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Lawyer demands The Oatmeal pay him $20k not to sue him

Matthew Inman, the creator of The Oatmeal, has received an email from a lawyer representing Funnyjunk threatening to file a federal lawsuit for defamation if Matthew doesn’t remove all mention of FunnyJunk from his website AND doesn’t pay the lawyer $20,000 by today (letter written June 2). The backstory to this bizarre twist goes back a year when Matthew wrote a rancorous blog post detailing how FunnyJunk users were stealing his comics and posting them on FunnyJunk without any link back or attribution. After a flamewar between the two site’s fans, FunnyJunk agreed to remove all of Matthew’s work from their site.

That initial blog post detailing FunnyJunk’s alleged copyright infringement is the source of this latest legal threat. The lawyer states that several statements are untrue and are hurting FunnyJunk’s reputation and business. In similar fashion to the year before, Matthew has posted an Oatmeal-esque response countering the claims and announcing he is going to raise the $20,000, take a picture of it and send it to the lawyer along with a cartoon drawing of his mom seducing a kodiak bear and then donate the money to National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

He raised $20k in the first hour and over $100k in the first 24 hours.

Matthew Inman responds to legal threat

Community Comments

#1 Sandra Bell-Lundy
June/12/2012
@ 8:47 am

The lawyer is threatening to file a lawsuit if he doesn’t pay him $20,000? …my legal expertise is zero…but wouldn’t that be considered blackmail?

#2 Jim Lavery
June/12/2012
@ 9:10 am

no, it’s considered jurisprudence

#3 Alan Gardner
June/12/2012
@ 9:11 am

Extortion is the word that came to my mind.

#4 Norm Feuti
June/12/2012
@ 9:14 am

It’s certainly frivolous IMO, but it wouldn’t be considered blackmail, or extortion.

They’re claiming 20k in “damages”, and threatening to sue if he doesn’t pay.

Regardless, it’s absurd.

#5 Levi Stribling
June/12/2012
@ 9:19 am

Interesting. I wasn’t thinking of extortion, blackmail, or jurisprudence. The word that came to my mind was ‘dick’. I used to want to be a lawyer, but I much prefer kindness over screwing someone over like that. To me it’s sort of like feeling slighted by someone for bad-mouthing you and to get back at him, you murder his whole family and say, “See? That’s what you get.”

#6 Mike Cope
June/12/2012
@ 9:27 am

I’m impressed by the fact that a combined $100K donation will be made to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society… all because of copyright infringement?

#7 Dan Bielinski
June/12/2012
@ 10:10 am

@Mike- I agree. That is a nice chunk of change going to good causes. Well done, Matt.

#8 donna lewis
June/12/2012
@ 11:08 am

I heart this story. I only hope more people start responding to demand letters in this manner.

#9 Mike Lester
June/12/2012
@ 12:29 pm

“He raised $20k in the first hour and over $100k in the first 24 hours.”

Come again? This deserves some ‘splainin’.

#10 Jim Lavery
June/12/2012
@ 7:07 pm

Donna, you’d be a triple threat to this kind of demand. As a cartoonist you could draw up a devastating illustration like Matt did, to publicly put these jokers in their place. As a lawyer you could counter sue his a$$ in court. As someone in Homeland Security you could dispatch drones to Mr. FunkyJunk’s secret hideout as well as his attorney’s offices.

The benefits of multitasking!

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