According to a statement released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, attorney Charles Carreon has filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal regarding the lawsuit he filed against The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. In the events leading up to the original filing of the lawsuit, Carreon sent a letter demanding that Inman remove a page on The Oatmeal site that detailed how FunnyJunk makes money when The Oatmeal webcomics are posted on the Funnyjunk site. Carreon’s main issue with the page detailing Funnyjunk’s business model is that the link appeared on the first page of a Google search result for Funnyjunk, thus demeaning the site’s reputation.
In the letter dated June 2, 2012, Carreon demanded all mentions of Funnyjunk be removed from The Oatmeal and that Inman sent Funnyjunk a check for $20,000 for soiling the site’s reputation. Inman mercilessly responded to the bizarre legal threat of a defamation suit by posting the original letter on The Oatmeal and making fun of Carreon’s claims.
Inman also responded by stating that he was launching an IndieGoGo campaign to raise the $20,000 in donations, but indicated that the money would be split equally between the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society instead of sent to Funnyjunk. Inman added that he was going to take a picture of all the money along with a crude illustration of Funnyjunk’s mother attempting to “seduce a Kodiak bear” for sending the original threat of a defamation lawsuit.
Noted by Forbes on June 14, Carreon claimed that Inman “instigated security attacks” on his personal site. Escalating the legal frivolousness, Carreon sued Inman, IndieGoGo, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society on June 15. The lawsuit claimed that Inman’s charitable efforts were actually designed to defame Funnyjunk as well as Carreon in addition to inciting cyber-vandalism.
Inman responded with a letter to Carreon attempting to convince Carreon that the reason the public turned against him was the inherently immoral act of going after the two charitable organizations mentioned in the lawsuit. Inman also attempted to encourage his fans to donate to the fundraiser rather than harass Carreon.
After the IndieGoGo campaign closed, Inman raised approximately $220,000 which left him with about $204,000 after IndieGoGo’s percentage in addition to credit card fees. IndieGoGo distributed the portion of the contribution added by credit cards (about $95,000) directly to the charities and Inman divided the remainder into two $54,000 checks, one for each charity.
However, Carreon attempted to get a temporary restraining order to halt the distribution of the money claiming that Inman would get a giant tax write-off this year and that Inman was a “commercial fundraiser” according to California law. At this point, even Carreon’s hometown newspaper was rooting against him.
As of July 3, the lawsuit against Inman, IndieGoGo, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society has been dropped, but Carreon reserves the right to refile the suit at any time. In an odd interview with Ars Technica, Carreon stated “Mission Accomplished” about the entire ordeal. Inman has yet to release a statement about the dismissal of the lawsuit, but could potentially bring a lawsuit against Carreon for compensation of attorney costs and other legal fees.
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