Charles Carreon Drops Bogus Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal
July 3, 2012
Suit Was Blatant Retaliation Against a Public Critic
San Francisco - Attorney Charles Carreon dropped his bizarre lawsuit against The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman today, ending his strange legal campaign against Inman's humorous and creative public criticism of a frivolous cease and desist letter that Carreon wrote on behalf of his client Funny Junk.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and co-counsel Venkat Balasubramani represented Inman in the case. While Carreon's lawsuit was purportedly about whether Inman's online fundraising campaign for the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation complies with California regulations, it was really a classic SLAPP – a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
"Matthew Inman spoke out against Carreon's threat of a frivolous lawsuit, in a very popular and very public way," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "This was nothing more than a meritless attempt to punish Inman for calling attention to his legal bullying. We called him out on this in our briefs, so it's no surprise that Carreon was left with no choice but to dismiss."
The extraordinarily public dispute between Inman and Carreon started in 2011, when Inman published a blog post condemning the website FunnyJunk for posting hundreds of his comics without crediting or linking back to The Oatmeal. A year later, Carreon – the attorney for FunnyJunk – served Inman with a letter claiming the post was defamatory and demanding The Oatmeal pay $20,000 and agree to never speak the words Funny Junk again.
Inman publicly annotated the cease and desist letter with a scathing critique of its facts and logic and posted it on The Oatmeal. Furthermore, instead of paying Carreon's baseless demand for $20,000, Inman decided instead to start a fundraising campaign called Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad through the Indiegogo fundraising platform to benefit the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation. The fundraiser's goal was $20,000, to match Carreon's demand, but the final total was over $200,000.
"Inman sparked a flood of charity donations, and yet Carreon still tried to punish him for making fun of his baseless legal threats by dragging him through the court system," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "We're very pleased that Carreon has seen that his lawsuit had no merit, and hope that this is the end of his abuse of the legal system."
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