Pop Culture

Seth Green’s Bored Ape NFT Got “Kidnapped,” Which Means Trouble for Seth Green’s Bored Ape’s New TV Show

Copyright law in the age of Web3.

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Pilot season is rough for everyone, especially when you are Seth Green’s Bored Ape Yacht Club #8398, which was slated to star in a series the actor was developing—until #8398 was “kidnapped” in a phishing scheme that cost Green four of his NFTs, thus potentially jeopardizing his ability to deploy the Bored Ape character IP in the show.

The show, called White Horse Tavern, is a live-action animated series (think Who Framed Roger Rabbit) populated in part by the cast of characters in Green’s NFT collection, who live and work among humans in real-life New York City. In the show, Bored Ape Yacht Club #8398, whom Green purchased in July 2021 and named Fred Simian, is a bartender at the actual old-school bar White Horse Tavern in the West Village. (Imagine: the second oldest continuously operated pub in the city, founded in the year 1880, survives long enough to reach the metaverse, where its patrons and staff are non-fungible tokens. City of dreams, baby!) Green premiered a trailer for the show at this past weekend’s VeeCon NFT convention in Minneapolis, saying that he’d “spent the last several months developing and exploiting the IP to make it into the star of this show.” (Purchasing a Bored Ape conveys all IP rights associated with that ape.) That is, until “days before he’s set to make his world debut, he’s literally kidnapped.”

Earlier, on May 17, Green shared on Twitter that the four NFTs, including #8398/Fred, had been swiped from his digital wallet after clicking on a phishy link to an NFT minting platform. The NFT characters, and the accompanying rights to the commercial use of their IP, ended up back on the digital market, where a fellow NFT collector known as DarkWing84 reportedly purchased Green’s former Ape for over $200,000. Replying on Twitter to a Buzzfeed report about the incident, the actor disputed the notion he would no longer be able to use the character “since the art was stolen,” adding that “[it’ll] go to court, but I’d prefer to meet @DarkWing84 before that. Seems we’d have lots in common.”

Green later shared a link to the Buzzfeed story on Tuesday, writing, “Looking forward to precedent setting debates on IP ownership & exploitation, having spent 18 years studying copyright & the industry laws.” He tweeted elsewhere that he hoped the situation would become “a meet-cute for two future collaborators.” And then, earlier today, @DarkWing84 told a Buzzfeed reporter via DM, “I’m happy to chat to Seth directly. Just woke up and have seen this craziness. Please put him in contact with me.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, it seems Green had at last made contact with the Ape’s current owner. May there be a round of metaphysical make-up beers at the White Tavern on the horizon.

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