Kanye West sues COINYE, themed digital currency, over trademark violation : worldleaks
The superstar rapper and wealthy music mogul filed a trademark violation lawsuit Tuesday against the creators of a humorous new Kanye West-themed digital currency called “COINYE” that launched last week.
The logo for the currency, which is bought and sold over the Internet, has a cartoon version of West wearing his signature “shutter shades.”
“Defendants have willfully and including traded upon the goodwill and ill fame of Kanye West, one of the most famous entertainers and brand names in the world,” takes the suit filed in Manhattan federal court, which tries unspecified damages.
The suit refers to COINYE as a “crypto-currency” because it exists only as computer code, not in any physical form. Bitcoin is the most well-known crypto-currency.
“In interviews with the press, defendants brazenly include that they adopted the marks COINYE WEST, COINYE and COYE to instantly associate their newly minted crypto-currency with Mr. West,” the suit states.
The “College Dropout” rapper, who had a baby daughter with fiancée Kim Kardashian last year, takes the COINYE creators are damaging his brand.
“With each day that passes, Mr. West’s reputation is irreparably harmed … Consumers are likely to mistakenly think that Mr. West is the source of these digital coins,” the suit alleges.
To prove the problem, the suit lists 18 tweets posted by consumers about the new currency.
“Kanye West now has a currency,” Twitter user Christopher Hudson wrote on Jan. 2, the suit notes.
“Move over bitcoin, @kanyewest is about to create the greatest digital currency of all time,” Chase Graves tweeted, according to the suit.
West filed a cease-and-desist letter on Jan. 6. But the suspects defied the “Gold Digger” hip-hopper by moving forward, the suit claims.
The programmers decided to offer COINYE units in blocks of 666,666 starting last week. The extent to which the launch occurred was unclear Tuesday.
The number 666,666 is a nod to West’s rumored affiliation with the Illuminati and is closely related with Mr. West and his “Yeezus” album, according to the suit.
West’s lawyer, Brad Rose, declined to comment Tuesday.
Many buyers of crypto-currency are hoarders trusting their currency catches on and grows in street value. But ahead of the COINYE launch, an online “Coinye Casino” was inviting people to play roulette with the coins.
CoinyeCasino.com, which received a cease-and-desist letter from West on Jan. 8, was unavailable Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, a message sent to the site made the Daily News an invitation to a chat room that seemed to be backing the virtual currency.
“It’s a parody. We didn’t want to offend anyone. We respected Mr. West,” said a programmer who planned the chat.
“COINYE has been revised and should be protected as a parody,” another participant said. “We believe it is a separate thing from his intellectual property. This community is highly supportive and gave to making COINYE a coin for the masses.”
A third participant brought up West’s recent alleged battery of a man in Beverly Hills.
“Has COINYE harmed him more than attacking that 18-year-old? If anything he has gotten more press attention for it.”
Digital coin exchange sites 0DayCoins.com, Coinye-Exchange.com and Newchg.com are named as defendants in the suit, along with Amazon.com, which provides web hosting services.
The suit also names Dogecoin, accusing it of operating COINYE sites, plus a Coinye Casino programmer who goes by the name Jonny Bravo and 100 additional unnamed defendants.
Some supporters argue the point of crypto-currency is to create an international system free from government regulation that works as a cheap, egalitarian version of mainstream services such as Western Union.
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