Kanye West sues Amazon, others in massive digital currency smackdown

Efforts to launch the digital currency Coinye appear to be abandoned

Kanye West performs exclusively for Samsung Mobile fans at Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Camera U.S. launch.

Kanye West performs exclusively for Samsung Mobile fans at Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Camera U.S. launch.

The rapper Kanye West, leaving no stone unturned, has included Amazon.com -- and more than 50 others -- in a new lawsuit intended to shut down some digital currencies that have sprung up bearing some variation of his name.

The lawsuit follows the creation of "Coinye," a digital currency that was inspired by West and was invented to provide an alternative to Bitcoin, another digital currency that some would say is more established. Coinye was developed to provide a more consumer-friendly version of Bitcoin, though it never really took off once West got wind of it.

A cease-and-desist letter was filed against the creators of Coinye last week, alleging trademark infringement, among other claims. Coinye's developers, however, seemed undeterred upon receiving the letter, advancing their launch date in response.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday goes further, alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, publicity violations, and other claims. "Defendants have admittedly and willfully infringed upon the Kanye West mark and consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of these digital coins," said the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by attorneys at Pryor Cashman representing West.

The suit seeks damages of an unspecified amount.

Amazon was identified for providing web hosting services for the Coinyeco.in and Coinyewest.com websites. As of Tuesday evening Eastern time, the latter website appears to have been deactivated, but Coinyeco.in is still up.

However, "Coinye is dead," Coinyeco.in's landing page reads. "You win, Kanye," it said. The Coinye developers could not be immediately reached for comment, nor could Amazon.

In addition to Amazon, digital currency sites like Coinye-Exchange.com, Daycoins.com and Newchg.com were cited, at least one of which seems to have already been taken down.

Even Dogecoin, a different digital currency named after dogs, is included in the suit.

Some 50 other unidentified plaintiffs were cited, including, but not limited to, servers, web host companies, cryptocurrency exchanges, or other entities acting on behalf of any others who make use of the "Coinye West," "Coinye" or "Coye" marks, according to the suit.

"With each day that passes, Mr. West's reputation is irreparably harmed," by the use of those marks, it said.

The suit also included nearly two dozen tweets revolving around the Coinye currency, which the suit said caused consumers to mistakenly believe that West was the one who launched it.

Some of the allegedly infringing sites have been deactivated, but West's legal team is still going after the others, said Brad Rose, an attorney at Pryor Cashman, via email. "Those that have profited from this illegal exploitation will continue to be vigorously pursued for damages," he said.

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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags analyticsamazonInternet-based applications and servicese-commerceBitcoin FoundationCoinyeinternet

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?