You got Oatmeal in your FunnyJunk

Welcome to the Internet, a place where everything is allowed and credit is optional. That's how it works, right? You can take someone else's content, put it up on your own site, and it's entirely up to you whether you actually credit the original author? What do you mean, copyright rules still apply and you have to give credit for someone else's work? That's not what I signed up for! I guess someone had better tell the owners of FunnyJunk they have to shut themselves down.

I've kind of been off the HTNS recently because I've been busy with other things, but now I have some time to seriously vent some rage. And holy crap, do FunnyJunk's recent antics induce a small volcano of outrage in me.

For those who aren't familiar with what's going on, last year Matthew Inman from TheOatmeal wrote a blog post about FunnyJunk pointing out all the stolen comics on their site, asking fans what to do about it. FunnyJunk responded by sending an email to every one of their members falsely alleging that TheOatmeal wanted to get the site shut down, and by pulling down all the comics that had proper attribution. Then, a couple days ago, FunnyJunk sued Inman for $20,000 in damages.

I know I'm not the only one who thinks this is stupid. I know that because rather than pay the $20,000 to FunnyJunk, Matthew decided to raise that much and give it to charity, and to date has raised over $110,000 in just over a day. I'm not going to write about that, though. I'm going to write about something much more infuriating. You see, in the last link in the previous paragraph, there is a long list of individual comics that were still hosted on FunnyJunk at the time he wrote it, which have now been removed. As well, the letter specifically states that the searches on FunnyJunk that are identified as showing proof of stolen content turn up empty results. And that's true, the searches all bring up zero results. However, it turns out that doesn't mean a damn thing.

Here's what I want you to do: go to and search for cyanide & happiness. You'll get something like this:

Now search for explosm, the place where C&H comes from, and you'll get this:

Yep, 130 C&H comics. But some of them might not be properly listed as explosm. What if we search for just cyanide?

Yep, 34 pages of results, almost all of which are C&H when you focus on the content portion of the results. Some of them even specifically say 'Cyanide & Happiness' in them. Must be a one-off thing, right? Let's try a search for xkcd:

Alright, looking good. Now what if we search for just xkc?

Alright, not bad, only a few results. Let's scroll down though, and click on item 12, which is a comment:

Now, let's make sure we all understand exactly what's going on here: There are hundreds of Cyanide & Happiness comics on FunnyJunk, but if you search for them by name, you get no results. There are at least a handful of xkcd comics, but if you search for them by name, nothing comes up. However, if you search for only parts of the names, you start getting results. Am I the only one who thinks the only way for this to happen is for FunnyJunk to have hardcoded their search engine not to show results from places they've stolen content from? More than that, if you even try to accurately attribute one of those places as a source, it does not allow you to properly attribute the source.

Just to be sure, let's test out some others:

The word foxtrot is disabled on FunnyJunk

Within the search results for xkc:

Click on it to see the comment in context, get this:

You know what? Taking other people's content and pasting ads all over it until you're told to take them down by the content owners is basically standard operating procedure on the Internet, but actually going out of your way to prevent attribution is a whole other level of go fuck yourself. Not only is FunnyJunk stealing content to make money off it without the content creator's permission, they are doing everything possible to screw the content creator, including suing TheOatmeal for $20,000 for having the audacity to call them out on it.

Fuck. That. Fuck that, and fuck FunnyJunk. Based on what I've seen, in my subjective opinion the site is run by crooks and thieves who are more interested in squeezing every last penny out of the Internet than they are in supporting Internet community. And they can't sue me for libel, because I'm not saying it as fact, I'm presenting it as my opinion. I'm also not telling anyone to do anything malicious to them, though in truth I wouldn't be able to stop anyone who did decide to do that unprompted anyway. They deserve to be sued into destitution (prostitution?) and their website shut down, and to end up in jail (where they could engage in prostitution, just to raise funds again).

I tried to find more comics by TheOatmeal by searching for oat meal, and instead I came up with this list of stuff. It's rather entertaining. May as well end the article on a 'high' note, I guess.

EDIT: I have never had to edit an article after it's already gone up before, but there is now new information that has come to light that requires me to do it. It seems that Charles Carreon, the lawyer representing FunnyJunk, has tried to get the fundraiser shut down. To quote MSNBC:

Carreon tells me that Inman's blog post was interpreted as a complaint - similar to a DMCA takedown notice - and that the content the cartoonist listed in it was removed from the FunnyJunk website promptly. He also explains that he believes Inman's fundraiser to be a violation of the terms of service of IndieGoGo, the website being used to collect donations, and has sent a request to disable the fundraising campaign. (The fundraising website has only responded with an automated message so far.)

So not only are FunnyJunk and their lawyer suing Matthew Inman, the genius behind TheOatmeal, for $20,000 for having the gall to take offense at them hosting his material for profit without crediting him, now they are actively trying to prevent the only good that has come from it, because it makes them look bad.

Fuck everyone involved on their side, and fuck them again for making me begin my Thursday with this kind of bullshit. Hat-tip to Darths and Droids for pointing me to Pope Hat for the updated information (see how easy that was, FunnyJunk?). If you want to help the cause, go here, where he has now raised over $160,000 for charity.

EDIT 2: God dammit, I should know better than to write about something on the Internet that's ongoing. Now I'm just going to have to keep updating this article every time something new happens. To summarize what's coming: fuck you, Charles Carreon.

Charles Carreon fancies himself a lawyer for the Internet, but as noted above, he clearly has no experience with it at all. Now it seems he's decided to continue that trend, by failing to understand that when you attack someone popular online, that person's fans will descend upon you whether they're asked to or not. But that's not going to stop him from being a cocknozzle - in fact, it's going to make him more of a cocknozzle!

One of the Internet's favourite methods of attack is to mess with your website in various ways, and they tend to be extremely good at this. So it comes as no surprise that Charles Carreon's website got fucked with after the story went viral. So what did Carreon do? Why, what else could he do? He went out and committed fucking libel against Matthew Inman! I did not take the following screenshot myself, but it's from a yfrog account named "Oatmeal" so I do believe it is genuine:

In case you can't read it for some reason, what it says is "Due to security attacks instigated by Matt Inman, this function has been temporarily disabled." On the homepage. Alright, you stupid fucking lawyer who doesn't seem to know thing one about how the law actually works, open your fucking eyes and read what I have to say here, because I'm going to educate you in the ways of the law.

If I say that I don't like you, which I think is a point I've made perfectly clear by now, and then someone else goes out and shoots you in the face without my saying they should, I am not responsible for their actions. I can voice any opinion about you that I want - I can say you're a waste of human skin, or you have the intelligence of a particularly retarded bag of peas, or even that the world would have been better if your mother had had easier access to coathangers - and as long as I don't specifically mention that I want violence to be done upon you, I cannot be held responsible for anything done by anybody who reads what I say. To accuse me of such is slander (or libel if done in writing). Now how is it that you're a lawyer, but I'm the one telling you how the fucking law works?

In case anyone wants to go to Charles Carreon's website and see it for yourself, he's forwarded it to the website for his book about the trials. Brave man. And now my Friday is ruined too. Fucking FunnyJunk.

Discuss this article in the forums

submit to reddit

Got something to say to me?