Kanye West's Coinye Problem: Whom to Sue?

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on January 14, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While Kanye West has no problems with dropping a beat, he's reportedly having issues dropping a lawsuit on the people behind the virtual currency formerly known as Coinye West.

West has filed for an injunction in an effort to shut down the website now simply known as "Coinye" -- a virtual currency that Kanye claims infringes on his trademarks and reputation, reports TMZ.

The problem for West at this stage is that he apparently doesn't know the identities of the Coinye coders or founders.

Who's Behind 'Coinye'?

Why is that an issue? Because every lawsuit needs a defendant. In Kanye's case, his lawsuit against Coinye is missing the true identities of the website's creators. In situations where the identity of the defendant is unknown, a placeholder like "John Doe" is often used in court documents.

Some things are known about the people behind Coinye. West's lawyer contacted the currency's founders via email to serve a cease and desist letter last week. Although the email was sent to a private Gmail address, email addresses alone aren't enough to reveal a person's identity.

In certain situations, courts allow people to file lawsuits when they aren't sure of the opposing parties' identities. For example, in a medical malpractice lawsuit in which several nurses, doctors, and staff worked on you, you may not know or remember everyone's names. In that case, you can file the lawsuit but must make diligent efforts to find out the real names of all the defendants or else the court may not allow you to continue. Because after all, you can't sue fictitious defendants.

Who Else May Be 'Bound 2' a Court Order?

Since Kanye is still trying to figure out the identities of the Coinye people, he's already done the next best thing -- sue companies which he believes may have contributed to Coinye's website launch, according to TMZ. It's one of those "guilty by association" moments where if you contributed to someone breaking the law, you might be in trouble, too.

One company that was added to the lawsuit is Amazon.com. West claims that Amazon.com allegedly provided Web hosting services to the Coinye folks and didn't shut down the site.

Now I'm not saying he's a gold digger, but in addition to the injunction, Kanye is suing Coinye and its alleged affiliates for the website's profits.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard