NOW THAT CHARLES CARREON has dropped his lawsuit against ”The Oatmeal” webcartoonist Matthew Inman and the website that hosted his charity, the question is: Why now?
Carreon sounded resolute last month when he told Comic Riffs that he was filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming trademark infringement, cyber-vandalism and false personation. He also challenged Inman's “BearLove Good. Cancer Bad” charitable fundraiser, which said money raised would be donated to the American Cancer Society and the Reston, Va.-based National Wildlife Federation.”
“The logical goals of the lawsuit were accomplished,” Carreon tells Comic Riffs on Thursday. “Inman aborted his ‘publicity stunt’ to photograph himself with the proceeds that were intended to go to charity, the court took cognizance of the issues and ordered Inman to deposit evidence of his disposition of the funds, and Inman deposited the evidence of payments made to the charities.”
Inman’s goal was to raise $20,000, but the “BearLove Good. Cancer Bad”
charity drive — hosted by the crowd-funding site Indiegogo — raised 11 times that much.
“It’s a positive use of the Internet,” Inman told Comic Riffs last month of the charity fund. ”I talked to both [charities],” he said, “and they’re really excited.”
Carreon says he believes his lawsuit — which the Electronic Frontier Foundation (Inman’s co-counsel) reported as dropped — accomplished other goals, as well.
“I established communications with the California attorney general, and will continue to urge investigation of Indiegogo's violation of California law by engaging in unregistered charitable fundraising,” says Carreon, who sued Inman and Indiegogo after he was hired by the user-generated site FunnyJunk.com, which Inman accused of stealing his content. “Given my modest interest in the charitable fund ($10), litigating further to vindicate an abstract principle would have had no purpose.
“While I could have gambled on obtaining a court-ordered attorney’s fee for acting in the public interest, there are easier ways to earn my usual hourly rates.”
In response to the news, Indiegogo tells Comic Riffs in a statement:
“Indiegogo is pleased to see this lawsuit has been dropped. The money raised on Matthew Inman's ‘BearLove Good. Cancer Bad’ campaign has been disbursed to the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation. “
In an earlier statement, Indiegogo called Carreon’s lawsuit frivolous.
Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.