Matt Furie to Wrath Fury?

Matt Furie to Wrath Fury?

Why Did Fury Knock Down A Few Teeth

We know that Pepe evolved from its humble beginning to Social Weapon, Twitch fav, and the most memed and altered figure for over a decade. Furie created “Pepe the Frog” in the mid-2000s and intended his creation to be a peaceful cartoon character, Pepe made his debut in the “Boys Club” comics.

But as the 2016 presidential election unfolded, some Internet users began deploying the “peaceful frog dude” for some ill intentions. Pepe the Frog’s likeness was used in Nazi and white supremacist memes that proliferated across social media and the darker corners of the Internet. Donald Trump’s fans also turned Pepe into an unofficial Internet mascot for the campaign. Several other situations wherein Pepe was inappropriately portrayed had provoked Furie to take the copyright war in hands.

War To Reclaim The Good Old Amphibian

Several public figures known for spreading Pepe’s image, including social media personalities, were tracked and issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns across platforms like Google, Reddit, Redbubble, and Amazon. 

Examples of takedown Pepes include dozens of Pepe-themed items being sold by various Redbubble sellers, an Android game developed by Gionet and a book that Gionet self-published about alt-right memes. The book has since been removed from Amazon in response to Furie’s DMCA claims.

Furie also began earning profits from settlements.  A children’s book named “The Adventures of Pepe and Pede” was taken down by Furie as it had symbols against Islam. The book was written by an assistant principal at a Texas middle school who was later fired. Furie reached a settlement with the author that resulted in the author handing over his profits of $1,500 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Alex Jones, founder of Infowars was also taken down by Furie for using the frog character for promotional purposes. Alex then agreed to a legal settlement of $15,000.  

Red Card For Fair Play? “That Hurts”

Furie’s legal war had also taken down a few artists who fell under the umbrella of fair use. We had an opportunity to interview one such artist who shared his bitter experience. Our Artist here had similarly humble beginnings as almost everyone who contributed to the sensation it later became, and a not so classic intellectual property infringement story. Though Pepe saw many ups and downs in its internet existence, the major one being the weaponization in politics. Those days were truly dark for some.

There are certainly more twists to the tale ☝️

I can tell that my work was never about Pepe The Frog, but an inspiration about a lot of things I love. I never claimed to be the creator of Pepe The Frog and it was always very clear to my collectors and to the community,” The artist said.

While Matt Furie Copyright takedown went on a rampage, our artist received a cease and desist letter via email from Furie’s law firm. They asked to stop producing “Frog themed art” and give back all the money made. Furie claims that Pepe the frog was used by the artist without permission. This created a stressful environment for the artist that he had to hire, trademark lawyers to handle the least expected events.

“And the conclusion was that my work falls under the parody rights of most countries. Also, it's funny that this guy is coming for artists that use PepeThe Frog ( Not Just “Pepe”, cuz that's a name and names cannot be copyrighted) as a reference, while Disney is fine with artists like Beeple making money when he uses their IP for art.”

“Matt Furie is not the same guy he portrayed in his documentary. He seems to be so frustrated that he couldn’t monetize what he drew that he comes very aggressive even to young talents,” the artist said.

Matt Furie previously said, “I've made my mark on the internet, so I can relax. I'm retired now, living off all the shares and likes.​in an interview

Recently this happened 👇

Pepe The Frog vs Sad Frogs

Furie’s legal saga removes NFT worth $4M from the Opensea market. The “Sad Frogs District'' is an NFT project containing 7,000 Sad Frog NFTs inspired by collective artworks of internet artists and cyberpunk aesthetics. The artwork depicted in the NFTs may draw some inspiration from Furie’s character

Pepe. The Sad Frogs District was launched earlier this month and has already generated more than $4 million in volume from a median price of $450 per NFT. Following the copyright issue raised by Furie, Opensea market delisted the NFT’s.

Meanwhile, the Sad Frogs team has decided to fight back the DMCA claim.

That Saga was covered in Vice News in detail here.

Who Gets To Decide On The “Freedom Of Expression”

“The truth is I’ve made all the Pepes on the internet. They are all mine. I made them and I own them all!” While his frustration with the misuse of Pepe to spread hatred is understandable, the paradigm of denying one’s freedom to express needs some explanation and “It doesn’t feel good Matt.”

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