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Webcomic writer raises money for charity in response to ridiculous lawsuit

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal refuses to pay $20,000 to a website that hosted his unlicensed comics

Drawing by The Oatmeal

Matthew Inman, the twisted, brilliant mind behind the webcomic The Oatmeal (see here and here to get an idea if you’re unfamiliar), has come up with perhaps the most twisted and brilliant response to a lawsuit ever: raising $100,000 for charity.

If this doesn’t make any sense, perhaps it’s because the lawsuit itself doesn’t make much sense either. It all began when Inman discovered that the website was reposting his comics, without attribution, and making advertising money from them. He wrote a post about this, and Funnyjunk responded by emailing its users saying that The Oatmeal had threatened it with a lawsuit.

“I never had plans to sue FunnyJunk and get it shut down; I just wanted my stolen comics removed,” Inman wrote.

The dispute fizzled out eventually, with no legal action taken, until a year later, when FunnyJunk threatened Inman with a federal lawsuit unless he agreed to pay $20,000 in damages … to repay them for hosting his unlicensed comics?

“I don't want to get tied up in courtroom nonsense,” Inman wrote, and posted the letter from FunnyJunk online for all to see, along with a list of all The Oatmeal comics that were still up on the site. FunnyJunk has since removed these comics.

“I have a better idea,” he wrote. Rather than paying the $20,000 FunnyJunk demanded, "I'm going to try and raise $20,000 in donations. I'm going to take a photo of the raised money. I'm going to mail you that photo, along with this drawing of your mom seducing a Kodiak bear. I'm going to take the money and donate one-half to the National Wildlife Federation and the other half to the American Cancer Society."

He called the endeavor “Operation BearLove Good Cancer Bad,” and wrote “consider this my philanthropic, kind-spirited way of saying ‘F--- off.’” In approximately one hour, Inman had already raised the $20,000, and one day later, donations exceeded $100,000.

FunnyJunk’s lawyer, Charles Carreon, told MSNBC that he didn’t believe FunnyJunk’s demands were unreasonable. "I'm completely unfamiliar really with this style of responding to a legal threat — I've never really seen it before," he said. "I don't like seeing anyone referring to my mother as a sexual deviant."

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