Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jeff Dunham suing bootleg coronavirus merch makers for stealing his intellectual property

Illustration for article titled Jeff Dunham suing bootleg coronavirus merch makers for stealing his intellectual property
Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage (Getty Images)

Enraged at the idea of a world in which a white guy can make millions upon millions of dollars for doing a comedy routine where he makes stereotype-heavy jokes while holding up a sombrero-wearing jalapeno pepper on a stick —and then has to watch all that hard-wrought intellectual property get ripped off by scammers—Jeff Dunham is headed to the courts. Still the ninth-highest paid comedian on the planet, Dunham is suing a company called Ooshirts, Inc. on allegations that it’s been using images of Dunham’s various ventriloquism characters to sell T-shirts and coronavirus masks.

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Gently eliding the mental puzzle of the human being who believes in proper social distancing and PPE protocols—and who also desperately wants to express those feelings through the medium of a crotchety old puppet man saying “I hate people!”—Dunham’s suit states he’s got an open-and-shut case. Not only is Ooshirts alleged to have clearly infringed on the comedian’s copyrights and trademarks, but, per Deadline, the company may even have used pictures of Dunham himself on its promotional materials, implying that he supported the business.

Ooshirts has been sued on similar charges before, including from companies like Atari and HBO. Dunham is seeking $150,000 per registered copyright and $2 million per registered trademark violated; if successful, he says he intends to use the money “to add to our continued contributions to charities benefiting COVID-19 relief efforts.”

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