The Oatmeal is an hilarious webcomic that frequently gets republished — without permission — on other websites. Like FunnyJunk, apparently, which hired “internet lawyer” Charles Carreon to threaten The Oatmeal for calling out FunnyJunk for rampant copyright infringement. The response was typical for The Oatmeal and the Internet, but “completely unfamiliar” to Carreon.

The Oatmeal posted the threatening letter, tore it to pieces, and instead of finding $20,000 to pay Carreon for his ridiculous threats, raised over $140,000 for charity as a kind of up yours to FunnyJunk and Carreon. (In response to which Carreon has tried to cut off the donations like a petulant jerkoff.)

This is how the internet responds to threats. This is how the internet pretty much always responds to threats. It was entirely predictable. As Ken at Popehat points out, Carreon is really whining because he thought he had the biggest gun.

Charles Carreon doesn’t like shows of force that you or I can muster. “I’m completely unfamiliar really with this style of responding to a legal threat,” he sniffs. There’s a whiff of Paul Christoforo of Ocean Marketing in there — the sentiment “how was I to know that I was picking on someone stronger than I am? Is that fair?” But what he means is “if the people I threaten don’t have to dig into their pockets to go hire a lawyer, and spend unpleasant hours with that lawyer, and lay awake at night worrying, and rely on a lawyer who is part of my privileged culture, but can stand up for themselves . . . how can I intimidate them so easily?”

Don’t be that lawyer. Don’t make stupid threats, and if you do, expect them to get plastered all over the internet. There are times to make threats, and there are times not to be a clueless idiot.


  1. I knew you’d beat me to this one since I’m on vacation. As for your last sentence, I think vacation is the only time a lawyer should be a clueless idiot. It’s going well so far.

  2. William Chuang says:

    Repeat after me: discretion is the better part of valor.

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