Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Not Just Images And Recipes, It's Comics, Too.

Don't you miss the days when I posted 2 comics a week, instead of writing rebuttals to Forbes and dealing with bullshit like this?
- Matthew Inman

Our topic today is the Funnyjunk.com vs. The Oatmeal debacle.

If you're not familiar with The Oatmeal, you are missing out on a deliriously funny collection of cartoons and illustrated essays by Matthew Inman, a cat-loving, horse-hating geek with an astute sense of observation.

Now, meet Funnyjunk.com, little more than a Pinterest for comics. Below is Inman's description of Funnyjunk's business model:
  1. Gather funny pictures from around the internet
  2. Host them on FunnyJunk.com
  3. Slather them in advertising
  4. If someone claims copyright infringement, throw your hands up in the air and exclaim "It was our users who uploaded your photos! We had nothing to do with it! We're innocent!"
  5. Cash six figure advertising checks from other artist's stolen material
Sounds familiar? Right now, Pinterest doesn't have advertising, though it is partnering with stock photo sites for revenues, is recruiting vast amounts of venture capital, and has hired Tim Kendall so the writing is on the wall.

Inman complains that Funnyjunk.com has "practically stolen [his] entire website and mirrored it on FunnyJunk."

The owner of Funnyjunk.com has responded." He hired one Charles Carreon, whose claim to fame was to sue sex.com, to demand $20,000 from Inman for defaming Funnyjunk.com on the internet. You know this is true because it's not possible to make up things like this.

In answer to this ridiculous demand for money, Inman counter-offered to donate, from a donation campaign targeting his fans, the required amount to charitable organizations of his choice (National Wildlife Federation and Cancer Society). He raised over $200,000 so far.

On June 21, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it will represent Matthew Inman against a "bizarre lawsuit targeting critical online speech." Does it stop here? No, as Charles Carreon himself is now suing, on his own behalf this time, "Inman, the two charities, and the online fundraising platform IndieGoGo, claiming trademark infringement and incitement to “cyber-vandalism.”" Carreon dropped the law suit during the first week of July.

There will come a time when all of the web will miss the days when content creators were publishing abundantly, instead of fighting against user-based content scrapers like Pasplore, Funnyjunk and Pinterest hiding behind the DMCA safe harbor.

1 comment:

ohnostudio said...

"Pinterest doesn't have advertising, though it is partnering with stock photo sites for revenues"...

Can you please expand on the part stating "Partnering with stock photo sites for revenues"? Just wondering what specifics you may have here.



A comment regarding the article - quite awhile back I read a thing titled something like "Where Have All The Content Creators Gone?" describing the phenomenon of actual creators disappearing while more and more aggregators and rehashers just keep posting the same stuff over and over. Eventually the circle would complete and the reposting would just start a new cycle. Oddly, this past week an acquaintance sent me a cartoon rehash I had seen making the email rounds about 5 years ago.