You know, eventually, lawyers are going to learn that people aren’t scared of them, and that if you make threatening noises in their direction, especially if you mess with someone who can summon a lynch mob at will, they’re going to roast you like a weenie over a fire.
First, some context: About a year ago, Matthew Inman, owner of The Oatmeal, accused FunnyJunk.com of stealing his comics. The owner of the site, in response, tried to whip up a lynch mob from users on his site, in the process betraying a misunderstanding of how cease-and-desist letters, not to mention the overall law of the land, actually works.
As you might guess, this will become relevant later. Anyway, the whole thing calmed down, as Internet pissing matches tend to do, and Inman, not unreasonably, saw the issue as over and done with.
Recently, however, Inman was contacted by a lawyer and told he could either pay $20,000 in damages for saying FunnyJunk mirrors his comics and collects advertising revenue on them without paying him, or face a lawsuit filed in federal court.
Careful reading brings up what this lawsuit is really about: FunnyJunk is trying to erase the second Google result for its site, which is Inman complaining about its business model. Either way, they still want $20,000, although how, precisely, these damages have been calculated is anybody’s guess. It’s certainly not mentioned in the letter Inman posted.
Inman’s response has been to raise $20,000 from his fans give half to the National Wildlife Federation, and half to the American Cancer Society. So far, he’s raised nearly $100,000.
Hopefully, FunnyJunk gets the point, eats the cost of hiring a lawyer, and packs up shop. Because, really, guys, you don’t want to anger the Internet more than you already have.
(Image courtesy and copyright The Oatmeal, to promote his charitable works)