Thursday, June 14, 2012

The beauty of internet legal absurdity

If you don't already read Matthew Inman's webcomic The Oatmeal, or the group blog Popehat devoted to "law, liberty and leisure," here's an excellent reason to start. Ken of Popehat begins:
Yesterday afternoon, I started getting tweets and emails (to both my work and Popehat accounts) and Facebook messages tipping me to a bogus-lawsuit-threat-on-the-internet story. As of this writing I have received thirty-one tips and suggestions that I offer pro bono help to the recipient of the threat. For a while I was tempted to regard this as a reflection of my own notorious puissance, and my look-at-me-I'm-the-fucking-BATMAN attitude grew until it threatened to collapse into a noisy singularity of self-regard. 
Then I realized: the flood of mail is not a reflection of me. The flood of mail is a reflection of The Oatmeal being unspeakably awesome. I'm just the towel-boy they shout for to wipe the glistening beads of asskickery from The Oatmeal's noble brow. 
Turns out I'm OK with that. 
People were writing me because they know, from reading this or this, or from seeing the Popehat signal, or from posts sparring with bogus-lawsuit-threateners, that I offer and coordinate pro bono help for bloggers faced with bogus defamation threats. The Oatmeal, unfortunately, is now the victim of such a threat. 
No, wait. That's really not fair. Strike "victim" and "unfortunately."
That is simply the beginning. You must go and read the rest, and make absolutely sure to read Inman's shredding of the cease-and-desist-plus-give-us-lots-o'-cash letter he received. Also, at the end (currently) of Ken's post, a hastily-drawn picture from me of Phoenix Wright as an Ewok.

ETA: Boing Boing reports that the lawyer threatening Inman, Charles Carreon, may be engaging in some defamation of his own, and there's an editorial in The Guardian on the matter where Carreon's wife (?) posted some rather uncharitable things about Inman in the comments.

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