Website "Funny Junk" Steals The Oatmeal's Work, Sues Charities
June 23, 2012 1:59 PM
(Source: The Oatmeal)
Supposedly "funny" site, can't take a joke, tries to block $210,000 donation to charity
A website called
has gained in popularity in recent years as a place for people to post random images they find on the internet. Its owners profit off ads placed to monetize their site's role as a repository of funny. The only problem is that many of the images posted (thousands) were web comics stolen (taken without permission) from hard-working artists' sites.
, a rather famous web-comic
took the site to task
, which led to
a frantic forums post
last year that somehow jumped to the conclusion that
artist Matt Inman was planning to sue. Subsequently an email/Facebook flame war erupted between fans of the two sites.
Then in a shocking twist
"lawyered up", hiring celebrity lawyer Charles Carreon. Mr. Carreon sent Mr. Inman
a legal threat demanding $20,000 USD
and an apology -- all for calling out
for its infrigement.
Matt Inman responded by founding a charity campaign entitled "
Bear Love Good
" and promising to give not a single red penny to Mr. Carreon, but $20,000 instead to charity. But he promised, "I'm going to take a photo of the raised money. I'm going to mail you that photo, along with this drawing of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear."
received a threat letter from
's lawyer. [Image Source: The Oatmeal]
Mr. Inman quickly collected the $20,000 used charity open community platform IndieGogo, with the proceeds going towards the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.
's owners and Mr. Carreon. They filed a lawsuit against IndieGogo, Mr. Inman, the
American Cancer Society
, and the
National Wildlife Federation
, seeking to prevent the charity donations from going through. Mr. Carreon claims the charity was not properly registered with the state of California and should not be allowed to operate.
He also claims Mr. Inman defamed him and his clients, commenting, "I think satirical content is fine, but him accusing my mother of bestiality is revolting, and I will not forgive it."
But apparently Mr. Carreon thinks its okay to post crude, explicit Photoshop cartoons of George W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice
[NSFW]. He and his wife and posted this and several other images. And for the record, Mr. Inman never specified the ursine seduction to be sexual in nature, and for the record he says the picture was of the
administrator's mother, not Mr. Carreon's mother.
And Mr. Inman now has some high profile help defending himself from
and Mr. Carreon in
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
(San Francisco). The Electronic Frontier Foundation has
it will be joining Mr. Inman's lawyers.
and its lawyer are suing to try to deny the ACS $100,000 to try to cure cancer.
[Image Source: Stage Mom]
EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry calls the lawsuit "bizarre" and comments, "This lawsuit is a blatant attempt to abuse the legal process to punish a critic. We're very glad to help Mr. Inman fight back."
This type of lawsuit is commonly referred to as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), according to the EFF, and is a well known censorship tactic.
As publicity for the case has exploded the charity's collections have soared to $210,000+ USD. A donate link can be found here.
/Mr. Inman urges his fans and readers to donate to charity if they're upset about the case, not take their rage out on
or Mr. Carreon.
Bear Love Good
The Oatmeal 
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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