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The creator of the “Pepe the Frog” cartoon character has settled his copyright infringement dispute with opinion website Infowars for $15,000.
According to court documents filed yesterday, June 10, cartoonist Matt Furie agreed to drop his claims against Infowars.
Furie sued Infowars in 2018 for copyright infringement over its sale of a poster bearing his “Pepe the Frog” character.
The cartoonist designed “Pepe” in 2003 for the comic books “Play Time” and “Boy’s Club”.
The character gained notoriety as a meme before in recent years becoming associated with the so-called alt-right movement, online.
Infowars’ poster featured Pepe, along with figures such as Infowers founder Alex Jones, US President Donald Trump and controversial commentator Milo Yiannopolous.
According to the settlement agreement, seen by TBO, Infowars has now agreed to pay $15,000 to end the dispute. $14,000 of the sum accounts for profits made by Infowars from sales of the poster, while the additional $1,000 will be donated to amphibian conservation charity Save the Frogs.
In a press release sent to TBO, Louis Tompros, partner at Wilmer Hale in Boston, who represented Furie in the case, said: “If anyone thinks they can make money selling unauthorized Pepe merchandise, they’re wrong. Mr. Furie will continue to enforce his copyrights, particularly against anyone trying to profit by associating Pepe with hateful images or ideas.”
“Infowars had said it planned to ‘free Pepe once and for all,’ but it backed down rather than face trial and lose,” Tompros added.
Furie reiterated that he would continue to assert his rights with respect to the character, including “any use of Pepe that espouses racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti‐Semitism, Nazism, or any other form of hate”.
In a statement sent to TBO, Robert Barnes, founder of Barnes Law in Los Angeles, who represented Infowars, also claimed victory in the dispute. Barnes claimed that Furie and his legal team had accepted a “licensing fee” of $15,000 to end the litigation.
Speaking to TBO, however, Tompros reiterated that the “settlement agreement is not a license”.
Tompros added: “Infowars has no license to use Pepe, period. Under the settlement agreement, Infowars is absolutely precluded from selling anything with Pepe on it.”
The case had been set to proceed to trial after the US District Court for the Central District of California last month partially dismissed both parties’ motions for summary judgment.
With the agreement of a settlement, however, the case will now be closed.
Pepe the Frog, Infowars, Alex Jones, Donald Trump, Matt Furie, cartoons, alt-right, comic books