Legal Round-Up #18: CryptoPunks Acquisition

Adam Berker

Adam Berker on the details of the recent CryptoPunks acquisition by Yuga Labs.

Adam Berker on the details of the recent CryptoPunks acquisition by Yuga Labs.

Yuga Labs Will Grant the Commercial Rights to Cryptopunk and Meebit NFTs to Their Owners

Yuga Labs, a company that created The Bored Ape Yacht Club, bought the brands, copyright in the art and other Intellectual Property (IP) rights for the CryptoPunk and Meebit NFT collections. Then, they announced the plans to grant these collections’ commercial rights to the owners of respective NFTs.

However, Yuga Labs failed to mention how it will organise the rights’ granting process. They may attempt to conclude an IP assignment agreement, creating a legal basis for their current holders’ commercial use of NFTs. Nevertheless, it might also require the current owners to sign the same deal with subsequent owners when selling the tokens. This way, the IP rights and NFTs could be transferred simultaneously.

Another possible solution is to grant a CC0 license allowing IP owners to waive their rights and place the property in the public domain. Previously, projects like Nouns, Cryptoadz, and mfers have already tried this approach. On the one hand, it may release the owners from the obligation to conclude a contract for every NFT transfer. On the other hand, it does not protect the IP rights from third parties since the CC0 license allows everyone to freely build upon, enhance, and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

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