Is the alt-right’s use of Pepe the Frog “fair use?”

Enlarge / A supporter holds a campaign sign for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump with 'Pepe the Frog' drawn on it during a rally in Minneapolis in November 2016. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

What can you do when your favorite frog gets away from you?

When Matt Furie drew Pepe the Frog for a short-lived magazine in 2005, he had no way of knowing the character would become a mascot for the so-called "alt-right," a loose coalition of far-right groups that veer towards white nationalism.

But during the 2016 election cycle, that's exactly what happened—and that's what Furie is now trying to undo. Furie has undertaken a campaign to restore Pepe's image as the gentle, stoner frog he intended, rather than a symbol of hate. He's hired a lawyer to send cease-and-desist letters over uses of Pepe that he didn't authorize. So far, targets include T-shirts being sold on Amazon and elsewhere, a book by an alt-right blogger "Baked Alaska" called Meme Magic: Secrets Revealed, a video game called Build the Wall, and a video by another alt-right blogger, Mike Cernovich.

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