Matt Furie, creator of Pepe The Frog, took action to take down the collection of frog-based NFTs on the OpenSea platform.
The Sad Frog Zone was delisted by way of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notice. This refers to a US copyright law that protects creative works on the Internet. It allows the copyright owner to deal directly with the Internet Service Provider (ISP) hosting the content.
Before OpenSea pulled the plug, more than 1,800 Sad Frog NFTs were sold in the past seven days, generating $1.2 million in transactions at an average selling price of $654.
Furie officially killed Pepe the frog in 2017, posting a one-page installment showing Pepe resting in an open casket. A subsequent slideshow showed Pepe’s friends mourning his death, with one of them pouring alcohol on Pepe’s face.
Pepe has become a meme associated with the far-right movement.Furie said the connection has always baffled him.
“He’s a frog, so why would he support a white supremacist? It doesn’t make any sense.”
Sad Frog Zone NFTs
There are 7,000 sad frogs to choose from, each one created from a random combination of over 200 features. The design is inspired by the “cyberpunk aesthetic”.
The premise of Sad Frog is based around a fictional meta-world in the year 2050. Medical research involved testing a drug known as SUS-50 on frogs, resulting in a “super frog”.
The frog, known as the “Emperor”, with its newfound powers, injects others with SUS-50, subsequently producing a new species.
“SUS-50” was given to a frog named “Emperor”, greatly increasing its intelligence, size and lifespan. As a result of these events, the Emperor escaped from the lab and injected SUS-50 into many other frogs in the lab, making them the second sentient species on Earth after humans.”
In response to Furie’s DMCA takedown notice, the team behind Sad Frog tweeted that they have sent a counter-DMCA notice to OpenSea. A response is being awaited before further comment is made.
The Sad Frog case opens up a can of worms about intellectual property and how the rules intersect with NFTs.
Pepe, the mascot of the far right
Since 2015, Furie has been fighting a legal battle with far-right activists trying to stop them from using Pepe to promote their cause.
“He won high-profile lawsuits against people who used his beloved little frog to sell posters, books and merchandise, including [Alex] Jones, who paid him a $15,000 settlement out of court.”
Furie says that despite the ruling in his favor, Pepe’s brand has been tarnished since it was hijacked by the far right.
For that reason, he says he doesn’t feel he can sell Pepe’s merchandise very well.