Monkey business: Seth Green’s bored ape NFT and a barrel of IP issues

20-06-2022

Monkey business: Seth Green’s bored ape NFT and a barrel of IP issues

shutterstock_1524431084_Ron Adar

The alleged theft of actor Seth Green’s “bored ape” non-fungible token has highlighted some unsettled IP issues, says Mauricio Uribe of Knobbe Martens.

Headlines such as “Actor Seth Green to pay $260,000 in ransom to retrieve rights to develop a television show based on the character in a stolen NFT!” have drawn recent attention to non-fungible tokens (NFTs).   

Embodying copyrightable works as NFTs presents unique risks.  However, a generalisation of the alleged facts related to Seth Green’s stolen NFT offers some insight into the current state of NFTs and some unique, unsettled IP issues.  

At a high level, all NFTs are implemented on blockchain technology that provides for data immutability using distributed, non-centralised storage.  NFTs are unlike a lot of other technologies in that the information that makes up the NFT (eg, the information that is maintained on the blockchain) can vary greatly.  Accordingly, it can be confusing to think of NFTs as a standard technology having common IP issues.  


Knobbe Martens, Non-fungible Tokens, Copyright, Technology, Blockchain, Mauricio Uribe, North America

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