Ryder Ripps Calls Bored Ape Pastiches “Artistic Criticism”

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  • Artist Ryder Ripps has called his Bored Ape knockoffs a form of “artistic criticism”
  • Ripps is being sued by Yuga Labs over his copyright infringement of their IP
  • Ripps also says that Yuga Labs’ work is imbued with Nazi overtones

Ryder Ripps, the conceptual artist who has drawn the ire of Yuga Labs for this blatant plagiarism of their Bored Ape franchise, as well as his tireless criticism of the brand, has labelled his work “artistic criticism”. Ripps, who is being sued by Yuga Labs over copyright infringement, said in a court filing this week that his representations of the Bored Ape characters are a type of “appropriation art” meant as criticism and protected by the First Amendment. Opensea took down Ripps’ first collection in May this year following a claim of intellectual property infringement from Yuga Labs.

Ripps is “Scamming” NFT Buyers

Yuga Labs sued Ripps in June, following the issuance of a takedown notice which he ignored. In its filing, Yuga Labs says that the artist had been “scamming” buyers with NFTs that were direct copies of Bored Apes in a “deliberate effort to harm Yuga Labs at the expense of consumers.”

Yuga Labs said at the time that it had started the suit “to put a stop to the continuous infringement, and other illegal attempts to bring harm to us and the BAYC community”, in particular the Nazi associations that he and others have made Yuga Labs and the Bored Ape franchise.

Ripps Doubles Down on Nazi Claims

Ripps’ response this week was to say that Yuga Labs is trying to “silence an artist who used his craft to call out a multi-billion-dollar company built on racist and neo-Nazi dog whistles”, adding that his Bored Ape ripoffs are an “act of protest” meant to bring attention to his claims of Yuga’s racism.

The filing itself is a typical first step by a defendant in a lawsuit – to get it thrown out on whatever basis the lawyers can think of. The filing claimed that Ripps is a “recognized artist”, doubled down on his claims against Yuga Labs, and reaffirmed his suggestion that the company is trying to silence him.