Appropriation Art from Early Net Art to NFTs


In an order issued on October 25, 2023 in the District Court of Central California, judge John Walter condemned artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen to pay Yuga Labs, the company behind the NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), about 1.6 million dollars, including statutory damages, fees and other costs. The decision followed a summary judgement issued on April 21, 2023, saying: “The court granted summary judgment in Yuga’s favor on its false designation of origin and cybersquatting claims, and against defendants’ First Amendment, nominative fair use and unclean hands affirmative defenses, as well as defendants’ counterclaim for knowing misrepresentation of infringing activity.”
I wrote this essay for a workshop held at the University of London in September 2022, and first sent it to the editors in March 2023. It has been released recently as part of the book NFTs, Creativity and the Law: Within and Beyond Copyright, edited by Enrico Bonadio and Caterina Sganga, and published by Routledge. In it, I contextualize Ripps’ practice as conceptual appropriation art. Judge John Walter, I strongly disagree with you.

Domenico Quaranta, “‘If You Don’t Want Something Stolen, Don’t Put it on the Net’. Appropriation Art from Early Net Art to NFTs”, in Enrico Bonadio, Caterina Sganga (eds.), NFTs, Creativity and the Law: Within and Beyond Copyright, Routledge, London 2024, pp. 201-217.

Sortir du désenchantement du numérique


Curated by Raffael Dörig, Domenico Quaranta and Fabio Paris
From 13 October 2018 to 19 January 2019

More infoExhibition booklet (French)

After 25 years of the World Wide Web it has become commonplace that our life also happens in digital communication spaces.

But unease spreads in this digital life. While we’re using products by Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and find them useful and indispensable, we’ve become aware of the dominance of such big players. Their services form our thoughts and commodify the ideas of frienship and exchange. We do not surf the wild web anymore, but are fed with feeds, receiving more and more of the same, based on algorithmic extrapolations of our preferences. With the social media account we rent services, which we pay with our data and attention. With Edward Snowden’s disclosures awareness on the excessive government-surveillence and their link to private actors has also reached a broader public.