The copyright fight over “Pepe the Frog” is headed south.
As part of a #SavePepe campaign to take the anthropomorphic character back from the alt-right, Matt Furie is suing InfoWars for copyright infringement. The artist doesn’t like how right wing groups and individuals co-opted his Pepe with hateful white supremacist imagery and is looking to punish Alex Jones’ website for unlicensed use.
Now, InfoWars’ attorney Marc Randazza says he has discovered that “Pepe the Frog” shares “conspicuous similarities” with an Argentinian character known as “El Sapo Pepe.”
Randazza provides a picture in a court declaration:
“This comparison is not meant to imply that there is a claim for copyright infringement by the creator of El Sapo Pepe against Mr. Furie; Defendants are agnostic on that question,” states Randazza. “Rather, it shows that there are conspicuous similarities showing that Mr. Furie’s Pepe the Frog is likely an unlicensed derivative work of El Sapo Pepe, and thus is not entitled to copyright protection.”
Furie’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
For now, Randazza says he determined that the creator of El Sapo Pepe is Analia Garcia. He wants to depose her, but has thus far been unsuccessful in arranging a voluntary deposition. The attorney is now looking to obtaining a deposition through the process set up by the Hague Evidence Convention and is requesting a judge grant him a six-month extension on discovery deadlines.
Is Pepe an unlicensed immigrant? Stay tuned.
Stephanie Lin, an attorney for Furie, says, “I’ve never heard of El Sapo Pepe before,” adding that Pepe the Frog was certainly the result of her client’s imagination.