Pepe the Frog has won a few more battles in his all-out war against the Alt-Right.
After staging death of Pepe the Frog in May 2017 and his resurrection in June of the same year, Matt Furie(Tumblr – Web) set out to prove that his character was still a “positive” symbol after white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other people linked to the “Alt-Right” had appropriated the frog by turning it into a meme to illustrate messages of hate.
To this end it issued a warning, it would prosecute any unauthorised commercial use of Pepe the Frog associated with hateful ideas and images. What seemed to many at the time to be a futile declaration of war against the internet is turning out to be an effective move by grace of the DMCA.
The creator of Pepe the Frog has made good on his threat to enforce his intellectual property rights.
Pepe’s rescue from the sewers of The Daily Stormer
In his latest move, Furie has managed to get the neo-Nazi, white supremacist website “The Daily Stormer” to remove much of the images and references to the famous frog after receiving cease and desistnotices by pulling copyright.
This was no easy task, as Andrew Anglin‘s site, created in 2013, has moved around a lot lately after being rejected or shut down by hosting companies such as GoDaddy, Namecheap and Google or DDOS protection companies such as Cloudflare and began to wander from domain to domain. One of the triggers was a 2017 ghoulish article titled“Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut” that vilified the victim of the events of Charlottesville.
The Spanish version created in 2017, “El Daily Stormer”, would later join the style of the low scorn of its American parent when in May 2018 it published photographs, videos and data of the girl who denounced a rape during the Sanfermines of 2016 in a piece of rubbish entitled:“La ‘víctima’ de la Manada es una gorda indeseable que denunció por despecho” (The ‘victim’ of La Manada is an undesirable fat girl who denounced out of spite).
The Hispanic reply is born of the contagion effect of this community that feeds something called a “troll army” as an almost childish alibi. With a supposedly ironic style adorned with memes, it feeds on misguided people, and others not so misguided, who proclaim themselves“politically incorrect” as a subterfuge to feed fascist, sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. discourses.
Pepe the Frog vs Alt-Right
Furie’s lawyers have stopped at nothing and have sent notices to Richard Spencer, Baked Alaska, Mike Cernovich, Amazon, Google, Youtube, Redbubble, Reddit, Twitter and other communities and social networks, succeeding in most cases in removing the frog from circulation in contexts associated with entertainment messages
Here is a chronology:
27 September 2016 Pepe is officially considered a symbol of hate by the Anti-Defamation League.
October 2017. Its creator starts a campaign called #savepepe denouncing that Pepe has been appropriated by white supremacists, racist movements and other “alt-right” people.
July 2017. Matt Furie “resurrects ” Pepe and announces he will prosecute all unauthorised uses of his frog.
August 2017– Matt Furie stops the sale of a children’s book for intellectual property infringement and spreading hate speech.
September 2017 – Furie’s lawyers get Amazon to stop selling Baked Alaska’s (Anthime “Tim” Gionet) book “Meme Magic: Secrets Revealed“which used Pepe on its cover.
September 2017 – Mike Cernovich receives cease and desist letter for his use of Pepe the Frog in a video uploaded to his YouTube account titled “Hillary Clinton reads a passage from ‘What Happened’ (featuring Pepe)”, on his Facebook page and for images on his“Danger & Play” page
Google and Apple they reject the game“Build the Wall“, also by Baked Alaska, from their respective shops for warnings of unauthorised use of Pepe’s image, which was eventually removed from the game.
WilmerHale, the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, which represents Furie, warned white nationalist Richard Spencer to stop using Pepe’s image as the logo for his “Alt-Right Politics” podcast on Altright.com by sending him a cease and desist letter.
October 2017 – Furie jessica Logsdon lawsuit a woman in Kansas City, Missouri, for selling oil paintings of the frog image, including a masked one holding a rifle in front of what appears to be the White House.
On 9 March 2018 Furie and the defendant reached a settlement. Logsdon admitted that she unintentionally infringed Furie’s copyright. The defendant denied any connection with the ‘alt-right’, white supremacist or anti-Semitic movement.
Each party bore its own legal costs of the proceedings.(Source)
March 2018the copyright infringement lawsuit against Alex Jones and Infowars over the sale of a poster entitled MAGA(Make America Great Again), which was sold for $29.95 in the Infowars web shop. The lawsuit was based on Furie’s failure to authorise Infowars to sell a poster featuring the frog alongside images of Alex Jones, President Donald Trump, far-right agitator Milo Yiannopoulos and other right-wing figures. The poster was eventually removed from the shop.
Other sources consulted: