Kanye West moves to block Coinye -- a digital currency he inspired

Attorneys send a cease and desist letter, alleging copyright infringement

Coinye, a digital currency inspired by the rapper Kanye West.

Coinye, a digital currency inspired by the rapper Kanye West.

Attorneys for the American rapper Kanye West have filed a cease and desist letter against the makers of Coinye -- a Bitcoin-like digital currency that generated Internet chatter last week.

The currency, at the time of its announcement, did not have West's sign-off, and was called "Coinye West." Its logo featured a cartoon image of West's head emblazoned on a gold coin, and was partly designed to bring a more consumer-friendly alternative to Bitcoin to a less technical audience. West's trendsetting abilities and originality helped to inspire it, the founders said at the time.

Now, attorneys for the law firm Pryor Cashman allege copyright infringement, among other claims. "Consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of your services or is, at the very least, affiliated with, or has sponsored or endorsed the cryptocurrency," partner Brad D. Rose wrote in a Jan. 6 cease and desist letter to the technology's developers.

In the letter, West's legal team asks the developers of the technology to stop using West's name, image or likeness in connection with any product or service, deactivate the Coinyewest.com website, and all social media accounts created or used in connection with the digital currency. Reached by phone, Rose declined to comment further.

In a way, the team may already be complying with some of those demands. The name of the technology has since been changed to just "Coinye." And the logo now also features a different image of a man with crooked teeth and a fish tail coming out the back of his head. The domain for the technology's website has been changed to be registered in India.

The name of the technology and graphic was changed to make it clear that West himself had nothing to do with the project, the developers said Tuesday via email.

In their letter, attorneys asked for the Coinye team to comply with their demands by early evening on Monday. "If you fail to comply with these demands, we will notify the cryptocurrency community at large of your infringing actions and pursue all legal remedies against any business that accepts the purported Coinye West currency," they said.

The makers of Coinye, however, do not seem deterred. In fact, they are advancing their launch date from Jan. 11 to 10 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, "due to legal pressure," their website states. "We want to get this into the hands of the public -- after that, it's peer to peer and unstoppable," they said in their email.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightinternetlegalintellectual propertyInternet-based applications and servicesBitcoin FoundationCoinye

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?