EFF joins the defense in Charles Carreon v. The Whole Goddamned Internet

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined the defense team for Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, who is one of the parties named to a bizarre lawsuit by Charles Carreon, who recently threatened Inman with a $20,000 demand on behalf of the website Funnyjunk, then sued Inman (and a host of others) when he made fun of the threat.

“This lawsuit is a blatant attempt to abuse the legal process to punish a critic,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “We're very glad to help Mr. Inman fight back.”

EFF Will Represent The Oatmeal Creator in Fight Against Bizarre Lawsuit Targeting Critical Online Speech



      1. I have in the past and will continue to in the future…they are one of those orgs that I wish I could give more to than I am able. I don’t think most people realize what all they do and the long-range effects of what they try to accomplish.

      2. Dude, are you seriously inciting a charitable collection???? I’m seeking injunctive relief as we speak…..

  1. aside from being the right thing to do, this seems like a smart thing to do.
    he probably has some assets, and EFF can get in line to seek legal fees when they win a SLAPP motion. meanwhile, publiticy, wuffie, karma. maybe donor lists.

    1. Eh, I seriously think he’s just trolling and playing dumb, spending a little social capital to have the Internet teach him the proper way of going after people as an iAmbulance Chaser. Note Popehat’s analysis speaking of not revealing any interpretations that would help Carreon, but the more he goes through this process the more helpful information he’s going to be able to derive. At the end of the day, I don’t think any Bar Association is going to do anything to his license for all this.

  2. “To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood.” — George Santayana

  3. This reminds me of that scene in the Matrix movie when huge numbers of Mr Smiths pile onto Neo. I suspect the outcome will be different however.

  4. I’m beginning to wonder if Carreon is having some mental issues.  I don’t mean this to be mean or anything, but none of this makes any sense for Carreon and even some of his friends are like WTF?

    1.  i think he just discovered the internet. its a strange and unusual world where people act alien to him and he is confused and alarmed by it.
      he likes his world where when he makes a frivolous lawsuit for $20,000 the other party gives in or challenges it in court…not one where they raise the amount of money, take a picture of themselves next to it and a drawing of their mother seducing a bear and donates said money to charity. its a move that alarms him and confuses him, its a move that makes him the dick (since to oppose it or try to stop it is to try and stop money from going to charity) and he doesnt understand this so like a mammoth in a tar pit he struggles in vain only digging himself deeper and deeper.
      least that’s how i see it.

      1. I’m now concerned that our first reaction to contacting an alien race isn’t going to be attacking them like in the movies; it’s going to be suing them for having the balls (all five of them!) to give us free energy and antigrav.  We’ll probably ask for punitive damages, too.

      2. I see him sitting there, muttering in disbelief: “I took down sex(dot)com!” he says, over and over again, “why isn’t this punk withering before my awesomeness!?”

        EDIT: changed a . to a (dot) to prevent autolinking

  5. There are two people in this world that look up to Charles Carreon as a hero. One of them is Charles himself. The other is Paul Christoforo.

  6. Does Inman need more support? If he does then great, otherwise is this a bit of a waste of EFF funds? Although maybe its about publicity, in which case it’s likely a good thing for the EFF.

    3 legal teams fighting against a madman with a grudge just feels a little OTT to me.

    1. If they prevail in an anti-SLAPP action, the “EFF funds” involved all get paid out of Carreon’s pocket, anyway. At which point, yeah, it can be just about publicity.

    2. The EFF has a very strongly vested interest in this case.  They also have some very serious legal firepower, piles of expertise in exactly this sort of case, and a very strong desire to see the line pushed as far as it will go.  

      Hell, if nothing else, it is good promotion for the EFF.  I would be shocked if a case like this doesn’t pay for itself even if they fail to extract the bill directly from Carreon’s pocket.  It has certainly reminded me that I am about due for sending a pretty sizable check to the EFF.

  7. I have this mental image of Carreon standing in front of the entire Internet shouting “Come at me, bro!”

    If nothing else, this case should provide some lucky judge with the chance to draft one of the most entertaining dismissals in legal history.

    1. I have a mental image of Carreon standing in front of a huge container of Jiffy-Pop, shouting “Come on Lord,  Let me have it!”

  8. So here is something I’ve not heard any more about and it has be curious…
    Carreon stated early on he had sent plenty of these letters previously, so one wonders to whom were these letters sent and were they as merit-less as the letter to the Oatmeal.

    1. I’ve suspected they were just as bad, but that the people targeted didn’t have the resources to fight them and gave in, which is how he’s managed to have a career as such a terrible lawyer this long.

      1. I still think it would be nice to see them dismantle them and use them as fine examples of overreaching letters you can ignore.

  9. I’m sitting here with my feet up and enjoying my popcorn, but with every new move he makes I’m just starting to feel like I should look away before he just gets mowed over by the staggering array of forces against him. 

    I just feel guilty for enjoying Bambi vs. Godzilla at this point.

  10. Isn’t this sort of punching well below EFF’s weight? A content-scraper like Funnyjunk probably hired him in the first place solely because he’s cheap.

    1. The EFF has two very good reasons to jump in on this one.  

      First, beating the living shit out of Carreon, especially if they can pull some anti-SLAPP magic and ruin the asshole, could help discourage this sort of behavior from other lawyers.  That is to say nothing of the kind of chilling effect this could have if this ass hat actually won.  

      You have to remember that much of what makes Carreon’s tactics effective isn’t courts ruling in his favor, it is the money people spend to defend themselves.  If someone threatens to sue for X dollars, and it costs me Y to defend myself, and X < Y, people often surrender, even if they know they will likely win.  The EFF is making a statement here and saying that if you pull this kind of shit, the EFF is going to make Y = 0.  If people know that walking down this path might bring the wrath of a legal gorilla down on your head, they will be less willing to walk this path.

      Second, this is WELL within the EFFs charter and a popular issue.  It doesn't hurt to remind the geeks that the EFF is there to defend there asses and that they should cough up some cash on occasion to keep the gorilla in their corner well fed.  I know that this little incident reminded me why I love the EFF and reminded me that I have not donated in a while.  They are getting a big fat check from me over this intervention from me.  I imagine I am not the only person who was reminded to a sizable chunk of change into the collection jar.

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