Jun 13, 2012

[Internet] The Oatmeal vs Funnyjunk = AWESOME

Inman's response to the lawsuit

I love The Oatmeal - the plucky and often uncouth (yet often informative) webcomic and not the breakfast option. Matthew Inman, the 29 year old behind the site, rarely minces words when he deals with the idiots of the internet - and you can imagine there are a LOT of them.

His most recent battle of sorts came in the form of a threat of a lawsuit from Funnyjunk.com in response to a blog post Inman wrote last year complaining about Funnyjunk's continued hosting of his comics without attrition while generating advertising revenue. After that initial complaint there was a bit more back-and-forth name calling, but in the end Inman decided it wasn't worth the hassle of bringing to court and just left his comments online as his final word on the matter.

So instead of preparing to go to finally go to court, Inman created the afore-linked blog post and started a fund-raising campaign for the National Wildlife Foundation and the American Cancer society cleverly called BearLove Good. Cancer Bad. The initial goal was to match the $20,000 lawsuit demand in charitable donations and it has already raised over $100,000 in the first day alone.

In response, FunnyJunk's lawyer Charles Carreon has tired to get the fundraiser shut down for some inane reason and the internet continues to rally against the site.

Let's face it - FunnyJunk is a content aggregator. The Oatmeal is a content generator / creator. They are two very different beasts. It's impossible to prevent someone to post images to other sites yes, but at the very least ensure that proper attribution is made. The DMCA is a weird legal device that sort of works for big content owners like the record labels who spend all day looking for illegal copies of their content online but not so well for smaller folks who don't have legal armies at their beck and call.

We need to develop a middle ground solution that protects free speech, allows for content aggregation and distribution while still giving credit where credit is due. Going in the extreme in any of these directions just won't work. Doing nothing won't help either.

But in the mean time, it will be interesting to see how far FunnyJunk is going to fall given the continued support being rallied in defense of The Oatmeal.

And yes, that includes this blog post.

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