Matthew Inman is the writer of a unique webcomic called, the Oatmeal. He was having a great time creating content for his comics when he began to notice them appearing in various places on the web without his permission. One of those sites was FunnyJunk.Com.
Since he wasn’t being credited in any of the posts he looked at, he contacted the site administrator and asked that the images be removed. Of course, he got no response. After months and months of being ignored, he began to notice even more of his work being stolen with no mention of him as the creator whatsoever.
Finally, in the middle of last year, he took action and published the following blog post:
Here’s how FunnyJunk.com’s business operates:
1). Gather funny pictures from around the internet
2). Host them on FunnyJunk.com
3). Slather them in advertising
4). If someone claims copyright infringement, throw your hands up in the air and exclaim “It was our users who uploaded your photos! We had nothing to do with it! We’re innocent!”
5). Cash six figure advertising checks from other artist’s stolen material
I first contacted them about a year ago after I found a handful of my comics uploaded on their site with no credit or link back to me. They took down the offending images, but since then they’ve practically stolen my entire website and mirrored it on FunnyJunk:
After quite a bit of hubbub stemming from the conflict with FunnyJunk.Com and their fans, the site’s administrators finally agreed to remove all of Inman’s work. He considered it a victory, more or less, despite his not wanting to be a watchdog for copyright infringement. He though the matter was closed.
More recently, Inman received a letter form an attorney claiming to represent FunnyJunk, who was suing him for Defamation, and demanding $20,000. ARS Technica featured the letter in their coverage of the story. Take a look at what this guy wrote:
Naturally, this really pissed Inman off. He immediately rendered this drawing (featured as the lead image) of the lawyer’s mother trying to solicit sex from a poor brown bear. While contemplating how to get the picture into the hands of the attorney, he came up with a great idea. He would raise the $20,000, take a picture of it, give it to charity, then deliver the image and the photo to the lawyer’s doorstep.
This spawned operation, “BearLove Good. Cancer Bad“. The slogan he used, “I’m trying to raise $20k to donate half to the National Wildlife Federation (for the bears), and half to the American Cancer Society (because cancer is shitty)”. He raised the $20,000 in just over an hour and went on to raise $100,000 for the charities in two weeks.
A job well done for sure. I can’t believe FunnyJunk even had the audacity to hire someone to write that letter. Lawyers can be shameless, but it sounds like the people administering FunnyJunk are worse. Regardless of where you stand on the copyright issue, it’s a great story that ended up benefiting cancer research and the Wildlife Federation. Good deal.