‘Code is not law,’ say experts: Seth Green thief stole Bored Apes, not the rights

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Last Updated on September 25, 2022 by Bitfinsider

After his Apes were stolen and sold to another party, Austin Powers supporting actor Seth Green has sparked a debate over who owns the commercial rights to use a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT.

Green tweeted on May 18 that four of his nonfungible tokens (NFT) were stolen from him after he visited a phishing site, including BAYC #8398, Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) #9964 and #19182, and Doodle #7546.

Green, the creator of Robot Chicken and a Family Guy co-star, noticed that someone using the alias DarkWing84 had already purchased the BAYC NFT. Legal experts and members of the community are now weighing in on the implications of theft on BAYC intellectual property (IP) rights.

The license for BAYC does not specify instances of theft. It simply states, “When you purchase an NFT, you completely own the underlying Bored Ape, the Art.” Some believe that even if the NFT is purchased from a thief, the usage rights are transferred to the new owner.

Green is developing a TV show called White Horse Tavern that features the Bored Ape in question, so if this interpretation is correct, he may be unable to proceed with the show because he has lost the commercial usage rights. The show’s trailer debuted on May 21 at the VeeCon NFT conference in Minneapolis, but the exact release date is unknown.

BAYC owners have long been the target of phishing scams similar to the one that hit Green. On April 25, a hacker took over the BAYC Instagram account and posted a phishing site link, stealing approximately $2.4 million in BAYCs.

The same thing happened a year before, in April 2021, when another hacker took over the BAYC Instagram account, planted a phishing site, and stole about 100 BAYCs.

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