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. The law does not permit this.
A TRO would only cause undue delay. Carreon claims he needs to take control and put the money in a charitable trust for the charities. Yet all his gamesmanship would do is delay the money for the charities – much of which has already been sent. There simply is no basis for the court to get involved.