19 February 2023 00:11, UTC
Reading time: ~3 m
It appears the logo of the Yuga Labs-owned Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) NFT collection was used without a license or the permission of its artist. First noticed by an eagle-eyed Twitter user on Friday, the likeness was then acknowledged by both the image’s original creator, Easy Drawing Tutorial, and Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano (“Gargamel” before his identity was revealed one year ago.)
Thanks for bringing this up @Jdotcolombo. @yugalabs doesn’t have a license to the wolf skull drawing. The intellectual property rights for the drawing belong to Easy Drawing Guides as it’s our original drawing and protected by our Terms and Conditions.
— Easy Drawing Guides (@easydrawinguide) February 17, 2023
Yuga Labs released the BAKC collection in June 2021 and then applied to trademark its logo in November, but Easy Drawing Tutorial’s official Twitter had posted an image of a nearly identical wolf skull three months earlier, in April 2021.
Easy Drawing Tutorial is a resource that provides “non-artists” step-by-step instructions to create cartoonish drawings of various animals and objects.
There is explicit language in Easy Drawing Tutorials’ terms and conditions that prohibit the commercial use of its proprietary content.
According to Solano, Yuga Labs had hired a freelancer to create the logo’s design, adding that Yuga Labs has reached out to both the freelancer in question and Easy Drawing Tutorials as part of the investigation into the alleged violation of intellectual property.
Solano also stated that the logo would be removed and replaced on the project’s website and that Yuga Labs would ask marketplaces to do the same.
Saw the claims today about the BAKC logo. This was news to us and we’re still investigating the situation. Have reached out to the freelancer we hired for that design and Easy Drawing Guides. We’ll be changing the logo and updating it on our site / ask marketplaces to change as… https://t.co/OwtflDXehz
— Garga.eth (Greg Solano) (@CryptoGarga) February 18, 2023
Both Yuga Labs and Easy Drawing Guides declined Decrypt’s request for further comment.
Yuga’s NFT market success
The Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT collection was released for free to any wallet holding a Bored Ape. Solana stated that the “collection was meant from the start to be about raising money for charity,” and that it had raised more than $1 million for animal charities.
But according to the project’s website, the 2.5% royalty fee on secondary sales from the first six weeks would be donated, meaning Yuga Labs has been profiting off the BAKC collection since roughly August 2021.
Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Yuga Labs Acquires CryptoPunks IP From Larva Labs
With a market capitalization of over $115 million, the BAKC collection is one of several NFT collections created and sold by Yuga Labs—most notably the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, which has a market cap of over $1.2 billion, and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, with a roughly $500 million market cap, per CoinGecko.
A Yuga Labs pitch deck that was leaked in November reveals that the company made a net revenue of $127 million in 2021 and a budgeted net revenue of $455 million in 2022.