comedy, creativity, web

The Oatmeal doesn’t take the law into his own hands – he takes it to charity

It’ll be difficult to sum up the case of FunnyJunk v The Oatmeal any better than The Oatmeal does. It’s your standard “cartoonist complains about work being stolen, accused content thief gets all huffy, cartoonist laughs a little and lets it go, accused content thief threatens defamation suit” story.

That post is a must-read, mostly because it contains The Oatmeal’s entire defense (in one word, truth, but that’s not as amusing, and The Oatmeal includes things like “evidence” and “rebuttals that show a basic understanding of how the Web works”). Instead of paying the $20,000 that the lawyer demands, The Oatmeal decides to hold a fund-raiser to get a bunch of money and split it between the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. Those two charities must be ecstatic today.

So how have the titans of new media responded? Let’s see who sides with The Oatmeal: Boing Boing, Uproxx, Gawker … and FunnyJunk commenters. That could hurt.

The second must-read in this case, though, is from the TODAY show’s Digital Life blog. They got comments not only from The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman) but FunnyJunk’s lawyer, Charles Carreon. (Shouldn’t the lawyer in this case be named Vulture rather than Carreon?) Mr. Carreon has carved out quite a career in Internet law, and yet he is stunned by the legions of people who have sent him nasty email.

(Even though, if you read the original Oatmeal summation of this case, you’ll find that FunnyJunk readers did exactly the same thing to Inman.)

Does this sort of legal reasoning, which seems peculiarly ignorant to those with an ounce of knowledge in this area, hold water in court? Don’t ask me — I covered the Borislow-WPS case.

(Please pardon the shoutout to The People’s Court in the headline. Yes, I know it’s a stretch.)


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