The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part III: Charles Carreon's Lifetime-Movie-Style Dysfunctional Relationship With the Internet

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86 Responses

  1. Piper says:

    Your wife beds down with ocelots? Ouch.

  2. Piper says:

    Where do you get this stuff? I'm going to have to clean off my monitor from the spit-take.

  3. Todd Knarr says:

    There's also the question of whether someone actually attacked Mr. Carreon's web site, or whether he just got Slashdotted (by The Oatmeal's audience asking "Who is this guy anyway?", finding his web site and going poking around) and mistook his server being overloaded by ordinary traffic for an attack.

  4. Grifter says:

    I suddenly got a sick feeling in my stomach when you reminded us " Speech is only actionable incitement when it intended to create, and likely to create, a clear and present danger of imminent lawless action." … Everyone's been making fun of him for not understanding the Streisand effect, but I wonder if he's going to try to claim that anyone who criticizes someone on the internet who has a large following knows some of that following will commit a lawless action based on that, and so therefore are culpable (I'm not saying it, I'm saying I'm afraid he'll try to say it), because of the well known Streisand effect?

  5. Scott Jacobs says:

    While his blog statement could be read in a non-defamatory context, how could "that doesn’t mean you can encourage people to hack my website" be read that way?

    I mean, it looks to me like he just went and fucked the chicken, and didn't even lube up first…

  6. Coyote says:

    To the hacking bit, I find that most folks who don't really know anything technical about the Internet (and I would put Mr. Carreon in this category) often mistake "I bought the cheapest Godaddy server account which works just fine for the 12 visits a day my site usually gets but crashed when hit with 30,000 visits in an hour that this case inspired" for "hacking"

  7. Coyote says:

    Also, I find it moderately hilarious that Funnyjunk is now hosting the Oatmeal images taking apart their attorney's letter: http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/3786373/Charles+Carreon+Eats+Oatmeal/

    My guess is that the Oatmeal will not send a takedown request on this one.

  8. GabrielHounds says:

    So – was that ____________ ____________ everywhere? I'm guessing you never ___________ _____________. If it was _________ thats a whole new dimension to this thing. I'm mesmerized.

  9. Patrick says:

    Gabriel, I approved your comment with some redactions, because while it did not violate the letter of Ken's injunction, I felt it violated the spirit.

    Please advise if you disagree with my decision.

  10. Scott Jacobs says:

    … I wonder if he's going to try to claim that anyone who criticizes someone on the internet who has a large following knows some of that following will commit a lawless action based on that, and so therefore are culpable (I'm not saying it, I'm saying I'm afraid he'll try to say it), because of the well known Streisand effect?

    Well, he could certainly try, but I'm only aware of one judge in the US who's that fucking stupid as to buy the argument…

  11. Grifter says:

    Scott Jacobs, the fact that there's even one who might/would is what's scary to me…

  12. eddie says:

    I know someone who was raised by ocelots.

  13. Scott Jacobs says:

    On the other hand, Grifter, said judge supports and advocates getting a bunch of friends together to "take care of the problem"…

    So there's that…

    Also, I have been wondering… You a fan of WildC.A.T.S comics?

  14. eddie says:

    Popehat needs more mad libs.

    "applesauce flying"
    "fondled sandpaper"
    "purple"

  15. EH says:

    These jackasses always say their site was hacked. Nothing ever comes of it.

  16. Chris says:

    He won't back down. He'll have to be crushed through the course of actual legal actions. I do not think anything anyone says or does really matters to Charles. I am sure his friends have implored him to look at what he's doing. I know I have, and I only contacted him to be one of the few non-douchebags who emailed him. When I asked him about all the hate coming his way he only linked me to this: http://sergebirbrair.com/
    He believes by making people angry, he has already won.

  17. Grifter says:

    Scott Jacobs, that's +5 points to you!

  18. Chris says:

    I think the part of this whole case that blatantly bothers me is that FunnyJunk LLC seemingly is a faceless entity. That also works against Mr. Carreon as Oatmeal supporters really have only him to express their displeasure with. Everyone knows The Oatmeal is Matthew Inman, but no one knows who is behind FunnyJunk.

  19. Oli says:

    I'd suggest that Inman now has more of a case for defamation against Carreon than FunnyJunk has against him. I don't see your second reading interpretation because either way Carreon has explicitly (and repeatedly) claimed that Inman has committed a criminal offence (by asking others to illegally hack in his stead). IANAL but hey, if FunnyJunk can do it, why can't he?

    This is starting to seem pretty cyclical… Could they not all just agree to pay each other $20k?

  20. Ancel De Lambert says:

    I wonder if said judge will ask if Carreon's mother asked the other bear's permission before seducing that sow.

  21. Ken says:

    For the record, I am bitterly disappointed. It's been more than an hour, and nobody has yet responded to "this is madness" with a suitable image featuring the line THIS. IS. POPEHAT.

  22. perlhaqr says:

    This caused much I'm-an-internet-lawyer speculation about whether the accusation against Mr. Inman is defamatory.

    Eeek! That's not what I meant at all. I was trying for "irony", in that it seemed the same level of "defamation" against Inman as Inman had supposedly committed against FunnyJunk.

    Damn, Internet tone fail. My bad.

  23. Josh says:

    Some of us are still at work, Ken, and our IT departments don't let us have nice toys to play with on our PC's that would normally let us create such an image.

    That being said, I'm still giggling about this line:

    Charles Carreon is going full Rakofsky. You should never go full Rakofsky.

  24. Wren says:

    It also seems that ________ ___________ has __________ ___________ on the _________ ____________ boat. So, a ___________ ____________ of morons has mounted their __________ ___________!

  25. Patrick says:

    Mad Libs for all!

  26. Hal_10000 says:

    Some people just never seem to learn how to back down when you're clearly in the wrong. They think legal fights can be won if you just shout louder and louder.

    Love the Zelda reference

  27. Dan Weber says:

    I was kinda-sorta on his side because I hate Internet mobs. But he's kept at it long enough.

    That "I don't know what law was broken but I'll find something" broke the camel's back.

  28. David says:

    Your mother is a ____ ____ ____ ____Laura Mendsom____ ____ ____Inventive menium____ ____ ____ ____tra goo la____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ hippopotamus____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ Republican ____ ____ ____Daniel Radcliffe ____ ____ ____ ____ with a bucket of ____ ____ ____ ____ in a castle far away where no one can hear you ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ soup ____ ____ ____ with a bucket of ____ ____ Mickey Mouse ____ ____ with a stick of dynamite __________ magical ____ ____ ____ ____ alakazam!

  29. Joe says:

    Ken – I've never mastered the comment tags and have no idea how to embed a picture in the comment thread so let's see how this works.

  30. Joe says:

    And it cropped the damn pic – was supposed to say "fuck I'm on fire" oh well.

  31. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    There is a class of people who can be depended on to engage in monumentally stupid behavior, and to complain bitterly when it has the logically expected consequences. Apparently, Charles Carreon belongs to this class. The person I feel for the most is whoever Mr. Carreon manages to involve in his suicide-by-automobile. In my experience, people who are this stupid and feel this entitled are good bets to do something fatally in violation of Newton's Laws of Motion with an expensive automobile. Usually while jabbering on their cell-phone.

    Please, Mr. Charles Carreon, prove me wrong. Be a better driver than you are a lawyer.

  32. AlphaCentauri says:

    Love the Twilight Zone reference, too.

  33. Here's a copy of the letter Inman's lawyer sent.

    I busted up laughing at the end of it.

  34. JRM says:

    OT, sorta: Popehat's been on a serious roll lately. Good info, good posts, good expertise, good comments, good everything. Granted, some people have gone out of their way to generate material (Thanks, Mr. Carreon!), but the good times have been very good.

  35. Nicholas Weaver says:

    If you go full Rakofsky, make sure you know the consequences.

    Such as people finding your law license suspension in California and Oregon, for admitted violations of DR 3-101(B) (unlawful practice of law) and DR 9-101(A) (from a comment on the Forbes site on the CA suspension, which lead to Google finding the Oregon suspension)

    The full monty:

    CHARLES H. CARREON
    OSB #93469
    Ashland
    60-day suspension

    Effective Oct. 24, 2005, the disciplinary board approved a stipulation for discipline suspending Ashland lawyer, Charles H. Carreon, from the practice of law for 60 days. Carreon admitted violations of DR 3-101(B) (unlawful practice of law) and DR 9-101(A) (failing to deposit or maintain client funds in trust).

    From Fall 2001 to Spring 2002, Carreon was employed by SEG as house counsel for its U.S. legal matters and business operations in British Columbia, when Carreon was not admitted or licensed to practice law in any province in Canada. Carreon did not apply for or obtain a permit to act as house counsel for SEG, in violation of British Columbia rules.

    As counsel for SEG, Carreon held in his trust account settlement proceeds for the benefit of SEG, received in connection with a litigation matter. Without consulting with SEG or obtaining its express consent, Carreon utilized $1,400 of the settlement proceeds to pay a portion of a money judgment that had been entered against Carreon and his wife for a residential lease they signed in connection with his employment in Canada, believing that SEG would ultimately be responsible for his lease obligation.

    In the stipulation, Carreon admitted that acting as house counsel in Canada was in violation of regulations of the profession in that jurisdiction, and that by utilizing the client settlement funds, he failed to properly maintain client funds in his lawyer trust account.

    Carreon’s sanction was aggravated by a selfish motive, multiple offenses and his substantial experience in the practice of law. Carreon was admitted in Oregon in 1993 and in California in 1987. However, in mitigation, the stipulation recited that Carreon had no prior discipline and that he displayed a cooperative attitude toward the disciplinary proceedings.

  36. ShelbyC says:

    Does Carreon have an ethical exit strategy here? The correct thing to do would be to say, OK, OK, maybe the letter was a stupid idea. But wouldn't that harm his client? And you can't just dump a client because some internet cartoonist completely owned yer ass, can you?

  37. Nicholas Weaver says:

    ShelbyC: Yes, as a non-lawyer

    a: Go quiet. Say nothing publicly. Nothing. "If you are in a hole, stop digging". The Internet has the attention span of a hyperactive chihuahua on Heisenberg's finest crystal meth. If you say nothing, you get forgotten by 99% of the net by tomorrow.

    b: Advise your client not to proceed further, because it would be both legally and politically unadvised.

    The letter from the Oatmeal's attorney is actually scarier than the Oatmeal's public response, because its, translated in English: "You started this. And you have no ground to stand on. But if you want to continue, hey, just FYI, you didn't actually meet the standards needed for a DMCA safe harbor defense…"

  38. Matthew Cline says:

    "If you are in a hole, stop digging"

    But this hole is just so awesome! And this shovel, let me tell you, man, I love this shovel so much.

  39. darius404 says:

    I would go a bit further, Nicholas, and add

    c: Apologize to his client for his poor advice, his grandstanding (unless it was at the request of his client, in which case he should apologize for not explaining why it was a bad idea), and the decreased reputation Funnyjunk's owner has suffered because of Carreon's poor advice and actions.

  40. Narad says:

    I studied these words for some time, searching for a hidden message or code that would cause me to have an it's-a-cookbook! moment. So far, nothing.

    Try gematria. The results are… chilling.

  41. Allen says:

    The break in the code is farther down, in the part about the muleskinner's wisdom. Which, when translated means "I haven't a clue!"

    Or, from the mule's standpoint, as he looks back over his shoulder, "what the hell are you trying to do."

  42. Joe says:

    Does this whole kerfuffle not remind you just a little bit of the whole Paul Christoforo and Penny Arcade situation?

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111229/02504317222/paul-christoforo-doesnt-seem-to-know-how-to-stop-digging-deeper-hole-internet-infamy.shtml

    The key point being "as if he needs to just ride out the storm, rather than fix what he did wrong"

    Taking bets on Carreon basically ending up doing the same thing and remaining as narcissistic and clueless about what actually happened.

  43. perlhaqr says:

    Matthew: It's the jet-powered mole-machine I sold him, isn't it? He just can't get enough of how deep that hole can really go!

  44. Jess says:

    We are talking about an attorney who sent an equally ridiculous threatening letter to Google see here

    http://www.american-buddha.com/ambu.ltrkentwalkergoogle1.htm

    This guy really is a first class douchebag.

  45. Jess says:

    I should note the demand letter referenced above was issued to Google when his wife's web site seemed to disappear from Google's index sometime in 2007 for reasons I can as best determine are due to most of the content of her site being copied and pasted articles and screen shots with no proper attribution or back links, or relevant original content. Try not to choke on that irony of that BTW.

  46. Mike says:

    When I was glancing at the link Jess posted, I happened to see another case where they were suing a city.

    http://www.american-buddha.com/ambuvs.city.toc.htm
    To me keeping all that information up makes it seem like they are proud of losing the judgment. Is that a fair statement, or is it more likely that they just never bothered to take it the page down after they realized they were losing?
    I'm also kind of curious about something else. Is the image referenced in that case something that would be considered truly pornographic and requiring of disclaimers and other (ineffective) protections for minors? I mean it's clearly fake, but a site claiming to be a library purposely hosting and defending such an image seems … dirty.

    I also find it funny that the lawyer's email address is listed in some of the documents posted on that site making it incredibly easy for people to continue emailing him, despite taking his site down. I also apparently need to sleep because my penchant for random words is rearing its ugly head.

  47. Chris says:

    Jess, reading some of that site was like pushing shards of glass through my brain.

  48. W Ross says:

    http://www.american-buddha.com/poet.godloveshypocrite.htm

    Also, his song here is ridiculously ironic now. If this version of Charles Carreon met his future self, I think he might punch himself out.

  49. Chris says:

    Ken,

    I'm inclined to agree with everything you said (as usual) except for one thing. I really wish you would replace the word "illegal" with "immoral" in your piece when referencing who are friends of freedom of speech.

    There are too many laws period. It is nigh impossible to know if you are in compliance with them all as I'm sure you know. Just because someone breaks a malum prohibitum law does not necessarily mean they acted in either bad faith or immorally.

  50. TexasSwede says:

    Charles Carreon took down his blog entry, where he critizies Youtube for doing exactly what FunnyJunk does.

    But since internet never forgets, Google got it cached:
    http://​webcache.googleusercontent.​com/​search?q=cache%3Az9UHSdTm6D​4J%3Awww.charlescarreon.co​m%2Fnotable-cyber-law-case​s%2Fcaveat-creator-dmca-go​ogle%2F2010%2F06%2F23

    Quotes:
    "If Google can generate ad revenue by taking in every kind of content without distinction, and make money on the infringing attractions, then Google can “work the float,” and always have enough infringing content to keep its blood pressure up at the expense of copyright holders. The only way that content owners can act proactively is by implementing digital “fingerinting technology” through the “Claim Your Content” system that Google uses as its only screening mechanism."

    "Please don’t take me for a copyright hawk, but this seems like a ruling that benefits a company that has made a habit of turning other people’s work into their payday, and is being encouraged to keep on doing it."

    Wow. Not surprised that Charles Carreon does not want that up anymore…

  51. W Ross says:

    He may really not understand infringement. His wife's site is basically distributing this Marilyn Manson song here:

    http://www.american-buddha.com/ambu.wewearlawsuitswhenwegethigh.htm

    (As for him never having seen this awful level of discourse before, on the site he shares with his wife we have:

    http://www.american-buddha.com/mondo.sceptre.htm
    Bush and Condaleza Rice having sex (NSFW)

    And a poem about Condaleza Rice with a photoshopped nude of her by the lawyer:
    http://www.american-buddha.com/poet.condoleeza.htm#CONDOLEEZA (Also NSFW)

    This has reached tragicomic proportions at this point.

  52. Ygolonac says:

    So, by Mr. Carreon's apparent logic, if I, as an individual exposed to his logic, make a decision to carry out a (pitifully lonely) hack against The Oatmeal, that as such *he* would guilty of incitement to commit said act.

    That's…

    …possibly a sign that an appointment with the neurologist is required, to loosen the metal plate.

    I myself subscribe to the "cheap server/provider got wanged" theory, although the "here's my book for free" offering does seem a mite suspicious.

  53. Ann says:

    Well, Carreon promised he was going to produce a longer statement over the weekend. We didn't have to wait long. Not exaaaaaaactly what I thought he would write, but…. O_o

    http://www.american-buddha.com/poet.donttalkaboutmother.htm

  54. THIS IS POPEHAT!!!

  55. W Ross says:

    @Ann Wow… There are a lot of next moves I was guessing at but "Battle Rapping" wasn't one of them.

    Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I can hardly stand it…

  56. Sarahw says:

    J. Rushie Yay, I like that one.

  57. Joe says:

    On another note, if you check the copyright office's registry of designated agents, FunnyJunk doesn't have one listed, so they have a "strict" policy, but aren't in strict compliance with the law. Could end up biting them in the butt if The Oatmeal countersues.

  58. max says:

    from http://www.american-buddha.com/poet.donttalkaboutmother.htm:

    "You make fun of my name,
    The noble Carreon,
    We came here with Cortez,
    And our legacy lives on."

    How can someone be a conquistador, and at the same time, be noble?

  59. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Joe: That was one of the big points of the official lawyerly response letter written by Venkat “The Pterodactyl” Balasubramani: FunnyJunk started it, but if they wanted to continue, oh, BTW, you never met the criteria required to claim the DMCA safe harbor….

    What was written:

    Without taking a position
    on the other issues, I’ll note simply that FunnyJunk does not appear to have a notice of designation on file with the Copyright Office. This alone would be enough to undermine any defense of immunity to claims of infringement that The Oatmeal (or third parties) may assert.

  60. Joe says:

    Nicholas – sorta figured you of all people knew that one given what you uncovered about his past. I dug up the data on his suspension just about 15 minutes before you posted on it. Nice to see someone else really knows how "find" stuff :-)

  61. Chris says:

    How did Matthew Inman become the third member of ICP?

  62. darius404 says:

    Really, finding stuff isn't that hard has long as you know how to use Google. Case in point, my very first search just now was "charles carreon violations". The Oregon State Bar's record of his suspension is (or was at the time of this posting) the 5th link down.

    On the other hand, it's possible that the relevant search result would not have been as high in the results as it is, if people weren't actively searching for variations of "charles carreon". Fortunately, people searching for something on Google helps OTHER people searching for something on Google to find what they're looking for. Which is sort of the point really, but it's surprising what a research aid Google can be when properly finessed.

  63. Joe says:

    Darius – exactly. After all ‘the internet is an archive” ha ha – just kidding – anyway I have other ways of finding things but it amazes me how many people are lazy and don’t realize the power of Google, online search engines, caching, wayback, etc.

    Chris as far as ICP – "Insane Clown Posse" I have not looked into how Inman became a member only that he is – and that in my opinion Carreon’s parody of this on his site does not rise to the level of hilarity and intellectual snark of The Oatmeal. Seriously Carreon is "trying" too hard.

  64. SPQR says:

    Not making sure that your client is in compliance with DMCA's safe harbors before writing a C&D letter would indicate some fundamental incompetence and malpractice.

  65. Joe says:

    SPQR

    I don't have a copy of it so cannot verify but someone commented taht Carreon tweeted a picture of filing paperwork (and payment, dated 25th of May, 2012) to the copyright office. Interesting that it predated his letter to The Oatmeal on June 2nd 2012 by only a week.

    However while there appears to be a delay in updating those notices of designation at the Copyright Office, FunnyJunk's appropriation of The Oatmeal's content occurred well before then. I'm not a lawyer so not sure how all of that plays in on the timing. At this point I can only assume Carreon told FunnyJunk to file the paperwork and then sent off his demand letter.

  66. Rob T. says:

    Really enjoying your take on this saga. Quick blue pencil note – in the hypothetical situation about the diseased ocelot letter, shouldn't it be the "you" instead of the "I" who is held legally responsible under the Carreon theory?

  67. Ken says:

    Yep. Got lost in the pronouns. Thanks.

  68. mojo says:

    "Let's put five bullets in the gun. FIVE."
    — The Deer Hunter

  69. Chris says:

    So if Inman has brutal ideology for creating a pterodactyl comic what would Carreon's ideology be for creating pictures of Condolezza Rice and G.W. Bush fornicating be? Or his image where G.W. is a boy molestor? Does that mean by Carreon's own logic, he has a ideology of deviant sexual acts?

  70. Ken says:

    If "Brutal Ideology" isn't the name of an Emo band it, it should be.

  71. Indeed, under Mr. Carreon's apparent theory, if he criticizes The Oatmeal's response to him as vulgar or unprofessional or uncivilized, he's legally responsible for people agreeing with him. This is not law, this is madness. And bear in mind that Mr. Carreon markets himself as a First Amendment champion.

    It is at this point that I asked myself, "Does this douchebag think he's the only attorney on the planet with an internet connection? Does he really think that he can wow and scare the entire internet with his legal ball-juggling without so much as a single attorney jumping out of the crowd and calling bullshit?"

    Makes one wonder. He doesn't think he's an internet lawyer. He thinks he's the internet lawyer. What a loser.

  72. I'm sorry, but I'm stealing the line "going full Rakofsky." I hadn't heard of that case, but after reading up a bit it seems too perfect for this. I promise to use it well and give credit where it's due.

    As for the situation overall, I for one am sitting back and laughing and that dimwit. He makes Jack Thompson sound almost reasonable…not unlike how a schizophrenic makes Mel Gibson sound almost reasonable. Clearly he's never heard of anti-SLAPP laws, blogs, or the Internet itself. There are so many demonstrably false statements in his filing, plus the ridiculousity of including the NWF and ACS as defendants, that I can't think of any judge who wouldn't laugh openly in his face in court and tell him to GTFO. My only regret is that providing defense pro bono leaves no opportunity to bleed the jackass dry for legal fees.

  73. Jay says:

    I read this yesterday and I'm still giggling at "you should never go full Rakofsky." Could there be a more fitting tribute than to see that term become internet jargon for this particular litigation strategy?

    On the downside, if Popehat isn't already in the Rakofsky suit, I think he just might find his way into the next amended complaint.

  74. Squirrels says:

    Mr. Carreon certainly sounds like an egomaniac, what with all the grandiose offerings of gifts "TO THE PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET" and heroic assertions of epic battle against "where the world is going”!

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