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It's Over Between Infowars, Pepe the Frog

Alex Jones pays $15K over use of cartoon image
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 11, 2019 4:14 PM CDT
In this undated image released by Matt Furie, an illustration of Pepe the Frog is shown.   (Matt Furie via AP)

(Newser) – Conspiracy-promoting website Infowars will pay $15,000 to resolve a copyright infringement lawsuit over its sales of a poster featuring the image of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that was hijacked by far-right extremists and racist internet trolls. "Infowars" show host Alex Jones on Monday signed his companies' settlement agreement with Pepe's creator, Matt Furie, the AP reports. The California-based artist said he didn't authorize Infowars to sell a "MAGA" poster that depicts Pepe alongside images of Jones, President Trump, far-right agitator Milo Yiannopoulos, and other right-wing figures. Louis Tompros, one of Furie's attorneys, said the settlement amount is more than the $14,000 that Infowars made from sales of the poster. He said his client plans to donate the extra $1,000 to Save the Frogs!, a California-based conservation organization.

An article posted on Infowars' website calls it a "strategic victory" for Jones. One of his attorneys, Marc Randazza, said Furie's lawyers had sought more than $1 million from Jones but ultimately settled for a fraction of that after a costly legal fight. "That ought to be a message to anyone who wants to file a politically motivated, anti-free speech lawsuit against him," Randazza said. The settlement agreement comes less than a month after a judge's ruling drastically limited the amount of money that Furie could recover from Infowars. US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald decided that Furie was precluded from seeking statutory damages and attorneys' fees. That ruled out the possibility of a six- or seven-figure judgment. The settlement agreement calls for Infowars to destroy any copies of the poster in its possession and bars the site from selling any more copies. Infowars also agreed not to sell anything else with Pepe's likeness without a license to do so. (The POTUS had something to say about Jones' social media bans.)

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