MetaBirkins creator Mason Rothschild didn’t mince words when speaking out after a Manhattan federal jury ruled that the NFT artist had violated the trademark rights of the famous French luxury brand Hermès.
“Take nine people off the street right now and ask them to tell you what art is, but the kicker is whatever they say will now become the undisputed truth,” Rothschild said in a lengthy Twitter post. “That’s what happened today. A multibillion-dollar luxury fashion house who says they ‘care’ about art and artists.”
On Wednesday, a nine-person jury said the MetaBirkins NFTs do not carry the protection of First Amendment and free speech and ordered Rothschild to pay Hermès $133,000 in trademark-infringement damages. The case could have a long-lasting impact on the non-fungible token industry where many creators often appropriate images or iconography from famous intellectual property.
Rothschild created customized blockchain-enabled, digital versions of the iconic Birkin handbag, which has been featured in TV shows such as “Sex and the City.” In its physical form, an original bag can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rothschild estimated that he made about $125,000 from the NFTs, The New York Times reported.
The NFT artist also suggested on Twitter that the luxury brand had come after him for his lack of a traditional artistic background.
“[They] feel they have the right to choose what art IS and who IS an artist,” Rothschild said. “Not because of what they create but because their CV doesn’t scream artist with a pedigree from a world class art school. That’s what happened today.”
Update: This story was updated to add the amount of money Rothschild estimates he made from the NFTs.
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