image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-11-21/f7686cfb-1669-40af-bcb5-2b77e3509f26.pngThe creator of Pepe the Frog is making good on his threat to aggressively claim his intellectual property. Matt Furie’s lawyers have taken legal action against the alt-right, reports Matthew Gault at motherboard.vice.com, serving cease and desist orders to several alt-right personalities and websites including Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the r/the_Donald subreddit. In addition, they have issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests to Reddit and Amazon, notifying them that use of Pepe by the alt-right on their platforms is copyright infringement.

Several entities that have received notices from the Furie phalanx have said they’ll fight back. But the message to the alt-right is clear—stop using Pepe the Frog or prepare for legal consequences.

To that end, one of Furie’s intellectual property lawyers, Louis Tompros, and his team have taken the first steps towards dismantling the alt-right's stranglehold on Pepe, beginning with their letter to Richard Spencer's Altright.com, noting the specific places where Spencer and his team have used Pepe in violation of Furie's copyright. Pepe is all over Spencer's site and is the mascot for his podcast, Alt-Right Politics.

"We've asked them to take them down," Tompros said. "That hasn't happened yet, but they're very much on notice. We plan to take action if they don't. If necessary, we expect to bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement," Tompros went on.

"I want to make sure that people have enough time to comply. The goal here is not to initiate lawsuits. The goal is to get the misuse of Pepe to stop. I'd rather do that through people complying with the cease and desist notices. But we're certainly ready, willing, and able to bring suits to follow up for the folks who do not comply."

Matt Furie photoFurie originally created Pepe as a non-political character for his Boy's Club comic, but Pepe later became an internet meme, and during the 2016 presidential election, the alt-right movement appropriated the frog in various grotesque and hateful memes. At the end of August, Furie's lawyers reached a settlement with Eric Hauser — the former assistant principal in Texas who appropriated Pepe's image for use in an Islamophobic children's book. Furie's lawyers forced Hauser to stop selling the book and made him donate his profits to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In the past, the alt-right has attacked its enemies with vicious doxing and online abuse campaigns. Tompros and his team understand that's a risk, but it's one they're willing to take.

"We're doing what we think is the right thing," he said. "We understand that we're dealing with serious folks here, and we want to make clear to them that we're serious too. We're not going to stand for this."

Furie has continued to avoid speaking with the media about Pepe, but Tompros told Gault that the win against Hauser lifted his spirits.

"That's been powerful for him," the lawyer said. "He's ready and wants to keep up the fight and wants to take down anyone who's using his character. He's also received words of support from fans and others. He's taking comfort in that. We're going to keep on fighting," Tompros said. "I hope we're doing what others would do when it's there to turn to stand up for the good guys."

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com


The comments to this entry are closed.