I love The Oatmeal. No, not this. This. The Oatmeal. The Oatmeal is an (obscure) webcomic started by Matt Inman, a Seattlite that made some (easy/great) money when he wrote code that eventually got used in internet dating sites. Or something like that.
My favorite Oatmeal comic: How Twilight Works. In a witty, stroke of genius, he called the narrator Pants, because she is like a pair of generic pants. And that is awesome, because for the life of me, despite the fact that I’ve seen the movie, that my friend Britt has read (and told me about) every novel, and all the stupid media hype about the vampire and the werewolf, and what not, I really cannot remember Pants’ real name. Awesome.
Oh, and I love one that explains the differences amongst their, there, and they’re.
Or how cool Tesla was (and what a dork Edison was). Word.
Now The Oatmeal is fighting cancer and promoting the World Wildlife Fund – by not responding to a legal threat from some other internet company. Weird, right. Well here is the breakdown:
The Oatmeal makes comics. People like them, so they post them on Facebook and then ‘like” them. Then other people copy the comics and the post them on a website called FunnyJunk.com.
FunnyJunk.com sells advertising against the traffic that all the comics (from places like The Oatmeal) generates. But they don’t own the comics, or write comics or anything. They just leverage what its ‘users’ upload against viewership. It’s legal – really; as long as you follow industry guidelines and give due credit for the work.
The Oatmeal, in a letter/blog, claimed that FunnyJunk.com did just the opposite. So Matt ranted online, and sent Funny Junk a letter asking them to delete his content (otherwise known as a cease and desist request). They did. And then a year later (or just about two weeks ago), FunnyJunk.com threatened to sue Inman. Basically, for defamation of character (except it’s a website, so legally I’m not sure what it is). Then FunnyJunk.com requested Inman send $20K for damages. Seriously.
Inman responded “I just want to make comics.” Then he did something really…. creative, actually. He challenged his readers to raise $20K as donations to the American Cancer Society and the World Wildlife Fund (well, he also promised to draw a picture of FunnyJunk.com’s lawyer’s mother seducing a bear… but I digress). Then Inman claimed he would take a picture of money, send that picture (and the drawing) to FunnyJunk.com and donate the $20K.
In the end, he raised $117,000 dollars. And caused the lawyer for FunnJunk.com to take his email and website off-line because of the barrage of spam sent by The Oatmeal readers.
So yeah… getting up to date on The Oatmeal’s BearLove Good Cancer Bad campaign… that’s what is wasting my time.