The business behind the popular Instagram account @fuckjerry is being sued for allegedly stealing a meme for an advertisement.
The lawsuit, filed this week in federal court, alleges that the company violated the copyright law by taking an image and using it to promote its tequila brand, JAJA Tequila. The lawsuit concerns FJERRY, LLC, the parent company of Jerry Media, as well as founder Elliot Tebele. Law360 reported on the lawsuit yesterday.
According to the lawsuit, a social media personality based in Nigeria was the owner of the image, which included a text message conversation about drinking. One person in the conversation tells the other, "do not worry, I called a super," while the other person answers, "we drank at home." . "
The meme versions were already being published on social media before the plaintiff's January tweet. But the lawsuit contends that he held copyright in the image that Jerry Media ultimately used in his tequila ad, which, apart from the text message conversation, contains the text used in the tweet. "This is a frivolous lawsuit and we intend to defend it vigorously," a spokesman for Jerry Media said in a statement.
Jerry Media has recently gained new scrutiny for his role in promoting the disastrous Fyre Festival. After the controversy over how the @fuckjerry account was crediting the work of others, Tebele also said last month that the account would no longer publish images if the original creator could not be identified.
"In recent years, I have made a concerted and proactive effort to properly accredit the creators for their work," wrote Tebele in a publication by Medium. "We have also updated our policies to make sure we respond to creators when they contact us about publications."
The lawsuit requests unspecified damages, which will be established in a lawsuit.