By Tyler Cowan  |  08-30-2017   News
Photo credit: Creators Vice

If you’re at all familiar with meme culture then you surely know Pepe. Pepe the frog began as a stoner frog created by Matt Furie. When Pepe became popular enough for Katy Perry and other “normies” to attempt to lay claim to it, the Kekistani rabble was roused and the result was a concerted effort to make Pepe unpalatable to all but the most hardened image board fiends. This was around the time that Pepe began to show up in various forms related to white nationalism, Donald Trump, even Hitler and the Holocaust. Pepe was already the prophet of the frog god of chaos, Kek, but soon he became something of a mascot figure for many in the alt-right.

Things got deep with a quickness. Hillary Clinton warned the public of the grave threat the cartoon frog represented to our free society. The Anti-Defamation League even branded Pepe a “hate symbol.” As a result, Furie decided the best thing he could do was to retire the cartoon frog. Now when I say retire, I’m speaking more in terms of Decker putting down Replicants, not like with a gold watch and a pension kind of thing.

As the wise among us already know, you can’t kill an idea. You can however shut down distribution of a book using your copyrighted intellectual property. Even <i>if</i> you already unceremoniously killed off said intellectual property, it seems.

<a href=“http://knowyourmeme.com/news/texas-assistant-principal-removed-for-authoring-controversial-pepe-the-frog-childrens-book”>The Kids Book is Alt-Right</a>

A Texas assistant principal, Eric Hauser, has been ordered to cease distribution of his self-published “kids book” <i>The Adventures of Pepe and Pede</i>

Attorneys for artist Matt Furie say he enforced his copyright of Pepe the Frog and forced former Texas educator Eric Hauser to quit distributing his self-published book, The Adventures of Pepe and Pede.

In addition to this, he has been removed from his position at North Texas’ Denton Independent School District. In Hauser’s “children’s tale” Pep and his centipede friend Pede face the common goal of freeing their swamp home from a bearded alligator named Alkah. Pepe and Pede defeat Alkah by assaulting him with magical buds from the Wishington Farm’s Honesty Tree. In essence, death by overdose of red pills. Furie’s lawyers Louis Tompros and Don Steinberg claim Hauser’s book was “hateful, racist and Islamophobic.”

Hauser himself denies being a racist or white supremacist and feels the uproar was “an attempt to silence conservatives.” Furie has obtained a settlement with the now-unemployed Texas educator.

“The point we are trying to make with this case is that Pepe the Frog does not belong to the alt-right,” Furie’s Boston Based IP lawyer Louis Tompros told Gizmodo. “They thought they could claim him as their symbol, but they can’t. He’s a character that Matt Furie created—and Matt has watched as the alt-right tried to associate him with hateful ideas and symbols. The children’s book was really a breaking point: it was the point at which Matt decided to stand up and fight back.” Tompros has taken the case pro bono.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Author who infringed <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PepeTheFrog?src=hash">#PepeTheFrog</a> copyright has to give proceeds to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hamas?src=hash">#Hamas</a>-linked <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CAIR?src=hash">#CAIR</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IslamIsTheProblem?src=hash">#IslamIsTheProblem</a> <a href="https://t.co/oOtzWb2pyh">https://t.co/oOtzWb2pyh</a></p>&mdash; Silas Brown ⚓🇺🇸 (@blazebandit2015) <a href="https://twitter.com/blazebandit2015/status/902610702157746176">August 29, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Hauser immediately agreed to surrender all profits and cease sale and distribution of the book, admitting that he had violated Furie’s copyright. Furie claims he will donate the profits (just over $1500) to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Matt is going to aggressively enforce his intellectual property against anyone espousing racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, or any other kind of hate,” Tompros told Gizmodo. “… We have identified other individuals and hate groups who may have infringed Matt’s intellectual property in Pepe the Frog. We’re investigating further, and we will—where appropriate—take action to shut them down. This is the beginning, not the end.”

Hauser insists the book was simply an attempt to “break down the barriers of political correctness and embrace truth, honesty and teamwork.” Seeing as Pepe has survived Hillary Clinton’s campaign speech and Furie’s attempted funeral, only time will tell what the future holds for the frog. And as for the issues Hauser is dealing with, “Feels bad man…”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Couldn&#39;t the guy who made the Pepe the Frog children&#39;s book or someone who owns a copy just distribute it for free? <a href="https://t.co/cSCDTQ33vi">https://t.co/cSCDTQ33vi</a></p>&mdash; Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) <a href="https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/902408819921129472">August 29, 2017</a></blockquote>

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