The current most popular NFT collection in the world, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, has caused two impersonators to be arguing on Twitter over who is the fake Bored Ape Yacht Club.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of over 10,000 NFTs of bored apes with owners from Steve Aoki to Post Malone to Jimmy Fallon.
The highest sale for one of these brooding monkey photos is currently at $3.4 million, so you can see why people are going crazy over them, and why they’ve now sparked copycats.
OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace where you can choose one of these artistic jpegs, recently banned both ‘Phunky Ape Yacht Club’ (PAYC) and ‘PHAYC’ from selling their copies of ape-based NFTs that only feature the same apes flipped to face left (Bored Ape NFTs face right).
The Phunky Ape Yacht Club launched in December, saying it would bring apes and ape-based NFTs back to the people and back from the “rich assholes” who had taken over the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
The inverted monkey photos were initially offered for free and were later listed for around $157.
With the cheapest Bored Ape currently going for around $200,000, that’s a pretty big discount for a reverse image.
PHAYC followed a similar line when it launched, calling itself satire and suggesting that NFTs are currently taking themselves too seriously.
In reality, PHAYC has made more from its sales than PAYC, which led PAYC to accuse PHAYC of being a ‘cash grabbing fraud project’.
Strong words there from a project created by literally flipping images from another project.
There is something of a gray area around NFTs and copyright. Yuga Labs, the owner of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, owns the copyright to their images, which is what has allowed OpenSea to remove both impersonators from the platform.
But if Yuga Labs wants to go further and file a formal complaint, there’s really no precedent for how it could be handled.
Both companies could argue that they are operating under transformative fair use, which is the amount of satirical art that gets away with using copyrighted images, but since NFTs operate under their own sets of rules and regulations, it’s unclear. How would I go about this argument?
Both PAYC and PHAYC are currently tackling the issue of how they are going to sell their NFTs with OpenSea, one of the easiest and most credible marketplaces, so not being able to list there has given them a lock.
If they can find another way to sell their artwork, which in theory should be possible since NFTs operate in a world where they shouldn’t be tied to any platform, they can continue to do so until Yuga Labs moves forward. Steps.