He mentions in his departing SEOMoz blog post that the company that acquired Mingle2 wanted "to leverage my viral marketing and linkbait abilities" - back in 2007.
Fun to look at this through understanding that he's a SEO guru and viral-marketing genius.
Perfect David vs. Goliath headline, tons raised for charity so he comes out looking flawless, 3220 new inbound links for theoatmeal, etc.
Funnyjunk didn't do that. However, he didn't take legal action. He wrote a blog, and exercized his right to free expression. Nothing about the blog was factually incorrect. The links are dead because the images have been taken down.
To be honest, he does come out looking flawless! If someone can point out what he's done wrong, I'm very curious. Certainly the letter he recieved from the lawyer is absurd... Starting from the top:
1. "FunnyJunk, LLC. ("FunnyJunk"), a competitor of TheOatmeal.com in the field of online humor". Where can you go with this? TheOatmeal isn't competing with them.
2. He took an old blog post from last year, then stated that the screenshot was "taken long ago". As is pointed out in the annotated letter, this means nothing.
3. Google cache shows that they had hundreds of images, many of them with the attribution removed.
... more points, but is it necessary?
I am just in awe of how well this response was executed and learning from it.
I would suggest that FunnyJunk get themselves some competent legal counsel, because right now it doesn't satisfy DMCA 512. According to 17 USC § 512(c)(2), safe harbor protections "apply to a service provider only if the service provider has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement".
FunnyJunk LLC. need to provide these details "by making available through its service, including on its website in a location accessible to the public". They need to provide at least "the name, address, phone number, and electronic mail address of the agent".
And I'm sorry, but the webform at http://www.funnyjunk.com/copyright/ doesn't do this. I can assure you, that there is absolutely no way to transmit a physical or electronic signature as they have stated on their page via their form.
It reminds me of the genius rap rivalries of the 90s and 00s which left both rivals better off in every way (press, album sales, fame). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_hop_rivalry
yeah, tupac is rolling in money right now
I wasn't sure what legal principles were involved, or whether that declaration was granted, but the whole idea was pretty kickass; "this is so obviously something which you can't sue me for that I'm going to have a court shove that fact up your rear end."
Companies like this probably exist, but I'm sure they don't come cheap and are used primarily by the big players (eg music labels, movie studios).
I think it is great that Matt is donating the money to charity. However, the idea of putting the money towards some kind of community focused content monitor struck me as an interesting alternative.
I also wonder to what degree something like this could be automated. I know sites like YouTube monitor their own content, but what if Matt could upload all his images, verify his ownership in a legally meaningful way, and then automatically monitor Funny Junk and issue takedown notices in real time.
Sites like FunnyJunk can be created by a small team, allow the upload of a ton of copyrighted content by users, and then run ads next to copyrighted content. Boom, instant money, and if they do well, maybe an acquisition (see: YouTube). All they have to do is keep up with DMCA takedowns, which are few and far between from small content producers like The Oatmeal.
Meanwhile, if you want to build a company to automate content protection, you have to go find deep-pocketed content creators from day one. I don't know of any way to run ads against the creation of DMCA takedowns.
So the financial incentives are totally asymmetric. It's way easier and more lucrative to create a platform for infringing content, than for protecting it. Until that changes, small creators like The Oatmeal will get victimized.
Obviously this doesn't matter to The Oatmeal anymore - everyone's heard of The Oatmeal by now, and preventing competitors from becoming well-known is probably good for profits - but it's not great for the internet in general. Probably wouldn't be good for YCombinator either.
The difference between Reddit and FunnyJunk is that FunnyJunk actually hosts the image files on the FunnyJunk server, keeping visitors there.
Reddit does not host anything but text--when you post an "image" to Reddit, you're really just posting a link. This drives the traffic to The Oatmeal (or whoever), who can then monetize it.
Reddit is an example of a web startup doing it right. They drive tons of traffic around the web. Techmeme is another, and so is Hacker News.
Sites like FunnyJunk drive no traffic anywhere. They're built to suck in other people's content and keep all the traffic on the FunnyJunk servers.
If the content creators don't want their content on Imgur then they should be able to take it down.
Nothing is preventing people from linking directly to the content creators site, redditors are just apathetic and would rather just click through imgur links.
I'm glad parody and appropriately sharp (in more than one way) commentary have not been wiped off the Internet, yet. Hopefully, not ever.
And raised what, $40k for charity in a few hours?
Obviously. For obscure brands, the first problem to solve is being unknown. It is much better to be hated than to be ignored.
For well-established brands, it may be less true: I guess Shell and Total would prefer no publicity related to oil spills.
But even then, bad publicity can have good outcome. I know from personal relations about a brand that has been under fire on Facebook and blogs: the amount of clients did actually increase during and after the hit.
Hosting somebody else's images without arbitration. Then fall to name-calling when the owner asks for them to be taken down.
I fail to see the connection here. Care to explain?
If you read his letter it's very specific, he's not saying that the material isn't there, he's taking issue with the suggestion that funnyjunk is willfully violating the Oatmeal's copyright (as opposed to just not responding fast enough in pulling it down). That's the complaint - the suggestion that it's intentional.
Just because you've been wronged, it doesn't give you carte blanc to say what you want about the person doing it. You're safest sticking to the absolute barest facts with no editorialising or commentary.
I have no problem in seeing that there might be a valid case here. I don't like it and it sucks, but in the eyes of the law there might be something.
(Obviously all this ignores the possibility that he's just rattling the cage and seeing if there's $20,000 of easy money there based on Inman running scared. It might be significant that neither the requests being made in terms of removing the material nor the amount (compared to potential legal fees in fighting the case) are that onerous).
I have a hard time resolving litigation like this with the fact that the truth can change in minutes, as Web sites are fairly easy to edit. It's just scary.
If the target market was lawyers you could probably charge a chunk-o-money for it as well...
NB I have no idea whether such a service already exists.
The Oatmeal's response to the claim included a list of content infringing his copyright. Funnyjunk is going to want to remove that content to retain its safe harbor from liability for the infringement. It may or may not be a properly worded notice under the DMCA, but a lot of notices UGC hosts get aren't, and they still take down the content -- because the intent of the parties and whether they acted in good faith matters when it's time to face a judge.
That the pages are no longer accessible does not mean the evidence has been destroyed, either. The DMCA requires only that you "block access to" the content, not physically remove it from a server.
I'm no lawyer but couldn't this theoretically be used in court by Inman since FunnyJunk apparently makes it extra hard for content creators like Inman, the Cyanide & Happiness guys et cetera to find their content and issue takedown requests?
Thinking a bit further: by filtering search they are implicitly saying that they know they are hosting content by Inman aren't they? In that case they shouldn't be able to hide behind the DMCA safe harbor provisions since one of the requirements of the DMCA is that the Online Service Provider has no knowledge about any infringing material on their servers (Section 512(c) http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/512)
There are definitely caches. What scares me is: will that count as viable evidence and will the judge understand what has happened?
"drawing of your mom seducing a bear"
"drawing of your mom seducing a kodiak bear"
Still think its banal and not funny? does everyone hate parasites that can turn ants into zombies?
Not just a bear. Not a polar bear. Not a brown bear. A kodiak bear. The only thing funnier would be "a 8' tall, ill-tempered, honey-hating, monkey-fighting kodiak bear. Named Maurice."
Here are some good links, if you are want to do more.
Let's not take a funny/clever retort by TheOatmeal and ruin it by being jackasses.
I try to stay away from it as much as possible, but of the handful of things I've seen there, they were all trollish and entirely incorrect.
The site is just more Internet scum and it going away would probably be for the best.
It's always good when one extreme viewpoint is countered with another extreme viewpoint in the opposite direction.