Moonbirds switching back to copyright protection as it charts new 'direction' post-Yuga Labs acquisition

Quick Take

  • Moonbirds, recently acquired by NFT studio Yuga Labs, announced a “new direction” that includes both requiring people to own a Moonbird token if they want to commercialize the assets and introducing “a new art direction and 3D avatars built for animation” and Yuga Labs’s Otherside metaverse project.
  • In 2022, Moonbirds adopted the Creative Commons CC0 copyright code, which meant the art became part of the public domain and could be freely commercialized without the owner’s consent.

Roughly two months after being acquired by NFT heavyweight Yuga Labs, Moonbirds has announced an about-face.

The NFT collection will now enforce holders' rights when it comes to the commercialization of individual Moonbirds, the collection posted to X.

"Starting today, Moonbirds will join Mythics as a collection with commercial rights," according to the post. "If you’ve made stuff during the CC0 era, cool. But from now on, you’ll need to own a Moonbird to keep doing so."

In 2022, Moonbirds shocked some holders when it abruptly changed its copyright model. Back then, Moonbirds adopted the Creative Commons CC0 copyright code, which meant the art became part of the public domain and could freely commercialized without the owner’s consent. The move to switch back to previous business practices coincides with Moonbirds being absorbed in February by Yuga Labs, the powerful NFT studio that created Bored Ape Yacht Club and owns the rights to CryptoPunks.

"As a company committed to championing art, culture, and community on the blockchain, we’re excited to have Proof join the Yuga ecosystem," former Yuga Labs CEO Daniel Alegre said at the time.

Proof is the creator of Moonbirds. Although far smaller than Bored Apes or CryptoPunks in terms of all-time trading volume, Moonbirds has long been one of the most popular NFT collections on the market.


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On Monday, Yuga Labs announced it was restructuring and that included reducing its staff. Trading volumes for the firm's top NFT collections are a shadow of what they were in 2022 and royalties have shrank amid more marketplace competition.

New Moonbirds art and events

Moonbirds also announced it's taking "a new art direction" that includes creating "3D avatars built for animation" and Yuga Labs's Otherside metaverse project. "Moonbirds are going to be more than just a pixel jpg," according to the post to X. 

The collection also stated it's planning on creating physical goods and hosting in-person events.

"Look out for dedicated events to bring Moonbirds together, including a satellite event next to Apefest 2024 in Lisbon this October. We’re also working on partnerships for Moonbirds physical collectibles," according to the post.

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About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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