T he now iconic image and phrase “Je Suis Charlie” (French for “I am Charlie”), created by French artist Joachim Roncin, has become the rallying call against the terror attacks at French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, where 12 people were killed by extremists. The simple but powerful graphic went viral within hours after Mr. Roncin created it, as millions throughout the world began tweeting and re-tweeting the image accompanied by #jesuischarlie. According to BBC News, although the graphic was meant to express support for the victims at Charlie Hebdo, less than a week after the attack, 50 people in France alone have applied to trademark the original artwork. None of these applicants are connected to, or associated with Mr. Roncin. In fact, Mr. Roncin created the graphic to support the victims and never intended for the image to be used for commercial purposes. The only organization Mr. Roncin has granted permission to use his graphic is the NGO Reporters Sans Frontières (French for “Reporters Without Borders). Mr. Roncin has emphatically expressed his disgust to the idea that people want to make money off of the attacks and has consulted a group of attorneys to prevent anyone from capitalizing on his message.
Loren Shokes is an Entertainment Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2017).