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Charles Carreon Withdraws Lawsuit Against ‘The Oatmeal’ And The Internet Dances On His Reputation’s Grave

After a weeks of being an Internet laughing stock, Charles Carreon, the lawyer who filed suit against The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman, the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation decided that maybe he doesn’t want to go through with that pesky lawsuit after all. Now that Carreon has withdrawn his lawsuit, however, he still has the broken pieces of his reputation to sweep up.Carreon filed a lawsuit against Inman et al. in mid-June after Inman responded to Carreon’s cease and desist letter, sent on behalf of his client Funny Junk, by posting the letter with scathing annotations and launching a fundraiser to support the ACS and the NWF on IndieGoGo. Carreon accused Inman of violating Carreon’s trademark, inciting others to commit cybervandalism and violating charity law. Legal bloggers tore apart Carreon’s complaint, and a Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney agreed to represent Inman, fearing that Carreon’s suit risked chilling critical speech online. Inman’s fundraiser ended, sending thousands of dollars to the charities.

Perhaps recognizing the futility of his beef with Inman, last week Carreon voluntarily dropped his suit. Assuming he doesn’t decide to refile, Inman, the EFF and the rest of us can breathe a little easier. Carreon may not be through, however. The Mercury News reports that last Monday, a person claiming to be Inman filed a $1.1 million civil suit against Carreon and his wife. Inman’s attorney says that Inman filed no such suit and the claim is a hoax. Also according to the Mercury News, the owner of the recently formed satirical site has asked the federal court to protect his right to use the domain name, claiming that Carreon has threatened to sue him. In trying to protect his trademark, Carreon has ruined his reputation.

Maybe Carreon never cared much about his reputation to begin with. He told Ars Technica, “I’m famous, I’m notorious.” Perhaps his Internet-wide temper tantrum was merely a way to return to the fame he cultivated when he was litigating the case. He just felt compelled to drag Inman, IndieGogo and the comics reading media along for the ride.

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