When Lawyers Send Letters

The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman Tells FunnyJunk Lawyer to Please Just Chill Already

Discourse. (Photo: The Oatmeal)

We’re not going to lie: We’ve enjoyed following every single development of the FunnyJunk/Charles Carreon-versus-Oatmeal/Matthew Inman fustercluck. But at this point, with a lawsuit targeting the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society, it’s getting a little ridiculous. And if Mr. Carreon digs himself any deeper, he’s going to pop out in Beijing. That’s probably why Mr. Inman just addressed Mr. Carreon’s eyeroll-inducing legal antics with a blog post informing him as gently as possible (well, for the “ptero-you-a-new-asshole” Oatmeal) that he is making matters worse.

“You’re upset, I get it,” grants Mr. Inman, before doling out a little real talk: “My advice: take a few weeks off, stop saying crazy shit to journalists, and come back when you’ve calmed down. Write an apology to whomever you feel is appropriate, or just don’t write anything ever again.” (This is actually pretty solid counsel for anyone who ever incurs the wrath of the Internet.) Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

Indiegogo Fires Back at FunnyJunk Lawyer’s ‘Internet Jihad’ Lawsuit, Calls It ‘Frivolous’

(Photo: The Oatmeal)

Late Friday afternoon, the legal dustup between popular Oatmeal webcomic creator Matthew Inman and FunnyJunk lawyer Charles Carreon careened full-speed into OMGWTF territory. Mr. Inman initially launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise money for the National Wildlife Foundation and the American Cancer Society in response to a trademark complaint filed by FunnyJunk. On Friday, Mr. Carreon, who is representing FunnyJunk in the case against The Oatmeal, filed his own lawsuit against Mr. Inman, alleging that he incited “cybervandalism” and initiated an “Internet jihad.”

In the suit, Mr. Carreon alleges that Mr. Inman’s campaign unleashed a swath of cybervigilantes who have fraudulently impersonated him and harassed him. But the thing is–Mr. Carreon is also suing the charities that were unwittingly dragged into this mess, as well as Indiegogo. Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

Nice Try, FunnyJunk: Indiegogo Says the Oatmeal’s Fundraiser is A-Okay

There were some other parts to Mr. Inman's response. (theoatmeal.com)

Round three of The Oatmeal versus FunnyJunk isn’t looking so great for the latter.

For those just tuning in: Earlier this week, accused of defamation and faced with a demand he immediately fork over $20,000 in damages, Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money. However, he proposed to split it between the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. FunnyJunk’s lawyer then alleged that the campaign was a violation of Indiegogo’s terms of service and that he would be petitioning the crowdfunding site to remove it.

Well,  it turns out that Indiegogo does not agree with that assessment. The company just sent us the following statement: Read More

Beef in the Crowdfunding Game

Crowdfunding, You’re Doing It Wrong: Twitter Bots and Spammy Emails Are a No-No

The original Kickstarter campaign.

Last week, we covered Vergence Labs‘ canceled Kickstarter campaign and relocation to Indiegogo. Kickstarter’s no-comment policy regarding suspended projects means there’s no way to know the official reason for the cancellation. But now it looks like someone–though it’s not entirely clear who–has embarked on a spammy promotional campaign for the Indiegogo project, blasting out emails from a “Sergey Grin” and blitzing Twitter with @replies linking to the new project.

Founders Erick Miller and Jon Rodriguez were unable to respond by publication time (despite multiple requests for comment), but it’s presumably either them, or someone who is very, very enthusiastic about their idea. Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman Responds to Lawsuit Threat By Raising $25K for Charity

There were some other parts to Mr. Inman's response. (theoatmeal.com)

Popular webcomic The Oatmeal has reportedly been threatened with a lawsuit for making allegedly defamatory statements about FunnyJunk.com. Did the threat work? No, not at all, as of this writing.

FunnyJunk is a site with which Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman has some history. In response to the demand for $20,000 in damages, Mr. Inman proposed raising $20,000 on on Indiegogo, which he has pledged to donate to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. The project hit $20,000 in 64 minutes and is up to $25,000 with 15 days left to go. How do you like them oats?

Fresh Capital

Kickstarter Competitor Indiegogo Raises $15 M., Staffing Up in New York

Mr. Rubin. (Photo: Twitter)

Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo just raised $15 million from venture capital investors in order to staff up, build out and take on Kickstarter and 400 other competitors (including one crowdfunding platform that launched after raising money on Indiegogo). “We launched in January 2008 and we’ve been growing pretty steadily,” founder and CEO Slava Rubin told Betabeat from some unspecified location in New York. “We want to improve the product to make it easier and better to have campaign owners get discovered and get more funding.” Read More

More Startups

In 9 Months, Anyone Can Invest in a Startup

(flickr.com/portland_mike)

Do you feel like there are a lot of startups? We feel like there are a lot of startups. The JOBS Act, an amalgamation of six bills that passed through Congress, is likely going to make even more startups, thanks to a section that will allow the average American to invest limited amounts of money in business plans. AngelList, the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, and a crop of equity-based crowdfunding platforms are poised to take advantage—but not for a while. The Act requires the SEC to hammer out the rules for equity-based crowdfunding within nine months.

“The SEC needs to determine the actual guidelines,” said Nick Tommarello, one of the founders of WeFunder, an equity-based crowdfunding platform that decided to launch a preliminary site before the law passed. “Then we apply to the SEC.” Read More

Wireless World

KeyWiFi Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Build a Peer-to-Peer Internet Access Platform

Mr. Black, KeyWifi's CEO (linkedin.com)

In this Internetty bubble we so rarely leave, it’s easy to forget that millions of people in urban areas are within range of a functioning WiFi connection, but can’t necessarily afford it. New York-based startup KeyWiFi wants to help change that, by allowing individuals to rent out their unused WiFi connections for a nominal fee to those who can’t afford Internet. Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: While You Were Gone, It Got Warm

Columbus circle as seen from CityMaps

WICKA WICKA. Turntable.fm is in the big leagues now as the young music based social platform signs deals with Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner, TechCrunch reports. Turntable has over one million users now and a new mobile app since September.

HIPSTARTER. San Francisco based Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform with offices in Soho that competes with Kickstarter, announced the perfection of their “gogofactor,” a proprietary algorithm that ranks projects based on popularity and viability. This makes Indiegogo the only crowdfunding platform with this type of merit-based ranking functionality. Your move, Kickstarter. Read More

The Equity of the Crowds

After Flying Through the House, Crowdfunding Bill Stalls in Senate

Sen. Brown.

Bad news for IndieGoGo and other startups that want to be allowed to solicit up to $1 million in investment from the crowd. The bill that would allow companies to ask openly for investments in installments of just $1,000 or less has slowed down in the Senate over concerns with the protection of small-time investors. The bill, introduced by Massachussetts senator, the Libertarian-leaning Scott Brown, is being targeted by groups like the North American Securities Administrators Association Inc., which says the bill would promote the fleecing of unsavvy investors.

Proponents say social media ensures that scammers will be outed in short order. Read More