The Oatmeal Vs. FunnyJunk: An Object Lesson In How to Deal with Litigious Internet Trolls

It's a well-established fact that there is negative love lost between Matthew Inman, creator of popular webcomic The Oatmeal, and the social aggregation site FunnyJunk.

But the animosity has so far been relegated to a solitary blog post critical of FunnyJunk's business model, which mostly involves scraping comics off Inman's website, removing his watermark, and offering no proper attribution or linkback.

Yesterday, FunnyJunk decided to take the rivalry to next level, issuing a formal cease and desist letter threatening a lawsuit against Inman if he didn't immediately remove all "false statements about FunnyJunk from TheOatmeal.com" — namely the ones that describe how FunnyJunk steals his work and manually photoshops out his credit.

In addition, FunnyJunk demanded Inman hand over "a check in the amount of $20,000" in a prompt manner to prevent the site from moving forward with the suit.

Inman did neither.

Instead, he responded by posting a massive list of links pointing to still-standing examples of FunnyJunk's copyright infringement (which the site has since scrubbed), and announced his intention to raise $20,000 for a "defense fund" which he will then donate to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society (after mailing FunnyJunk a photo of the raised money along with a drawing "of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear").

The fund raised $20,000 in 64 minutes.

Then it raised another $20,000. And another. In fact, as of this moment, "Operation BearLove Good Cancer Bad" has received nearly $100,000 in donated dollars — surpassing its goal by $80,000 with 15 days remaining.

"FunnyJunk," Inman concluded, "I don't want to write retorts like this anymore. I don't want to spend the next year tied up in legal bullshit with you. I just want to make comics. Consider this my philanthropic, kind-spirited way of saying fuck off."

[image via The Oatmeal]