Seth Green, the comedian and actor behind the show Robot Chicken, had previously planned to use Bored Ape #8398 as the star of his upcoming sitcom. Only now he can’t because Bored Ape #8398 was recently stolen in a phishing scam.
Green announced he “got phished” on May 8 in a tweet, noting that he’d not only lost Bored Ape #8398, but also two Mutant Apes and a Doodle. Because everything is on the blockchain, Seth was aware of Bored Ape #8398’s new owner, but wasn’t aware if @DarkWing84 knew that ape was stolen goods.
As reported by Buzzfeed (via Kotaku), Green had planned to use Bored Ape #8398, which he’d nicknamed “Fred,” in a new live-action TV show where NFTs have come to life. The character of Fred would have the same skeleton t-shirt, cigarette, and glowing halo as the NFT, and play a bartender in a fictionalized NFT hellscape where procedurally-generated digital art pieces somehow have as much agency as real-life people.
The show’s trailer was revealed at VeeCon just last weekend. It looked like some pretty standard sitcom material with a hint of drama and a whole load of pretentiousness. But now it seems like even if Green is able to find a network to air the show, he probably won’t legally be able to.
Buzzfeed also spoke with an IP lawyer in its reporting, and the lawyer said that the owner of the NFT legally has all the commercial usage rights. That owner would be @DarkWing84 and not Green, because NFTs don’t keep track of legal or illegal transactions. They’re all just transactions, which is why you hear stories about NFT scams practically every day. The most OpenSea does to denote a potentially stolen NFT is the “reported for suspicious activity” message that you’ll now see above Fred’s portrait.
“[I] have spent the last several months developing and exploiting the IP to make it into the star of this show,” Green said at VeeCon, “Then days before — his name is Fred by the way — days before he’s set to make his world debut, he’s literally kidnapped.”
On the plus side, with crypto markets and NFTs crashing hard, Fred’s value isn’t likely to remain high enough for @DarkWing84 to hold out too long.
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