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The Oatmeal taps the Electronic Frontier Foundation for lawsuit
“First, this case is absurd,” EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry told the Daily Dot. “Second, this is the kind of case that EFF exists to defend.”
The lineups are beginning to take shape in the case of Carreon v. Matthew Inman, et al., and The Oatmeal proprietor has chosen his legal team: Electronic Frontier Foundation in conjunction with Internet rights attorney Venkat Balasubramani, a dynamic free-speech duo if there ever was one.
The tandem will represent Inman, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, and national charities the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society in a lawsuit that can only be described as an ego trip for the ages—a saga that seemed to have gotten completely removed from its original intended purpose.
EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry told the Daily Dot that it didn’t take long for the digital rights organization to jump on the case.
“We had two thoughts upon reading the lawsuit,” she said. “First, this case is absurd. Second, this is the kind of case that EFF exists to defend.
“These are the activities that we are particularly concerned about as an organization. We knew right away that this was an appropriate place to put our resources. We wanted to help, and we’re glad that we’re able to do that.”
McSherry, who revealed that her team is still plotting out its legal strategy and wouldn’t yet speak on any courtroom tactics, said that the case between Carreon and Inman boils down to a matter of free speech.
“There are a lot of silly claims in that complaint that we’re reviewing, but at the end of the day, what this is about is punishing somebody for speaking freely, and that’s not acceptable,” she said.
“My client engaged in a pretty funny bit of speech in his response to a completely ridiculous legal threat, and it got a lot of attention. It appears that Mr. Carreon is upset about that and has decided to go to the courts to punish my client for speaking out, which is outrageous. That’s the core of this case.”
McSherry also thought it “unfortunate” that Carreon has stolen the show from what should have been a very common—albeit fruitless—dispute between Inman and FunnyJunk, the company that originally sued the Oatmeal over intellectual property.
“Us lawyers tend to have big egos,” she said. “But this is not the appropriate response. If he doesn’t like being criticized, or if he doesn’t like his client being criticized, there are ways of dealing with it that don’t involve the judicial process.”
Photo via Facebook
Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.