Raising money to build a Tesla museum

The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman -- who raised a small fortune for charity from readers who were offended by a groundless legal threat penned by Charles Carreon at the behest of the website Funnyjunk -- has kicked off a new fundraiser. This time, he's asking his fans to donate money towards buying the site of Nicola Tesla's lab and building a national Tesla museum on it. The charity is the beneficiary of the fundraiser needs $850,000 to buy the site, and millions more for the museum (though this might come from corporate grants -- Inman suggests that Westinghouse and GE would be good sponsors, since the former was founded by the man who was Tesla's original patron and the latter was founded by his archnemesis).

Help me raise money to buy Nikola Tesla's old laboratory - The Oatmeal (Thanks to everyone who suggested this!) Read the rest

Oatmeal Spells F U in Money Shots

I am kneeling on a sun-dappled hardwood floor with stacks of $20 bills in $2,000 bundles in each hand helping to spell out the word "douchebaggery," and thinking: $220,000 just doesn't seem like that much money. I found myself in this position after asking Matthew Inman, the artist behind the cartoon and business The Oatmeal, if I could take pictures when he withdrew the cash he will ultimately hand over to the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation in order to use it to make fun of a Web site that threatened him with legal action.

This is the latest episode in a saga that BoingBoing has documented in quite some detail, and which began June 11, when Inman posted an annotated version of a letter he had received from Charles Carreon, a well-known attorney representing FunnyJunk, a user-submitted content site, complaining about a post Inman had made a year ago. Inman complained in 2011 about FunnyJunk's business model, noting, "Most of the comics they've stolen [have] no credit or link back to me. Even with proper attribution, no one clicks through and FunnyJunk still earns a huge pile of cash from all the ad revenue." It's a common problem with sites that rely on submitted items, and each site has different policies on how to manage such unauthorized postings. Inman didn't issue DMCA takedown notices, though he would have been within his rights. He says he's just not interested in engaging in that sort of behavior. Read the rest

Charles Carreon: "Mission accomplished"

Hours ago, Rob brought you the news that Charles Carreon had voluntarily dismissed his dumbass lawsuit against webcomic The Oatmeal, its creator Matthew Inman, and the charities he'd nominated to receive more than $220,000 sent by people who thought that Carreon (and his client, FunnyJunk) were full of lima beans, the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.

At the time, Rob asked, "What will the new dawn bring?"

The answer is here: Charles Carreon has told Ars Technica that he was the victor in the lawsuit, using the phrase "Mission accomplished" (seemingly without irony).

Ken at Popehat notes that Carreon's withdrawal is not binding -- he could drag Inman and co back into court at any time and that he might still sue for "fees" (that is, the money he charged himself for acting as his own lawyer) Ken clarifies: Inman could sue Carreon for fees. Ken thinks that Carreon will be back. There's also a weird, possibly (almost certainly) bogus lawsuit filed against Carreon by Inman, or someone pretending to be him. Wow.

Back to Carreon, who told Ars's Megan Geuss,

But if the defendants pursued attorney's fees, the attention might be worth it for Charles Carreon. After asking for comment on his voluntary dismissal of charges, Carreon lilted over the phone, "I'm famous, I'm notorious." Which, from the looks of it, is exactly what he wants.

Carreon claims victory, drops his lawsuit against The Oatmeal et al. Read the rest

Charles Carreon drops lawsuit against The Oatmeal

The EFF reports that Charles Carreon has withdrawn his mad lawsuit against Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal.

Attorney Charles Carreon dropped his bizarre lawsuit against The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman today, ending his strange legal campaign against Inman's humorous and creative public criticism of a frivolous cease and desist letter that Carreon wrote on behalf of his client Funny Junk.

To recap briefly: website FunnyJunk hosted many unauthorized copies of Inman's work. Inman mocked it. FunnyJunk threatened to sue him for mocking it. Inman mocked it again and established a wildly successful charity drive to lampoon FunnyJunk and fight cancer. Carreon soiled his legal drawers and dragged Inman, the charities, anonymous critics, and the entire Internet's attention into a demented knot of litigation. Now this. What will the new dawn bring?

Update: Charles Carreon: "Mission accomplished" Read the rest

Political cartoonist angry

Cartoonist Donna Barstow often broaches political themes.

Paging Charles Carreon! Someone on the internet wants money from mocking critics, but may need a hand with the legal not-so-niceties.

Slate cartoonist Donna Barstow railed on Monday at online forum Something Awful, whose denizens often repost her work and subject it to withering ridicule. Though one of many artists to find their work attacked online, Barstow is fighting back, demanding payment and accusing the site of copyright infringement. Read the rest

EFF weighs in on Charles Carreon's latest dumb stunt

The Electronic Frontier Foundation have posted commentary on the latest bizarre move from Charles Carreon, the lawyer who sent a ridiculous legal threat to webcomic The Oatmeal on behalf of the website Funnyjunk, and has been digging himself deeper ever since. EFF is defending The Oatmeal.

The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman raised over $200,000 for charity using the website IndieGoGo, with the promise that he would photograph himself standing astride the money and send it (along with a cartoon depicting the mother of FunnyJunk's owner trying to seduce a bear) to Carreon to pass on to his client. Now Carreon is attempting to get a court injunction to prevent the funds from being disbursed to charity.

Carreon's claim runs contrary to the Constitution. As Carreon is well aware, freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our legal system. Carreon wants the court to shut down Inman's speech: a comic response to the letter. Sorry, Charlie, the First Amendment protects Inman's right to challenge your legal threat.

Carreon is wrong on the law. Carreon based his claim on the notion that Inman, a full-time webcomic artist based in Seattle, violated false advertising law because he was allegedly required to register with the California Attorney General as a professional fundraiser. No, Inman is not a commercial fundraiser and not required to register, and he certainly did not falsely advertise to anyone that he was registered.

Ten bucks may help bears and fight cancer, but it doesn't give Carreon control of the funds. The night before Carreon filed suit, he donated $10 to Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad, claiming this gave him standing to stop the distributiuon of the money, and keep Inman from taking the photo of cash.

Read the rest

Funnyjunk's lawyer asks judge to stop charitable donation through IndieGoGo by The Oatmeal

Charles Carreon, the lawyer whose baseless legal threats against webcomic The Oatmeal made him an Internet laughingstock, is now seeking an injunction ordering IndieGoGo not to disburse the more than $220,000 donated by Oatmeal fans to a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Foundation that was started to mock Carreon and his client, Funnyjunk. The crude editorial cartoon below appears on Carreon's site.

“If IndieGoGo pays Inman the money in the Charitable Fund, and Inman personally donates the money to NWF and ACS, he will be unjustly enriched by receiving a large tax write-off that should properly be allocated pro-rata to the 14,406 small donors who contributed to the Charitable Fund,” Carreon writes. “Pilfering very small amounts of money from very large numbers of people is a stock mechanism for conducting computer and Internet fraud. Preventing Inman from exploiting the giving public in such a fashion is in the public interest.”

FunnyJunk lawyer aims to halt distribution of "BearLove" money Read the rest

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 Read the rest

How stupid is Charles Carreon's lawsuit against The Oatmeal, IndieGoGo, the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation? Really, really stupid

Regular readers of Boing Boing will know that Charles Carreon is a lawyer hired by the humor-aggregating website FunnyJunk to send a letter to the webcomic The Oatmeal, demanding $20,000 and threatening a defamation suit (over The Oatmeal's year-old post about FunnyJunk's unauthorized use of his comics, and their bad behavior when this was pointed out to them) unless payment was made.

You will also know that Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, responded with a funny, insulting letter to FunnyJunk and Carreon, and a vow to raise $20,000 for charity, and to remit a photo of Inman standing with the money, along with a comic depicting FunnyJunk's owner's mother trying to seduce a bear in lieu of payment.

You will also know that Carreon proceeded to provoke Internet-wide outrage by threatening to have the fundraiser (which was hugely successful, to the tune of over $200K) shut down, along with IndieGoGo, the site on which it was hosted. And that he made good on that threat by filing suit against Inman, the Oatmeal, IndieGogo, the American Cancer Society, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Now, Ken at Popehat, a former US federal prosecutor, has obtained a copy of the complaint, and has made a detailed analysis of it. From his reading, it appears that Carreon has made a number of really dumb errors (besides the obvious dumb error of picking a fight with the whole Internet). In his usual entertaining fashion, Ken gives us the details, at some length (amazingly, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as Ken is apparently withholding the really juicy stuff for use in the courtroom). Read the rest

Oatmeal to Charles Carreon: calm down before you get yourself into trouble

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal has written an open letter to Charles Carreon, the lawyer who threatened to sue him on behalf of FunnyJunk, and has since sued him, online fundraising site IndieGoGo, the American Cancer Society, and the National Wildlife Federation. Inman advises Carreon to take a deep breath and count to ten.

So when did this transform from Oatmeal VS FunnyJunk to Carreon VS the internet? I'm going to take a wild shot in the dark here and guess that it's when you announced to a journalist at MSNBC that you were trying to shut down a charity fundraiser which would benefit cancer victims and endangered wildlife. THAT was the moment when the tide of public opinion focused on you instead of FunnyJunk. I never encouraged anyone to attack, harass, or otherwise contact you. In fact in my original letter I blurred out your contact information and I linked to your Wikipedia page instead of your website. If I've directed energy anywhere it's been to the fundraiser page.

And to anyone else who is reading this: it goes without saying, but stop harassing Carreon. Be lawful and civil in your interactions with him. If you want to help, go donate.

You're upset, I get it. My original response to the FunnyJunk letter was probably humiliating, and following your comments, I gather that you allegedly received a slew of nasty emails and phone calls. People who are upset often say and do very stupid things, and perhaps that's why you told the journalist at MSNBC you were attempting to shut down my fundraiser.

Read the rest

FunnyJunk's lawyer sues American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Federation

Charles Carreon, the lawyer who sent a legal threat to The Oatmeal on behalf of FunnyJunk (FunnyJunk was upset that The Oatmeal had complained about the undisputed fact that its users routinely post Oatmeal comics to the site and threatened a libel suit unless they got $20,000 from The Oatmeal), has made good on his threat to comb the statute books until he could find something to sue Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman over.

But Mr Carreon has gone much, much farther. He has not only named Inman to the suit, but is also suing IndieGoGo (Inman launched an IndieGoGo fundraiser for a cancer charity and the National Wildlife Federation, and raised over $100,000 for them, with a promise that he would photograph himself standing astride the money and send it as a taunt to Carreon prior to remitting it to the charity). He is also suing the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

Ken at Popehat and Kevin from Lowering the Bar are offering pro bono counsel to the defendants in the suit, and looking for other First Amendment attorneys to volunteer their time to fight Carreon's lawsuit. Here's Ken's summary of the Courthouse News Service summary of Carreon's suit:

1. The lawsuit is captioned Charles Carreon v. Matthew Inman; IndieGogo Inc.; National Wildlife Federation; American Cancer Society; and Does [Does are as-of-yet-unnamed defendants], Case No. 4:12 cv 3112 DMR.

2. Charles Carreon appears as "attorney pro se," meaning "I am attorney but am representing only myself" and "I will continue to wreak havoc until forcibly medicated."


Read the rest

FunnyJunk's lawyer vows revenge on The Oatmeal and Matthew Inman

Charles Carreon, the lawyer whose threat-letter to The Oatmeal comics creator Matthew Inman ended with he and his client being ridiculed far and wide, and a small fortune being raised by Inman for charity, continues to demonstrate a fundamental lack of good sense and understanding of Internet dynamics. In an interview with Forbes, he threatens to comb through California's statute book until he finds something he can use to ruin Inman ("California code is just so long, but there’s something in there about this.")

Ken at Popehat -- a former federal prosecutor -- has some sound advice for Mr Carreon, Esq. As he points out, Carreon's proposed course of action is incredibly risky, and may result in professional censure and financial ruin:

Oh, Mr. Carreon, indeed there is. There's California's magnificent anti-SLAPP statute, under which you'll be paying the attorney fees of anyone you sue. There's California's judgment debtor exam law, under which you can be interrogated about your income and assets in preparation for garnishing your income and, if necessary, seeking liquidation of your assets to satisfy a judgment for attorney fees against you. There's California's sanctions statute, under which you can be sanctioned for bringing suit to harass or without adequate legal or factual basis.

Read them carefully. And think. Think hard. Step back from the precipice. This can get better, by you letting it go. Or it can get worse. Much, much worse.

[Note: Mr. Carreon asserts that his site was hacked. I don't know whether that is true or not.

Read the rest

FunnyJunk lawyer continues to act as his own worst enemy

Charles Carreon, the lawyer who sent a letter demanding $20,000 from The Oatmeal on behalf of FunnyJunk, is evidently his own worst enemy. First he threatens a lawsuit against Oatmeal creator Matthem Inman, claiming that Inman's complaints over Funnyjunk's users reposting material from his site constituted defamation. Yesterday, he expressed bewilderment at Inman's "tactic" of publicly making fun of his stupid legal threat. Now he's posted a notice to his site saying that he's taken down his contact information: "Due to security attacks instigated by Matt Inman, this function has been temporarily disabled."

I have seen no evidence that Inman instigated any "attacks"* -- security or otherwise. If Inman didn't instigate any attacks against Carreon, this strikes me as a highly defamatory thing to publish.

Funnyjunk's Lawyer, Charles Carreon, Continues To Lash Out: Accuses Matt Inman Of 'Instigating Security Attacks'

*Also, getting nasty emails is an "attack," but not a "security attack." Read the rest

FunnyJunk's bewildered lawyer: "I'm completely unfamiliar really with this style of responding to a legal threat"

The Internet's head exploded yesterday at the news that FunnyJunk had sent a $20,000 legal demand letter to The Oatmeal, asserting that the Oatmeal's complaint about FunnyJunk's users reposting Oatmeal content was, itself, an offense warranting a $20,000 settlement.

This act of monumental chutzpah ("You want ME to pay YOU $20,000 for hosting MY unlicensed comics on your shitty website for the past three years?") was matched by Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman's response: to promise to raise $20,000 for cancer charities, but before it was turned over to them, to photograph himself standing astride the pile of money and forward this photo, along with a cartoon depicting Funnyjunk's lawyer's mother trying to seduce a bear, to FunnyJunk and its counsel.

The fundraiser was a smashing success, blowing past the $100,000 mark in a day. Now, MSNBC has caught up with FunnyJunk's counsel, Charles Carreon, a storied attorney who made his reputation litigating the case. They find Carreon in a state of sheer bewilderment as he confronts the enormous storm of bad will, negative publicity, and public disapprobation he and his client find themselves amidst. As he says, "I'm completely unfamiliar really with this style of responding to a legal threat."

I'd be tempted to feel some sympathy for Carreon, save for the fact that the interview closes with this: "He also explains that he believes Inman's fundraiser to be a violation of the terms of service of IndieGoGo, the website being used to collect donations, and has sent a request to disable the fundraising campaign." It's hard to feel sympathy for someone who wants to take over $100,000 away from cancer charities because of a supposed violation of someone else's fine-print. Read the rest

FunnyJunk threatens to sue Oatmeal creator

FunnyJunk is threatening to sue Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, for $20,000 in federal court. His offense? Criticizing FunnyJunk, and making fun of it for its relentless, unauthorized monetization of his and others' work.

Inman first lampooned FunnyJunk last year, after discovering its users had scraped most of his own website; in return, he received a sneering response that exhorted FunnyJunk's fans to "contact" Inman. But the boot was soon on the other foot: The Oatmeal's comic retort was so widely linked—because it was funny—that it is now among the highest-ranking results when you search for FunnyJunk itself.

You want ME to pay YOU $20,000 for hosting MY unlicensed comics on YOUR shitty website for the past three years? No, I've got a better idea.

1. I'm going to try and raise $20,000 in donations. 2. I'm going to take a photo of the raised money. 3. I'm going to mail you that photo, along with this picture of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear. 4. I'm going to take that money and donate half of it to the National Wildlife Federation and half of it to the American Cancer Society.

To this day, Inman points out, FunnyJunk maintains a substantially complete scraping of his site. But the funniest thing about FunnyJunk is, of course, that nothing there is funnier than the Streisand Effect.

The fine gent pictured to the top right is FunnyJunk's lawyer.

The Oatmeal responds to Funnyjunk [Reddit]

Update: The Oatmeal's pretty much dead from the traffic! Read the rest

Taxonomy and history of rage-faces

On Ars Technica, Tom Connor does a great job producing a taxonomy and history of rage-faces, showing how they evolved from a set of proscribed, orthodox uses on 4chan to a wider set of uses and meanings in several online communities.

Rage faces slowly migrated from 4chan into other communities. There, they gained popularity and expanded their numbers as artists introduced new faces, and particularly humorous comics went viral in their communities. Though the faces were no longer exclusive to any single forum, they stayed true to the originals in style.

More people got involved, the cartoons mutated and evolved, and like any successful species, they adapted to fit into a wide variety of habitats. "You can trace back the origins to 4chan so you can say [the faces are 4chan's] baby, but it's evolved on such a wide scale that it's gone beyond anyone's single ownership," Swanson said. "Mostly the original faces are from 4chan, but a lot of the newer faces have come out of F7U12, or other places like FunnyJunk."

Fffuuuuuuuu: The Internet anthropologist's field guide to "rage faces" Read the rest