TL;DR: Popular meme Pepe the Frog and its creator, Matt Furie, are heading to trial. Furie is suing independent news and entertainment site InfoWars for copyright infringement. Recently a judge ruled the lawsuit has merit and will be heard. Pepes have a long history with the cryptocurrency community, who quickly adopted it as its own.
Pepe the Frog Goes to Trial
Furie alleges InfoWars used his copyrighted image in a poster containing depictions of President Trump, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and the company’s founder, Alex Jones. From California, federal judge Michael Fitzgerald ruled to allow the case to proceed while also casting doubt about Pepe’s true owner. InfoWars maintains that Furie’s image was really hijacked from another character.
Apparently there are interviews where Furie also disavows his creation, claims InfoWars insist invalidates his copyright assertion. “It is evident that a genuine issue of material fact remains in dispute. Whether [Furie’s] statements are ‘sarcastic’ is something for the jury to decide,” Fitzgerald ruled, adding a jury would also have to eventually determined whether InfoWars’ use of the image is actually the same Pepe.
Pepe as a happy stoner frog emerged from Furie around the same time Bitcoin was taking hold, 2008. Not long after, the crypto craze started its climb, and Pepe has been along for the ride ever since. By 2016, the loveable frog made it formally to a blockchain, complete with its own Rare Pepe cards traded under the ticker XCP. Heck, there were even wallets created just for the green dude. Its dedicated coin remains listed on CoinMarketCap to this day.
However, also by 2016, the then-ascending Alt-Right movement in the United States adopted Pepe, and hysteria surrounding the image ramped up furiously. It became synonymous with hate in some circles. Furie has attempted over several media appearances to clarify his intentions, and to formally disassociate Pepe with anything nefarious.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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