Character, Pepe the Frog & Copyright

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Holbeche Law IP #savepepe character copyrightAt some point, cartoonist Matt Furie’s Pepe the Frog character went from “peaceful frog-dude” to recurring character in white supremacist memes. Furie responded by partnering with the Anti-Defamation League in a #SavePepe campaign. He also made a YouTube™ video about some of his experiences in this respect.

Copyright Dispute Resolved

On another front, Matt Furie and his pro bono lawyers were recently successful in settling a copyright dispute without resorting to litigation. (You can read the American Bar Association’s report here.) It seems, the dispute was over a children’s book which likewise featured a frog named Pepe but promoted “conservative” views. In the book, Pepe took on a bearded alligator named “Alkah” and tried to bring law and order to a “Wishington” farm.

Under the settlement, the author of the unauthorized book has admitted to the copyright infringement and agreed to:

• Cease any further use of the copyrighted character, image, or name of Pepe the Frog. And,

• Pay all past profits earned from his book to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Crowdfunding Success for Character

Meanwhile, Pepe’s creator has now closed a successful Kickstarter™ crowdfunding campaign. So, the frog character might next appear in a new comic book more consistent with its roots. Funders should expect delivery of the comic by this December.

Just in time for the holiday season?


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