Exhilarating Response to Old World Legal Claims: How The Oatmeal Used the Internet to Thwart Abusive Treatment on the Internet
Fans of The Oatmeal, a web comic created by Matthew Inman, may be familiar with the ongoing dispute between Mr. Inman and FunnyJunk, a website that hosts content - sometimes apparently content that belongs to other people.
A year ago, Matthew Inman posted an angry open letter on The Oatmeal, claiming FunnyJunk had "practically stolen my entire website."
FunnyJunk responded with a letter claiming defamation — and asking for $20,000 in damages.
Instead, Matthew Inman reponded with another post: Calling the claims in FunnyJunk's “fiction” and FunnyJunk's lawyer a “jackass.”
Instead of paying $20,000 to FunnyJunk, Matthew Inman set out to raise $20,000 in donations. If he was successful, Mr. Inman promised FunnyJunk:
"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 [see above]
I’m going to take the money and donate one half to the National Wildlife Federation and the other half to the American Cancer Society"
According to a June 12th, 2012 post to Mashable, within one hour, Operation: Bearlove Good. Cancer Bad reached its $20,000 goal on IndieGoGo.
As of 1pm EST on June 13th, 2012 that amount had risen to $148,478. With 14 days to go.
UPDATE July 9th, 2012: Here's a photo of Matthew Inman with the 211,223.04 in cash he raised for charity in response to bogus legal claims from FunnyJunk's lawyer.
And, here the bundles of cash spell out a message to Matthew Inman's legal adversary:
For more dancing-in-the-end-zone pictures of big piles of cash, click here.
Thanks to Lance Weiler for sharing the link to the exciting news about Mr. Inman's successful fundraising. I'm inspired by the way that Mr. Inman used the internet to strike back at someone who he felt was exploiting him on the internet. While the attorney for FunnyJunk may not be a "jackass," his legal maneuvers (claiming that FunnyJunk operates within the protection of our flawed copyright law, while threatening suits in defamation etc. against an aggrieved content creator) failed to achieve what his client had hoped for.