Website war earns big bucks for charity

Website war earns big bucks for charity
SEATTLE -- There's a nasty web war going on that involves a Fremont cartoonist, a rival website and a whole bunch of money for charity.

The fight is between two comedy websites, TheOatmeal.com and FunnyJunk.com.

Matt Inman is a web comic and creator of The Oatmeal. Last year he saw his artwork on a rival website called Funny Junk.

"This is their site, this is my drawing," Inman said. "They have advertising on the top, advertising on the side."

Inman looked around a bit more and said he found hundreds of his drawings on the site.

"There's no credit to me, so it was removed," he said.

Still upset, Inman blogged about the episode and claimed copyright infringement.

"I wrote a blog and it was titled, 'What should I do about FunnyJunk.com'?" he said.

Funny Junk ended up taking down most of the cartoons, but that wasn't the end of it. Cut to a year later.

"And then last week I was having dinner and got served papers informing me that unless I pay $20,000 in damages, Funny Junk was going to file a federal lawsuit against me," Inman said.

He's being accused of slander, but Inman said he's not going to pay Funny Junk a single penny.

Instead, he took the letter and gave it the Oatmeal treatment.

"So I turned it into this diatribe," he said. "I wrote, 'This is a joke, right? you want me to pay you $20,000 for hosting my unlicensed comics on your terrible website for the last three years?'"

That's when he came up with an idea. He asked for charitable donations to match the $20,000 Funny Junk was demanding. Inman said the money will be split between the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation.

"We raised $20,000 in 30 minutes, $20,000 in 64 minutes. And it's been almost two days now and we're up to almost $150,000 in donations," he said.

But he wasn't done yet.

"I then drew a picture of Funny Junk's mother seducing a Kodiak bear and I'm going to send that picture along with the picture of the money to him," he said.

The drawing could be seen as sophomoric, but it might also be effective.

Meanwhile, Inman is thanking the people who are contributing to his cause by drawing cartoons of them.

Almost 8,000 people have donated so far, and representatives from Funny Junk haven't been in contact with Inman since they served him with those papers.