FunnyJunk lawyer doubles down on Oatmeal Operation Bear Love
Sues creator, charities, and hosting company
FunkyJunk lawyer Charles Carreon has filed his own personal suit against Matthew Inman, creator of the popular internet cartoon site The Oatmeal and the charities Inman is raising money for, after the abuse Carreon received since filing FunnyJunk's claim.
Acting on behalf of his clients at humor website FunnyJunk Carreon served The Oatmeal with a takedown notice last week – a full year after Inman wrote a blog post claiming FunnyJunk stole his and other sites' material. Carreon claimed Inman's post was false and demanded $20,000 in compensation for his clients.
Inman retaliated by publishing the letter with (sometimes obscene) annotations, and said that instead he would raise $20,000, photograph it, and then send the complainants the picture of the money – along with a cartoon of Carreon's mother seducing a Kodiak bear – and give any funds to the National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society. "Operation Bear Love Good. Cancer Bad" has since raised over $180,000 on the Indigogo funding system.
While Inman was careful to block out Carreon's email and address details, this proved little impediment to the trolls since Carreon has his own website and Wikipedia page, and is well known for his legal work on the Sex.com case. He has been subjected to a barrage of abuse by email and Twitter, and has now filed a personal legal action against Inman over the issue, separate from FunnyJunk's action.
"The Bear Love campaign was launched to revile Inman's legal adversaries, Plaintiff and his client," his filing reads, "and initiate a campaign of trolling and cybervandalism against them which has borne abundant toxic results, including criminal misconduct by Inman's internet followers in the form of repeated events of computer hacking."
The filing asks for action against Inman personally, claiming that he incited someone to set up a fake Twitter account @charles_carreon to post insulting content, published his email address, and is indirectly responsible for attempts to take down Carreon's corporate website. He reported at least one such cracking case of someone requesting to change the site's password.
Carreon is also asking for action against Indigogo, who he claims is in breach of California charity laws, and against the charities involved for not ensuring that campaigns to raise money in their name are conducted in a suitable manner.
"As the largest crowdfunding platform operating in nearly 200 countries Indiegogo exists to provide crowdfunding opportunities worldwide, and a frivolous lawsuit doesn't change Indiegogo's commitment to this creative and popular campaign," the fundraising site told El Reg.
This might seem like a classic case of the Streisand effect, but Carreon's no dummy. The National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society aren't going to like the attention and may give Inman some grief over the case. Meanwhile, any further trolling just keeps the damages counter ticking upwards.
As El Reg pointed out, Inman could have used the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to sort this out at the time, and Carreon's legal filing notes this. As a result, there are a slew of legal cases and someone's going to end up out of pocket. ®