Carreon v. Inman

EFF joined with attorney Venkat Balasubramani of the law firm Focal PLLC to represent The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman in a bizarre lawsuit targeting the online comic strip's fundraising campaign in support of the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.

Inman started his campaign last month as part of his response to a legal threat letter he received from the website FunnyJunk.  In 2011, Inman published a blogpost condemning FunnyJunk for posting hundreds of his comics without crediting or linking back to The Oatmeal.  A year later, Carreon – the attorney for FunnyJunk – served Inman with a letter claiming the post was defamatory and demanding The Oatmeal pay $20,000 and agree to never speak the words Funny Junk again.

Inman crafted a humorous and creative response, publicly annotating the cease and desist letter with a scathing critique of its facts and logic. He could have stopped there, but he also tried to make some good come of the situation. Instead of paying the baseless demand, Inman decided instead to ask people to give money to Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad.

The Internets stood up and cheered, the campaign on Indiegogo met its initial goal of $20,000 in 64 minutes, and over $100,000 in the first day.  Incensed, Carreon demanded that Indiegogo put a stop to the campaign, but the crowdsourcing website refused to halt the fundraiser.  So Carreon filed suit - against Inman, Indiegogo, the two charities and later, for good measure, the California Attorney General. Nevertheless, the campaign continued, raising over $200,000 for NWF and ACS.

On June 30, 2012, Carreon filed for a Temporary Restraining Order in an attempt to try to derail the fundraising, and Indiegogo and Inman responded with opposition briefs on July 1, explaining in detail why Carreon was wrong on the facts and the law.  On July 3, 2012, Carreon voluntarily withdrew his frivilous lawsuit. 

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