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First off today, Matthew Gault at Motherboard reports that lawyers representing Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe the Frog, have served cease and desist notices to several alt-right personalities and websites including Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich and the r/the_Donald subreddit, making good on his threat to “aggressively” enforce his copyright in the work.
Furie created Pepe as part of a non-political comic but, in recent years various individuals have coopted the character to produce hate-filled memes. Furie had recently reached a settlement with Eric Hauser, a former assistant principal in Texas who had used Pepe in an alt-right children’s book. That settlement resulted in the the books being pulled and any revenue from sales being donated to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Following that settlement Furie had promised to target others who were using his character. In addition to the cease and desist notices, Furie is also sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices to Reddit and Amazon, notifying them of unauthorized uses of the character and seeking their removal.
Next up today, Nick Reilly at NME reports that Taylor Swift is being sued by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler over Swift’s 2014 hit song Shake it Off.
Hall and Butler wrote the 2001 song Playas Gon’ Play for the group 3lw. According to the duo, Swift’s song uses very similar lyrics to Playas, amount to 20 percent of Shake it Off.
Representatives for Swift have responded saying that the claim is “ridiculous” and nothing more than a “money grab”.
Finally today, Michael Zhang at PetaPixel reports that the photographer behind the image used in the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme has said he has no intention of suing those who use the image in a meme, save those who use it in “bad faith”.
The Distracted Boyfriend meme has rocketed to popularity in recent months. It features a man looking over his shoulder at another woman while his apparent girlfriend looks at him angrily. It’s been widely used on Reddit and social media to describe other situations of “infidelity” such as being attracted to a competitors project or a former political opponent.
The photographer behind the image is Antonio Guillem, who took the image as part of a lighthearted series of photos on infidelity that featured the three actors. A regular contributor to stock photo sites, he sells the image on Shutterstock and Fotolia but says it was never one of his more popular ones. But, despite the sudden and unexpected popularity of the image, Guillem says he has no intention of suing, save in uses that are “pejorative, offensive or any way that can harm the models or me.”
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.