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The legal response that The Oatmeal sent to FunnyJunk in response to the defamation claim previously posted on The Blue references MetaFilter as one of the "internet's most recognizable media outlets" (page 3, paragraph 3).

If Venkat Balasubramani is a MeFite, please out yourself so I can personally congratulate you on a hilarious (yet highly competent) legal response.
posted by Phire to MetaFilter-Related at 9:45 AM (60 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

MeFi's own!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:47 AM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's easy to recognize because of its professional white background, right?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:51 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nicely done. Though the masterpiece of sneaking things into legal documents is still this.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:52 AM on June 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


I recognize us.
posted by inturnaround at 10:00 AM on June 15, 2012


MeFi's own!

Hey! He's got the same sign-up date as me!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2012


posted by Navelgazer

Neat, we both have the letters a, n, e, r and l in our user names!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:23 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


benito.strauss: "Nicely done. Though the masterpiece of sneaking things into legal documents is still this."

Holy cow. :D
posted by zarq at 10:29 AM on June 15, 2012


Neat, we both have the letters a, n, e, r and l in our user names!

Which spells out "renal."

How deep does this rabbit hole go, exactly?
posted by griphus at 10:39 AM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hey! He's got the same sign-up date as me!

Neat, we both have the letters a, n, e, r and l in our user names!


But when the phone inside her ribcage rings, it's not for me.
posted by DU at 10:47 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


It also spells "learn."
posted by John Cohen at 10:48 AM on June 15, 2012


Which brings me to the number 5. There are five letters in the word "learn". Now, if you mix up the letters in the word "learn", mix 'em around, eventually, you'll come up with "Narle". "Narle". The name of a planet in a galaxy way, way, way... way far away.
posted by griphus at 11:02 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


the masterpiece of sneaking things into legal documents is still this.

Feh. If they'd worked "I Zimbra" in, then I'd be impressed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:03 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm perhaps even more impressed with this elaboration of the 3. PROFIT!!!! business model:

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.
posted by Miko at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, I cannot provide you with a legal document containing that poem by the Dadaist Hugo Ball. The best I can do is a video of Marie Osmond reciting a different Hugo Ball poem, from memory.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


How deep does this rabbit hole go, exactly?

All the way to the Islets of Langerhans.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


The best I can do is a video of Marie Osmond reciting a different Hugo Ball poem, from memory.

Seen it. Thank you, still.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:22 AM on June 15, 2012


I've always been a little uncomfortable with Hugo Ball's stuff, because it seems to connote a certain magical primitivism -- it doesn't merely sound like scrambled German, the way Sigur Ros generates their own language. This is particularly apparent in "I Zimbra" -- I can't help but read that song as superficially exotic-sounding music with superficially exotic-sounding lyrics.

Or is that just reflecting my own hang-ups?
posted by modernserf at 11:27 AM on June 15, 2012


Well, "I Zimbra" actually isn't a straight adaptation of "Gadji Beri Bimba" in the first place. So it's possible that what you're responding to in the music isn't from Hugo Ball anyway.

And "a certain magical primitivism" is kind of the effect Ball was going for, actually - the laymans'-eye understanding of what the Dada movement was "all about" is, this was happening right after the first World War, and was created in response to it in a sort of "well, 'civilization' and 'reason' is what just brought the world all that horror, so fuck 'reason' and 'civilization', we're gonna just go be ridiculous." It eventually got pretty self-aware and precious about it, but most art movements kind of do; but the whole point was indeed to provoke an emotional response with total and complete nonsense.

The "exotic sound" of the song was all the Talking Heads, though. David Byrne wanted to have a sort of "chant-like vocal" without having actual words, becuase he was afraid people would get hung up on "what to the words actually mean".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:39 AM on June 15, 2012


But you're talking to someone who thinks "I Zimbra" just generally rocks. (I mean, dig Tina's bass! Seriously!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


That legal response was sublimely brilliant. A measured smackdown with a chuckling, nose-tweaking tone to it.
posted by batmonkey at 11:43 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


A nice re-tort, but nothing beats Arkell v Pressdram!
posted by chavenet at 11:52 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Legal responses to extortionate pseudo-legal threats tend to have that "you have got to be fucking kidding me" tone that just tickles my sense of absurdity. I love the "no you are wrong" careful citation of relevant case law -- it's the quality of "those words you are using, that sound all legal and shit? They have actual meanings. One of us knows what they are."
posted by endless_forms at 11:54 AM on June 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


Nicely done. Though the masterpiece of sneaking things into legal documents is still this.

This is not my beautiful finding.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:58 AM on June 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


I like the MetaTalking threads.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on June 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


I like it that letter is written in a format so as to make it utterly clear that the reply to a suit is already mostly written, but the countersuit hasn't been yet. You could almost just file the letter.
posted by tyllwin at 12:11 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I recognize us."

I can see my account from here.
posted by Eideteker at 12:33 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh. marie osmond just blew my mind. That just made my day.
posted by the bricabrac man at 12:48 PM on June 15, 2012


This part is killer:
Among otherthings, the DMCA requires a service provider to designate an agent, provide contactinformation, and file a notice of designation with the Copyright Office. Without taking a positionon the other issues, I’ll note simply that FunnyJunk does not appear to have a notice ofdesignation on file with the Copyright Office. This alone would be enough to undermine anydefense of immunity to claims of infringement that The Oatmeal (or third parties) may assert.
He's basically saying that if this goes to court, FunnyJunk may lose it's immunity from the DMCA, because they haven't played by the rules. Without DMCA safe harbor, anyone with a copyright to content posted by a third party on funnyjunk can sue them for copyright infringement. There's no way that Funnyjunk could even exist if that happens; they have to shut down.

TLDR: the mefite lawyer pointed out that funnyjunk got sloppy on the DMCA rules and could end up losing the house if they continue down this path.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:19 PM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Aimée Wolfson, Senior VP for intellectual property at Sony (and thus someone I'm initially predisposed to distrust on at least two counts), wrote a delightfully contemptuous response (p.66 onwards of this PDF) to a claim from Leo Stoller, the lawyer who trademarked common words and then went around trying to shake down businesses who used them, most famously 'Stealth'.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:19 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


That legal take down is a thing of beauty.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:42 PM on June 15, 2012




The response to the GlennBeckRapedAndMurderedAYoungGirlIn1990.com lawsuit was my personal favorite (especially considering they were just contesting it to prove a point and gave Glenn Beck control of the domain after they won).
posted by burnmp3s at 1:59 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "moron in a hurry" test.

And on preview, it looks like someone already linked to it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:05 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know that part in Glengarry Glen Ross when Williamson just fucked up Roma's sale and Roma just lays into him, punctuating it at one point with a simple, hateful, "you child"? That's what that Aimee Wolfson response is like. And when it's against that sort of ridiculous rent-seeking bullshit, I'm happy to see it.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:06 PM on June 15, 2012


I'm a paid member of a recognised media outlet?
posted by Elmore at 2:14 PM on June 15, 2012


That really should have been 'paid up' member - no one needs to get freaked out, Matt does not pay me to hardly ever post comments that need clarification and end in Ugh.



Ugh.



*ching ching*
posted by Elmore at 2:16 PM on June 15, 2012


I'd like to announce here today I'm suing both The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk for crimes against Hilarity.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:05 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Until today, I would have thought you'd have wanted me on your jury, Effigy2000, but I'm not sure I could legally find for that decision given that their interactions have caused the following sentence to exist:

Elements of the pterodactyl — that FunnyJunk claims reflect The Oatmeal's malicious intent — are available on every single page of TheOatmeal's website.

The words have meaning, and I understand what the sentence says, but every time I read them, it's like a beautiful dadaist prose masterpiece velodrome castanet.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:13 PM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


My personal favorite is Kurt Denke's response to Monster Cable.

"Not only am I unintimidated by litigation, I sometimes rather miss it."
posted by endless_forms at 3:38 PM on June 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


it's like a beautiful dadaist prose masterpiece

Posting on a social blog aggregator is like that, MCMikeNamara
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:07 PM on June 15, 2012


I did a fpp on the filing burnmp3 links to above. That post and this letter got me a lawyer. Note: I had no association with and of the people involved prior to those events.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:32 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"To be clear, The Oatmeal will not cave in to FunnyJunk’s attempts to censor him through legalthreats and bullying"

Ah, the age of the Internet. Truly we stand on the shoulders of giants.
posted by kbanas at 3:29 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, Charles Carreon (the lawyer the letter is addressed to) is somewhat well known from his involvement in the Sex.com litigation. He wrote a pretty good book about it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:52 AM on June 16, 2012


> the laymans'-eye understanding of what the Dada movement was "all about" is, this was happening right after the first World War, and was created in response to it

Well, the Dada Manifesto was written in 1916, so during the war, actually.

/nitpick
posted by languagehat at 7:10 AM on June 16, 2012


Hey, I did say it was a layman's understanding of things.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 PM on June 16, 2012


He wrote a pretty good book about it.

...which fans of the Oatmeal (presumably) have reviewed on Amazon, showing that they, like Inman, love a prostitute joke.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:50 PM on June 16, 2012


I've always been kinda curious about the aggregate-other's-content business model. Ebaum, etc. Do they really make enough money to cover their asses? I mean, I had never heard of funnyjunk before this.

If you do a search for something like "wordpress slideshow" invariably there are a dozen blogs all with the exact same same article, along the lines of "15 Wordpress Slideshows You Need to See!". Is there really any money in those things?

Then again, we have a world where apparently people get paid to be "social media gurus", so...
posted by maxwelton at 5:50 PM on June 16, 2012


http://www.1dollararticle.com/
posted by cjorgensen at 5:56 PM on June 16, 2012




Oh lord. While I don't love The Oatmeal, I'm entirely on Inman's side on this one. Carreon's new tack seems to be trying to pin Inman with whatever he claims is happening to him via the internet because Inman mentioned this frivolous-as-hell lawsuit.

Essentially, Carreon is absolutely intent on punching the tarbaby, and Inman and his counsel have already put him in the position of making his ridiculous suit extremely public, and daring him to try to back off of it. This shall be a glorious flame-out.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:09 PM on June 16, 2012


I really wonder if he'll end up disbarred over all this à la Jack Thompson.
posted by the_artificer at 9:09 PM on June 16, 2012


If ever the hackneyed MeFi "Christ, what a..." meme was justified, it would be now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:19 AM on June 17, 2012


What the...
he concludes, "a lawsuit against The Oatmeal in this situation is just a really bad idea."

And so of course Carreon filed one on Friday.

The complaint is apparently not available yet on PACER, but my Courthouse News Service report said it was filed, and the court's feed of newly filed cases confirms that.

According to the summary provided by CNS, and again I stress I haven't seen the actual complaint yet, Carreon has sued for "trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism," and he has not only sued Inman but also the website through which he has been raising money for charity (IndieGogo.com) and the charities to which Inman has pledged the money. Yes, he is apparently also suing the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. The summary says Inman's request for donations "purports to raise money" for these organizations, "but was really designed to revile plaintiff and his client, FunnyJunk.com .…"
From loweringthebar.net
posted by the_artificer at 10:19 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is just... I mean...
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:26 AM on June 18, 2012


That is the action of a crazy person, right?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:27 AM on June 18, 2012


That is the action of a crazy person, right?

My husband is always telling me the one thing he learned from a law lecture he was required to attend as an engineering student, which is: when you sue, sue everyone. It gives you the right to demand information from them that you wouldn't otherwise get. That's probably why the WWF and ACS are listed, not because he expects to recover damages from them.
posted by endless_forms at 6:23 AM on June 18, 2012


That is the action of a crazy person, right?

which kind of makes me think the whole thing will be thrown out by a judge. Right?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on June 18, 2012


PDF of the complaint, from Carreon's website.
posted by zarq at 8:03 AM on June 18, 2012


Poking around a little, it seems like FunnyJunk's user base is enraged at the FunnyJunk admin over this. That can't be good.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2012


Poking around a little, it seems like FunnyJunk's user base is enraged at the FunnyJunk admin over this.

This is rapidly moving into "bookmark both sites, make popcorn and watch" territory.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:38 AM on June 19, 2012


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