Imagine you’re in the middle of production of a show, when suddenly you’re forced to halt because your boss lost the rights to the main character. Believe it or not, that’s what’s going on with Seth Green. According to BuzzFeed, the actor fell victim to a phishing scam and lost the star of his next project, a Bored Ape NFT.
Over the weekend, during the NFT conference VeeCon in Minneapolis, Green sat down with crypto entrepreneur Gary Vayerchuk. While the two discussed the positives of being involved in the NFT community, Green mentioned that he had a trailer for a project called White Horse Tavern. Judging from the teaser itself, which can be viewed below, the show seems to follow a small cast of characters populated in a world where NFT characters and humans live together in harmony.
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“I’ve been seeing this whole NFT concept as a brand new crop of characters, stories, mythology, and I always love the opportunity for a shared experience. I wanted to make something that felt inclusive, that felt like anybody could come. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what only matters is your attitude.”
After the trailer ends, Vayerchuk comments on his excitement, stating that the overall design and world reminds him of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. He then asked Green if he thinks NFT fans should expect to see more projects like this from other members of the community. Green answered with this.
“I think the amazing freedom of this space is that you are able to contribute your own unique identity within a larger determined collective place that’s already safe, a place that already feels like a family.”
The Ape Escapes
White Horse Tavern by Seth Green
What is upsetting for Green is that not everybody in the NFT community seems to see themselves as a family. Owning an NFT for a project like a TV show is not just a double-edged sword, it’s like carrying one while walking on a slippery floor. If you own an NFT, you apparently own all rights to it. So when Green’s NFT collection was stolen by a scammer earlier this month, he also lost all commercial rights to his show’s main character. That Bored Ape with the halo? His name is Fred Simian, and now he belongs to someone else.
“I bought that ape in July 2021, and had spent the last several months developing and exploiting the IP to make it into the star of this show. And then days before he’s set to make his world debut he’s literally kidnapped.”
Green hopped on Twitter to announce his stolen assets, which consisted of a Bored Ape (Fred), two Mutant Apes, and a Doodle. The kidnappings occurred on May 8th when Green unknowingly interacted with a phishing site. The scammer quickly flipped the NFTs, one of them being Fred, and sold them to new users. Fred is now owned by a user named DarkWing84.
For the last few days, Green has been trying to reach out to DarkWing84 on Twitter to try and reach an equal ground with the new user and “work it out between us.” Supporters of Green have also been reaching out to get the user’s attention. Currently, it is unknown if DarkWing84 was aware that they had purchased a stolen asset, much less one that has the fate of a TV show on its ape shoulders.
Since the news broke out, Green has stated on Twitter that the new owner of Fred won’t automatically own the commercial rights to the show just by possessing the NFT. But Daniel Dubin, a tax and litigation attorney for Alston & Bird LLP, told BuzzFeed that if the current owner “wanted to cause trouble for Seth Green, they probably could, because that person becomes the holder of the commercial usage rights.” Dubin went on to state that NFT copyright law can be a “particularly thorny issue” as more NFT projects are starting to surface.
Green stated at VeeCon that “if there’s a door to kick in, I promise I’m gonna kick it in the door for us,” noting that he is working with authorities to regain his stolen NFTs. In his follow-up tweet, he assured that he would prefer to meet DarkWing84 before that.