Today's internet achievement award goes to webcomic site The Oatmeal and its founder Matthew Inman, who received a US$20,000 legal demand from a website allegedly hosting comics illegally and turned it into a philanthropic, "f**k you" gesture that has seen over US$60,000 raised for charity.
The saga started last year when website Funnyjunk allegedly started re-hosting The Oatmeal's content for profit without permission. Letters and harsh words were exchanged before Funnyjunk took down some of the objectionable content.
Almost 12 months to the day, lawyers representing Funnyjunk noticed that The Oatmeal had said some things about them online, and demanded that the statements be retracted. Oh yeah, and Funnyjunk wanted The Oatmeal to cut it a US$20,000 damages cheque.
Inman had had enough. He decided to give Funnyjunk's legal eagle a roasting on The Oatmeal's blog, before opening a crowd sourced funding campaign for charity:
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 drawing of your mom [sic] seducing a Kodiak bear 4. I'm going to take the money and donate one half to the National Wildlife Federation and the other half to the American Cancer Society.
The Oatmeal's "Bearlove Good, Cancer Bad" campaign hit its US$20,000 funding goal in an hour, and at the time of writing, now has almost US$65,000 in donations.
The ball is in Funnyjunk's court once again.
Well played, Oatmeal! [The Oatmeal]