The Oatmeal Fights (Alleged) Legal Troll

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]



    64 minutes I believe Inman said, it took for people to give him $20,000. Good lord.

    As I said on Twitter this morning: INTERNET.

      Wow mate that is PROFOUND. I'm sure people are scrambling to follow your twitter feed.

        Matthew K is a very important member of the global community, I'm sure he has hundreds of thousands of followers.

          It's funny because obviously the odds of that are unlikely, so you are using sarcasm to remind me that by expecting any importance to be placed on my twitter ramblings I clearly have an inflated sense of self-worth. There is no doubt that I needed to be shown the folly of my ways, and your surgical strike against my ego several hours after the fact was exactly what was needed to ensure I properly understood my place.

          Between the two of you, you have achieved comedy perfection. I feel honoured to have been a part of it.

            Better twitter that quick.

    I contributed. The joy his work has given me over the years, it's the least i could do. Go team internet!

    Cheque, in Australia it is cheque not check

      In 21ST century Australia, it's both.

        Apologies for the lack of double chequing on the check question, folks (puns!). Fixed now.

        @ Just This Guy, it may be in YOUR 21st century, but to those who appreciate English as a language, it is not.

          I was the word 'cause (the shorted form of because) published in a newspaper. You've got to accept that English is an evolving language.

        In 21st century Australia I'm fairly sure the national language is still English.

          Depends on which pub you go to at what time. At 1am on a Saturday morning, everyone I know devolves into speaking fluent drunkenese.

    "3. I’m going to mail you that photo, along with this drawing of your mom [sic] seducing a Kodiak bear"

    I don't understand the "[sic]" in that line. Inman is american, so there's nothing wrong with using "mom", and as Drew about pointed out the author of this Gizmodo article is american (hence the use of "check" rather than "cheque") and so shouldn't have had a problem with "mom" anyway.

      The author of this Giz article is actually English by birth, but he now lives in Australia and sits at a desk in Sydney as the editor of Gizmodo Australia! The more you know.

        Caw Blimey, Luke! Ok ok, I'll quite with the grammar analysis :)

          Don't come the raw prawn with me! ;)

    Funny how quickly the links he listed on that response to the lawyer became 'content was not found'

    As a long time fan of The Oatmeal I could not resist donating. Go Internets!!!

    had just finished reading through all the related articles on The Oatmeal, new favourite news story

    Funnyjunk content is user contributed. Blaming them for the content being posted is like blaming Youtube for copyrighted content. However, how Funnyjunk handled the issue was ridiculous. They should just delete the content and be done with it.

      The issue is that you are supposed to be able to have the content removed if it's your content. There are measures to report copyright violations such as this built into the website. However, the funnyjunk owner/administrators simply can't be bothered removing the content despite repeated requests, failing to fulfil their self-imposed obligations and receiving advertising revenue for hosting The Oatmeal content, which itself is available free, online, on Inman's own site.

      Inman decided to let it go - then they decided to threaten him with a completely nonsense lawsuit, making several incorrect and/or false allegations.

    Donations are over $100,000 now!!! :oD God I love how the internet works!!!

      It's a series of tubes, apparently.

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