This is what I get for thinking I could take time off to enjoy myself. I leave the internet for a week and nearly miss one of the most impressive lawsuits ever filed. And by “impressive” I mean “stupid”.
You may recall Charles Carreon as the lawyer who sent a ridiculous threat of legal action to a webcartoonist a couple of weeks ago. The situation has escalated since. (All of Popehat’s posts on this case can be found at this tag search.) Carreon has actually filed suit against:
- Matthew Inman, the cartoonist,
- indiegogo.com, the site Inman is using to collect the funds,
- the two named charities, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society, and
- up to 100 unknown people, presumably he’ll fill in the names as he discovers them.
Yes, he’s really suing the charities. He doesn’t actually say why in his complaint, it just trails off near the end of paragraph 6, like he couldn’t think of anything and intended to go back and add a reason later. Read the rest of this entry
So here’s a thing. In brief, a lawyer representing the FunnyJunk website sent a letter to cartoonist Matthew Inman (of the Oatmeal fame) threatening a defamation lawsuit if Inman doesn’t pay $20,000. This is in response to a blog post Inman wrote a year ago in which he pointed out that a lot of his cartoons were on FunnyJunk without attribution or a link or anything.
Inman has responded by start a charity fundraiser and scribbling an insulting cartoon. It’s pretty awesome, really.
But what gets me is how the lawyer, one Charles Carreon, is reacting. From Digital Life at MSNBC:
[Carreon] also explains that he believes Inman’s fundraiser to be a violation of the terms of service of IndieGoGo, the website being used to collect donations, and has sent a request to disable the fundraising campaign.
Fucking hell. That’s what you want to do, now that the public is watching, you want to try to shut down the charity drive? You’re supposed to be representing your client, remember? This is shooting your client and yourself in the metaphorical feet by making you both look like giant assholes. It looks like a petulant scream of “If I can’t have it no one can!” at best.
Here’s the Wikipedia page on the Streisand effect. It’s something lawyers need to take into account these days. Carreon’s actions are doing far more damage to FunnyJunk’s reputation than Inman could have possibly done, because he’s doing it with their sanction, in their name.
I’m not a lawyer myself, nor well-versed in the ways of law, but as I understand things right now it seems FJ would have a much better defamation case against their own lawyer than against the Oatmeal.