Technology

Pepe the Frog creator in copyright fight

Pepe the Frog was created by artist Matt Furie and has since become a hugely popular meme
Image caption Pepe the Frog was created by artist Matt Furie and has since become a hugely popular meme

The artist who created Pepe the Frog has issued several takedown notices against alt-right commentators he accuses of stealing his work.

The cartoon frog has been hijacked by nationalists, says Matt Furie.

The figure has been used to accompany hate speech.

Lawyers for Mr Furie have contacted both individuals and sites such as Reddit and Amazon, where images featuring Pepe have been posted, on the grounds of breaking copyright law.

One recipient, Mike Cernovich, described the action as "frivolous".

In a Medium post in which he also denied being a member of the alt-right movement, Mr Cernovich said that an image of Pepe in a cemetery, which accompanied an article he wrote for right-wing news site Breitbart, was fair use.

Fair Use is legal concept that allows the use of copyrighted work in order to add comment, criticism or parody.

"The image from Breitbart is clearly fair use, as is nearly every other Pepe meme floating around online," he wrote.

"I don't even care about Pepe and hardly ever talked about him."

In an article for Time magazine last year, Matt Furie lamented that his creation had become "a hate symbol".

"[Pepe] began his life as a blissfully stoned frog in my comic book Boy's Club, where he enjoyed a simple life of snacks, soda and pulling his pants all the way down to go pee," he said.

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