back to article FunnyJunk lawyer doubles down on Oatmeal Operation Bear Love

FunkyJunk lawyer Charles Carreon has filed his own personal suit against Matthew Inman, creator of the popular internet cartoon site The Oatmeal and the charities Inman is raising money for, after the abuse Carreon received since filing FunnyJunk's claim. Acting on behalf of his clients at humor website FunnyJunk Carreon …

COMMENTS

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  1. Chad H.

    Streisand effect

    I think we've gone beyond the Streisand effect now. We're now in Don Quixote territory.

    1. g e

      Re: Streisand effect

      Yep, I think we're deeply in the realm of the Complete Fuckwit Effect

  2. oldredlion
    Facepalm

    Carreon's mother...

    if you go to the oatmeal and have a look, it was aimed at the funnyjunk owners mum rather than Carreon.

    The law-talking guy has fallen at the first hurdle, methinks.

    linky for the hard of googling: http://theoatmeal.com/blog/funnyjunk_letter

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Carreon's mother...

      Forget his mother, I am agonised by the continued inclusion of that poor bear, an innocent bystander who has wronged no one, in this one-man extreme douchebaggery contest...

  3. Edlem
    Stop

    Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

    Not quite sure why El Reg has been so sneery about this one. For a couple of good articles on just why this case is unlikely to hurt anyone other than Carreon, I'd suggest checking either Lowering the Bar or Pope Hat:

    http://www.popehat.com/2012/06/17/the-oatmeal-v-funnyjunk-part-iv-charles-carreon-sues-everybody/

    http://www.loweringthebar.net/2012/06/carreon-v-the-oatmeal.html

    1. Zombie Womble

      Re: Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

      Excellent articles on both those sites, completely at odds with the tacit support for copyright infringement and legal trolling I've seen on el-reg.

      1. AnonymousNow

        Re: Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

        Indeed, el Reg's apparent editorial stance is now to predict what the people buying ads here want to read as content and then producing that content.

        Fortunately, Wired, which used to be a toy catalog for yuppies, has awoken from its slumber and started writing real content. Likewise, ARS Tech. is becoming a real editorial force on its own.

        1. AdamWill

          Re: Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

          add The Verge to the roll call of surprisingly good, and principled, tech journalism. Good call on Ars, too. Ryan Paul is a gem among journalists...

          1. Andrew 25

            Re: Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

            Thanks for the suggestions, I've had enough of this bias and voting with my feet. Good bye El Reg, you used to be good

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

      Ken @ Popehat is a First Amendment hero and rather funny at the same time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Disappointing coverage from El Reg so far.

      Oh yeah?!

      Wait till they put Count And/Or Trollmaster Extraordinary on to this story..

      .

  4. perlcat
    Facepalm

    Funny Junk's lawyer lacks sense of humour.

    What a douche. The harder he tries to fling crap, the more he gets on himself. I just love it when Karma strikes.

    1. Armando 123
      Joke

      Re: Funny Junk's lawyer lacks sense of humour.

      A lawyer lacks a sense of humor? The heck you say! Next you'll claim sharks can be aggressive or politicians selfish!

  5. Sly
    Trollface

    ... and world+dog just shake their head

    then laugh at both parties for the humor (Oatmeal) and the lack there of (FunnyJunk).

  6. Phil Bennett
    Thumb Down

    Really, el reg?

    As many people pointed out on the previous article, eg replies to http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/06/12/inman_dmca_dumb/#c_143920 , the DMCA isn't applicable to sites outside the US.

    Despite that, and the inherent ridiculousness of Charles Carreon's behaviour, you seem to be supporting him in this article. Seriously, the man is suing two charities (who will no doubt have to spend money defending against this asshat) because a random person on the internet has said they're going to donate them money, and your response is "Carreon's no dummy"?

    1. Ben Tasker
      Thumb Up

      Re: Really, el reg?

      <----- An upvote just didn't seem enough

      I wasn't overly surprised when AO tried to turn it against the Oatmeal, but a second article from someone else is concerning. Methinks he's made the mistake of taking the AO article as gospel?

      That the guy is suing TO isn't overly surprising (though his claims are.... somewhat far fetched), but to sue the charities??

      As someone pointed out earlier in the comments, I thought the Kodiak bear was aimed at FJ and not the lawyer?

    2. sabba
      Childcatcher

      Re: Really, el reg?

      Unfortunately (sic!) the Reg is right. This guy is an asshole but he's certainly no dummy. Getting the fund recipients to apply leverage on his actual target: brilliant!! Not exactly ethical but since when has that been an issue for lawyers.

      The child-catcher - just because it feels right!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really, el reg?

      I'm with you and the fundraisers on this one but if this was in the UK and the new libel reforms comes through... Carreon would probably have an advantage. All a bit ironic how we Brits seems to support this act of vigilante cyber bullying yet we want a libel reform to ensure we can sue the vigilanties in such a case easier.

  7. Jim Carter
    Coat

    Oh dear...

    What a carre-on...

  8. Notas Badoff
    Unhappy

    Double trouble

    "As El Reg pointed out, Inman could have used the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to sort this out at the time, and Carreon's legal filing notes this. As a result, there are a slew of legal cases and someone's going to end up out of pocket."

    You're right, he could have DMCA'd. But instead he commented. A year ago. Is El Reg saying that "As a result" he _should_ get sued?

    Doubling down here too?

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: Double trouble

      As El Reg pointed out, Inman could have used the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to sort this out at the time, and Carreon's legal filing notes this.

      s/'pointed out'/'pointed out (inaccurately)/g

      You're right, he could have DMCA'd. But instead he commented. A year ago. Is El Reg saying that "As a result" he _should_ get sued?

      Kind of worrying really! Especially considering FJ as a whole (whether you blame the admin or the users) was in the wrong.

      Still, suing charities isn't going to make the lawyer too popular, he may be doing his reputation more harm than anything he's claiming.

      Is there a law against inciting computer crimes anyway? Just curious.

    2. Brendan Sullivan
      Flame

      Re: Double trouble

      Unfortunately for FunnyJunk and Carreon the claims of DMCA safe harbor protections may not be upheld if it were to go to court since it seems that they may not be in compliance with the DMCA's requirements for those protections (see The Oatmeal's lawyer's response to the initial demands from Carreon and FJ http://www.scribd.com/doc/96850920/FunnyJunk-The-Oatmeal-Response ).

      As that letter also points out that the initial claims of defamation are rather thin and FunnyJunk is still slow to comply with takedown requests (which is all they are since DMCA Takedown Notices require an agent to be registered with the Copyright Office, which FJ does not seem to have done. (Copyright Office listing of DMCA Registered Agents here: http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/list/f_agents.html note the lack of funnyjunk.com on the list).

    3. Chad H.

      Re: Double trouble

      FunnyJunk, as Iman's lawyer seems to have researched, hasn't registered a POC with the US Copyright office, as such what route to a DMCA takedown could he follow?

    4. Steve Todd

      Re: Double trouble

      He actually addressed the DCMA issue in his original blog post. From his lawyers response :

      "His post highlighted the fact that sending a takedown notice underthe Digital Millennium Copyright Act was not likely to solve the problem, given the quantity ofcomics found on Funny Junk’s site and the fact that users constantly upload new material"

      or to quote directly : "I realize that trying to police copyright infringement on the internet is like strolling into theVietnamese jungle circa 1964 and politely asking everyone to use squirt guns."

      So Mr O, other than spending his life searching for uploaded content from his site and sending takedown requests, what exactly was he supposed to do?

  9. perlcat
    Coat

    Like the adage about self-representation goes:

    Carreon's lawyer has a damn fool for a client.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Like the adage about self-representation goes:

      And his client has an idiot for a lawyer.

  10. scarshapedstar
    Holmes

    "a full year after Inman wrote a blog post claiming FunnyJunk stole his and other sites' material"

    'Claiming'?

  11. dotdavid
    Meh

    "The National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society aren't going to like the attention and may give Inman some grief over the case"

    Well, I'm sure there are other charities that won't be so needlessly fussy.

    1. AnonymousNow

      "The National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society aren't going to like the attention and may give Inman some grief over the case"

      El Reg is now inferring that the charities were somehow used by Oatmeal to further some sort of offense or crime and they will be upset at this. In actuality, its not even controverted that Oatmeal is simply naming who he is giving money to, not the organizations that support him.

      Another bizarre position taken up by the editors at El Reg.

      But hey, if the most aggressive attorney spouts it, best to report it as truth to your readers....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's a..

    He's a soul-less bloodsucking spineless fuckwit who managed to make things much worse for his idoit of a client.

    Carreon is a good name for a lawyer like this, doncha think?

  13. MyronC

    I haven't seen so many footbullets since the Operation Xenu/Scieno days. Does this guy just not get it? Or does he get it, and just hopes he can brass through it? His suit fails on its face in that there's no smoking gun for:

    - Oatmeal encouraging hacking

    - The charities encouraging anything

    The only thing that might have some kind of result is IndieGoGo's status in California, which theoretically won't have an effect on this anyway.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Bullet | gun > foot

      I haven't seen so many footbullets since the Operation Xenu/Scieno days.

      You've missed the SCO matter? Discontent with shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly, and ultimately having to try too hard to hit anything substantial in the pedal department, they proceeded with machinegunning their knees with gay abandon, and were stopped from upgrading to a groin-pointing Gatling because their funds ran out.

      1. NB
        Happy

        Re: Bullet | gun > foot

        Sir, you have just made my morning. Have an upvote, hell, have ALL the upvotes!

  14. AnonymousNow

    "This might seem like a classic case of the Streisand effect, but Carreon's no dummy. The National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society aren't going to like the attention and may give Inman some grief over the case. Meanwhile, any further trolling just keeps the damages counter ticking upwards."

    Hmm. You mean the "phony" damages counter ticking upwards. Bet Carreon has no evidence whatsoever connecting the trolls to Inman, because there is no connection.

    Inman is not responsible for the behavior of random internet trolls, Register. That's Carreon's frivolous suggestion you have picked up. I would very much be gearing up sanctions applications against Carreon if I were litigating this, and I do think he is a dummy-- just a highly aggressive dummy begging to be dealt with properly via in-court sanctions applications and complaints to the bar.

    Carreon simply thinks that if he is over the top aggressive, everyone will fear him and he can steam roll the entire internet.

    1. Ben Tasker

      "This might seem like a classic case of the Streisand effect, but Carreon's no dummy. The National Wildlife Federation and American Cancer Society aren't going to like the attention and may give Inman some grief over the case. Meanwhile, any further trolling just keeps the damages counter ticking upwards."

      As both charities have both been offered pro bono support, I doubt they're going to give Inman much grief. I'd say it's even less likely given that the accusation is "He's raising money for you, so you must somehow be responsible for his behaviour". Clearly a ridiculous assertion. Why not sue them for the people pretending to collect on their behalf at the same time (best not give him ideas I guess).

      Could be interesting though, from what I've seen Carreon will have to pay the opposing sides legal fees if he case is found to be frivolous. Not to mention various other sanctions Californian law appears to impose against legal trolls.

  15. banjomike
    WTF?

    You cannot fart on the Internet without attracting trolls...

    ... so if you sue cartoonists, charities, donation sites and so on you are going to be reviled even if you were not originally a totally vile and loathsome person.

  16. localzuk Silver badge
    FAIL

    Editorial bias for some reason?

    Why are The Reg so obsessed with writing articles about this leaning towards supporting the lawyer and FJ here? Anyone with an ounce of brain power can see that it is a frivolous lawsuit and the most likely outcome will be it is dismissed.

    The original article was flawed on here too, as it seemed to think that the DMCA is applicable to a site outside the USA, a site which didn't have an agent correctly registered for the DMCA anyway...

    So, what gives??

    1. Jeebus

      Re: Editorial bias for some reason?

      Lewis Page is the leader of The Register, and he is a right leaning former military man. So his influence is slowly seeping in with more and more crackpots coming onto the site [see the articles about gun ownership and business only copyright and climate change denial [not skepticism, outright conspiracy lunacy] for a sad look at the decline of this place]

      1. AdamWill
        FAIL

        Re: Editorial bias for some reason?

        Good God, you're right. I was about to write back that Page was just some nutjob who showed up to write articles about expensive whizzy toys in the last year or so, then I checked http://www.theregister.co.uk/about/company/contact/ and it's up there in black and white. "Editor Lewis Page", "Executive editor Andrew Orlowski". As you say, explains rather a lot.

        Who wants to band together and found a shameless rip-off of the old Reg which _isn't_ The Inquirer? First editorial meeting at the pub in half an hour...

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Editorial bias for some reason?

          I've been a loyal reg reader since about 2002 but I have to say, with some sadness, that it's probably time to put the vulture out of it's misery.

          Name the pub, I'll get the first round in.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            Re: Editorial bias for some reason?

            Good god..... Lewis "Machinegunn" Page and Count And/Or T.E. are involved in running El Reg?????

            *Boggles*

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Really?

            You've been reading the Reg for 10 years and you haven't learned how to spell "its"?

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Fibbles

              Re: Really?

              "You've been reading the Reg for 10 years and you haven't learned how to spell "its"?"

              Just one of the wonders of predictive text I'm afraid. Since I posted at 1:50am after a pub session you should be glad I used it though.

          3. Andrew 25
            Unhappy

            Re: Editorial bias for some reason?

            "I have to say, with some sadness, that it's probably time to put the vulture out of it's misery"

            My thoughts exactly (although only been reading since about 2004), I could cope with LPs buy american rants, he sometimes had a good point to make but the AO biased attack pieces and 'protected comments' do my head in - to give those guys the keys to the cupboard really is mind boggling.

            I'm going to try the suggestions posted above. Hopefully I'll find something that is like The Register used to be.

      2. nichomach
        Unhappy

        @Jeebus - Re: Editorial bias for some reason?

        Missed that one - just goes to show that it pays to check the masthead occasionally; that explains a lot about the current decline in the quality of the output here and the increasingly prevalent right-wing corporatist cheerleading. Looks like I may have to consider heading for pastures new.

  17. Andrew Jones 2
    Thumb Down

    Dear El Reg,

    I'm not sure that words have been invented to express my disappointment in your stance on this, even more so after I pointed out on your last report on this situation how incredibly incorrect you were and how the article reeked of someone who hadn't even bothered to do the very basic research required. This article also reeks of someone who has done limited research (or none at all). I also find it interesting that you fail to of noticed that FunnyJunk don't appear to part of this latest situation or at least Charles is not acting on their behalf on this one. You have also failed to mention the rather worrying fact that Charles is representing himself and asking for full fees and costs (and anything else the court thinks he is entitled to) to be paid to him :/

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. scarshapedstar
      Trollface

      I'll invent those words

      "Bring back Lewis Page!"

  18. Mr Ian
    Thumb Down

    In an act of rage, I won't be visiting this website for a month. What utter trash this article turned out to be :(

  19. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I could start a website and steal all el-regs material

    and then sue them as well and they'd praise me for it?

    1. Ben Tasker
      Thumb Up

      Re: I could start a website and steal all el-regs material

      Just let me know when you've done it, and I'll publicly mock them for not having used the DMCA

  20. nichomach
    Trollface

    You'd have to...

    ...find some worth nicking, and there certainly isn't much in the op-eds...

  21. Chris Sake

    The smell of Stapelia

    From Popehat's saga on Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, part 3 [1], he quotes Carreon from an interview:

    He may have a very difficult time proving that Inman “instigated attacks,” as he said on his website, but he’s certain he can find some legal recourse for what’s going on right now – “California code is just so long, but there’s something in there about this,” he says.

    To this, Popehat writes:

    Oh, Mr. Carreon, indeed there is. There's California's magnificent anti-SLAPP statute, under which you'll be paying the attorney fees of anyone you sue. There's California's judgment debtor exam law, under which you can be interrogated about your income and assets in preparation for garnishing your income and, if necessary, seeking liquidation of your assets to satisfy a judgment for attorney fees against you. There's California's sanctions statute, under which you can be sanctioned for bringing suit to harass or without adequate legal or factual basis.

    He concludes with some free legal advice:

    Read them carefully. And think. Think hard. Step back from the precipice. This can get better, by you letting it go. Or it can get worse. Much, much worse.

    Links to the laws are included with his article.

    [1] http://www.popehat.com/2012/06/15/the-oatmeal-v-funnyjunk-part-iii-charles-carreons-lifetime-movie-style-dysfunctional-relationship-with-the-internet/

    PS. El Reg, please provide <blockquote> tags, as well as writing articles not geared towards your advertisers. Thank you.

  22. Armando 123
    Coat

    New movie on an old theme

    Carre-on Suing

  23. dese1ect

    ... ok.

    The Oatmeal blacked out his information in his blog, however Charles Carreon still insists The Oatmeal gave out his email. However Mr. Carreon has done exactly what he is suing over to someone else:

    http://www.ragingblog.com/2009/05/pornographers-infringe-emily-trademark-and-mattel-is-silent-how-swell-is-that/

    He also claims there is no other way to contact him, however on the above link if you click "contact" you will get his email address.

    More reading:

    http://charles-carreon.com

  24. DZ-Jay

    Wow, what a bunch of whinging trolls here.

    I, for one, respect Mr. Orlowski and Page, and appreciate their take on this subject. It's very easy to side with every other blog joint out there, but it takes some special balls to rise above the "I read it on the Internet, so it must be true" mentality.

    I like El Reg, I've been reading it for over 10 years. Some articles may be over the top, and still others may seem as just click-bait for trolls. But such it has been for ever, and it's all very much worth it for the unique point of view and quick wit, and overall most articles are indeed good.

    -dZ.

    1. Jeebus

      Neither Page nor Orlowski are witty in the slightest, nor do they offer any insight into topics, Reg used to be the Reuters of tech news sites, just give the information, none of the spin drivel that poisoned so many other sites, Tech-Crunch for example.

      Now however it's becoming more and more right wing, favouring Daily Mail-esque pandering, and selective deletions and comment filtering on their topics, having had posts refused for no reason other than disagreeing with Orlowski and presenting a rational counterpoint. He has actually suspended posting rights for others.

      1. perlcat
        Facepalm

        IDGI

        If you don't respect or like the editorial content, why are you wasting your time reading this*?

        If you don't get the same buzz out of reading El Reg that you did in happier times, then maybe you should give up the rage part of the grieving process, and move on. Websites, news providers, and blogs all change over time. If you dislike, start your own -- surely you can get enough people of like mind to read it. You aren't going to change this one by bellyaching in the forums. Vote with your feet. That usually works, except upon the most clueless of all.

        * -- I enjoy reading it because I enjoy various different points of view, and see the value in respectful dissension. Haven't noticed so much a "Right-wing" slant as I have just a refusal to march in lockstep with other news outlets, and a person that speaks their mind rather than tells you what you want to hear is much more valuable than some tool repeating what everybody else says.. If you want right-wing slant, there are places you can go to get the real thing -- and it isn't pretty. Many articles I read here, I think: "Yeah, he's got a point. Mostly fucked, but he has a point."

    2. Matt Piechota

      Thanks!

      "I, for one, respect Mr. Orlowski and Page, and appreciate their take on this subject. It's very easy to side with every other blog joint out there, but it takes some special balls to rise above the "I read it on the Internet, so it must be true" mentality."

      Thanks Mrs. Orlowski, you should come 'round for tea some time.

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