I haven’t reported on the Funnyjunk vs. The Oatmeal Internet battle because battles involving websites usually isn’t that interesting to me. That changed with the publishing of this story. Matt Inman, the man behind The Oatmeal, accused Funnyjunk of stealing material. In response Charles Carreon, Funnyjunk’s asshole (I’ll get to that in a bit) lawyer, demanded The Oatmeal pay $20,000 to compensate his client for defamation. Inman managed to raise $140,000 by crowd sourcing for funds then gave Carreon the middle finger and donated the wad of cash to charity. Now Carreon is butt hurt and apparently doesn’t understand the law:
In his 20 years as a lawyer, he says, he’s written hundreds of letters like the one he sent Inman, but the response to this one was unique.
“So someone takes one of my letters and takes it apart. That doesn’t mean you can just declare netwar, that doesn’t mean you can encourage people to hack my website, to brute force my WordPress installation so I have to change my password. You can’t encourage people to violate my trademark and violate my twitter name and associate me with incompetence with stupidity, and douchebaggery,” he says. “And if that’s where the world is going I will fight with every ounce of force in this 5’11 180 pound frame against it. I’ve got the energy, and I’ve got the time.”
The simply act of calling somebody out as being a douche bag doesn’t qualify as encouraging people to hack a website. Inman never said, “Everybody, go hack Carreon’s site, bring the site to its knees!” He merely told his readers what was happening and asked for money to help. The individuals who hacked Carreon’s site did that of their own accord. As I’ve said before, the Internet has defensive capabilities. When you act like a jackass (as far as Internet culture goes) you can guarantee a very harsh response. It’s almost automated, nobody has to encourage the behavior, in fact there is no way one can even insinuate Inman encouraged such behavior… wait, what:
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.
Emphasis mine. Wow… that’s pretty ballsy for an attorney to say. He basically said, “I know that everything is illegal, I just need to find an obscure law that has been long forgotten and was never meant to be used in this context then I’ll have Inman by the balls.” It’s the lawyer equivalent of admitting to wanting to hurt somebody just to hurt them.
Carreon’s statement demonstrates much of what is wrong with our so-called justice system. There are so many laws on the books that everything is illegal. Even if Carreon can’t get a charge to stick he can attempt to use a strategy favored by losing lawyers, keep the litigation process going until the opposition is bankrupted. We can only hope that Carreon’s statement can be used as evidence to dismiss any case he brings against Inman, although the chances of that happening in California are even slimmer than most places.