Licensing, Strong Branding, and a Savvy Community Unleash the Potential of NFTs
Web3 holds tremendous potential to enhance copyright protection by providing immutable proof of ownership, automating licensing and royalty payments, securing digital content, and enabling direct artist-to-consumer transactions.
In this article, we delve into the world of web3 technology and its role in copyright protection, with a specific focus on the renowned Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection.
As we explore the creative endeavors and collaborations happening within the BAYC community, we can see how web3 technology empowers artists and NFT holders to unlock new avenues of artistic expression, commercial opportunities, and community-driven initiatives.
Understanding Web3 Technology and its Role in Copyright Protection
Web3 technology — encompassing blockchain, smart contracts, decentralized storage, and content marketplaces — brings a transformative wave to the traditional art market, revolutionizing it by introducing transparency, traceability, and novel revenue streams for artists. It also paves the way for exciting collaborations and opens up new avenues for creative expression.
However, as a multitude of projects rush to ride the wave, navigating image rights within collections has become a complex endeavor. While some collections adopt a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) approach, others opt to retain specific rights, leading to a diverse landscape of ownership arrangements.
In a thought-provoking Twitter thread, Jack Sage examines the possibilities and limitations associated with NFT copyright:
The evolving landscape of regulations promises to shed light on these intricacies and provide clarity going forward, but always read the fine print regardless.
Still Don’t Know What the “Bored Apes” Are?
The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), created by Yuga Labs, is an immensely popular collection of 10,000 unique digital images. Each Bored Ape boasts distinctive traits, from fur patterns and clothing accessories to unique backgrounds, making them truly one-of-a-kind digital assets.
Since its launch in April 2021, this collection has taken the NFT world by storm. BAYC captured the attention of the NFT community thanks to its visually stunning artwork and the intriguing possibilities it offers to its NFT holders. And well, let’s be honest, they resonated around the world for their high (often astronomical) prices, but it’s crucial to recognize the potential value they hold.
Bored Ape Yacht Club: Creative Possibilities
Image source: Bored Ape Yacht Club on Twitter
Bored Ape NFT holders have some creative possibilities through the licensed rights associated with ownership. It’s important to review the terms and conditions provided by the Bored Ape Yacht Club, but essentially each holder is granted a worldwide license to use their own Bored Ape artwork for personal or commercial purposes.
As Goldman points out in the post from the tweet above:
In sum, Yuga Labs owns the copyright in the digital artwork associated with BAYC NFTs and grants the holders of BAYC NFTs ownership of the digital artwork and a license to use the artwork for commercial and other purposes.
The license granted by Yuga Labs allows a Bored Ape NFT holder to use the specific Ape artwork that they own for commercial purposes. Ownership of the digital artwork is NOT the same as ownership of the copyright. The rights associated with copyright ownership are licensed, not transferred, to owners. Jeremy Goldman says this license has allowed BAYC holders to launch “restaurants, digital comics, food trucks, video games, hot sauce brands, music labels, production companies, and more”.
While this sounds generous, Yuga Labs LLC retains a firm grip on the intellectual property (IP). In this thread, Valko points out that the license is granted subject to continued compliance and argues that the Creative Commons CC0 dedication is actually a much better fit for web3:
What Are the Apes Creating?
Within the community, many members are building personal brands utilizing the BAYC image, while others are involved in creating derivative projects. Among the most famous is probably the music video by Eminem and Snoop Dogg which features these artists’ own Bored Apes throughout.
I’m not discussing companion collections like MAYC, Otherside, or social tokens like APE. Nor will I cover the widespread imitation and copycatting by various creators trying to profit from BAYC without being part of the BAYC community or approved by Yuga Labs. Instead, I’m focusing on verified NFT owners profiting from licenced use of BAYC’s IP.
In the following section, we’ll explore some of the standout creative endeavors.
BAYC Food and Beverages
As a multi-faceted NFT project, Food Fighters made its mark with Bored & Hungry, a fast food restaurant that incorporates four BAYC NFTs into its branding. Following the success of Bored & Hungry, Food Fighters has expanded into various BAYC-inspired food ventures. Notably, they collaborated with Snoop Dogg for Dr. Bombay’s Sweet Exploration, a dessert shop, and partnered with Champ Medici, a Web3 architect and crypto-fund founder, for Bored Taco, another notable BAYC-focused food offering.
Image source: Ape Beverages Pure Spring Water on Twitter
Ape Water begins its journey on Mount Shasta, where snow and ice are filtered through volcanic rock sediment, resulting in pure spring water. It is 100% pure, has a natural alkaline pH of 7.5, and comes in infinitely recyclable aluminum cans. Endorsed by BAYC holders, Ape Water is set to make waves in the consumer brands market and has already gained attention by participating in events like NFT.NYC.
Image source: Bored Wine Co. website
Bored Wine Co. enables BAYC NFT owners to showcase their individual Apes on wine bottles. With a token-gated portal, Bored Wine provides BAYC holders two choices: store their personalized bottles for free in the secure UK cellar or receive them through direct delivery. Additionally, a digital NFT version of each bottle is minted and sent to the purchaser’s address.
Image source: Bored Ape Wear website
Bored Ape Wear is an official line of BAYC merchandise crafted by members of the BAYC community. Inspired by the entrepreneurial essence of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Bored Ape Wear aims to emphasize the commercial rights associated with Bored Ape Yacht Club membership. The brand’s online store showcases a diverse range of clothing and accessories featuring BAYC designs, all with the permission of the relevant NFT owner.
Image source: WoundedPixel on Twitter
Skate Bored emerged in 2021 as a unique BAYC IP project initiated by an anonymous developer who goes by the name WoundedPixel, or simply Pixel. With ownership of BAYC #7676, Pixel has successfully cultivated a distinctive line of personalized skateboard decks, fostering strong connections within the larger BAYC community who can order themselves a custom deck featuring their Bored Ape.
Image source: KINGSHIP on Twitter
In late 2021, Universal Music Group made a significant announcement, revealing their plan to bring together three notable characters (and a fourth, Mutant Ape) from the influential BAYC project to form a band known as Kingship. As a united force, Kingship is poised to unleash a plethora of creative endeavors, including music releases, NFTs, community-oriented products, engaging activations, and unique experiences for their dedicated fanbase.
Image source: ESCAPEPLAN website
WME, an American holding company, expressed its intention to broaden its presence in the NFT arena by partnering with ESCAPEPLAN, a producer/DJ duo known for their two BAYC NFTs. ESCAPEPLAN, brought to life by Big Night Talent, consists of two characters named ETHan and zeETH.
The Possibilities Are Not Boring
Image source: The Bored Ape Gazette on Twitter
If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of new information, then the following project might be just what you need. The Bored Ape Gazette is a go-to magazine for staying informed about all the latest happenings within the BAYC ecosystem.
Unlocking BAYC IP and APE Token
Image credit: https://apecoin.com/
Yuga Labs is set to launch an APE accelerator, which will serve as a launchpad for new projects that utilize the APE token and BAYC IP.
This initiative marks a critical step for Yuga Labs in its mission to become the decentralized equivalent of Disney.
The APE accelerator will operate through a three-step process.
First, projects interested in receiving support will submit proposals.
Second, APE token holders will have the opportunity to vote on which projects should be granted assistance.
Finally, selected projects will use APE for payments and offer perks to APE token holders.
Yuga Labs has always been dedicated to growing its IP from a top-down approach. However, this accelerator opens up opportunities for third-party projects to receive support.
BAYC’s IP has already been integrated into over 247 projects, generating significant brand awareness. The primary goal of the accelerator is to encourage new initiatives, assist in their launch, and provide benefits to APE token holders.
Fostering Communities, Empowering Owners
BAYC NFTs offer more than just JPEGs; they foster vibrant communities and empower their owners.
Partnerships play a vital role within the Bored Ape community, as they contribute to the usefulness and appeal of the APE token. By collaborating, the accelerator program encourages partnerships that benefit token holders and improve the overall tokenomics of APE.
What lies ahead for branding? Will it become decentralized? This is a question that often goes unaddressed but deserves careful consideration as DAOs continue to gain popularity. Through the use of DAOs, Bored Ape NFT holders can establish communities that are fair and transparent, thanks to the blockchain technology behind them.
Even if you don’t own a Bored Ape NFT, you can still engage with the community. The APE accelerator program, partnerships, and DAOs provide avenues for collaboration and personal growth, allowing anyone to be a part of this thriving space.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club represents a revolution in art, pushing the boundaries of creativity, ownership, and collaboration. It stands as a powerful symbol of the transformative potential of NFTs, capturing the attention of people worldwide.
Seize the opportunities that come your way and leave your mark in this exhilarating field.
Author and Designer Bio
KAF is a consultant and writer helping people get closer to NFTs, DAOs, DeFi, and the metaverse.
Hiro Kennelly is a writer, editor, and coordinator at BanklessDAO, an Associate at Bankless Consulting, and is still a DAOpunk.
Trewkat is a writer and editor at BanklessDAO. She’s interested in learning about crypto and NFTs, with a particular focus on how best to communicate this knowledge to others.
BanklessDAO is an education and media engine dedicated to helping individuals achieve financial independence.
This post does not contain financial advice, only educational information. By reading this article, you agree and affirm the above, as well as that you are not being solicited to make a financial decision, and that you in no way are receiving any fiduciary projection, promise, or tacit inference of your ability to achieve financial gains.
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