Kanye West has sent his lawyers after the people behind the cryptocurrency “Coinye West.”
The rapper filed a lawsuit, looking to hold liable those who have tendered the digital money, alleging publicity rights and trademark violations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
First, though, he’ll need to hunt down the identities of the alleged perpetrators. To that end, he’s targeting a wide range of defendants from 0daycoins.com, said to operate a digital currency exchange, to Amazon.com, identified as providing web hosting services to the currency exchanges. But there are also the anonymous John Does — payment processors, operators of crytocurrency “wallets,” retailers accepting “Coinye” and others.
In his complaint filed in New York federal court, West says that consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that he is the source of the cryptocurrency. The lawsuit provides examples of tweets like the one from Christopher Hudson, who wrote, “Move over #Bitcoin, @kanyewest now has his own cryptocurrency called @CoinyeWest.”
West’s attorneys at Pryor Cashman might hope to subpoena their way into more information about the defendants, but for now, the most interesting claim comes against Amazon for contributory trademark infringement.
According to the lawsuit, “Amazon.com and Jane Does Defendants have deliberately disregarded Plaintiffs’ counsel’s notification of the Infringing Websites and have otherwise consciously avoided learning about the full extent of the infringing activity that is continuing on the Infringing Websites.”
It’s further alleged that Amazon is materially encouraging and contributing to the websites doing “Coinye West.”
One of the “Coinye West” websites previously posted the following message: “We would like to make it clear that we are entirely independent of (West), and there should be no confusion as to the intent or origin of this project. The name ‘Coinye’ is intended solely as parody, not an indication or implication of endorsement or involvement.”
However, that website now reads, “Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye.”