Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West may have a sense of humor but recent buzz about a virtual form of currency called “Coinye West” has him taking legal action.
According to reports, Mr. West’s legal team issued a cease-and-desist letter to put an immediate end to the Coinye hype this week.
Lawyers for Kanye West filed cease-and-desist papers against the seven anonymous coders behind Coinye West, a virtual currency that went from chatroom joke to Internet sensation last week. The legal document, dated Jan. 6, includes an image of Coinye – a cartoon representation of West on a gold medallion. West’s lawyer argues trademark infringement. “Given Mr. West’s wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of your services,” wrote Brad Rose, a partner at Pryor Cashman LLP, which has previously worked for West. (Wall Street Journal)
Although the Coinye project still launched, certain changes were made to reduce the direct West connections.
For starters, it’s not Coinye West any more, just Coinye. The coin’s image has also been changed, though the reference is still clear. But one thing the coin’s creators haven’t done is give in to the lawyers’ demand that the domain coinyewest.com be given to Kanye, though they have changed the domain to coinyeco. (Escapist Magazine)
The people behind the Ye-themed currency have already responded to the cease-and-desist letter.
Meanwhile, Coinyewest also seems to believe that West is trying to “steal our idea.” “[The cease-and-desist letter] tells us to unlock the domain and give it to them,” Coinyewest told Ars. “That’s a bit more than ‘hey stop this.’ More like they want to take it.” “Now [West] wants to crush us and/or take our idea. And we’ve decided to stand up to the system and fight for the people. Once this is released into the wild it can’t be stopped, it’s decentralized. That [cease-and-desist] says if we don’t comply, they will get a restraining order against us to stay away from Kanye. LOL. Like isn’t he some big f*ckin” gangster. Restraining order against COINYE WEST is all they have for an identity.” (Ars Technica)
The creators also explained why virtual currency will continue to pick up steam and reign supreme.
“Anarcho-capitalism is coming, it can’t be stopped. Whether it has a symbol that looks like a dollar, a dog, or a cartoon picture of a rapper, it’s all the same thing,” he said. “A way for people to create their own economies and stop relying on this one we watch failing worse and worse every year. People want something different, that’s why all this sudden interest in cryptocurrency. I’ve talked with the creators of Dogecoin about the same things. It seems silly but we are just trying to market these ideas to a broader audience.” (Ars Technica)
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