies the creators of the Bored Ape images. And that the NFTs convey unique ownership of the image.
However, Hermès lawyers have swiftly dismissed Rothschild’s argument. They stated that it merely rehashes previously rejected claims from the Bored Ape case. The plaintiff stressed that Rothschild’s interpretation of the trademark could potentially pave the way for rampant infringement.
What was the Hermès MetaBirkins Case?
Earlier this year in February, Hermès successfully convinced a New York jury that Rothschild had violated intellectual property laws with his MetaBirkins. The MetaBirkins case has a significant bearing on the BAYC ruling. U.S. District Judge John Walter ruled that Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen had breached federal laws by using the Bored Ape logo to market counterfeit NFTs.
The duo was accused by Yuga Labs of generating $500 million through a pump-and-dump scheme selling fake Bored Ape tokens. They allegedly used Yuga Lab’s trademarks to build social media credibility for their collection.
As the legal battle unfolds, it’s clear that Rothschild’s challenge could have profound implications. Therefore, it could set rules for the rapidly evolving world of NFTs and digital art copyright law.
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