Just when you thought the FunnyJunk vs. Oatmeal saga couldn't get more absurd, it goes and does just that.
When last we left off, attorney Charles Carreon, who represents social aggregation website FunnyJunk.com in their battle against The Oatmeal cartoonist Matthew Inman, was expressing shock and awe at being inundated with criticism over his letter to Inman demanding 20 grand in exchange for not being sued.
Rather than take a moment to reflect on the possibility that he may have made a mistake, Carreon instead decided to charge full speed ahead and file a lawsuit against Inman on his own behalf.
According to Courthouse News Service (by way of Popehat and Lowering the Bar), Carreon is suing Inman, the fundraising website Indiegogo, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Cancer Society (along with additional unnamed defendants) for "trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism."
What the hell? Ken at Popehat summarizes the CNS report:
Inman launched a Bear Love campaign, which purports to raise money for defendant charitable organizations, but was really designed to revile plaintiff and his client, Funnyjunk.com, and to initiate a campaign of "trolling" and cybervandalism against them, which has caused people to hack Inman's computer and falsely impersonate him. The campaign included obscenities, an obscene comics and a false accusation that FunnyJunk 'stole a bunch of my comics and hosted them.'
Both Ken and Lowering the Bar's Kevin Underhill have offered to provide their legal services pro bono to the defendants should they by needed. However, as Unherhill points out, Carreon has no case against Inman, "partly because the First Amendment protects speech-even speech that advocates violence-unless it is 'intended to create, and likely to create, a clear and present danger of imminent lawless action.'"
That being said, harassing Carreon personally is likely against the law, so Underhill advises against doing that. He suggests that those who want to help do so by donating to to the charities involved either directly or through Indiegogo.
As for Carreon, the once-celebrated "Sex.com litigator" may have tarnished his "white hat lawyer" reputation for good, particularly after Inman's lawyer, Venkat Balasubramani, calmly pointed out to Carreon that he was clearly on the wrong side of justice.
UPDATE: Matthew Inman responds to Charles Carreon: "My advice: take a few weeks off, stop saying crazy shit to journalists, and come back when you've calmed down."
[image via The Oatmeal]