Lil Yachty has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the NFT platform Opulous.
The rapper – real name Miles Parks McCollum – claimed that the company “maliciously” used his name and likeness to raise more than $6.5million (£4.86million) in venture capital funds (via Rolling Stone).
McCollum stated in the filing that he only engaged in a couple of exploratory conference calls with Opulous in May 2021, which included the Singapore-based company’s founder and Ditto Music CEO, Lee Parsons.
Yachty claimed “no agreement or deal terms” were reached, and that he never saw any of the money raised.
According to the lawsuit, however, Opulous announced in a press release on June 2, 2021 that a “series of unmissable NFT drops” would be “led by world-famous artists including Lil Yachty”. The complaint also stated that a photo of Lil Yachty was used in the materials for the “media blitz”.
The lawsuit claimed that Opulous and Parsons “maliciously utilised the alleged affiliation and involvement of plaintiff as their flagship artist partnership to successfully raise substantial venture capital funds — represented as over $6.5million — yet never remitted any monies to [the] plaintiff”.
The filing further stated that Opulous purports to sell ownership interests in artists’ copyrighted work to the public, using NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as the means by which the ownership interest is transferred and maintained.
It added: “Of course, it is axiomatic that in order to offer the ownership interest to any musician’s copyrighted work, defendant, Opulous, must first have the agreement and consent of the musician at issue to sell the copyright to his or her work, with the musician in turn entitled to a share of the proceeds from the sale thereof.”
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The complaint, which is seeking unspecified damages, claimed: “Defendant’s wilful and intentional acts of unfair competition and false advertisement have caused and continue to cause great and irreparable injury and damage to plaintiff’s business and goodwill.”
Per Opulous’ official website, the platform “brings Decentralized Finance to the music industry, changing how artists access the funding they need and providing a launchpad for the first music copyright-backed NFTs”.
Parsons did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone. NME has also reached out to Parsons for comment.
Meanwhile, Lil Yachty recently teased a new “alternative”, “non-rap” album. “I’ve always wanted to [make an alternative record] but now I’ve met all these amazing musicians and producers,” he explained.